Following an exciting night of racing in Oakland, the sixth round of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series returned to Southern California for the final time in San Diego. Title favorites had begun to develop in each class, but the storylines were no less interesting and neither Aaron Plessinger or Jason Anderson could guarantee their hold on the points lead. Particularly, for the 250 SX West Coast series, this would be the final round before the East Coast kicks off in Arlington. For this reason, momentum heading into the break would be valuable for whoever could exit Petco Park with a win.
250 SX Heat One
Adam Cianciarulo shot out to the early lead in the first heat of the night, followed closely by his teammate Joey Savatgy. A solid start for Dakota Alix placed him in third, with Killian Auberson sitting fourth. Kyle Chisholm went to work quickly, passing Auberson first before going to work on Alix. Before he could make the move though, McElrath had moved up through the pack and was applying pressure of his own. Chisholm would get by Alix, then it would be Plessinger coming from behind to pass both McElrath and Alix. McElrath would then get by Alix. Meanwhile, Plessinger would catch and pass Chisholm, putting him into third. McElrath was quick to follow suit. Cianciarulo and Savatgy had built a sizable gap by this point and finished the race without challenge.
250 SX Heat Two
It would be Alex Martin out front early, but he would be under immediate pressure from Justin Hill. Sitting third was Justin Hoeft, followed by Christian Craig and Chase Sexton. Craig would nearly go down, but managed to save himself and not lose any ground. Hill would get by Martin for the lead, while both Craig and Sexton would get by Hoeft for third and fourth. Then a mistake from Martin would cost him several spots as he went down over the dragons back. On the same lap, Hoeft would go down and sit out the remainder of the heat. This would place Taft forth and Nicoletti fifth. Martin had recovered and made his way back to sixth. Despite the wild race happening behind him, Hill would take the checkered flag without pressure or incident.
250 SX LCQ
Taking the early lead would be Ryan Breece, but Hayden Mellross quickly took the spot away. However, Hoeft put himself into position to take the lead and made the pass on Mellross. Michael Leib held down third, with Bryce Stewart sitting in the final transfer spot. However, Breece would capitalize on a mistake by Stewart to take the spot away, but he would then make a mistake of his own and Breece would move back up. Then a huge crash by Hoeft would shift things further and allow Mellross to take the lead once again. On the final lap, Lionet would make a last corner pass for the fourth and final spot.
250 SX Main Event
The main event holeshot would go to Savatgy, who was followed by Hill and Cianciarulo. On the opening lap, Cianciarulo would make the pass on Hill for second. Only a lap later, he would get past his teammate Savatgy for the lead. However, all three riders were only separated by a few bike lengths. Not wasting any time, Hill went to the inside of Savatgy through the split corner and grabbed second place. The top three now had company from Sexton in fourth and McElrath in fifth as well. Further back in seventh was Aaron Plessinger. Three minutes into the race, he would get by Harrison for sixth. This gave him a clear track and a view of the top five riders ahead of him.
At just a few seconds over ten minutes, Sexton would pass Savatgy for third. His line choice would force him to roll the triple, but he managed to lost little time doing so and stay ahead of Savatgy to make the pass stick. Battles were beginning to form elsewhere, as Hill started chipping away at Cianciarulo’s lead. Plessinger had also caught McElrath and made the move for fifth. Plessinger would then work his way towards the rear wheel of Savatgy. Then, a crash in the whoops would drop Plessinger back several spots. Meanwhile, at the front, lapped traffic tightened up the race for the lead, and Hill was now close enough to make a pass. Cianciarulo would make a slight error that allowed Hill to take the lead, but only by a slight margin. The two would trade positions back and forth for a lap before Hill managed to gain some breathing room.
With the clock now under a minute left, Hill had extended his lead over Cianciarulo enough to avoid further battling. He would take the checkered flag for the first time this season. Sexton would round out the podium and Savatgy and McElrath would take the other two top five spots.
