One of the traditional parts of the So. Cal. holiday season, along with duking it out at the mall while wearing shorts and t-shirts, is the Chaparral Pro/Am. Held at Glen Helen’s Stadiumcross track, it’s frequently used as a final Supercross tune-up by pro riders and teams who head for Anaheim the following week.
This year’s format was focused on 125cc action, with 125cc class heavyweights Pro Circuit (Matt Walker and Eric Sorby) and Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy (with Brock Sellards and Craig Anderson, and Josh Hansen) duking it out. Other notables included GP competitors like KTM’s Kiwi, Ben Townley; and Kawasaki-mounted 125cc World Champ Mickael Maschio, who were both getting ready for the upcoming GP season by training and racing a few Supercross rounds.
Since it’s a Pro/Am event, it’s also a way for fast amateurs to get a taste of SX action before actually moving up to the pro class. In previous years, Billy Laninovich had turned heads with his rides, and this time around, fast amateurs like Richie Owens and Sean Collier were testing the waters. Maybe the best part of the whole deal for is for Supercross fans, since there’s no way to get closer to the riders or the action.
After dispensing with the heat races, semis, and the support class (made up of small-bore XRs), it was time for the main event.
Through the first turn, Mickael Maschio had the early advantage, followed by Ben Townley and Craig Anderson. Anderson quickly dispatched Townley, and had a lock on the lead by the time they hit the third turn. In the meantime, Brock Sellards was working his way up through the pack, and dropped in behind Anderson.
Anderson and Sellards continued their tandem ride at the front all the way through the 20 lap main event, followed at a distance by Matt Walker. In the end, it all came down to the last corner, when Brock took one last shot—literally—at Anderson. The resulting collisions reverberated around the venue and ended up with Brock laying on the ground, and Anderson cruising in for the win. While Sellards was busy restarting his 250F, Matt Walker snuck by for second spot. Brock got restarted in time to grab third.
Afterward, Craig said, “It was close. I don’t think Brock used any brakes, but that’s the way it goes. He wanted to win, and went for it. He came out second best. I was trying pretty hard the whole race ’cause I knew he was coming. I knew he’d get faster and faster. I just wanted to do the same lap times every lap and just keep it going. It worked well.
How did it feel to win? “Awesome. I was pretty nervous coming into today, and ended up pulling it off, so that’s unreal. It’s a one-off race and Anaheim’s going to be a completely different track with two sets of big whoops, so it’s going to be tough. It’s given me a bit of confidence that I can do the pace. “
When we caught up to Sellards, he was looking a little bummed with his result. “I followed too much. I caught up to Craig and I couldn’t go anywhere. I wanted to get Craig at the halfway point, but I couldn’t really catch him. He was riding really good out there. At the end I was just letting it hang out and I was making a lot of mistakes. It came to running into him to pass him.”
“I just basically t-boned him and tried to slide him out, but I crashed. There wasn’t much chance of it. He didn’t leave me any inside. I had him up on the haybale and could have pushed him a foot further and he’d have crashed, but I didn’t want to take out my teammate. But I’m bummed I lost that money.”
Was he surprised with Craig’s ride? “He must be working pretty hard because he rode strong the whole race. He didn’t get tired. He gets out front and rides good. He doesn’t really choke. That’s a pretty good ride for him.”
2002 Chaparral Pro-Am
- Craig Anderson $4500
- Matt Walker $2000
- Brock Sellards $900
- Ben Townley $700
- Eric Sorby $400
- Shane Bess $200
- Sean Collier $150
- Jeremy Chaussee $125
- Mickael Maschio $125
- Benjamin Coisey $125