Story by Pete Peterson
Round 4 of the 2024 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship brought the season’s first Triple Crown event to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Triple Crowd trades the qualifying structure for three 12-minute Races. Scores from each race combine to determine the night’s overall winner.
In Race #1, Red Bull KTM’s Chase Sexton got into the lead from the start and took off. In the first rhythm lane Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence crashed and ran-out of the incident; his body never hit the ground but he found himself far behind the pack. Sexton took the win with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Cooper Webb finishing second and Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen earning third. In Race #2 Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado got the Holeshot but Webb took over the lead before the second corner. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson let it hang out with his loose style, took over the lead, and carried it to the win. Webb held onto second and Jett Lawrence worked his way up from a bad start to grab third. Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac led the pack from the start of Race #3. Anderson went down on the opening lap then accelerated alongside the track to resume the race from last place; he would later be penalized one position for the rule infraction. Tomac gapped the field while Sexton, Red Bull KTM’s Aaron Plessinger, and Lawrence battled for position. Lawrence got as far as second before crashing back to fourth on the last lap. In the overall results Webb took the victory with (2-2-5) race finishes, Tomac earned second overall with a (5-7-1) and Plessinger followed up last weekend’s win with a third place via (6-4-3) race finishes.
Cooper Webb – First Place (2-2-5) – 450SX Class
David Bailey’s insights: “I like that Webb is returned to that form that he had at the end of his 250 career and when he was really doing well on the 450s. He’s had good seasons but he’s got that look [again] in these  rounds. He was going for second at Anaheim 1. He knows that he might have even closed the gap on Jett; he beat him in the heat. So he was strong there. San Francisco, it’s a little bit hard to judge from that; but he had some mud in San Diego and he looked really strong. And he looked again really strong [at A2]. I believe that he believes and when you get a Webb that’s that skilled and that fundamentally sound, that believes and has won before – man, he is a contender, big time.”
Eli Tomac – Second Place (5-7-1) – 450SX Class
David Bailey’s insights: “I was watching a piece of footage, I think it was just from a fan or somebody that was at press day [for A2], and instantly – I wasn’t looking for it, I didn’t expect anything, I was just watching to see what I could see, and immediately he stood out as just throwing the bike around like it was a 125. Back to that, ‘Hey, this is fun, and I got way more under the hood than you guys have seen so far.’ And starting to feel it. That’s what I saw. Then I heard Ricky say that [same thing] toward the end of the broadcast, and his results showed. So sometimes you see in a rider that extra little bit of body English that they put into things when they’re comfortable; he looked like that on Friday and it just carried right through. Starts, of course, are tough, and [the top riders are] going to get stuck [in the back this year]. When he was battling Sexton in the second race, I remember thinking they were probably in fourth and fifth, but they were in about twelfth. So to have that kind of depth, and to be coming back from an injury – where I think a lot of us thought, ‘Gosh, if he never comes back from that…’ ‘He went out on top and he’s got nothing to prove,’ and ‘That’s a major thing to come back from. Is he even motivated at this age?’ Well, he answered that this weekend. So he’s there just as strong as Webb, if not stronger, because he’s been ‘the guy’ more recently. So those two guys, feeding off each other, even if they’re not sharing information – it would be like me and Johnson back in ’86. We didn’t share a lot of information, but I knew if he was fast, I’d better be fast, and vice versa. So those two, I think, are going to be real tough to scoot out of the way for the rest of the guys.”
Aaron Plessinger – Third Place (6-4-3) – 450SX Class
David Bailey’s insights: “There was an outdoor moto, maybe two years ago now, at Southwick. It was the second moto specifically. And all the sudden I became a believer looking at the way he handled that rough track – what he wheelied over, the speed and the way that he rode, I thought, ‘Man, there’s something there that I never noticed before.’ And it’s kind of been a little bit un-noticed until last year in Detroit, which is this [upcoming] weekend, when he almost won. And it was like, ‘Okay, everyone has a foul-up here and there but we could see that that was his race to win.’ And that’s where they’re going, and he has the red plate. So to me, those couple of mud races maybe helped him, I don’t know exactly why; but I think he was fast already, he showed that at A1. There’s always a lot of guys, but then after a few rounds there’s three of four really serious guys that you would put money on to win the championship. I would’ve bet on Tomac and Sexton and Webb and I would add Lawrence to that, but now I’m adding Plessinger to that. He looks like one of those guys. And I think he’s comfortable with it. He doesn’t care how old he is, he doesn’t care about anything other than, “Hey, man, I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere.” And I love that little interview I saw of him saying, “I’m here,” and he just laughed like, “I don’t know what else to say.” And his results proved it. He’s also got some really cool body English. He keeps really good forward momentum through obstacles, which is something that Jeremy made popular. He’s doing something similar, and got my eye, and he’s heading to some place [Detroit] that probably feels like, ‘Man, let me prove I should’ve won this thing last year.’ If he did that, wow, then you add him to that big four, you’ve got five real contenders.”
