Big E’s Race Report: Anaheim 1

Last night was definitely a night to remember. As the U.S. Supercross series got underway at Edison Field in Anaheim, CA, it was the first time in twelve-plus years without Jeremy McGrath. At all the remaining supercross rounds, Jeremy will have his own part of the opening ceremonies, kind of his way of saying goodbye to all of his fans. I have to admit, the video segment that Clear Channel put together at the last minute for Jeremy was very well done. As the King of SX took to the floor of Anaheim, the crowd burst into praise for the former champ. It’s hard to believe that even in retirement Jeremy is still the most popular rider in the sport. I think it might have something to do with winning so much the last ten years. Ya think?

In the 125cc races, a couple of things stuck out to me as I sat amongst the highly fashionable Southern California crowd. Chris Gosselaar looked blazing fast on his Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda and looked an early bet to be a contender for Bubba in the main. In that same heat race, Team ECC’s Steve Lamson fell twice in the same turn (once on his own and once with the help of another rider). Poor Steve.

Of course in the next heat race, James Stewart just killed it. I think he had a lead of ten seconds after the first two laps! To watch him ride with such confidence is alone worth the price of admission.



The 250cc heat races were great to watch. David Vuillemin got the holeshot in his heat race, with teammate Chad Reed in tow. After the first two laps, Reed was all over Vuillemin. Reed proceeded to pass Vuillemin with convincing style and pulled away to a six-second lead.

Ezra Lusk was struggling to get around the track, and looked to be preoccupied with something—oh yeah, I forgot, his wife is about to have a baby any day now. That might explain how he fell and had to race the Semi and the LCQ. Hurry up momma Lusk, so Yogi can take that pager off!

The second 250cc Heat race was off the hook! Although Sebastian Tortelli got the holeshot, Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana had some blistering lap times and were soon pulling away. Pastrana looked to be faster and pulled up on Carmichael a few times. As the two came out from under the finish line bridge with about three laps to go, it looked to me like Pastrana’s front wheel highsided over Carmichael’s rear wheel. It pulled Travis off his bike, and briefly stopped Ricky’s momentum. The crowd—who had just finished cheering for Carmichael—started booing him. Later talking to Travis, he told me, “I promised all my family that if Ricky ever stopped in a corner, looked over and brake-checked me, that I would wheelie and run his butt over. He stopped, and I wheelied.” On the podium, in his semi, Travis said, “Ricky is a weeble-wobble—you can hit him, but he doesn’t fall down.” Later, in the post-race the press conference, Ricky said he doesn’t like the booing, but when he hears it, it just makes him go faster. As Ricky passed the boo-birds going over the triple, he gave them a good old-fashioned thumbs-up. This is my vote for best race of the night. It was an epic battle of back and forth, the crowd loved it.


125cc Main

The 125cc main saw David Pingree get the holeshot, but it wasn’t long before Chris Gosselaar made to move to the front of the pack. Where was Bubba? He got a bad start and was in around 13th place as lap one was completed. Gosselaar looked to have a win in the bag, if he could just keep it together for 15 laps.

Then on lap number three, Travis Preston moved in for the kill, and made the pass on his teammate. It had been a long time since I’d seen a #1 on a Honda in front of a main event.

Now all eyes were on Bubba to see if he could make up time and go through the pack. Although Bubba was passing his competition, he wasn’t really making any grou on Preston. I started to think about what Travis might say on the podium this year.

With around four or five laps to go, Travis started slowing and Bubba had moved into second. However, there was not enough time for Bubba to make a run and he had to settle for bridesmaid. Chalk up Preston for one more of those off-the-wall podium speeches. Let’s just say it was a classic that all those in attendance will not soon forget. I hope the footage doesn’t’ wind up on the editing room floor and that ESPN will air it.


Congrats Trav, how could anyone ever doubt you? Like you told me, you’re the one that got the plate.

