As the opening round of the AMA Supercross series, Anaheim is undeniably a race of firsts. Since it is the first race of the season, every rider on the starting gate has zero points and a clean slate to start the year with. For many racers, Anaheim is usually the first race on a new bike or the first time flying a new team’s banner. For others, Anaheim marks a first Supercross experience altogether. The excess of new beginnings-combined with weeks of wild rumors and endless speculation-make Anaheim one of the most highly-anticipated races of the year. With so much hype and so many new beginnings at this year’s event, it is difficult not to notice the incredible amount of new things that shape up at Angel stadium. With that in mind, we are proud to bring to you the 29 most incredible firsts from the 2005 Supercross opener at Anaheim…
The 2005 Anaheim race marked the first time in the history of the sport that a Supercross has sold out a month prior to the event. Even though the weekend weather forecasts called for heavy rain, Angel Stadium was filled to the brim on race day, leaving many unlucky fans begging for tickets in the drizzle outside.
This was the first time in Anaheim’s 36-race history that the afternoon program had been cancelled. Rather than dealing with running qualifiers in the mud, the AMA decided to seed 66 riders from each class into the night program, drawing names out of a bucket for the remaining 14 spots.
The first rider to have his name randomly drawn by the AMA to compete was Team MBK Motorsports Eric McCrummen. As Nick Wey’s new teammate, Eric made his first main event at Anaheim, which also happened to be his first pro Supercross. He fought his way through the slop to earn a respectable 11th overall.
Due to the muddy conditions, James Stewart was the first-and only-rider to jump both triples on the A1 track. RC, Reed, Fonseca, Windham and Tortelli all aired out the home plate triple, but Bubba was the only rider to hit the infield jump all night.
Anaheim was Travis Pastrana’s first race back since breaking his wrist in England. #199 had a hard-plastic cast made up to ride in, which he referred to during the press conference as his “racing-brace-supportive-fast-mechanism.”
Round one was scheduled to be the first race at which the AMA’s new 102-decibel sound restriction would be in effect. However, the rulebook clearly states that if it is raining, a sound check can’t be performed due to the effects the rain has on the test. Apparently, Mother Nature likes loud pipes!
This race marked Jeremy McGrath’s first Anaheim since 2002. Riding a factory Honda in 2005, MC has loose plans for the remainder of the series, but let on that he will continue racing as long as he’s having fun. And yes, the Anaheim fans still cheer really loudly for Jeremy.
The first holeshot of 2005 went to Pro Circuit’s Ivan Tedesco, who negotiated the soft dirt, mud puddles and even a small crash to take the first heat race win of the season.
The first great battle of the new season was seen in the second 250cc qualifier, when Chad Reed and Ricky Carmichael fought hard for the lead. Both riders literally jumped over each other a number of times before Ricky finally got the upper hand and pulled away for the win, lapping Pastrana, Tortelli and Fonseca in the process.
A1 was the first time fans had seen a #1 plate on the track in over a year, thanks to 2004 champion Ivan Tedesco’s decision to run his earned number. Last year’s 250cc champion Chad Reed opted to stick with his signature #22, much to the dismay of Team Yamaha, and many of his fans.
Andrew Short nabbed his first U.S. win on a Honda on the last lap of the 125cc LCQ, passing Suzuki’s Broc Hepler through the final whoop section on the last lap. However, a bad main event left Shorty in 20th for the evening.
The first non-qualifier: Chris Gosselaar ended up fifth in the 125cc LCQ, one position away from the final transfer spot. Even though his chances for earning points at Anaheim were shot, Lil’ Goose did take home $1,000 for being the first rider not to make the main. Jimmy Wilson did likewise in the 250cc division.
The first 2005 1-2-3 sweep by a manufacturer happened in the 250cc last chance qualifier, when Honda riders Ernesto Fonseca, Jeff Gibson and Joe Oehlhof beat the pack through the quagmire.
Factory Connection rider Tommy Hahn rode his first professional Supercross at A1, coming through with an impressive fourth place finish in the main to be the highest-placing rookie of the night. Ryan Sipes ended up being the next-best rookie with a sixth place finish.
For the first time in a long time, Travis Pastrana made it through a Supercross somewhat healthy. While he did do his share of crashing in the mud, TP didn’t break any bones, knock himself out, or get upside-down one time at Anaheim!
In his first race back from retirement, Jeremy McGrath ended up 20th in the 250cc main event at Anaheim. Strangely, this is exactly the same position that Showtime finished in his first-ever 250cc Supercross in 1992.
For the first time ever, Anaheim was a terrible gauge for the rest of the series. The hype was simply too big, the track was too muddy, and the results were too crazy to make any accurate predictions at all. With so many firsts taking place in just one race, the remainder of the series is up in the air. But one thing is certain from this point on: if we run into any more surprises this season, it won’t be the first time!