Monster Energy’s Anderson & Tomac go 1st/2nd @ Anaheim 3 450 class Main Event; Craig wins 250s, extends series lead

Jason Anderson MAIN PHOTO Anaheim 3 (678)

Jason Anderson (Kawasaki) puts up fastest qualifying time, wins heat race, and goes
wire-to-wire in main. Eli Tomac (Yamaha) retains premier 450 class o/a lead

CORONA, CA – February 14, 2022 (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Past supercross champions Jason Anderson (Monster Energy/Kawasaki) and Eli Tomac (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) put a decided Monster Energy exclamation point on the third and final installment of Monster Energy AMA Supercross at Anaheim’s (Calif.) Angels Stadium on Saturday night, sweeping 1st and 2nd places in the premier class main event. And in the support 250cc class racing Christian Craig (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) took the victory, making it a clean sweep of all three Anaheim rounds for Craig, along with securing a commanding lead in the class point chase as Monster Energy AMA Supercross now heads to the eastern U.S. for the next five rounds of action.

Anderson, a New Mexico native who’s been racing with Colorado’s Tomac since they were kids on mini cycles – some 20 years – was a cut above everyone on Saturday, clocking the fastest time in qualifying, winning his heat race going away and running wire-to-wire in the main event for the win. “Eli wasn’t giving an inch, and neither was I,” said Anderson of his 9th career 450 class victory. “That was a battle. I had him (Tomac) breathing down my neck from the start. … It’s what the fans want. Stresses us out a little bit, but at the end of the day I’m ready for battle.”

Tomac was equally appreciative of the battle, saying: “Great ride for Jason. I did all I could, but 2nd place is good for tonight.”

Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) and Chase Sexton (Honda) would round out the top ten finishes in the 450 class main event for Monster Energy, placing 6th and 7th, respectively.

With the victory Anderson closed the gap on Tomac’s overall 450 class point lead to 12, with Sexton holding on to 3rd overall – four points up on Malcolm Stewart (Husqvarna). And on the 250s, with an unfortunate crash and DNF from Honda’s Hunter Lawrence, Craig extended his Western SX point lead to 28 over 2nd place Michael Mosiman (Gas Gas), with then 2nd place Lawrence now 29 points back in 3rd.

Here’s a look at what went down at Anaheim 3, beginning with Anderson’s and Tomac’s impressive run to the top two 450 class spots, along with Craig’s dominant performance in on the WSX 250s.

Anderson Tomac podium Anaheim 3

450 Podium Anaheim 3. Center to Right: Jason Anderson & Eli Tomac

450 class qualifying

Dylan Ferrandis action Anaheim 3

Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis

  • An unfortunate situation to start the 450 heat races as Ferrandis got caught up in the pack at the start when the racers funneled down into the first turn, bounced off the back of Tomac’s bike and hit the ground hard – damaging his YZ250F to the point where he couldn’t return. Ferrandis would have to qualify for the main via the Last Chance Qualifier.
  • Tomac, who got out in 8th place, moved up through the pack, passing defending Monster Energy AMA Supercross champion Cooper Webb (KTM) in the whoop section for 4th. He’d then move into 3rd past Justin Brayton (Honda), clocking the heat’s fast lap time of :57.069
  • Heat 2 would feature Anderson and Sexton, who ran 1st and 2nd in qualifying earlier in the day (:56.700 for Anderson,:57.213 for Sexton).
  • Anderson would grab the holeshot and run unchallenged the entire way, putting 3.5 seconds between himself and 2nd place finisher Aaron Plessinger (KTM). The heat win would be Anderson’s 25th of his career.
  • Said Anderson of the Anaheim 3 track following his heat win, foreshadowing what would go down in the main event: “Track’s good, but the whoops are gonna be tough.”
  • Sexton would charge to 3rd in the heat, past Shane McElrath (KTM), and some 11 seconds back of Anderson to transfer to the main.
  • Noteworthy: Both Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s 450 and 250 mechanics teamed up to thrash on Ferrandis’ bike to get it back on the track. The French rider took full advantage of the factory effort and dominated the LCQ in a 2.8 second win over Dean Wilson (Husqvarna) to transfer to the 450 main event.

