Justin Barcia wins 2nd straight supercross
@justinbarcia wins 2nd straight supercross (By Dan BeaverJan 5, 2020, 2:09 AM EST).
Last year Justin Barcia faced a heavy, muddy track in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. He powered through that gloomy night to win and take the early points lead. On Saturday night, Barcia battled a nearly perfect track but the result was the same. With an advantage of 5.6 seconds, he won back-to-back openers.
“That was an incredible race,” Justin Barcia told NBCSN after the race. “I didn’t want to win this race. My goal was just to get out of here safe and healthy. I just want to be on the podium a lot this year and be in a fight for the championship because I haven’t been able to do that.”
But the resolution to ride a safe race was put to the test when he bobbled halfway through the event and handed the lead over to a rookie rider. With a comfortable two-second lead, Barcia jumped right and landed on the tough blocks. That was all Adam Cianciarulo needed to pounce and lead his first 450 race in the Supercross season opener.
As riders move up in class, it is supposed to become increasingly difficult to win. Someone forgot to tell Cianciarulo. After winning last fall’s Monster Cup in Las Vegas, he had his sight set on the top spot of the podium. Fate has a way of leveling things, however, and with a two-second lead of his own, Cianciarulo landed hard and almost crashed.
“Justin made a mistake,” Cianciarulo told NBCSN after the race. “Went off and then Justin squared off under me. I thought we were both going to die off that next rhythm section. Man, it was just so much fun racing him.
“And then I spun out on the triple there. Thank God He blessed me with some long legs. I was able to save that. Knocked the wind out of myself for a good 20-30 seconds. Got back going again, tried to get closer, but he really put a good last couple of laps.”
The iron man performance belonged to last year’s champion.
Battling the flu, Cooper Webb could hardly speak when the night began. He got off to slow starts in both his Heat and in the Main, but as the race progressed he was able to regain his form. Webb climbed to third at the end of the race. It was not his first iron man performance. Webb won last year in New Jersey while he was also battling illness.
Blake Baggett and Jason Anderson rounded out the top five.
Two of the riders who challenged Webb throughout the 2019 season got off to slow starts.
After finishing second in his heat, Ken Roczen failed to launch in the Main. He finished sixth.
Eli Tomac is known for getting off to slow starts in races. He is usually able to make up for that and charge to the lead or at least the podium, but after riding outside the top 10 in the opening minutes, he recovered to finish only seventh at Anaheim 1.
Justin Cooper kept the pressure on Austin Forkner and won his first major race in the 250 West class. Feld Entertainment Inc.
Anaheim is becoming a venue filled with surprises. In the 250 class there were two. The most pleasant one at Anaheim 1 was Justin Cooper winning his first major race. A less pleasing surprise was how he took the lead.
Cooper had the lead at the gate drop, but it didn’t take very long for Austin Forkner to get around him. Normally at that stage, Forkner would ride away from the competition if his record in the 250 East class last year was any gauge, but Cooper kept him in sight and closed the gap. With five minutes remaining in the race, that was enough to cause Forkner into an unforced error.
“I saw [Forkner] jump right and I started to check up,” Cooper told NBCSN after the race. “But in the air, there is nothing you can do there. He got in the tough blocks.
“The track was tough. We were all making mistakes, but I was trying to pressure him into that mistake right there. I ended up being patient and it worked out.”
Last year’s champion got off to a slow start in the Main. Dylan Ferrandis was mired outside the top five in the first few minutes. He rode back into the top three and was also able to take advantage of Forkner’s mistake to climb onto the second rung of the podium.
Forkner felt he had something to prove in the opening round of the 250 West series. He was denied the opportunity to win the East championship last year because of an injury and nothing was more difficult than missing those final races. He rehabbed, but nothing replaces race experience.
“Just first race jitters,” Forkner said after the race. “I haven’t raced since I tore my ACL last year, so it’s been a while. That’s the longest I’ve gone without racing. Everyone is nervous at A1, but for me I felt I was a little bit more.
“I had that one. Obviously, you guys saw what happened, I just kind of landed, just kind of got a little deep and shot off to the right just a little bit, and we were already landing pretty close to the edge and the Tough Blocks, and it was just – end of story. That was my fault, you know, I’ll just own up to that one. I felt like I had that one in the bag and that was leading to a pretty solid race. I think I would’ve held off and got the win.”
Forkner finished the race in third, but he was penalized two positions for cutting the track and credited with fifth.
That elevated Christian Craig to the third for his first podium since Anaheim 2 last year.
Read the full article at: https://motorsports.nbcsports.com/2020/01/05/justin-barcia-wins-second-straight-supercross-opener/
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