AURORA, Ill. – Feld Motor Sports announced today that Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, will celebrate its 40th anniversary this Saturday, January 18, as the world’s best riders return to Anaheim, Calif., and Angel Stadium for the third race of the 2014 season.
The 40th Anniversary Celebration Race will honor the champions of both past and present, in addition to celebrating the nostalgia and illustrious history of this one-of-a-kind sport. The track inside Angel Stadium will mimic the layout from the 2001 season, which signified the changing of the guard from one legend to another as Ricky Carmichael won his very first 450SX Class title and Jeremy McGrath completed his final full season of competition, winning one final time in Anaheim to set the landmark record of 72 victories.
The action from Anaheim kicks off Saturday, live on FOX Sports 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET .Media day is Thursday, January 16, from Noon-2:00 p.m. locally (PT). Supercross legends Pierre Karsmakers, Jimmy Ellis, Jeff Ward, Donnie Hansen and Johnny O’Mara will join Red Bull KTM riders Dungey, the 2010 Monster Energy Supercross Champion, and Ken Roczen, the winner of the first race of the 2014 season, at the pre-race press conference
Last weekend in front of nearly 50,000 fans inside Phoenix’s Chase Field, reigning three-time 450SX Class Champion Ryan Villopoto captured his first win of the 2014 season aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki. Villopoto worked hard for his victory, passing eight riders en route to the lead and taking over the early points lead in doing so. Coming into Anaheim, Villopoto carries a slim one-point advantage over longtime rival and Red Bull KTM rider Ryan Dungey.
On the track in Phoenix last Saturday night, Toyota/Yamaha/N-Fab/JGRMX’s Justin Brayton turned heads with the best performance of his career. Brayton took over the early lead from Yoshimura Suzuki’s Matt Moss and held on to it for 13 laps, fending off the challenges of both Dungey and Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia before ultimately giving way to Villopoto late in the Main Event. Brayton pressured Villopoto on the final lap and almost made the pass that would have given him his first career win, but settled for duplicating his career-best finish of second.
“This feels so good,” said Brayton on the podium. “The new Yamaha is unbelievable. We did our homework this year. It’s been a lot of hard work, but being up [on the podium] pays off. I was trying to pay attention to what was going on behind me but still look ahead. I did all I could to stay up front, but Ryan (Villopoto) got by me.”
Villopoto began his Main Event in ninth place after getting shuffled towards the back in the first turn off the start. He immediately went to work on moving towards the front and passed his biggest challengers along the way in order to achieve his first win in Phoenix.
“Justin was riding a hell of a race,” said Villopoto on the podium. “I have to give it to him, he made it tough. I didn’t get the start I wanted because the [starting] gate was slippery, but I just needed to be patient. The Phoenix [track] gets really slick so I had to take my time and make sure my passes stuck.”
Dungey finished third, posting back-to-back podium results through the first two races.
In the Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event, MyPlash/Metal Mulisha/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb grabbed his first career holeshot and led his first professional race before getting passed by both Cole Seely aboard his Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda and Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson.
Much like the opening race in Anaheim, Seely paced the field throughout the majority of the Main Event and appeared to be on his way to victory. However, as he navigated lapped riders in the late stages of the race, Seely’s advantage over Anderson shrunk dramatically. This allowed Anderson to close in on Seely’s rear fender on the final lap and make a last-lap pass for the win for the second-straight week.
“I was out for redemption tonight,” said Anderson, who failed to qualify for the Main Event in Phoenix the year prior. “I got a good start on my KTM, like I have been all season. I don’t plan on those last-lap passes, but it was there and I needed to take it. My goal is to keep control of the red number plate [signifying the points leader] so I’ll do whatever it takes to do that. I really want it.”
Anderson and Seely were joined on the podium by GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne, which duplicated the top three finishers from the first race.
Anderson has won three of his last four Western Regional 250SX Class Main Events dating back to last season and carries a six-point lead over Seely into Anaheim.
Angel Stadium has played host to 61 races in the 450SX Class and 52 Western Regional 250SX Class races. Monster Energy Supercross has sold out Angel Stadium 28 times since the 1999 season when it began hosting multiple races in the championship.
The first race held in Anaheim was on December 4, 1976, and Mart Smith won on a Honda. This weekend will mark the 62nd time the gate will drop for a 450SX Class race in Anaheim and the 24th time the city has played host to the season opener. James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath are tied on the all-time 450SX Class win list at Anaheim with 8 victories. Ivan Tedesco holds the 250SX Class all-time win record in Anaheim with 5 victories. Angel Stadium is the only stop on the tour that will host three races – January 4, January 18 and February 1.
Tickets are available at the Angel Stadium Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (800) 745-3000, or online at www.SupercrossOnline.com.