450 Main Event

Eli Tomac action Anaheim 3

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Eli Tomac

Anderson blasted his KX450F out of the starting gate and into 1st place, via a clean holeshot, to take the early lead. Tomac would quickly move up to 2nd place, and briefly took the lead on Anderson, only to have Anderson immediately grab it right back and deny Tomac any similar chances the rest of the contest. Sexton would get out in 8th place, with Ferrandis close behind in 10th. With Anderson and Tomac out front in convincing fashion, race announcer Ricky Carmichael would add: “It’s like a game of chess with these guys. Both are aces at their profession.” At the 14:27 mark Ferrandis, who looked to have overcome any negative effects from his Heat 1 crash, had moved past Sexton and up to 6th place, with Sexton taking 7th. A mistake by Marvin Musquin (KTM) in the sand, who was running 3rd behind Anderson and Tomac, would award 5th place to Ferrandis, and 6th to Sexton. … As the race wore on the traction in the whoops, which Anderson had noted on the podium after his heat race win, had waned and both Anderson and Tomac had to check up on multiple occasions so as not to wreck. Musquin would charge back from his get off and catch Sexton for 6th with several laps remaining. And with Anderson riding so strong, 3.7 seconds up on Tomac at the white flag (one lap to go), Tomac would ride conservatively to preserve the runner-up spot, and his subsequent hold on the overall 450 class point chase. Anderson grabbed the checkers in front of the packed Anaheim Angels Stadium, 5.4 seconds up on Tomac.

Said Tomac: “I was fast in the whoops early, then I made a mistake and the rear end kicked out a little bit. I lost a little bit of confidence – and that’s what killed me to be honest. Because after that I went into a little too much management mode.”

250 class qualifying

Kaeden Amerine action Anaheim 3

Monster Energy/Team Tedder/KTM’s Kaeden Amerine

  • Starting in 3rd and moving to 2nd early in the opening 250 heat race, Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) would suffer a huge crash at the end of the whoop section while chasing Garrett Marchbanks (Yamaha) for the lead. Shimoda would leave the track with assistance from the Alpinestars Medical Team and not return. At race time it was reported that Shimoda was to have X-rays for a possible ankle injury.
  • Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) would struggle a bit early in the opening 250 heat, then wicked up the action to charge all the way back up to a 2nd place finish.
  • Monster Energy/Team Tedder/KTM) racer Kaeden Amerine would just miss the 250 main event transfer out of the heat (10th), but rebounded to win the LCQ – the first win of his career – in a tight contest over Mitchell Harrison (Gas Gas).
  • In the second 250 heat race it was all Craig as he confidently lined up right next to Vince Friese (Honda) on the starting gate, still fresh in his mind that Friese had cleaned him (Craig) out the previous race in Glendale (Calif.). Note: AMA levied a 6-month probation this week on Friese for his take out of Craig.
  • Craig would grab the race holeshot and, in a textbook effort, led the second 250 heat through the checkers to transfer to the main with the No. 1 gate pick. The heat win at Anaheim made it 3-for-3 this season on that track.
  • Said Craig heading into the 250 main: “Hunter’s (Lawrence) riding hard, kept me honest in that heat race.”

250 Main Event

Christian Craig action Anaheim 3

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig

With an 8-point lead on Lawrence heading into the Anaheim 3 main event, Craig got out of the gate brilliantly, 2nd place behind Friese – then took the lead on the second turn (with Lawrence right on his tail). On lap 2 Thrasher was involved in an unfortunate crash in the whoops where the bike of Jalek Swoll (Husqvarna) bounced in Thrasher’s path when Swoll lost control and bailed. Thrasher would be unable to finish the race. Not long after Thrasher’s incident Lawrence would go down near the same spot towards the end of the whoops, and would not be able to return (causing a massive shakeup in the overall WSX 250 point chase). Said Craig: “I saw him (Lawrence) out of the corner of my eye go down. It’s a bummer because we were close in points and I respect him as a racer. And as much as I want to beat him I don’t want to see a guy go down like that. Hopefully he’s OK.” Craig would enjoy a 16-second lead on Friese with five minutes to go, and ran uncontested through the checkers to complete the ’22 Anaheim WSX trilogy sweep. Craig joins Monster Energy’s Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki), who swept the three WSX races at Anaheim in 2007, along with Ivan Tedesco (’04) and Ernesto Fonseca (’01) as the only racers to sweep all three 250 main events in the same season. Amerine would bring his KTM home in 11th place – his best 250 supercross finish of his career.

Said Craig: “I put a lot of pressure on myself to end this West Coast swing with a good result. Not necessarily a win like that, but I’ll take it. (This) carries momentum into the five week break. …  Man that was a fun race. Pretty hectic, felt like I avoided a lot of the craziness with a good start. Got up front pretty easy and just did my laps.”

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

450 class

Jason Anderson headshot Anaheim 3

 Jason Anderson

1stTomac

2nd Anderson

3rd Sexton

9th Ferrandis

250 class (SX West)

Christian Craig headshot Anaheim 3

Christian Craig

1st Craig

5th Shimoda

6th Thrasher

Up Next

Round seven of 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross heads to the eastern U.S. for the first time this year, traveling to Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, February 19th. NOTE TIMES! Gates open at 8:30 a.m. (CST) with qualifying beginning at 10 a.m. (CST). Opening Ceremonies begin at 3:30 p.m. with the gate dropping on the first moto at 4 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.supercrosslive.com

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