Jason Anderson – Fourth Place (4-1-8) – 450SX Class
David Bailey’s insights: “Well, when I saw him upshifting down the side [of the track after his first lap crash] I was like, ‘Nah, that’s probably going to come back [to bite him]’ So I’m not saying he shouldn’t have gotten that [penalty], I just – it drives me a little bit nuts. Not in that exact scenario, because it was right off the bat, and it’s wasn’t like he gained a lot, but he did hurry back up to the tail end and help himself. So a slap on the hand might have been a better thing in that particular case. But either way, he showed that whether it’s some rookie firing him up and he comes out a little more serious, or if it was just time and [he had] a dry race – he’s won before. He knows how to win a championship.”
The 450SX Class has seen four different winners so far in the first four rounds
David Bailey’s insights: I think all these guys that I just mentioned… I don’t think anybody else outside of that can penetrate that with a championship vote from me. Those six guys – the other guys are great. They may win some, but these six that we’ve talked about so far, [for 2024 are] like, ‘Let me get one more,’ or like in Jett’s case, ‘Let me get one.’ They all have this correct motivation, as far as I’m concerned. Tomac, ‘Hey, man, let me just pick up where I left off. Why not?’ And he kinda is. He’s just as good as he was before as far as I’m concerned. Webb, ‘Hey, man, I’ve done this before, I’m going to do it again before it’s too late.’ Sexton, ‘Let me prove that I could’ve won. I was the guy, and I’m not running this number one because it was, you know, [good] fortune. I’m that good.’ And Jett is obvious. These guys all have the ability, the experience, and the urgency. So from a fan and somebody who used to race and knows what’s going through your mind when you’re on the gate and on the left of you there’s four fast guys, and just to your right are two more, you’re like, “Ah! I have to get the start!” It’s fantastic to see these guys healthy. And I’m not too big on [them being] all chummy after the race and too friendly, but I do appreciate that they stop for a sec, ‘Hey, good job.’ Because: four races, four different winners, they’re happy for each other. But in that helmet, man, it’s going to start getting heated.”
Ken Roczen – Seventh Place (3-6-10) – 450SX Class
David Bailey’s insights: “He is unbelievable. If you ask who’s the most talented rider out there, of anybody, I’d say it’s kinda of a tie between him and things that Jett does and things that Tomac does. He’s amazing, but it’s like he walked under a ladder or something. Just nothing is going his way. Sometimes you kind of put yourself in those positions. You don’t mean to, but you just sort of end up there, you know? Like, weird stuff always happens to you. So if he could somehow get out from underneath that little cloud, then he would’ve been a contender [at A2] for the podium for sure. And he will be again. There’s two more of those [Triple Crown] rounds, which seem to benefit him. He won all three of those races once. He’s really good at that, and he just didn’t get a chance to shine. Then say with, for example, Malcolm Stewart. It’s just, like, ‘Oh no, why is he in last?’ And it’s tough to do much from there with, let’s just say four or five extra [championship level] guys this year that you’ve got to pass to get to the front. It makes it really tough for a guy like Tomac or Sexton, when they have a mess-up in the early part of the race, or anywhere, to try to recover. Now you’ve got to pass, you know, three guys, and two of ‘em are former champions. I think that all these guys are kind of licking their chops thinking, ‘If I just am consistent, I ought to be able to be there at the end.’ But I’m pretty sure they’re all thinking that way. As a fan, it’s excellent. I was talking to my dad this morning, he goes, ‘Man it reminds me of the early ‘80s when you were racing and there were so many guys that could win, and did win.’ We’re back to that, you know? Each year, they’re like, ‘Hey, it’s stacked…’ but not really. This year is it, and what a treat.”
David Bailey’s insights: “I went to San Diego [two weekends ago]. I haven’t been in a while and I thought it would be good to see one live and get a sense. And what I felt, and I mean I felt it, was behind the starting line [in the stadium] for the 450 heats… when that 30 second board goes up and it’s kinda getting down to [where] it’s going to go sideways pretty soon, for those heats and especially the main, oh, you could just feel like, ‘These guys are good. And there’s a bunch of them. And anything can happen.’ Like, if Ferrandis won one of those motos last night, ‘I’m not surprised.’ If Stewart won one, ‘I’m not surprised.’ If Barcia won one, ‘I’m not surprised.’ And that’s not even the favorites. So yeah, it’s really cool to see this.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship heads east for Round 5 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The event is an early daytime race airing live on NBC and Peacock; the gate will drop at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. The event kicks off the first race of the nine-round Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship. And as with every round, the Detroit Supercross pays points toward the 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship.
Every race of the SuperMotocross League is available live and on-demand on Peacock TV. Select races are also available on NBC, USA Network, CNBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sport app. The SuperMotocross Video Pass (supermotocross.tv) allows international viewers to see the action with both English and Spanish commentary.
Tickets for every round are available now, right here on SupercrossLIVE.com.