2020 Anaheim One Supercross | Race Preview
We’re hours away from the start of the most anticipated season of the Monster Energy Supercross Series in recent memory. A very deep roster of riders in both classes made it through the offseason relatively unscathed (save for Marvin Musquin, Joey Savatgy, Max Anstie, Hunter Lawrence, and Colt Nichols) and it’s really anyone’s guess what will happen when the gates drop on Saturday night at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. We’ve watched all of the preseason shows, listened to some of the podcasts, and saw riders with our own eyes as recent as 3 pm this afternoon. And it’s still damn near impossible to tell if there is a rider that is all-out faster than the others.
This is primetime for the current era of riders. With the majority of the 450 class in their mid-20s and up, they’ve learned from years of experience and are in peak physical condition. But that window is only going to be open for so much longer, as some riders are already toying with the idea of retirement after their current contracts run out (Tomac, Musquin, and Roczen all inked multi-year extensions in 2019 that are widely considered to be the last of their careers). So, if there’s ever been a time for a rider to make a statement in their career, now is the time. Soak it in, because we’ve got this exact roster for only a while longer.
The “you can’t win the championship at Anaheim, but you can lose it,” was echoed by multiple racers in Friday’s press conference, an indication that riders are going for steady consistency over balls-out speed in their championship chase. That makes Anaheim even more interesting and probably why we’ve seen such a varied list of victors in the record books.
While the riders at the front of the field will be getting most of the attention, you should seriously pay attention to spots seven to fifteen in every race this weekend. There will be riders with multiple accomplishments to their names clawing for every spot that they can get, against guys they’ve raced for much of their lives. Riders like Mitchell Oldenburg, Luke Clout, Michael Leib, and Jacob Hayes have stayed off the radar in recent weeks, but all four are top-10 level riders in the 250 class and are at important moments in their careers. The same goes for the 450 class, where Main Event staples will have incoming riders Adam Cianciarulo, Martin Davalos, Jimmy Decotis, and Fredrik Noren to deal with for a coveted spot on the gate.
The press conference on Friday was the usual affair, with riders saying that they’re super prepared and eager to get going. Don’t let the stiff moments on stage fool you, though, because the assembled crew spent the time prior behind a curtain making small talk and looking at each other’s phones. It seemed like the switch flipped for everyone the moment they were called to sit in front of the media, like that tomorrow’s race is a reality. There were no dustups or run-ins during the riding session; instead, riders stayed mostly to themselves unless it was a quick discussion of a sizeable jump in a rhythm lane. They’re ready to go racing and the intensity will be high as soon as they get on track for the Free Practice sessions.
Who’s going to win? That’s damn near impossible to say because unlike other sports, we have no preseason events that give us a chance to gauge the talent. It won’t become clear until midway through the first Timed Qualifying session when guys start to link lanes together and find the rhythm. The Anaheim track seemed to offer multiple jump combinations, too, which hopefully leads to close racing.
Here’s all the information to know for the weekend, from rider’s numbers to entry lists to track maps.