Anderson expands points lead heading into San Diego


2/8/2018

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Oakland's Alameda County Coliseum has been home to many great races over the years since AMA Supercross moved across the bay from San Francisco. The soil consistency and moist, cool air always lend to making the track a challenge for the riders, rutting up and forming braking and acceleration bumps more like what one would expect on a motocross track. This always leads to epic battles and break-out performances by riders who shine in such conditions, and last Saturday's race was no different.

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This time it was 450SX points leader Jason Anderson that made the statement of who was willing to hang it out the most on the tricky track. After a decent start, Anderson forced his way through the front of the pack to run up on leader Ken Roczen with just a couple of laps remaining. That's when the fun started, as the track was really breaking down and the ruts kept getting deeper and sketchier while the rider's endurance was tested later in the race. Combining a tough track, long race, and anxious racing makes for amazing battles and that's exactly what we got when Anderson ran down the German. Both riders began making mistakes as they pushed each other with just a lap remaining. In that final lap the lead was swapped a total of four times and it was Roczen who made the last big mistake that allowed Anderson by for the last time, taking his second win of the season and extending his points lead to 15 over Roczen.

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Ken's remarkable recovery season seems to be right on schedule, although he probably was hoping to have won a main event by now. He also probably wasn't planning on such a feisty Jason Anderson to contend with, but the No. 21 is just a substitute for the struggling and inconsistent Eli Tomac, so either way he has a strong competitor for the title. Roczen's as good at using his competitor's inconsistency to his advantage as anyone, so the former motocross champ is far from out of the title chase, as his primary comp--Anderson--is still getting his legs in the consistency part of his career.

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Speaking of consistency and points leads, 250SX West Regional points leader Aaron Plessinger left no doubt who the fastest rider on the track in his class was. Suffering from illness all day, the Ohio native seemed questionable as to whether he could complete the main event let alone be competitive in it. But digging deep in tough situations is where championships are won, and champions made, and that's just what Plessinger did. After a mediocre start he made quick work cutting through the pack on a track that most riders were simply trying to not crash on, let alone work through the field. Thanks to his effort, Aaron now finds himself 18 points ahead going into San Diego this weekend.

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A couple of the riders that Plessinger went around were also having a great battle all the way to the end of the main. Finally, defending champ Justin Hill ended up on the podium after see-sawing back and forth and settling into second before Joey Savatgy had other ideas. Savatgy ultimately made his way by the champ to nail second, losing 3 more points to Plessinger in the title chase. Hill sits in a distant seventh.

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In what could have been a highlight in Cole Seely's career ended up being a stain. After a convincing win in his heat race and a hole shot in the main event, Seely was running away from the pack for much of the race. The track reached out and grabbed him, though, as he cross-rutted up the face of an obstacle and landed awkwardly, slumping off the side of a jump as several riders leapt by him. Ending up sixth at the checkers, expect Seely to come into San Diego with a whole bunch of extra motivation to finally get a W this season.

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This guy--Justin Barcia--is on fire. Absolutely revitalized with the switch to factory Yamaha, Barcia is often the fastest guy on the track and is certainly the most dynamic. He won his heat race in Oakland, qualified first, and made a great effort after a terrible start to finish fourth in the main event. Very few would have picked Justin as a potential race winner, let alone a title hopeful, but let there be no doubt: He is very much in line for both of those things as we make our way to San Diego this weekend. Look out world, Barcia's back.

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In just the third 450SX podium appearance in his career, Blake Baggett (somewhat predictably) shined on the rough and rutted track to make his way up to third by the finish. It was a remarkable and impressive ride, and one with which Baggett and the Rocky Mountain MC/ATV team can build from. According to Blake, it was his uncharacteristically good start that allowed him such a good result, since he knows he can run the leader's pace, it's just that nearly everyone else is running it too so it's better to start in front of them to begin with.

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From wins to DNFs to DNSs to back of the pack finishes, Eli Tomac is a model of INconsistency this season. Quite possibly THE title favorite in many's minds, a disastrous Oakland result (13th), he's now a distant 12th in points sitting 52 points out of the lead and his title hopes are gone. That won't stop him from going out kicking though, and with two wins to show on the season already, he's certainly got what it takes to pile on a few more. He'll come out swinging in San Diego, with virtually nothing to lose at this point.

Petco Park in downtown San Diego is a great venue for AMA Supercross, and Round 6 promises to be a barn-burner. Can Anderson three-peat? Will Barcia be able to finally get a win? What about Seely? Can Musquin find his early season mojo now that he seems fully recovered from his injury? Oh yeah, how about Roczen?? So many questions. Check out Live Timing and Scoring right here on AMASupercross.com, and our Facebook page for photos throughout the day.


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