We are about 24 hours away from the most anticipated event of the year for Supercross fans, the season opener at Anaheim, or more commonly referred to as A1. We know the reigning champion Jason Anderson is focused and ready to make a run for a repeat and we know he’s got some tough top tier challengers aiming for him with Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin, and Ken Roczen looking for their first SX Championships.
But what else is going on? What are some of the other story lines to pay attention to tomorrow? We put together this list of five things we are excited to see play out once the firework smoke clears and the gates fall.
A legend in the sport and fan favorite, the two-time SX Champion is back for more action and looking to shine on a new team and new bike for 2019. Reed has joined JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing and will contend the series aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. After taking only one podium and finishing the 2018 SX season in 13th place, the 36 year old Reed is determined to prove that age is just a number and hard work, determination, consistency and grit is what it takes to win races. He’s already fourth on the all-time Supercross win list, with 44 main event victories, and will continue to build upon the record he set last year when he broke a tie with Mike LaRocco for the most starts in the history of AMA Supercross.
Chad’s former factory Yamaha teammate, Cooper Webb, has moved onto a KTM 450 SX-F and will be riding alongside Marvin Musquin for the Red Bull KTM Factory team. Since moving up to the 450s two seasons ago the former 250 SX champion hasn’t quite had the seasons he’d like or fans expected on the bigger bike. While he had a top 10 finish with a 9th overall last season, he’s had to miss several races in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to injury, and has only accumulated two podiums so far. So he has to be looking forward to staying healthy and racking up some podium spots.
Bam Bam was a fill in rider at the start of last season and got off to a decent start with back to back third place finishes in the first two rounds. At round four in Glendale he nearly took the top spot. Coming out of the gate strong, by the sixth round Barcia secured himself a full time ride with Monster Energy/Knich/Yamaha Factory Racing team for the rest of the season. Unfortunately he ended up sitting out rounds 8-13 after singing but came back battling to finish the season with a 10th overall. He has fully re-signed to the team and is looking to build on what he started right out of the gate last year.
The 450 Rookie Class
This may be the most loaded class of rookies to jump into the premiere class in years. You’ve got recent 250 SX West champion Aaron Plessinger joining his teammate Barcia on a YZ450F, two-time 250 SX East champion Zach Osborne jumping up to the Husky 450 for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, 2017 Western Regional 250 Supercross Champion Justin Hill riding for JGR Suzuki, and Joey Savatgy teaming up with Eli Tomac for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. Unfortunately Osborne is out to start the season with a collarbone injury but will hopefully make a quick and healthy return. As for the rest of these guys, look for them to come out with a bang to put the pressure on their upper classmen.
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While Malcolm Stewart has been in the 450 class for a couple of seasons, he has yet to race the season opener in the 450 class. So you can be that he wants to make his new SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts/Honda team proud and make his A1 debut a memorable one. He’ll also be looking to build on his season last year where he just barely missed the top 10 with an 11th overall.