There were several narratives that marked the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross series’ return to the Angel Stadium and the second visit to Anaheim for round three of seventeen in the trail around North America but the impressive triumph notched by Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Justin Hill lodged highly in the headline list.
The new recruit to Mitch Payton’s fabled Corona-based team – a short freeway hop from the Angel ‘diamond’ arena floor east of Los Angeles – was the chief pacesetter in the 250SX West Coast competition and backed-up his podium result seven days earlier in San Diego by ending Shane McElrath’s mini win-streak.
Hill celebrated his first laurels in Kawasaki colours on what was a testing layout at Anaheim; rainfall during the week had softened the dirt and created soft and rutty spots that forced a degree of caution. #46 was fastest in qualification and once he seized the lead in the first corner of the Main Event barely looked back.
"It’s funny because I started the day feeling ‘off’, but when the Main comes around and there’s points on the line, it’s ‘go’ time," Hill said. "I let it all hang out on the track and I was able to do it confidently. When I took over the lead I didn’t expect to get it at that time, it came faster than I thought and I just went with it. I’m excited about the rest of the season and about right now."
The Pro Circuit line-up are hitting a rich vein of form. Hill is third in the standings and now riding high after the Anaheim vindication of his work and progress on the KX250F. Teammate Austin Forkner came close to his very first podium result – he was fourth – in just his third outing in the world’s second most-watched motorcycle racing contest. The University of Phoenix Stadium will house the next test of the duo’s acumen and bravery in this gnarly sport this coming Saturday.
Monster Energy athletes Eli Tomac and Chad Reed are addressing their own issues in the plight to reach the winner’s circle of the premier 450SX category (Tomac hasn't found his mojo with the works Kawasaki and Yamaha’s Reed has yet to relish a decent start) but relief arrived for rookie and former 250SX Champion Cooper Webb at Anaheim. The Yamaha man shook off creeping doubts on his set-up and approach to the bigger class with a fine run to fourth spot and his best ranking yet.