Race Report: Anaheim I 2012

words by Antonovich

photos by Lutes and Kinman

After months of anticipation and speculation, the wait is finally over. The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series picked up right where it left off last May with all the theatrics and excitement that one would expect from a championship that grows in prestige with each passing year. Ryan Villopoto extended his win streak in to a second season as he lead a green to checkered main event over the deepest field of riders in recent memory. In the Lites Class, Southern California native Cole Seely added another victory to his growing resume. The action did not stop there, as many races were decided in the final feet of track. Read on to learn more about what went on at Anaheim I.

Lites Qualifying

Heat One

Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray tore off with the early lead and was pursued by Gieco Powersports Honda rider Wil Hahn, but the South African's lead was short lived after Hahn showed him a wheel and stole the position. Hahn would set the pace for the rest of the qualifying heat without pressure and claimed a victory in his first Supercross race in nearly two years. Hahn's teammate, Eli Tomac was not as fortunate. Tomac tangled with another rider off the line and went down, but charged back from twentieth position to seventh by the final lap before an issue forced him to push his bike off the circuit.

Heat One Results
1. Wil Hahn
2. Tyla Rattray
3. Marvin Musquin
4. Cole Seely
5. Travis Baker
6. Jackson Richardson
7. Vince Friese
8. Max Anstie
9. Billy Laninovich

 

Heat Two

J-Star KTM's replacement rider, Ryan Marmont, would claim the second holeshot of the evening, but Rockstar Suzuki rider Martin Davalos made short work of the Australian and tore off with the lead. Davalos would go on to win the sprint, but it was not without pressure from Dean Wilson. As the laps clicked off, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki pilot chipped away at the gap between the two, passed Marmont, and finished just .124 seconds behind Davalos at the final flag.

Heat Two Results
1. Martin Davalos
2. Dean Wilson
3. Nico Izzi
4. Zach Osborne
5. Matt Moss
6. Teddy Maier
7. Jason Anderson
8. Christian Craig
9. Ryan Marmont

 

LCQ

After an eventful heat race that netted him a last place finish, Eli Tomac led the Lites LCQ wire to wire, unchallenged for the full four laps. While the Honda rider took advantage of the open track that lay ahead, the fight for the transfer position raged on between Star/Valli/Rockstar Energy/Yamaha teammates Ryan Sipes and Garreth Swanepoel and privateer Michael Leib. Leib would finish between Sipes and Swanepoel, but would be one spot shy of making the main event.

LCQ Results
1. Eli Tomac
2. Ryan Sipes

 

Lites Main Event

Vince Friese and Tyla Rattray slid around the first turn side by side in front of the other eighteen racers, which set the stage for the fifteen laps of battle. While the two felt each other out, with Dean Wilson also in tow, Cole Seely snaked his way past all three and took command. Seely checked out instantly and never felt pressure from the Pro Circuit teammates, as the two lost sight of Seely as their own personal race took place. For a time, Wilson posted quicker laps than second place Rattray, but was never able to make a pass of his own.

Eli Tomac carried his momentum from the LCQ in to the main event, and overcame yet another abysmal start to finish in third position. On the final lap, Tomac was within striking distance of Wilson and pressured him in to a mistake, which in turn handed third to the Honda rider. Wilson would remount to claim the sixth spot after his off track excursion.

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Overall
1. Cole Seely
2. Tyla Rattray
3. Eli Tomac
4. Marvin Musquin
5. Ryan Sipes
6. Dean Wilson
7. Jason Anderson
8. Wil Hahn
9. Zach Osborne
10. Travis Baker
11. Matt Moss
12. Nico Izzi
13. Teddy Maier
14. Billy Laninovich
15. Vince Friese
16. Max Anstie
17. Ryan Marmont
18. Jackson Richardson
19. Martin Davalos
20. Christian Craig
250 Class West Coast Championship Standings (After 1 of 7 rounds)

1. Cole Seely (25pts/1 win)*
2. Tyla Rattray (22pts)
3. Eli Tomac (20pts)
4. Marvin Musquin (18pts)
5. Ryan Sipes (16pts)
6. Dean Wilson (15pts)
7. Jason Anderson (14pts)
8. Wil Hahn (13pts)
9. Zach Osborne (12pts)
10. Travis Baker (11pts)

Top Lap Times
1. Eli Tomac 1:01.359
2. Cole Seely 1:01.847
3. Dean Wilson 1:02.041
4. Marvin Musquin 1:02.127
5. Wil Hahn 1:02.186

 

Supercross Qualifying

Heat One

After edging out the rest of the competition down the start straight away, Motoconcepts’ team captain Mike Alessi led the early laps of the first 450 heat race. Alessi fended off attacks from TwoTwo Motorsports' lone rider Chad Reed, but towards the end of the eight lap race, Reed won a drag race down the straight away. While the two battled out front, all eyes were on Ryan Villopoto and his Monster Energy Kawasaki. The defending champion was caught deep in the pack as they crossed the finish line for the first time, but by the culmination of the race, Villopoto had picked off nearly every rider in his path and nearly took the win as well.

Heat One Results
1. Chad Reed
2. Mike Alessi
3. Ryan Villopoto
4. Davi Milsaps
5. Ryan Morais
6. Broc Tickle
7. Josh Hansen
8. Jimmy Albertson
9. Chris Blose

 

Heat Two

Former teammates Ryan Dungey and Brett Metcalfe were bar to bar as they came to the holeshot stripe, with Dungey claiming the top spot aboard his KTM for a short time before being passed and gapped by Supercross.com Honda's Andrew Short. JGRMX signee James Stewart pursued both riders and eventually made his way to the front of the pack, but not without resistance from Short. The Honda rider kept Stewart at bay for a number a laps and passed Stewart back after a brief lead exchange, but Stewart would ultimately make a pass stick and went on to claim the checkered flag.

Heat Two Results
1. James Stewart
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Andrew Short
4. Jake Weimer
5. Ivan Tedesco
6. Brett Metcalfe
7. Josh Grant
8. Kevin Windham
9. Kyle Chisholm

 

LCQ

After a first turn crash in his heat race put Justin Brayton in to the LCQ, the Team Honda Muscle Milk rider used the extra time to dial in the track as he won the six lap dash in convincing fashion over Tommy Hahn and his Rockwell Watch backed Honda.

LCQ Results
1. Justin Brayton
2. Tommy HahnĀ 

Supercross Main Event

Ryan Villopoto won the race to the first turn over Ivan Tedesco and Chad Reed and created the tempo for the night's title card. As Villopoto began to build a gap over second place Reed, James Stewart clawed through the field of riders and diced with Tedesco for fourth position in the process. With the pack stretched thin around the course, it seemed that the finishing order was already established by the eighth lap. A crash would then allow Stewart to pass Dungey for third place before Stewart would also miss time a rhythm section and let the KTM rider back by. A tip over by Reed allowed Dungey and Stewart to catch up to the Aussie, resulting in a battle for second place between the trio. As they hit the obstacles in unison, Stewart made a pass on Dungey in a left hand turn after Dungey hesitated upon entering the curve. The night took another dramatic turn as Stewart got collected in the trackside bales, handing the spot back to Dungey before remounting in seventh.

After twenty seemingly flawless laps, Ryan Villopoto finished over twelve seconds ahead of second place Chad Reed and earned the red plate used to signify the point leader. After his mistake, Reed was forced to hold off the advances Dungey sent at his way, and his once healthy gap shriveled to only one second at the line.

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