Jason Anderson wins second 2022 Supercross in Round 6 at Anaheim; Christian Craig enters 250W break with momentum
Round 6 of the Monster Energy Supercross season at Angel Stadium in Anaheim featured a head-to-head battle between the top two in 450 points with Jason Anderson grabbing his second win of the season.
Anderson earned the holeshot with Tomac stalking him.
Early in the race, Tomac passed Anderson briefly in the sand section, but a crossover move by Anderson made short work of the lead change. From that point, Tomac showed patience, riding about one second behind and waiting for a mistake. It was Tomac bobbled first, however, when he got off rhythm in the whoops and lost significant ground.
“I was fighting the whole time, but once, as me and Jason were battling, I tried to make a move and missed a bit.” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “I was fast in the whoops early, but I made a little mistake and the rear end kicked out a little bit and I lost a little bit of confidence.
“That’s what killed me to be honest.”
That mistake allowed Anderson to scoot out to a three-second lead as Tomac realized how devastating a crash would be to his points’ advantage.
“Between me and Eli, we weren’t giving an inch,” Anderson said after tying Tomac for the most victories in 2022. “For me that was a battle. I had him breathing down my neck from the start.
“He’s getting starts this year and I’m getting starts. I’m riding good; he’s riding good. It’s exactly what the fans want. It stresses us out a little bit, but at the end of the day I’m ready to battle.”
Anderson also made a couple of mistakes in the whoops, which glazed over and created major challenges for the riders. In the end, Round 6 of the Supercross season came down to who made the fewest mistakes.
Tomac now holds a 12-point advantage over Anderson.
Justin Barcia earned his third podium of the season and arrested a three-race skid in which he finished outside the top five in each race. His strong run in the Main came after Barcia won his first heat of the season.
Last week, Malcolm Stewart earned a career-best finish of second in the Triple Crown race in Glendale. He was fourth in Anaheim 3 and stretched a top-five streak to five consecutive races. Stewart remains in the title hunt with a fourth-place standing. He is 22 points out of first at the one-third mark of the season.
Marvin Musquin finished fifth for his first top-five since the opening round of Anaheim 1.
For the first time in his career, Dylan Ferrandis had to race his way into the feature through the last chance qualifier. In his heat, he clipped the back wheel of teammate Tomac’s bike and was forced to roll from the back of the field. Ferrandis was sixth in the Main.
Christian Craig will not be denied in 2022.
After six rounds to start the 250 West series, these riders take a break to hand the duties over to the 250 East series next week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Craig is the one rider who will relax until the West gets back in action at Seattle March 26.
With Saturday night’s win, Craig swept the three Anaheim races and added a fourth victory at Oakland. Anaheim has not been swept since 2007 when Ryan Villopoto performed the feat.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself today, just wanting to end this West Coat swing with a good result,” Craig told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “Not necessarily a win like that, but I’ll take it - extend my points’ lead through that five-week break and carry momentum into the final four.”
Craig padded his points’ lead over Hunter Lawrence and Michael Mosiman, both of whom struggled in Round 6.
A week after getting his first Supercross win in the Glendale Triple Crown, Lawrence attempted to keep pressure on Craig. He kept the leader in sight. As Craig slowly pulled away from Lawrence, the Australian rider pushed a little harder until he made a mistake in the whoops. At the end of the section, Lawrence pitched over the handlebars and crashed hard with the bike landing on top of him.
“I saw out of the corner of my eye, Hunter go down,” Craig continued. “It’s a bummer. We were close in points and as much as I want to beat him, I respect the guy and I don’t want to see anyone go down like that.”
Lawrence failed to finish and was credited with 18th.
Craig now has a 28-point advantage over second-place.
Mosiman crashed twice during the race, but rebounded to finish third in a field filled with a lot of incidents. Mosiman’s podium finish elevated him to second in the standings by one point over Lawrence, but both riders are nearly 30 out of the lead - more than one full race worth of points - and face an uphill climb with four rounds remaining in the 250 W schedule.
Vince Friese finished second one week after he and Craig ran into one another in Glendale in Race 2 of the Triple Crown. The incident drew a written warning from AMA for overly aggressive riding and put Friese on a six-month probation.
This was Friese’s best finish of his career and first podium of 2022.
“I’ve been hearing the word podium for six months,” Friese said. “Just trying to get it done for this team. ... I’ve had so many opportunities that I’ve blown. I was stiff as a board the whole night, but I got it done.”
Garrett Marchbanks won his heat before heading into the main and securing a fourth-place finish. With so many incidents during the night, Marchbanks was more than 46 seconds behind the leader.
Carson Brown in fifth also earned a career-best finish as did Robbie Wageman in seventh, Derek Kelley in eighth, Logan Karnow in ninth, and Ryan Surratt in 10th.
The biggest incident of the night came in Heat 1. Jo Shimoda endoed while trying to catch the leader Marchbanks midway through the race. Shimoda was trying to scrub off speed and rotate mid-air so he could get inside Marchbanks on the landing. But the front wheel clipped the top of the final jump in the rollers and propelled Shimoda off the bike, which then landed on him.
Shimoda was unable to start the main after being sent to the hospital for x-rays to his right ankle.
ROUND 1, Anaheim: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener
ROUND 2, Oakland: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season
ROUND 3, San Diego: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins
ROUND 4, Anaheim: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead
ROUND 5, Glendale: Eli Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown