Big E’s Race Report: Round 7, Anaheim 3

Pre-Race Notes

The last round here at Anaheim had to be one of the most unique tracks I’ve ever seen in Supercross. Anaheim 3 featured a starting straight with two options—the right side went to the right, and the left side left. After a race is one lap deep, the riders can chose which line they want to take. It definitely made it more fun to watch the races, but for the most part a good 5-7 seconds of the race there was no passing, as most riders had to follow the leader through their respective sections. I have no idea how the TV coverage is going to work out. Even with a split screen it is going to be hard to see all that happens. There would also be two holeshot winners in each race as a result of the two first straights.

Jeremy McGrath did his final lap at Anaheim Saturday night. MC was seen doing some laps in the first round of practice on Friday to warm up the nac-nac for the opening ceremonies. As MC went for his lap he bobbled a bit in the whoops and dead sailored the first set of the triples. Then, on the next set, he did his nac-nac so late he almost did not get his leg back over in time. Unsatisfied, MC cut the track and went back for more. Again he bobbled coming off the deep treacherous whoops, but this time he would not disappoint—bam, the nac-nac. Ah, the nostalgia of it all.

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As an added bonus, MC was given his own Anaheim Angels World Championship jersey with his name on it by none other than World Series MVP Troy Glaus. The only problem was that it had a number one on it. Everyone knows his number is two…come on you guys!

Grant Langston was trying to ride Anaheim, but the injuries from the past are killing the poor guy. This past week he went down again testing and had to sit out most of the week. Then in the last laps of practice on Friday he twisted his knee, and tore the meniscus. At noon on Saturday it was as big as a grapefruit. A doctor was called in to drain it and Grant said he was going to stick it out—truly a Zulu Warrior!

Tim Ferry was on a two-stoke for the first time in 3 years! Timmy was missing at the track for Friday’s practice, as he was out at the Yamaha test track in Corona and got his YZ 250 ready for the racing at Anaheim 3.

Ezra Lusk was sick all week—maybe its al those germs on the plane from flying back and forth on the plane to go see momma bear and little Hayden…the price of fatherhood.

Heat Races

The first 125cc heat race had Craig Anderson and Akira Narita grab the holeshots on their respective sides, with Danny Smith, Sean Hamblin, Travis Preston, and Josh Woods in tow. Privateer Steve Mertens fell off his bike in the whoop section. The whoop section here at Anaheim started off small and got super-deep. Immediately after the whoops was a set of triples. Most of the 125 riders couldn’t get over the whoops smooth enough to get a clean line up the face of the triple, so they were doubling them. Back to the race, Danny Smith was working on getting around Anderson and eventually did. Anderson looked to be fading fast. Travis Preston was the only one jumping the triples after the whoops consistently. With one more lap, Travis was creeping up on Smith, but Danny was riding really well and was able to hold Preston off. The top four were Smith, Preston, Woods and Hamblin. It was good to see Danny back in form, as he damaged some of his internal organs in a crash last weekend in San Francisco.

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In the second 125cc heat race poor Ryan Morias couldn’t get a break. He tangled with someone and fell down on the starting straight and it looked like he got ran over. Eventually it was determined that he was okay, but he opted to take the rest of the night off. Stewart, Laninovich, Sorby and Gosselaar eventually settled into a groove and transferred out. James Stewart looked to be h usual unbelievable self.

The first 250cc heat race featured holeshots by Mike LaRocco and Chad Reed. As lap two got underway LaRocco, Reed, Tedesco, Ward and Tortelli get were the leaders. Poor Grant Langston went down on the first lap in one of the rhythm sections. He was pummeled by five other riders…ouch! Chad Reed and Mike LaRocco had a good race going on as each of them elected to take different first turns. To me, Tim Ferry was didn’t look as fast as he did on his four-stroke. Maybe it was the fact that he crashed hard testing this week at the Yamaha track and is still sore from that.

On the last lap, Chad Reed had the lead, but LaRocco was right beside him. As the two entered the rhythm section, LaRocco forgot to turn, and both he and Reed went down! It looked to be a bad crash, putting both riders to the ground. Reed was able to get up and win the race, but LaRocco was not able to mount up in time. Reed, Tedesco, Wey and Tortelli transferred to the main. Reed and LaRocco had some words before Chad went up on the podium. When asked about what happened as he watched the replay on the Jumbotron, Chad quipped, “I was on the outside and as you can see Mike did not want to turn. I just ripped my toe off, but hey, it was a lot of fun.” When questioned about what was said on the field between the two he said,” I just told him, you’re 30 years old, why do you want to do that in a heat race?” The crowd loved it.

The second 250cc heat race had Brock Sellards and Frenchman Pierrick Paget get the holeshots with Pichon, Carmichael and Roncada in tow. It would not take long for RC to go by Pichon. For being away from SX for four years, Pichon looked very good. Suzuki should keep him here to race the series. Speaking of looking good, Brock Sellards was holding his own out there. Sure RC eventually passed him, but Brock was able to hold him off for four or five laps. Transferring to the main were Carmichael, Sellards, Pichon and Roncada.

After LaRocco won his semi, he commented that the incident with Reed was his fault and it was a dumb move on his part. Even thought the move was bad, it was very professional of Mike to say the crash was entirely his fault.

Casey Lytle won the LCQ. It was nice to see him back up on the podium, even if it was the last qualifying race of the night.

The Mains

The holeshot winners in the 125 main were Eric Sorby and Tiger Lacey. As the riders sorted out it James Stewart went to the front after four turns and started to pull away before the first lap was even complete! Behind him were Sorby, Pingree, Narita, Walker, Woods, and Hamblin.

As lap three got underway, James Stewart had a 10-second lead already! Matt Walker made a nice move to pass Josh Woods, and immediately Travis Preston went right by both of them! Travis was very focused on what he had to do at Anaheim 3 to get back into the points race, even though it would take a miracle now, Travis was riding like he wants to push Stewart to the last race for the tittle. Then, Woods passed by Preston. Second though fifth were so close, you could throw a blanket over them.

Lap five and James Stewart was gone. Woods was in second position with Walker, Preston and Sorby behind. Preston was tripling and he jumped right past Walker. Most of the 125cc riders are not doing the triple because the whoops are getting even slicker as the night gets damper. At the finish line jump, Pascal Leuret went down hard and medical staff were tending to him. The whoop section is taking its toll both Tyler Evans and Danny Smith went down, almost at the same time! Immediately two more riders fall!

Lap eight and Preston went by Woods for third place by jumping the triples. Then Preston set his sights on Sorby for second place. Stewart had something like a 15-second lead.

Around lap 10 a lapped rider didn’t give Stewart the room he needed in a turn and the rider goes down. Josh Woods latched ono the rear fender of Preston to try to stay on his pace as he continues to reel Sorby in.

Lap 12 and Preston went by Sorby with a clean inside pass!

Lap 13 and Woods moved into third passing Sorby.

Then on Lap 14 Matt Walker went down in the whoop section before the triples. Then Josh Woods gets bucked off and over the bars in the other whoop section. Sorby narrowly escaped the carnage.

As the 15 lap main finished up, Stewart won by more than 20 seconds again! His lap times in the main were two seconds off that of the top 250cc riders. Unbelievable. Since he almost has this title wrapped up, I wonder if we will see him on a 250 at Daytona?

James dedicated this win the families of the Columbia space shuttle. Cool James.

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125cc Main—Anaheim 3 (West round 5)

  1. James “Bubba” Stewart (Kaw)
  2. Travis Preston (Hon)
  3. Eric Sorby (Kaw)
  4. Matt Walker (Kaw)
  5. David Pingree (Suz)
  6. Sean Hamblin (Suz)
  7. Billy Laninovich (KTM)
  8. Josh Hansen (Yam)
  9. Tiger Lacey (Yam)
  10. Danny Smith (Suz)
  11. Craig Anderson (Yam)
  12. Akira Narita (Suz)
  13. Pascal Leuret (KTM)
  14. Shane Bess (Suz)
  15. Tyler Evans (Suz)
  16. Travis Elliot (Yam)
  17. Tommy Harrison (Suz)
  18. Josh Woods (KTM)
  19. Andrew Short (Suz)
  20. Troy Adams (Yam)
  21. Chris Gosselaar (Hon
  22. Bryan McGavran (Suz)

Interesting fact: 25% of the 250cc main at Anaheim 3 is French. The left/right holeshots went to Ezra Lusk and Michael Byrne. As they sorted out, the order went like this, Byrne, Lusk, Reed, Carmichael and Roncada. Pichon fell in the first turn, and broke his front brake lever off. Too bad it would have been interesting to see if he could have stayed the 20 laps. LaRocco and Tortelli go down together in turn five. As they restarted their bikes, they were in dead last.

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Meanwhile Brock Sellards was trying to hold off the charge of Vuillemin and Ferry. Lap three had the top five riders leaving the rest of the field and they were all very close to each other. RC was able to get by Reed because he used the other first turn option.

