As all the time, there are lots of unanswered questions coming into the 2023 Monster Power Supercross Sequence. These questions can solely get addressed by the riders hitting the observe and getting the opening spherical underneath their belts. And despite the fact that each rider will let you know that Anaheim 1 is only one race of a protracted and difficult sequence, everyone knows that it’s not the case. Each rider on the beginning gate would love; I repeat, LOVE to win Anaheim 1, because it’s what each rider desires about. Nonetheless, solely a specific few can put an Anaheim 1 win on their resume, and in recent times, these riders have but to go on to win the Supercross title. With the opening spherical of 2023 now upon us, listed below are my high 5 picks for Saturday night time at Angel Stadium.
1. Chase Sexton:
Choosing Sexton to win on Saturday isn’t precisely out of left area, as final 12 months, he was one of many quickest riders within the sequence. Additionally, in the course of the 2022 Lucas Oil Professional Motocross Championships, he battled Eli Tomac proper all the way down to the ultimate moto of the sequence. Sexton is quick, match, and assured, and he’s younger sufficient to go into Anaheim 1 with a number of aggression in his driving. Lastly, he’s additionally going to be racing an improved model of his 2022 HRC CRF450R, so there’s no motive to suppose Chase received’t be comfy and quick all night time lengthy. If you add up all of these items, I don’t see how one can’t decide Sexton to win this weekend and a number of occasions in January to kick-off this 2023 Monster Power Supercross Sequence.
2. Jason Anderson:
JA21 is one other rider who isn’t solely coming off a stable 2022 season however can be racing on an improved model of his bike from final 12 months. Anderson was sensible all through a lot of the 2022 Monster Power Supercross Sequence, and if it weren’t for a couple of miscue’s within the second half of the sequence, then he actually would’ve challenged Tomac for the 450SX title within the closing few rounds. I really like watching Anderson experience a dust bike, and I hope he wins a number of races in 2023 and may keep that success for 17 rounds. I’m certain he discovered rather a lot final 12 months concerning the bike and himself, and there’s no motive to suppose he received’t be even higher in 2023. On Saturday night time, I can see Anderson getting off to a so-so begin after which battling again to second total.
3. Justin Barcia:
Over the previous few years, no rider has had extra success on the opening spherical than Justin Barcia. Whether or not it’s his driving model or his laid again manner, Barcia seems to all the time reside within the second, and first-round jitters don’t appear to exist with him. May he win on Saturday night? After all he can, however I really feel like he’ll want just a little luck as his competitors is simply that good this 12 months. I hope Barcia has a superb sequence, and I hope he wins some races in 2023. The game wants and likes when Barcia is upfront, despite the fact that I’m certain his fellow riders hate it.
4. Eli Tomac:
Regardless that he’s been there and completed that for a few years, in addition to the truth that he’s driving an all-new YZ450F for 2023, it’s important to suppose that Eli Tomac will discover a approach on Saturday night to complete inside the highest 5 and get his 450SX title defence began in a optimistic approach. Being the veteran rider that Tomac is, I believe he rides just a little cautious on Saturday night time, understanding that the riders who end in entrance of him all have weaknesses that he’ll be capable to exploit within the coming weeks. Tomac can also want a couple of races to get fully comfy on his new bike after which as soon as that occurs look out world. I don’t really feel as if Tomac is the favorite to win this weekend, however I do really feel that he’s the favorite to repeat because the 450SX Champion after which experience off into the sundown as maybe one of the best modern-day rider ever.
With the entire work that Cooper Webb has completed in the course of the low season with Aldon Baker and his KTM teammates, you’d assume that he’s going to begin off this 12 months significantly better than he did in 2022. Throughout final 12 months’s low season, Webb used the information that he had obtained from Aldon Baker within the earlier years, however as a substitute of coaching in Florida on the Bakers Manufacturing unit, he ran his personal schedule. What most likely appeared like a good suggestion on the time clearly didn’t work out for Webb as he got here into final 12 months out of practice and in addition loaded with the duty of making an attempt to determine a newly designed KTM. Nicely, you may wager the two-time Champion isn’t going to make the identical mistake once more, and though I’ve Webb ending fifth on Saturday night, I consider he’s going to get higher because the sequence goes on.
250 SX West Class:
1. Cameron McAdoo:
I do know what you’re considering. How would anybody wager in opposition to Jett Lawrence for the win at Anaheim 1? Choosing Jett is the straightforward factor to do, and whereas I do have him profitable this 250SX West Championship, the opening spherical goes to be a pressure-filled battle for the 19-year-old phenom from Australia. As we’ve seen prior to now, something can occur at Spherical 1, and I really feel like underneath the teaching of Nick Wey, McAdoo is coming into the sequence 100% prepared and with little or no strain on him as Lawrence can be bearing most of that burden. Additionally, if McAdoo and his teammate Austin Forkner can construct some momentum early on this sequence and get into the top just a little of Jett, then possibly, simply possibly, this title battle could be a multi-rider battle.
2. Austin Forkner:
I believed final 12 months that Forkner had lastly matured into a quick and constant championship contender within the 250SX class. Till Jett unintentionally crossed-jumped him and knocked Austin out of the 250SX East Sequence, he was constructing momentum, and if he’d been capable of end the sequence I believe he may’ve challenged for the title. By the seems of issues, Forkner has had an important low season, and his latest motos with Jason Anderson and his Professional Circuit Kawasaki teammates ought to have him race prepared. Like all the time although, Forkner must stay wholesome if he desires to take down the Jett and win his first professional title in 2023. He can for certain, even when he’s struggled to do it prior to now.
3. Jett Lawrence:
I don’t know why I’ve Jett ending in third this weekend as he’ll most likely come out and crush everybody in the primary occasion. My solely considering is that because it’s the opening spherical, the strain can be on him to do precisely that, crush everybody! Normally, the observe at Anaheim 1 isn’t the place to take possibilities so Lawrence may very well be in for some struggles on Saturday night time. As I mentioned above, I’ve him profitable this title; nonetheless, like most followers, I hope it’s not a runaway each weekend.
4. Levi Kitchen:
Again in late October, I had the chance to look at Levi and his Star Racing Yamaha teammates experience in individual on the outdated Goat Farm. Of the massive group of 250 riders, Kitchen was the quickest rider, and since we’re now over two months previous that, I can solely assume that he’s driving even higher now. This child could be very gifted, and he has a number of interior confidence, in addition to one of the best bike within the class underneath him. I don’t suppose he’ll crack the highest three within the opening spherical, however he may very well be a podium rider after that.
5. Cole Thompson:
Even with riders like RJ Hampshire and Max Vohland racing this weekend within the 250SX West class, it wouldn’t shock me one bit if our personal Cole Thompson finds himself in fifth by the tip of the primary occasion on Saturday night time. Of all of the riders within the 250SX class, together with the highest weapons, Cole is coming into Anaheim higher ready than anybody. Having competed within the Australian SX Sequence simply over a month in the past, Cole’s race craft can be razor sharp, and his health can be nearly as good because it’s ever been because the gate drops in 2023. Should you recall, Cole received the ultimate spherical of the Aussie SX Sequence, so he’s coming into this 12 months on a excessive notice. It received’t be simple, and he may have some assist in the type of among the high riders struggling this weekend, however I believe Cole can pull off a high 5, and for the entire Canadian race followers on the market, I hope he does.