450 SX Heat One
Jason Anderson would come away with the holeshot after it appeared that Josh Grant might grab it. Grant would instead be pinched off and fell to fourth place. Justin Barcia took second early on, but was under pressure from Malcolm Stewart. Stewart would even make the pass at one point, but Barcia passed him back and began to pull away slightly. In fact, at the halfway point of the race Barcia would begin to close the gap on Anderson slightly. Behind them, Grant and Peick would both catch and pass Stewart, who then faced pressure from Justin Brayton. A lap later, Brayton would make the move by using the outside of the split corner. By this point, Anderson had pulled back away from Barcia a bit. In third place, Peick had gotten around Grant. Up front though, it would be Anderson who would go on to take the win.
450 SX Heat Two
Sneaking around the inside, Cooper Webb would take the holeshot with Baggett in second. A huge crash on the opening lap involving Ben Lamay and Justin Bogle would lead to a red flag of the race, as Bogle was in need of medical attention. After the restart, Marvin Musquin would come away with the holeshot, but he would have company from Cole Seely and Webb. In fourth would be Baggett, but Tomac managed to make the pass on him early on. A mistake by Musquin would allow Webb to take the lead away, and Musquin was now in a battle over second with both Seely and Tomac. Seely would get a better run through the whoops and make the pass on Musquin. Then, Tomac would gain ground through the outside of the split corner and take third from Musquin. At the front of the pack, Seely had chiseled away at Webb’s lead and was nearly within striking distance with two laps to go. Meanwhile, Musquin had now fallen further back, as both Baggett and Roczen had gotten by. On the final lap, it would be Webb with the win, while Seely would finish a very close second.
450 SX LCQ
Ronnie Stewart and Dakota Tedder were neck and neck at the start of the race, but they nearly came together in the 90-degree turn before the second triple and both riders would end up unable to jump it successfully. Lamay now had the lead, and Tedder sat second, but was under pressure from Adam Enticknap. A mistake by Tedder would give Enticknap the opportunity needed to grab second. Sitting in fourth would be Kyle Cunningham, who stayed close behind Tedder before making a last lap pass. However, all four riders in transfer spots had enough of a gap to finish the race without fear of losing a position.
450 Main Event
The 450 holeshot would go to Seely, followed by Musquin and Reed. Anderson also quickly moved into the picture and went for the pass on Musquin for second. Further back, a first turn pileup had collected Roczen, Peick, Grant, and Tomac. This would lead to Tomac eventually pulling out of the race. Roczen would later make a mistake while attempting to pass Webb and both riders would go down. Roczen would be forced to pull out of the race with an injury to his right hand, which was hit by the spinning rear wheel of Webb’s bike.
Around the fifteen minute mark, Seely had built a lead on Anderson and was logging solid, consistent laps. Behind them, Musquin and Barcia were locked in a battle over third. Lap after lap, Anderson slowly inched closer and closer to Seely. Anderson would then make a mistake with 11 minutes left and lose some of the ground he had made up. Not much longer, Musquin got back around Barcia, and both riders had allowed Baggett to close in on them. However, Musquin started to open up a gap, while Barcia could not get away from Baggett. Blake would drag race through the whoops to take fourth place away. In this time, Anderson had reeled Seely back in and successfully put a pass on him with under nine minutes remaining. From then on, Anderson would begin to pull away with the lead.
As the race was approaching it’s final moments, things actually began tightening back up. Seely started to close in again on Anderson, and not far behind was Musquin and Baggett. Musquin had the best opportunity to make a pass and did so, taking second away from Seely. Their battle, along with lapped traffic, gave Anderson a cushion with over two minutes left. Then, Baggett closed in on Seely and the two riders began to swap positions. Seely came out on top, but Baggett recovered and made another attempt, this time sticking the pass. Out front on the final lap of the race, Anderson had stretched his lead once again and went on to take the win, thus extending his points lead.