Tomac leads an all Monster Energy 450 class podium at Anaheim 2; Craig completes Monster sweep w/ 250 class win

Anaheim 2 FEATURED PHOTO Eli Tomac (678)

Tomac (Yamaha), Sexton (Honda) and Anderson (Kawasaki) put Monster Energy in 1st, 2nd & 3rd in overall 450 points chase; Craig pads lead in o/a 250 class title run

CORONA, CA – January 31, 2022 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) –  Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Eli Tomac made it four winners in four races on the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross tour, nailing his 38th career victory with a dominant performance at Anaheim’s (Calif.) Angels Stadium on Saturday. The 1st place effort extended Tomac’s lead on the premier 450cc class field in the overall point standings – a field that includes Monster Energy athletes Chase Sexton (Honda) and Jason Anderson (Monster Energy/Kawasaki), both of whom joined Tomac on the Anaheim 2 podium in 2nd and 3rd places, respectively, along with Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) who placed 4th.

Said Tomac, on his win that broke a two year 450 class winless streak for Yamaha: “This is a testament to what we have going on at Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha, and the group of people behind me. We’ve been inching forward every week, getting closer and closer. And we finally went out and got the top spot. I had so much fun out there tonight and I couldn’t be happier with our finish.”

Anaheim 2 450 podium Anderson, Tomac, Sexton

450 Podium Anaheim 2

And in 250cc class racing at Anaheim 2, Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig continued his charge towards a Western Supercross (WSX) division title, winning that class’ main event in convincing fashion and extending his points reign over the rest of the class by 11.

Here’s a breakdown of what went down at Anaheim 2, leading up to Monster Energy’s remarkable 1st/2nd/3rd/4th place position sweep of the premier 450 class, and Craig’s important win on the 250s.

450 class qualifying

Anaheim 2 Chase Sexton action

Monster Energy’s Chase Sexton

  • Heat 1 on the 450s saw Ferrandis get out in 3rd place at the start to lead Tomac (3rd). Tomac would grab the lead held 1st the rest of the way with Ferrandis transferring in 3rd position behind Aaron Plessinger.
  • Said Tomac of his heat race effort: “We keep on tuning and keep on making it (his Yamaha YZ450F) better. Worked on turning this week and I felt like I could go anywhere on the track.”
  • Heat 2 had Sexton, who put up the fastest timed qualifying lap of the day (1:03.04), pulled the holeshot and brought his CRF450R home for the heat win. Anderson would transfer in the 6th spot out of the heat after overcoming a bobble that saw him leave the track while battling up front with Sexton.
  • Said Sexton of his effort to make the main event: “Overall I’m feeling more comfortable. I’ve taken it back to when I was a kid, and just having fun with it. Before I felt like I was holding on for dear life. Now I’m comfy with it.”
  • In the 450 Last Chance Qualifier Josh Hill (Monster Energy/Tedder Racing/KTM) nailed a great start and ran in 2nd place for a time before transferring to the main in 3rd.

450 Main Event

Anaheim 2 Jason Anderson action

Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson

With Sexton getting the top gate pic as the #1 qualifier, Monster Energy racers all got clean starts. Anderson was closest to the front, coming out in 4th place and moving into 3rd (past Shane McElrath). As Anderson set his sights on Malcolm Stewart and the 3rd podium spot, Sexton and Tomac moved up to the front fast and into 4th and 5th, respectively. Anderson made quick work of Stewart, which led TV broadcast color man Ricky Carmichael to say: “These are the best guys in the business and he’s (Anderson) going through them like they are nothing.” Just a short time later Anderson would enter the sand section with race leader Ken Roczen and, as the saying goes, Two men enter, one man leaves, as Anderson survived a get together with Roczen that had the Honda rider on the stadium floor and the Monster Energy/Kawasaki racer up front into the lead. At the midway Anderson made a mistake coming into a corner off a triple jump landing, and had to come to a stop in order not to blow through the Tough Block lane barrier. Tomac would quickly take over the lead. And Ferrandis would move up to 5th with some impressive lap times. Putting machine-like perfection into the remainder of his race, Tomac would lead the remaining 13 laps for the win. Anderson would finish strong for 2nd, with Sexton bringing it home in 3rd to complete the Monster Energy 450 class sweep at Anaheim 2 – Monster’s second-straight main event podium sweep of the season (San Diego SX the previous week.

