The world’s No. 1-ranked dirt bike racer, Monster Energy’s Eli Tomac (Star Racing/Yamaha), overcame an early race fall to win a thrilling opening round of 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross at a sold-out Anaheim’s (Calif.) Angels Stadium. Tomac, who notched his first-ever Anaheim 1 win, was joined on the podium by the apparent heir to Tomac’s 450 class throne (as named by Tomac), Monster Energy’s Chase Sexton (Honda) in 3rd place.
In 250 class action Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Cameron McAdoo would race to a solid podium 3rd place finish, while teammate Austin Forkner, who was the day’s No. 1 fast qualifier, suffered a gnarly wreck right off the start straight and was unable to continue.
450 class results 250 WSX class results
1st - Tomac (Monster/Star/Yam) 3rd - McAdoo (Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawi)
3rd - Sexton (Monster/Honda) 7th - Kitchen (Monster/Star/Yamaha)
4th - Ferrandis (Monster/Star/Yam) 9th - Robertson (Monster/Star/Yamaha)
Tomac, running the #1 plate as the defending Monster Energy AMA 450 class champion, got a good start, inside the top three, and moved into 2nd (behind Gas Gas’ Justin Barcia} on the second turn. Tomac would catch and pass Barcia on Lap 4 for the lead, after which Barcia would crash. Tomac held the lead through Lap 9, when a mistake (crash) of his own put him back to 4th place. Sexton, who had passed Ken Roczen (Suzuki) for 2nd place on Lap 7, seized the opportunity and took off after race leader Malcolm Stewart (Husky). Sexton passed Stewart for the lead on Lap 13 when Stewart checked up in a rhythm section. Sexton looked to have the A1 main victory under control as the race neared the finish, but several mistakes in the heavily rutted track allowed Tomac to take the lead (on lap 18 of 21), a lead the champion would never relinquish. Sexton would give up 2nd place to Cooper Webb (KTM) on Lap 20, and held on to 3rd in front of hard-charging Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha), who placed 4th, passed late in the race also by Webb. Monster Energy/Kawasaki teammates Jason Anderson and Adam Cianciarulo placed 7th and 9th, respectively.
Forkner, the day’s fastest qualifier and No. 3 placer in his heat race, suffered a major get off in the fastest part of the track – and was unable to finish the main event. McAdoo would come out of the start clean and took hold of 2nd place (behind Honda’s Jett Lawrence). Both Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha riders, Kitchen and Robertson, would start outside the top ten. McAdoo kept Jett Lawrence in his sites, about five seconds back at most, and was in 2nd place until late in the race when he ran into some lappers. This allowed RJ Hampshire (Husky) to triple into a corner (which McAdoo was unable to do) and make a move to the inside heading into a rhythm section to catch and pass McAdoo for 2nd. McAdoo would hold on for a podium 3rd, with Kitchen and Robertson finishing 7th and 9th, respectively.
Notes & Quotes
Monster Energy racers swept the fast qualifier honors, with Sexton putting up a best time of 59.785 in the 450 class and Forkner topping the 250s with a 1:00.595.
45,050 is the max capacity of Anaheim Stadium. And there wasn’t a seat to be had at the sold-out Monster Energy AMA Supercross opener in southern California.
“That was a massive lick that he took,” said Monster Energy AMA Supercross NBC TV announcer Ricky Carmichael of Forkner’s high speed/high side get off at the start of the 250 main.
“I saw the front of the pack. Knew I had a chance, and I got there. I had so many things going through my mind. I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m throwing this away.’” – Tomac, fighting back from his crash for the eventual race victory.
Track builders Dirt Wurx get a big MX industry “High Five” for pulling last-minute construction of a raceable track in what local meteorologists were calling an “atmospheric river” in SoCal.
“I made a really big mistake on the rhythm after the mechanics area. Messed up my elbow a bit and my arms pumped up. I didn’t feel like I executed very well toward the end.”- McAdoo
Tomac’s victory, his first ever at Anaheim 1, was the 45th of his career – just three behind Carmichael (48 wins).
“I was kind of just narrow-minded with the way I was riding. But overall it was a solid day for me. Just wish I’d have ridden better those last ten laps.” – Sexton