Lap four and the order was Byrne, Lusk, Roncada, Carmichael, Reed.

Then on lap five, Roncada and Carmichael went by Lusk. Roncada was able to hold off the charge of Carmichael for longer than most thought, but RC eventually got by. RC was now in second and gaining on Byrne. Ivan Tedesco went down in the whoop section the medics were attending him and he did not reenter the race. He was okay, just bruised up.

Lap six, and Vuillemin has passed Sellards and was right on the back wheel of Lusk. Thus far Byrne was riding a great race.

On lap eight, Chad Reed was able to get by Roncada.

Lap nine and Carmichael passes Byrne for the lead.

On lap 10, Reed was in third and a bobble by Byrne on the finish line jump let Reed make the pass. Chad Reed is now around five seconds in back of RC. Then Vuillemin makes the pass on Lusk for fourth place. All five riders are on the same straight, so nobody was really pulling away.

On lap 11, Tim Ferry went over turn five. It looked like he lost his brake, he shot right off the turn and landed hard on the ground. He looked to be okay. He was on his knees when the medics attended to him. He eventually walked out under his own power. Now the stage was set for a race, as Chad Reed started to gain on Carmichael. As the next few laps went on it looked like Reed was going to be able to Carmichael in, but Ricky was able to make up some time around lap 13. Mike LaRocco had just pulled off the track. The rock was calling it a night.

Around lap 1r didn’t give Stewart the room he needed in a turn and the rider goes down. Josh Woods latched ono the rear fender of Preston to try to stay on his pace as he continues to reel Sorby in.

Lap 12 and Preston went by Sorby with a clean inside pass!

Lap 13 and Woods moved into third passing Sorby.

Then on Lap 14 Matt Walker went down in the whoop section before the triples. Then Josh Woods gets bucked off and over the bars in the other whoop section. Sorby narrowly escaped the carnage.

As the 15 lap main finished up, Stewart won by more than 20 seconds again! His lap times in the main were two seconds off that of the top 250cc riders. Unbelievable. Since he almost has this title wrapped up, I wonder if we will see him on a 250 at Daytona?

James dedicated this win the families of the Columbia space shuttle. Cool James.

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125cc Main—Anaheim 3 (West round 5)

  1. James “Bubba” Stewart (Kaw)
  2. Travis Preston (Hon)
  3. Eric Sorby (Kaw)
  4. Matt Walker (Kaw)
  5. David Pingree (Suz)
  6. Sean Hamblin (Suz)
  7. Billy Laninovich (KTM)
  8. Josh Hansen (Yam)
  9. Tiger Lacey (Yam)
  10. Danny Smith (Suz)
  11. Craig Anderson (Yam)
  12. Akira Narita (Suz)
  13. Pascal Leuret (KTM)
  14. Shane Bess (Suz)
  15. Tyler Evans (Suz)
  16. Travis Elliot (Yam)
  17. Tommy Harrison (Suz)
  18. Josh Woods (KTM)
  19. Andrew Short (Suz)
  20. Troy Adams (Yam)
  21. Chris Gosselaar (Hon
  22. Bryan McGavran (Suz)

Interesting fact: 25% of the 250cc main at Anaheim 3 is French. The left/right holeshots went to Ezra Lusk and Michael Byrne. As they sorted out, the order went like this, Byrne, Lusk, Reed, Carmichael and Roncada. Pichon fell in the first turn, and broke his front brake lever off. Too bad it would have been interesting to see if he could have stayed the 20 laps. LaRocco and Tortelli go down together in turn five. As they restarted their bikes, they were in dead last.

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Meanwhile Brock Sellards was trying to hold off the charge of Vuillemin and Ferry. Lap three had the top five riders leaving the rest of the field and they were all very close to each other. RC was able to get by Reed because he used the other first turn option.

Lap four and the order was Byrne, Lusk, Roncada, Carmichael, Reed.

Then on lap five, Roncada and Carmichael went by Lusk. Roncada was able to hold off the charge of Carmichael for longer than most thought, but RC eventually got by. RC was now in second and gaining on Byrne. Ivan Tedesco went down in the whoop section the medics were attending him and he did not reenter the race. He was okay, just bruised up.

Lap six, and Vuillemin has passed Sellards and was right on the back wheel of Lusk. Thus far Byrne was riding a great race.

On lap eight, Chad Reed was able to get by Roncada.

Lap nine and Carmichael passes Byrne for the lead.

