Anaheim 2, the first ever triple crown has concluded and there is a lot of talk among fans and riders as to whether this is a better or worst format. It seems the consensus among riders is that they are fine with it as long as this doesn’t ever become a yearlong format. Honestly I tend to agree with them, I really like the idea of changing it up throughout the year and the Triple Crown will definitely be exciting every now and then as it will bring new riders to the front, but the original format is not in any way dead in creating exciting racing. Lets keep both for a bit! Next weekend in Glendale will be back to the usual 20-minute plus one lap. Here are my rankings heading into Saturday.
- Jason Anderson
Last weekend was another showing of the new and improved Anderson. Even though he got 3rd place overall on the night, I believe he was the fastest rider once again and now with a 14 point lead, this could get scary for the other riders. That last moto where he reeled in Tomac and then just slowly pulled away is what we are coming to expect from Anderson. I know Tomac is coming off an injury, but my oh my Anderson just looks so good out there. I don’t know if he is going to win again this weekend, but I expect this little podium streak to continue for a while longer yet.
- Eli Tomac
Wow, as soon as I saw Tomac’s qualifying times I was impressed. He went from having to sit out the weekend before because he could not handle the pain and race safely at race pace to winning the overall 7 days later?!?! Seriously that still blows me away. From what I’ve heard that win also surprised him and his Monster Energy Kawasaki team, as they weren’t expecting a win right away. If Tomac can win after just coming back then in the next few weeks he is just going to get better and better and that will be annoying for a lot of riders who are expecting wins from themselves. I still think Anderson has the edge going into the weekend, but expect Tomac to be battling up front for the rest of the season. The only problem is that given his dismal start to the season he sits 43 points back of Anderson in the championship points and that may be just too far back to have any shot at achieving the ultimate goal of Supercross champion.
- Ken Roczen
Supposedly the subconscious demons revolving around 2017 A2 is what caused Roczen’s terrible weekend. It really was a terrible night for Roczen, he got awful starts the first two races so that doesn’t help, but he went backwards which is weird to see when he is up front and it was just shocking to see when he is in 10th place. Luckily he was able to shake it off a bit and score a 4th in the longest moto, but those first two bad races cost him a good overall finish and he ended up with a 9th overall. You have to look at this one race as just an exception and this weekend in Glendale we will all be looking for Roczen to be back in the top 5 or 3. If A2 was good for anything, it reminded everyone of the horrific injury that did take place a year ago. Once again let us remember that Roczen will continue to build week after week and without a doubt he will be winning soon. Be patient.
- Cole Seely
Seely was oh so close to winning his first SX race since 2015, but it just wasn’t to be as he botched the last start and finished 2nd place overall behind Tomac. Still a shining night for him, but if I have ever seen an opportunity for a win that was it! Questions I have about Seely: Now that he is in second place in the points is he a title contender? Can he get consistent starts to be up front? Will he ever make an aggressive pass? Seriously though, even if Seely has the speed, which he often does, it seems he can only do anything with it if he gets a very good start. For whatever reason he is not good at making his way up through the pack even if he is faster than the riders in front of him. Well I think that the reason he can’t make his way up through the pack is because he just won’t be aggressive with the top dogs. Seely needs to attend Aggressive Riding 101 taught by co-profs Barcia and Anderson.
- Justin Barcia
A2 was the first blemish on Barcia’s 2018 SX season. He looked very aggressive like always though and I actually thought he rode pretty good and the starts are the only reason he struggled in the overall results. I’m kind of mad at Barcia because he made me look pretty silly as I was pushing to everyone that Barcia is a great starter and he will benefit with the Triple Crown format, but his starts were just awful! I don’t know what happened out there, but he truly is a good starter and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t rebound with his start this weekend in Glendale. Another thing to keep an eye on this weekend is an apparent Barcia-Webb feud. They battled each other hard last weekend and it could get worse before it gets better for the Monster Energy Yamaha teammates. Speaking of which, Barcia will have to keep up the good results if he wants to remain on the team for the whole year because Yamaha is never going to give Barcia up if he is in title contention. Expect a rebound race from Bam Bam.
- Weston Peick
JGR Suzuki is having another tough go at it this year with Bogle injuring himself during the off-season and Justin Hill struggling immensely as the defending 250 West Champion. However, they have one bright shining light and it’s none other than Weston Peick. He has been so solid this year with three 5th place finishes. I knew he was good, but this is fantastic to see. The more good guys up there, the better for us fans and the sport as a whole. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Peick backs it up with another 5th this weekend, however you would think eventually riders like Musquin and Baggett would surpass Peick week after week. With saying that, you should still never count out the warrior that is Weston Peick.
- Marvin Musquin
Musquin is sitting 7th place in my rankings only because of his shoulder injury. He was so good coming into the 2018 SX season, but dammit that injury was a real setback. I really think that this shoulder injury might keep him near the end of the top 10 for a few weeks before he regains strength. If that truly is the case then his hopes for a title will be ruined these next few weekends. Unfortunately with Musquin sitting a whopping 34 points behind Anderson, he needs to gain points already and most certainly not lose more points. We will see if one week will be enough for Musquin to get back to the top, but I’m thinking you’ll see him anywhere from 6-10th.
- Blake Baggett
Throughout the off-season everyone always seems to talk about Baggett’s speed and how fast he is. Well we finally got to see some of that speed at A2! Kind of… He was fast but still could only manage a 7th place finish overall. He should feel happy moving forward though, as he got in the top 4 fastest lap times for all three motos. Those times surely are telling as considering in moto 2 he only got 10th place. Being fast is only part of the step though and unfortunately for Baggett he really struggles with taking that speed and transforming it into good results. Baggett is good enough to get a podium this weekend, but I’d more expect another outside the top 5 finish in Glendale.
- Justin Brayton
Justin Brayton is really good this year! Considering this is coming near the backend of his career, this has got to feel pretty good. He is a sly veteran and I bet he feels really good about his riding right about now. Brayton should be charging full throttle ahead as these next few weeks as his possibility for one last podium is very real indeed. I saw some fans complaining about the Triple Crown because Brayton is not a 3rd place rider in the original format. Uhm excuse me that is absolutely ridiculous as he is riding the best I’ve seen him ride in many years (and he actually got 4th overall). I mean he got 3rd place in that last 15-minute moto… I have no doubt in my mind that he would have held off Roczen for those last 5 minutes so actually if this was the real format, he most likely would have actually gotten 3rd! With all that being said, as much as I would like to see Brayton continue to be in the top 5 and get a podium, the other riders are starting to heat up and find their mid-season form, which means that Brayton might be pushed back in the results.
- Josh Grant
JG33 was another surprise rider that we saw shine in the Triple Crown format. Early on in this season, Grant wasn’t too impressive, but had steady finishes of 9-9. That changed last Saturday as he got 6th overall with 6-4-8 scores. This is actually an unusual pattern for Grant, as I’ve noticed in the past few years he has been slow early on and than really start to pick it up as the season nears the conclusion (he got 3 top fives in his last 4 races of 2017 SX). Sixth place is good, but I have a hard time believing that he will be able to back that up this weekend in Glendale. Grant will place just inside the top 10 or just outside.