TWMX Race Report: Anaheim 1

After all the preparation, the waiting, the hype, rumors and speculation, Anaheim 1 is in the books, and gave a preview of what we can expect to see in ’04.

125cc Heats

Ivan Tedesco drew first blood (and gave a preview of the 125cc Main event results) by taking the first 125cc heat aboard his Pro Circuit KX250F. Chris Gosselaar had to work his way past Johnny Marley, and MotoworldRacing.com’s Andrew Short worked his way from a mid-pack start to grab third on his RM125.

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Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy Racing’s Josh Hansen grabbed the early lead in heat two, before being passed by Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Stephane Roncada and Team Honda’s Nate Ramsey. Florida’s Troy Adams put in a great ride for fourth on another KX250F. Troy just hooked up a deal with Team O’Neal/WBR/Pro Circuit Kawasaki.

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250cc Heats

If the 125cc class was all about four-strokes, the 250cc class is still a heavily two-stroke domain. Team Honda’s Ernesto Fonseca grabbed the holeshot in the first 250cc heat race before Team Yamaha’s Chad Reed displayed some blazing speed through the whoops and went into the lead. Ernie stayed in second spot, while Robbie Reynard put in his first Supercross ride in quite a while, looking excellent as he grabbed third place. A crash in the whoops sent Mike LaRocco to the semis, and Team Yamaha’s David Vuillemin came from deep in the pack to grab fourth.

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Heat two of the 250cc class belonged to Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Kevin Windham. Team Suzuki’s Nick Wey looked solid in second, but behind him, things go interesting. Contact between Tyler Evans and KTM’s Grant Langston had GL scrambling for his bike and looking to return the favor. After reeling in Lusk and Evans, Grant went for the inside through an off-camber section, and cleaned out One-Punch. Grant finished third, while Ezra put in a good ride aboard his Mach 1 Yamaha, finishing in fourth, and avoiding the trip to the LCQ that he had endured at Anaheim 1 last year.

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250cc Semis

When the semis rolled around, Mike LaRocco made amends for his heat race crash, picking his way through the pack and grabbing the top spot ahead of Keith Johnson and Heath Voss.

If Mike Brown lost karma points for his contact with Andrew Short in Las Vegas, he earned a bunch back after getting tangled with Daryl Hurley, who’d crashed in front of him. Brownie had to stop and lift his Yamaha off the prone Hurley…any other method of attempted forward progress would definitely have had some hospital-related consequences for Hurley.

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The other 250cc Semi went to Michael Byrne, who was followed in by Tim Ferry (who’d crashed in his heat), and Sean Hamblin.

LCQs

The 125cc LCQ went to Team Suzuki’s Brian Gray, who finished ahead of Michael Sleeter and KTM’s Casey Lytle.

The 250cc LCQ belonged to Isaiah Johnson, who’d passed Mike Brown early in the race. Brownie was charging behind him, but spun out while racing hard with Isaiah in one of the tight hairpins. After dropping several spots while trying to get his leg out from under the bike, Mike called it a night and headed directly to the pits.

125cc Main

In the 125cc main, Ivan Tedesco grabbed another holeshot. Josh Hansen took a brief shot at the lead, but once Ivan retook the top spot, he was never challenged again. Behind him, the freight train was already stretching out, with Roncada in third, followed by Star Racing’s Bryan Johnson, Casey Lytle, Andrew Short, Troy Adams and Nate Ramsey.

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On lap two Roncada got past Hansen and moved into second spot.

Nate Ramsey was making good forward progress, picking off a rider a lap, and making into third spot on lap six. On lap 10 he finally worked his way past Roncada, but by then Tedesco had built a huge lead. While Ivan tighteneed up during the latter stages of the race and Nate cut into his lead, he was never seriously challenged.

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Meanwhile, behind the lead trio, a couple of the more interesting battles were between Josh Hansen and his YOT teammate, Brock Sellards; and the other was a nearly race-long duel between Travis Preston and Greg Schnell. Those two were taking turns blocking each other and killing their momentum for the triples, which seriously hampered their forward progress.

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By the end of the main, it was Tedesco with a comfortable margin over Ramsey, and Roncada filled out the podium.

125cc Main Event Results

  1. Ivan Tedesco, Kawasaki
  2. Nathan Ramsey, Honda
  3. Stephan Roncada, Kawasaki
  4. Andrew Short, Suzuki
  5. Troy Adams, Kawasaki
  6. Josh Hansen, Yamaha
  7. Brock Sellards, Yamaha
  8. Travis Preston, Honda
  9. Greg Schnell, Yamaha
  10. Christopher Gosselaar, Honda

250cc Main

In the 250cc main, Ernesto Fonseca grabbed the holeshot with Chad Reed in hot pursuit. Ernie’s lead lasted exactly two straights, until he swapped in the whoops and got flicked off his Honda with amazing velocity.

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From that point on, the race was all Reed’s, and any doubt about his speed after a surgery and a month-long layoff were quickly answered. He absolutely disappeared from the pack, and the only race was to see who would fill out the other two podium spots.

Early on, a couple of the leading candidates were Sean Hamblin and Ezra Lusk. Sean Hamblin had moved by Ezra Lusk and Michael Byrne during the first lap of the main and was running in second place for the first quarter of the race, until Tim Ferry went by him, and he clipped Red Dog’s back wheel in one of the hairpin corners.

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An all-Yamaha freight train had formed behind Hamblin, with Ferry, Lusk, and David Vuillemin all in close contact. Lusk looked like he might grab Mach 1’s first podium appearance until a hard crash in the whoops took him out of contention.

Apparently Chad suffered some kind of mechanical glitch during the race that had his Yamaha slightly off song, but it was apparently a minor thing, and didn’t seem to affect him at all.

Once DV and Ferry worked out second and third spot between them, it was Reed, DV and Ferry making it a Yamaha sweep of the podium, and one very happy trio in the press conference. But if Chad keeps riding like that, it’ll be a long season for everyone else in the 250cc class.

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250cc Main Event Results

  1. Chad Reed, Yamaha
  2. David Vuillemin, Yamaha
  3. Tim Ferry, Yamaha
  4. Mike LaRocco, Honda
  5. Michael Byrne, Kawasaki
  6. Tyler Evans, Suzuki
  7. Damon Huffman, Honda
  8. Ezra Lusk, Yamaha
  9. Kevin Windham, Honda
  10. Ernesto Fonseca, Honda

Be sure to check back next for news and photos from next week’s round two in Phoenix, AZ.