No shortage of drama as Round 4 rolls in to the Bay Area.


1/24/2019

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As the 2018 AMA Supercross season leaves Angels Stadium of Anaheim behind for the remainder of the season, the venue provided fans with unprecedented excitement and drama. Heading to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for Round 4 on Saturday, the plot twists just keep on coming as this series have begun to take shape.

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Case in point: Cooper Webb won Anaheim 2. Furthermore, he did so convincingly, passing Ken Roczen in a last turn pass in the first main event after hounding him the entire race. Webb has been, even by his own estimation, a bit of a disappointment after moving up to the premier class a couple of years ago. 

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This is due mostly to the fact that he was so successful in the 250SX class, so the expectations were high. Webb showed earlier this season that things may be coming around with top qualifying times and solid heat races. Cooper Webb is back, ladies and gentlemen.

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Joining him on the podium, and long overdue this season, was Webb's teammate, training partner and now fellow title contender Marvin Musquin. With an off-season injury delaying the necessary training and testing typically required to deliver championship performances, Musquin was behind the eight ball coming into the season and his results reflected that. Steadily improving throughout the first three rounds, Musquin was solid in Anaheim 2 and is expected to be a podium regular from here on out. With the combined efforts of its two riders, KTM/Red Bull Factory Racing is likely to occupy much of the podium from here on out.

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Another title favorite, Eli Tomac, has been struggling to find his groove. Perhaps it's a strategy, though, as so far he's had no major mishaps and sits second in points, just a couple out of the lead. This is far, far better than previous years when he's nearly won titles so he is definitely ahead of the game thus far. He ripped to the final main event win at A2, and he'll go into Oakland with a full head of steam knowing he has what it takes speed-wise to drop everyone if he needs to. That is, if he can get a top start, which has proven to be his Achilles' heal for quite some time now.

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Once again carrying the red points leader number plate into the 450SX class this weekend, Ken Roczen had a so-so race at A2. Nearly winning the opening main event, he was demoralized a bit when Webb was able to run him down and put an impressive move on him in the final corner for the win. It was the look back/finger pointing by Webb that was probably a bit demoralizing, however, as the two have a long history of on and off-the-track conflict that's sure to carry over this weekend in Oakland. Get your popcorn ready folks, the show is about to begin between these two.

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That's where the good news ends for the series though, as defending champion Jason Anderson's season is over before it really began. Anderson suffered a broken arm earlier this week while practice riding and will be out for a minimum of eight weeks, ending his title defense. The #1 Husqvarna never had a full head of steam, suffering from poor results and almost inexplicably bad performances despite a solid finish in Glendale. He just hadn't been himself this year and we never heard an explanation for what was going on with that. It's a real shame for a great personality and talent in the sport.

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In more bad news, the points leader after Round 1 - Justin Barcia - went down hard in the final main event at A2 and suffered a bruised tailbone. Normally that is an injury that takes a while to heal and/or get to the point it's possible for the rider to even sit on the bike. However, Barcia has decided to tough it out and at least attempt to race this weekend in Oakland. He'll have his work cut out for him, and it will be interesting to see how long he can cope with the discomfort.

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Shane McElrath and his TLD/KTM 250SXF finally came out and performed as expected, winning the 250 overall at A2. He steadily improved throughout the night, going around the other riders in the class as he marched to the front in a somewhat dominant and certainly consistent ride that surprised absolutely no one. Shane sits a solid second in points, just two behind Colt Nichols. 

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Nichols has been a bit of a revelation this season in the 250SX West region, hitting the podium in every ride and battling for the lead and top qualifying time every weekend. Previously not considered a top title contender, Nichols has certainly changed some minds this year. That's a tough road to travel in class with riders the caliber of McElrath and his own teammate...

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...Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis. As the top qualifier twice this season, Ferrandis has thus far failed to win a main event, and that does surprise a lot of people. Somewhat of a clear-cut favorite for the class title (along with Adam Cianciarulo), Ferrandis just hasn't been able to find his groove when it comes to main event performances. Still, only seven points out of the lead isn't a terrible spot to be in, but based on his reaction prior to the podium at A2, he's his own biggest critic at this point.

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The series heads north to the Bay Area and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The weather forecast is for cool, overcast weather but no threat of rain. It should be a great night of racing. Hopefully we'll see you there!


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