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Seeing how this weekend’s start of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross series is looking like it could be a complete mess, we decided to search YouTube for footage from another wet Anaheim. There was plenty to discuss at the opening round in 2005, as the field in the 250 class saw an influx of fresh talent against the unstoppable veterans, while numerous young riders looked to make an impression in the 125 class. Looking back at the weekend now, it’s almost unbelievable to see how things have developed in the time since that soggy night in Southern California. Here’s a few of things to remember when watching the event eleven years later…
- While this was the opening round for the 2005 AMA Supercross Series, it was the third round of the 2005 FIM World Supercross GP championship, which started in December with a races in Toronto and Vancouver. Some riders elected to race up north and others opted against it.
- Head AMA official at the time Steve Whitelock made the decision to alter the program for Anaheim One by cutting the main event durations and seeding the field with the top-forty finishers from 2004 and a random lottery.
- This was Ricky Carmichael’s fourth race with Makita Suzuki. Carmichael missed the enitre 2004 indoor season with a torn ACL, signed a very lucrative contract with the Suzuki squad while on the sidelines, then raced the US Open and both Canadian rounds of theWorld Supercross GP championship. It’s clear that Carmichael was the quickest rider on the track in Anaheim, but his determination to prove it by jumping practically every obstacle ultimately led to crashes and a third place finish.
- James Stewart was a 250 rookie in 2005. Stewart was the center of attention for many, fans and media alike, and some considered the 2004 East Coast 125 SX champion as a favorite for the premier title, which the Kawasaki rider modestly downplayed for an EPSN interview. He ultimately struggled in the mud, suffering crashes both in the heat race and main event, yet still scored a fifth place finish.
- Kevin Windham came into the race amid an incredible amount of distractions and left the 250 class winner. Just weeks before the start of the year, Windham and his wife gave birth to their daughter but suffered the loss of his mechanic due to suicide. At this point in his career, the Factory Connection Honda rider was considered a dark horse against the big three, but his patience and prowess in the muck paid off tremendously.
- What the hell happened to sponsorship from Butterfinger, Boost Mobile, US Smokeless Tobacco, Nissan, Tissot, Makita…
- Like many aging icons of sport, Jeremy McGrath couldn’t stay away from his past life as an professional athlete. Thanks to his role with American Honda at the time, McGrath made the decision to line up for a few early rounds of the Supercross season. A busted clutch lever (a necessity in the slop) forced him to DNF the main event.
- Jamie Little was/is a fox.
- Chad Reed was everywhere in 2005, and rightly so. The Yamaha rider was the defending 250 class champion and everyone attached to the Australian was eager to benefit from his endorsement, evident in that rad Thor commercial (37:51 into the video). Unfortunately, the epic battle between Reed/Carmichael/Stewart did not occur in Anaheim, as front wheel and overheating issues with his motorcycle resulted in a sixteenth place finish.
- Mike LaRocco’s night was virtually undocumented by the television crew. The Factory Connection Honda rider quietly scored a second place finish and probably didn’t have much to say on the podium.
- The 250 two-stroke was still relevant in the class in 2005, despite the development of the 450 four-stroke. In the twenty person main event, twelve riders were on two-strokes.
- Race winner Kevin Windham lapped all the way up to fifth place.
- After the race, Carmichael was hit a five-second penalty for riding backwards on the track. Since he crossed the line 6.3 seconds ahead of Tortelli, he still ended up with the third position.
1. Kevin Windham (Honda)
2. Mike LaRocco (Honda)
3. Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki)
4. Sebastien Tortelli (Suzuki)
5. James Stewart (Kawasaki)
6. Nick Wey (Honda)
7. David Vuillemin (Yamaha)
8. Jeff Gibson (Honda)
9. Ernesto Fonseca (Honda)
10. Travis Pastrana (Suzuki)
11. Heath Voss (Yamaha)
12. Tyler Evans (Suzuki)
13. Michael Byrne (Kawasaki)
14. Joe Oehlhof (Honda)
15. Damon Huffman (Honda)
16. Chad Reed (Yamaha)
17. Antonio Balbi (Honda)
18. Kyle Lewis (Honda)
19. Robbie Reynard (Honda)
20. Jeremy McGrath (Honda)
- Unlike the 250 class, premix burning bikes were already out in the 125 class. In fact, Brett Metcalfe was the only two-stroke rider in the twenty man main event. Metcalfe raced a Yamaha of Troy YZ125.
- Ivan Tedesco returned in 2005 as defending 250 West Coast SX champion. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider started strong, as he scored dominated a heat race and led early in the main event, but came undone as the ten lap feature continued. Tedesco DNF’d the race yet was still scored in eighth place.
- Nathan Ramsey’s win was equal parts impressive and important. The Red Bull KTM rider chased Ivan Tedesco down in the early laps of the main event and leapt into the lead with a daring pass over one large double. The aging veteran ran the rest of the race unchallenged. The victory served as the first Supercross win for Red Bull KTM’s thumper and probably for Acerbis riding gear.
- Josh Woods claimed second place in the 250 class. Woods was part of Michael Holigan’s Samsung/Sprint/Honda team, which was the subject of the popular Reality of Speed television series. Like Ramsey, Woods cruised through the mud and made minimal mistakes to attain what ended up being the best finish of his career.
- MotoSport Honda rider Akira Narita completed the podium. The Japanese rider’s mud skills had been proven numerous times before, both in the US and abroad, and this third place ride was his highest finish in the American Supercross series.
- Andrew Short and Broc Hepler were two factory backed riders in the 125 class (Honda for Short, Suzuki for Hepler), but both struggled terribly and qualified for the main event via the LCQ. Neither finished in the top fifteen at Anaheim, though they found redemption later in the year.
1. Nate Ramsey (KTM)
2. Josh Woods (Honda)
3. Akira Narita (Honda)
4. Tommy Hahn (Honda)
5. Steve Lamson (Honda)
6. Ryan Sipes (Suzuki)
7. Danny Smith (Yamaha)
8. Ivan Tedesco (Kawasaki)
9. Brett Metcalfe (Yamaha)
10. Richie Ownes (Suzuki)
11. Eric McCrummen (Honda)
12. Ryan Morais (Suzuki)
13. Sean Collier (Honda)
14. Billy Laninovich (Honda)
15. Jesse Casillas (Honda)
16. Bryan Johnson (Yamaha)
17. Jacob Martin (Yamaha)
18. Broc Hepler (Suzuki)
19. Ryan Abrigo (Honda)
20. Andrew Short (Honda)
21. Jay Marmont (Kawasaki)
22. Travis Bannister (Yamaha)