125cc Main

  1. Travis Preston (Hon)
  2. James “Bubba” Stewart (Kaw)
  3. Andrew Short (Suz)
  4. Chris Gosselaar (Hon)
  5. Danny Smith (Suz)
  6. Billy Laninovich (KTM)
  7. Matt Walker (Kaw)
  8. David Pingree (Suz)
  9. Craig Anderson (Yam)
  10. Kevin Johnson
  11. Shane Bess (Suz)
  12. Josh Hansen (Yam)
  13. Tiger Lacey (Yam)
  14. Turbo Reif (Hon)
  15. Akira Narita (Suz)
  16. Levi Reid (Suz)
  17. Kuraudo Toda (Hon)
  18. Brian McGavran (Suz)
  19. Tyler Evans (Suz)
  20. Ryan Morais (Suz)
  21. Josh Woods (KTM)
  22. Sean Hamblin (Suz)

250 Main

The 250cc main saw Mike Brown get the holeshot, but Chad Reed passed him almost immediately. Carmichael was stuck in the back of the pack, and David Vuillemin was in last place after a mid-pack start and a tangle with another rider!

Lap three saw Ricky tip over while in back of the pack! The top three, around lap four were Reed, LaRocco, and Pastrana. Pastrana was all over LaRocco for a time, but after their tangle last year, it looked like Travis was being extra-careful in an effort to not run into Iron Mike.

As lap five got underway, Ricky fell again! Then suddenly on lap seven, LaRocco missed a shift coming into the whoops and went down. Pastrana had nowhere to go and crashed on top of LaRocco. Then Ivan Tedesco and Michael Byrne went down in the mess as well. Mike later told of the nice burn he received from Travis’s pipe laying on his body. Poor Mike.

Carmichael and Vuillemin were starting to pass riders now. Sebastian Tortelli was in second place and doubling the triple. It looked as though something is wrong…either mechanical or biomechanical.

About eight laps in, and Grant Langston got bucked off his KTM in the whoops. He landed hard on his shoulder among the whoops. I talked to him after the main in the medical area, and he said it was fine, just really bruised.

With 11 laps to go, Pastrana pulled off the track, reporting his knee popped out.

With eight laps left to go, Carmichael moved into fourth and looked to be his usual confident self, but there was no way he was going to catch Chad Reed, who was around twenty seconds ahead of second place rider, Tim Ferry. With seven laps left, Carmichael moved into third place, passing Tortelli. Lapped riders came into play, but they didn’t slow Carmichael, as he passed Tim Ferry with four laps to go. Remember early in the race? Ricky crashed twice, and now he was in second place! Does this remind you of Pontiac, Michigan last season? There was no way he’d catch Reed, who was 25 seconds ahead of him. Fireworks for Chad Reed.


Later, in the press conference, Chad said he hated the track. I wonder what it would be like if he’d liked it? Congratulations go out to Chad Reed. He rode 20 flawless laps, and now leads both the THQ World Supercross GP, and the AMA Supercross series.

I have a feeling this is going to be an unbelievable year of racing. Talk to you from Phoenix next week!

250cc Main

  1. Chad Reed (Yam)
  2. Ricky Carmichael (Hon)
  3. Tim Ferry (Yam)
  4. David Vuillemin (Yam)
  5. Sebastian Tortelli (Suz)
  6. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  7. Ryan Clark (Yam)
  8. Ezra Lusk (Kaw)
  9. Heath Voss (Yam)
  10. Stephane Roncada (Suz)
  11. Keith R. Johnson
  12. Ivan Tedesco (Yam)
  13. Steve Boniface (KTM)
  14. Larry Ward (Hon)
  15. Daryl Hurley (Suz)
  16. Mike Brown (Kaw)
  17. Mike LaRocco (Hon)
  18. Grant Langston (KTM)
  19. Travis Pastrana (Suz)
  20. Michael Byrne (Hon)


  • Tim Ferry (Yam)
  • David Vuillemin (Yam)
  • Sebastian Tortelli (Suz)
  • Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  • Ryan Clark (Yam)
  • Ezra Lusk (Kaw)
  • Heath Voss (Yam)
  • Stephane Roncada (Suz)
  • Keith R. Johnson
  • Ivan Tedesco (Yam)
  • Steve Boniface (KTM)
  • Larry Ward (Hon)
  • Daryl Hurley (Suz)
  • Mike Brown (Kaw)
  • Mike LaRocco (Hon)
  • Grant Langston (KTM)
  • Travis Pastrana (Suz)
  • Michael Byrne (Hon)