ANAHEIM, CA – January 8, 2022 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac took a wild and hard-fought victory at the opening round of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, an event that also paid points as the opening round of the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship series. After a tough battle through the pack, Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb locked down second place inside a packed Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Southern California. After leading several laps late in the race, Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton took the third spot on the podium in this historical 50th year of Supercross racing. In the Western Regional 250SX Class, Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence nabbed the opening win with a wire-to-wire win.
Eli Tomac captured his first Anaheim 1 victory in one of the most dramatic races in the sport’s history. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Team Honda HRC’s Colt Nichols grabbed the holeshot of the 450SX Class Main Event but Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia took over the top spot just two corners into the race. Tomac and Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen were right behind, battling hard and flying side-by-side down three consecutive rhythm sections. Tomac broke free of Roczen, then took the lead over the bridge jump three and a half minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Malcolm Stewart closed up to Roczen’s rear tire as Barcia got sideways in a rhythm lane and crashed off the track. Barcia’s crash moved Roczen to second, Stewart to third, and Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton up to fourth. Six and a half minutes in, Stewart drew alongside Roczen and battled his way past. The two riders nearly came together, forcing a mistake from Roczen that allowed Sexton to take over third place. Further back, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson and Cooper Webb scrapped for fifth position.
Then Tomac crashed on the bridge jump he’d used to take the lead. Malcolm Stewart found himself out front. The crowd erupted as the Husqvarna rider saw his best shot at his first 450SX Class victory. At the halfway point Stewart led, Sexton pursued in second place, and Roczen sat third. Sexton challenged for the lead as Tomac started his charge back to the front.
With just under seven minutes left on the race clock Sexton pushed past Stewart, forcing Stewart momentarily off the track. Shortly after, Tomac reached third place and set his sights on Stewart in second. As the clock ticked down past 3:30, Tomac pushed past Stewart while Webb got around Roczen and into fourth. One small bobble from Sexton put Tomac suddenly in a perfect position to take back the lead. Only 1.7 seconds separated the top three racers when Stewart went over the bars in a rhythm section and saw his shot at a first win disappear.
With two minutes to go, Tomac took back the front spot. As the clock ticked past one minute, Webb reached third position. Webb nabbed one more spot, taking second from Sexton just as they crossed the white flag. Tomac took the checkers a lap later, earning his first Anaheim 1 victory and starting his title defense with a win and a display of speed that separates him as the rider to beat this season.
Jett Lawrence was picture perfect with a convincing win in the Western Regional 250SX Class opener. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
The Western Regional 250SX Class delivered a dramatic crash nearly from the instant the gate dropped. Just halfway down the start straight of the 250SX Class Main Event, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner crashed hard. Emerging from the first turn with the lead, Jett Lawrence fought off early attacks from Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Cameron McAdoo. Before the first lap was in the books Lawrence had pulled clear of McAdoo and the pack and was never challenged again for the spot.
Behind Lawrence, McAdoo pursued with Red Bull KTM’s Max Vohland, Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha’s Phil Nicoletti, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire close behind. Hampshire put down fast laps on the rutty track and moved into third place two and a half minutes into the 15-minute plus one lap race. With under two minutes left on the race clock Hampshire made the pass into second position and held the spot to the checkers.
The racers battle again on Saturday night, January 14th at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, California for round 2 of the Monster Energy Supercross season. The event also serves as round 2 of the 2023 Super Motocross World Championship series. The new 2023 SuperMotocross League tests the athletes across both disciplines and culminates in a three race series (two Playoffs and one Final, with points payout increases at each) in September and October to crown a single champion in each class. All 31 SuperMotocross World Championship rounds will be streamed live on Peacock with select rounds also broadcast domestically across NBC, USA Network, and CNBC. International coverage is available through the SuperMotocross Video Pass at SuperMotocross.tv.
The Monster Energy Supercross season makes up the first seventeen rounds of 2023 racing, with three rounds featuring a Triple Crown format and two rounds hosting a 250SX Class East/West Showdown. The 2023 purse money increases $1.1 million over the 17-rounds, with a $1,000,000 win bonus to the SuperMotocross 450 Class champion and $500,000 win bonus to the SuperMotocross 250 Class champion.
Tickets are on sale now for all seventeen Monster Energy Supercross events. For tickets, race results, feature stories, and airtimes on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, and CNBC please go to SupercrossLIVE.com.
450SX Class podium (riders left to right) Chase Sexton, Eli Tomac, and Cooper Webb. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
250SX Class podium (riders left to right) RJ Hampshire, Jett Lawrence, and Cameron McAdoo. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Western Regional 250SX Class Highlights
Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Feld Motor Sports – Senior PR Manager – Supercross
Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting specialized arena and stadium-based motorsports entertainment. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and the SuperMotocross World Championship. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is a subsidiary of Feld Entertainment, Inc. Visit monsterjam.com, SupercrossLIVE.com, and feldentertainment.com for more information.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross is the most competitive and highest-profile off-road motorcycle racing championship on the planet. Founded in America and sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) since 1974. Over 17 weeks, Supercross attracts some of the largest and most impressive crowds inside the most recognizable and prestigious stadiums in North America to race in front of nearly one million live fans and broadcast to millions more worldwide. For more information, visit SupercrossLIVE.com.
The SuperMotocross World Championship™ is the premier off-road motorcycle racing series that combines the technical precision of stadium racing with the all-out speed and endurance of outdoor racing. Created in 2022, the SuperMotocross World Championship combines the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and the AMA Pro Motocross Championship into a 31-event series that culminates in a season-ending two round playoff and SuperMotocross World Championship Final. Visit SuperMotocross.com for more information.
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit americanmotorcyclist.com.
Source: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.