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Malcolm Stewart has win slip away in 450; Brown, Forkner crash out of 250 in Anaheim 1

The 2023 Supercross season starts with a bang in Anaheim with Eli Tomac scoring a dramatic win in the 450 class while Jett Lawrence earned the win in the 250.

In the opening round of the SuperMotocross World Championship, a crash for Malcom Stewart while racing for the lead in the 450 Main, Austin Forkner as he came out of the gate in the 250 Main and in the 250 West Heat 2 for Pierce Brown caused those three riders to earn minimal points in the new 31-race season that will crown a new unified champion.

Stewart was one of four leaders at Anaheim 1 when he took the top spot from eventual winner Eli Tomac as that rider made a mistake on the tunnel jump on Lap 9. When Tomac hit the ground, Chase Sexton followed the new leader and applied pressure to Stewart on a deeply rutted track.

On Lap 13, an aggressive pass pushed Stewart off course. Four laps later an accident put an end to a 20-race streak of top-10 Supercross finishes. Stewart entered Anaheim 1 focused on continuing his consistent run.

“Wow what a night,” Stewart posted on Instagram. “Led some laps and unfortunately went over the bars with under two minutes to go and got banged up but I’m all good! Wanna thank the team for being there for me and all the fans who were cheering throughout the race, it got loud! Got a taste and ready for more.”

Forkner entered the weekend healthy and determined to get back to his accustomed style of racing. In a preseason press conference, the normally aggressive rider said he was a little tentative at the start of the season.

Forkner finished third in his heat, but was nearly 18 seconds behind race winner Cameron McAdoo. When the gate dropped, he got squeezed by McAdoo and RJ Hampshire. His bike turned sideways on the gate straight and pitched him over the handlebars.

“Like McAdoo, it had been three years since Forkner lined up for a race in Anaheim and showed his excitement with a great qualifying lap that put him on top of the board,” Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki reported in a post-race recap posted at “The pole position had him in the same heat as his teammate, but Forkner had to work through the pack after a small mistake in the opening laps. He would regain the positions to finish third in the heat race.

“Forkner was lined up to the inside of his teammate, but didn’t get the jump at the gate drop and trailed McAdoo down the start straight. His wheel ended up getting tangled with another rider and the impact caused a crash that forced Forkner to sit out the main event. He will be getting further evaluation from his doctors this week to determine if he can line up for Oakland.”

In the post-race press conference, McAdoo said he felt the impact on his back tire.

GasGas factory rider Pierce Brown suffered the biggest setback with a crash in his heat.

“Rider error cost me the night.” Brown said on his Instagram account. “Thankfully came out with no serious injuries just gonna be sore for a little bit. Past behind us onwards and upwards from here.” reports team manager Max Lee says he could be questionable for Oakland, however.