By Jeff McConkey
We have been waiting impatiently for it, and we finally got it. This past Saturday, Supercross was back, which I am sure made a lot of ‘moto dorks’ happy. I, myself, have been counting down the days, and A1 was more exciting than New Year’s Eve: You have riders on new teams, new bikes, and one of my favourite things…new gear! How can you not be excited?
For 2015, we will be missing two of the biggest-ever names in the sport with James Stewart suspended, and 4-time defending champion Ryan Villopoto opting to race the GP’s for his final season.
Now, onto the action: The races weren’t spectacular, but they weren’t bad either. My only real complaint is the Semi races for the 450 class. They honestly need to do away with it and go back to the old system. It is just too long and doesn’t make sense to me to run 2 semi races with 8 empty gates in each. I am a die-hard fan, and even I was getting a little bored. OK, lets get to the results!
1st Jesse Nelson: Two thumbs up for Nelson. He has always had the raw speed, but, unfortunately, he has been hurt in the past. He rode a great race and stamped his name as a title contender.
2nd Zach Osbourne: Zach’s night started a little rough with some contact with Tyler Bowers. He bounced back with a great ride in the main. Let’s just hope that thumb injury doesn’t sideline him for the season.
3rd Tyler Bowers: Wow, Bowers and his Hulk Hogan-like heat race interview just scared the s#!t out of all of those 125-pound West Coast riders, and his riding on the track served notice that he is a serious title contender as well.
4th Justin Hill: Hill was good, but I expected him to smoke everyone. Watch for a fired up Hill to win round 2. You heard it here 1st!
5th Aaron Plessinger: What a ride by the rookie! I really didn’t even expect him to be a top-10 guy. Only time will tell if he can keep it up.
6th Shane McElrath: Shane looked good and will sneak onto the podium once or twice.
7th Cooper Webb: Webb had a great ride coming from way back twice. Watch for him the bounce back and win a few.
8th Alex Martin: Alex rode great and will be a 6-10 guy every week.
9th Josh Hansen: ‘Hanny’ had a great heat race, and had a solid main going until he tried to force something that wasn’t there. With some patience, Hanny will be on the box.
10th Michael Leib: So, Leib got 10th…I honestly didn’t notice him once – maybe next week?
Biggest Stud: Nelson is my stud, as he easily rode to victory.
Biggest Dud: I’m not calling Malcolm Stewart a dud, I am just bummed we didn’t really get to see how great he can be on the mighty Geico Honda.
Biggest Surprise: I honestly thought Justin Hill was going to be in another time zone. He looked unreal at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm and Monster Cup, but maybe he really does ride the 450 that much better?
1st Ken Roczen: Kenny was never really threatened and rode to what seemed to be an easy win.
2nd Jason Anderson: ‘El’Hombre’ rode great. I have always been a huge fan of his riding style and can’t wait to see more. He will win at least one of these.
3rd Trey Canard: Trey looked really good and will be up front all season long. With a better start, I have no doubt that he can match Roczen’s speed.
4th Ryan Dungey: Dungey was Dungey and he will be in the hunt for the title after 17 rounds.
5th Andrew Short: ‘Shorty’ put in the ride that I expected from Chad Reed. Congrats to Andrew on a great ride.
6th Justin Barcia: ‘Bam Bam’ had a great ride coming from way back. I would like to see what he can do with a start.
7th Westin Peick: Solid ride for Peick. I don’t see him doing much better or worse than this.
8th Broc Tickle: Great first race back from a near career-ending injury. Like Peick, I don’t see Tickle doing much better or worse with this stacked field.
9th Mike Alessi: Mike looked really good, and like he was battling out there. I hope he pushes this hard for 16 more rounds.
10th Chad Reed: I’m hearing Reed had some sort of a mechanical failure. Watch for a much better result this weekend.
Biggest Stud: Jason Anderson is my stud. I love the style, love the Husky, and can’t wait to see more.
Biggest Dud: My biggest Dud is the FIM and the way they handled the James Stewart suspension.
Biggest Surprise: With out a doubt, the biggest surprise is seeing the names Weimer, Baggett, Brayton, Seely, Wilson, Hill, Metcalfe, Grant, Millsaps and Tomac all outside of the top 10 in a single main event. I know you hear it every year, but this is the most stacked 450 Class ever!
See you after Round 2 in Phoenix…