On lap 10, Reed was in third and a bobble by Byrne on the finish line jump let Reed make the pass. Chad Reed is now around five seconds in back of RC. Then Vuillemin makes the pass on Lusk for fourth place. All five riders are on the same straight, so nobody was really pulling away.

On lap 11, Tim Ferry went over turn five. It looked like he lost his brake, he shot right off the turn and landed hard on the ground. He looked to be okay. He was on his knees when the medics attended to him. He eventually walked out under his own power. Now the stage was set for a race, as Chad Reed started to gain on Carmichael. As the next few laps went on it looked like Reed was going to be able to Carmichael in, but Ricky was able to make up some time around lap 13. Mike LaRocco had just pulled off the track. The rock was calling it a night.

Around lap 15 Ricky’s bike went sideways off the whoops and he had to double the triple. That gave Chad some new hope as he charged harder for the champ. The next two laps, Reed was gaining on Carmichael, probably one of the reasons was after coming off the whoops, Ricky’s bike was going sideways off the face of the triple!

Lap 19 and Reed was close enough to make it happen. The entire stadium went to their feet, as Reed drew nearer. In the last turn, Reed was close enough to take a cheap shot, but had to settle for second. In the end, Chad was less than a half of a second behind Ricky…wow what a race! I am sure Reed was kicking himself all night thinking about what he could have done earlier in the main. One more lap and he would have won this one. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

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250cc Main—Anaheim 3 (Round 7)

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Hon)
  2. Chad Reed (Yam)
  3. David Vuillemin (Yam)
  4. Michael Byrne (Hon)
  5. Ezra Lusk (Kaw)
  6. Stephane Roncada (Suz)
  7. Brock Sellards (Yam)
  8. Heath Voss (Yam)
  9. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  10. Nick Wey (Yam)
  11. Keith Johnson (Yam)
  12. Erick Vallejo (Yam)
  13. Larry Ward (Hon)
  14. Casey Lytle (Yam)
  15. Sebastien Tortelli (Suz)
  16. Tim Ferry (Yam)
  17. Mike LaRocco (Hon)
  18. Ivan Tedesco (Yam)
  19. Pierrick Paget (Hon)
  20. Mickael Pichon (Suz)

As the night came to a close, Langston is going to have knee surgery on Monday. Tortelli is having problems with his knee popping out. Chad Reed looks to have a broken toe. LaRocco and Vuillemin have sore shoulders. Tim Ferry and Chris Gosselaar went to the hospital to get checked out as a precaution, but neither one of them had anything broken. Here’s hoping everyone will get healthy for next weekend.

Talk to you next week from Southern California’s last round, San Diego.

ap 15 Ricky’s bike went sideways off the whoops and he had to double the triple. That gave Chad some new hope as he charged harder for the champ. The next two laps, Reed was gaining on Carmichael, probably one of the reasons was after coming off the whoops, Ricky’s bike was going sideways off the face of the triple!

Lap 19 and Reed was close enough to make it happen. The entire stadium went to their feet, as Reed drew nearer. In the last turn, Reed was close enough to take a cheap shot, but had to settle for second. In the end, Chad was less than a half of a second behind Ricky…wow what a race! I am sure Reed was kicking himself all night thinking about what he could have done earlier in the main. One more lap and he would have won this one. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

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250cc Main—Anaheim 3 (Round 7)

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Hon)
  2. Chad Reed (Yam)
  3. David Vuillemin (Yam)
  4. Michael Byrne (Hon)
  5. Ezra Lusk (Kaw)
  6. Stephane Roncada (Suz)
  7. Brock Sellards (Yam)
  8. Heath Voss (Yam)
  9. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  10. Nick Wey (Yam)
  11. Keith Johnson (Yam)
  12. Erick Vallejo (Yam)
  13. Larry Ward (Hon)
  14. Casey Lytle (Yam)
  15. Sebastien Tortelli (Suz)
  16. Tim Ferry (Yam)
  17. Mike LaRocco (Hon)
  18. Ivan Tedesco (Yam)
  19. Pierrick Paget (Hon)
  20. Mickael Pichon (Suz)

As the night came to a close, Langston is going to have knee surgery on Monday. Tortelli is having problems with his knee popping out. Chad Reed looks to have a broken toe. LaRocco and Vuillemin have sore shoulders. Tim Ferry and Chris Gosselaar went to the hospital to get checked out as a precaution, but neither one of them had anything broken. Here’s hoping everyone will get healthy for next weekend.

Talk to you next week from Southern California’s last round, San Diego.