Sexton: “It’s always been a dream of mine to be in this position. Last year was a struggle for me. This year I feel like a whole different rider. Honestly, Eli (Tomac) was going fast and I thought I was just trying to manage it tonight.” Noteworthy: Tomac (1st), Sexton (2nd) and Anderson (3rd) are atop the 450 overall points, with only eight points separating Tomac from Anderson.

250 class qualifying

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig

  • At the start of the opening 250 heat race Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) got held up in the first turn, coming out in 11th after the first lap.
  • Shimoda would buckle down and put in a strong performance, moving quickly through the pack in the short race to transfer in the 4th
  • In the second 250 heat race Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Craig and Nate Thrasher, the third-fastest qualifier, were up front right away, Thrasher pulling the holeshot and Craig grabbing 2nd
  • Said Thrasher of his holeshot: “I changed my whole start technique this week in order to be more consistent. That’s been the biggest key for me today.”
  • Craig moves to the lead on lap two, with teammate Thrasher staying hot on his tail, and playing a bit of follow the leader in 2nd. Craig would run Heat 2 through to the checkers, uncontested, and stayed undefeated in heat races (4-0). Thrasher would place a solid 2nd, to which Craig said, (regarding Thrasher’s effort) on the podium afterwards: “(With Nate there) It felt like a normal Tuesday at the test track.”
  • Kaeden Amerine (Monster Energy/Team Tedder/KTM) got a descent start in 250 Heat 2, and rode consistently for a top five (5th) place finish in the heat – his best heat effort of the year.
  • Dylan Walsh (Monster Energy/REVO Seven Kawasaki) mounted a furious effort to overcome a poor start to transfer out of the heat to the main. However, with the effort he managed to collide with Dylan Woodcock (on lap four of seven), and had to make the main out of the 250 LCQ – which Walsh did (2nd).

250 Main Event

Anaheim 2 Christian Craig action 2

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig

Craig, who not only won four heat races in a row, but also was the fastest qualifier four straight times, took advantage of his No. 1 gate pick and launched his YZ250F up front immediately, pursuing race leader Michael Mosiman. With a 2.29 second lead Mosiman looked to be in charge, unless you looked at Craig’s lap times – which were a full 6/10ths of a second faster during the pursuit. … At the halfway point of the 250 main Craig was in full ‘cat & mouse’ mode with Mosiman, and took the lead with some clean racing by both racers with four minutes and a lap remaining. Thrasher, who started outside of the top ten, continued to pick off positions and was up to 4th place late in the contest. … Shimoda, who also had the podium in sight with three laps to go, was involved with a collision with Vincent Friese in the whoops, and left the track (this allowed Thrasher to move into 4th). … Shimoda would remount his KX250F and rallied back bravely to place 7th, keeping him in the top five of the overall points chase (4th). … Walsh was again just a click out of the top ten, placing 11th for the second time this season in the 250 main.

Craig: “That was so much fun, I’d never really done that before (in regards to his battle with Mosiman). I heard the crowd every time I got close. Eventually made the pass stick and tried to ride away with it. Definitely a lot of fun tonight.”

Overall 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Points (through four rounds)

450 class

Anaheim 2 Eli Tomac headshot

Eli Tomac

1stTomac

2nd Sexton

3rd Anderson

7th Ferrandis

250 class (SX West)

Anaheim 2 Christian Craig headshot

Christian Craig

1st Craig

4th Shimoda

5th Thrasher

Photos courtesy of: Ryan Swanberg (Octopi Media)

Up Next

Round Five of 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross moves out of California for the first time this year, traveling east to Glendale, Ariz.’s State Farm Stadium on Saturday, February 5th. Gates open at noon (FanFest) with qualifying rounds beginning shortly thereafter. Opening Ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. with the gate dropping on the first moto at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.supercrosslive.com

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