Ken Roczen powered his way through a tricky Anaheim course and took home his fourth career season pening victory and first since 2017. He now has 20 450SX Class victories, moving him into 10th place on the all-time wins list tied with Jeff Ward.
Cooper Webb scored his best career opening round finish with a runner-up. His average position for the opening two rounds before this season was ninth place. His average finish in the second round is 10th place.
Justin Barcia rode to his fifth straight season opener podium with a third-place finish. He now has 21 career podiums, eight of them coming in the first two rounds of a season. Barcia is on a career long 35-race start streak which is the fourth longest active. His previous long streak was when he started his 450SX Class career with 24 consecutive in 2013-2014.
Eli Tomac (6th), Malcolm Stewart (7th), Aaron Plessinger (9th), and Jason Anderson (10th) were all making their anticipated debuts on new brands, all having switched from a different factory team. In the Anaheim Opener 450SX Class Main Event, along with the aforementioned riders, six others debuted new colors: Max Anstie (14th), Shane McElrath, Cade Clason, Fredrik Noren, Justin Starling, and Ryan Breece (18th-22nd). That makes 10 riders debuting new colors in the opener.
History Lesson: The first 450SX Class race held in Oakland was on January 18, 1979 and Jimmy Weinert won on a Kawasaki. It was the season opener for the sixth season of Supercross racing and Bob Hannah would eventually win the last of his three titles after finishing runner-up to Weinert in Oakland.
Man of Steal’s House: The Coliseum held a Supercross in 1979, 1980, and 1984 before taking a 26-year hiatus. Supercross returned in 2011 and was on the schedule for 10 straight seasons before missing the 2021 schedule. 2022 will mark the 14th Oakland Supercross. The Coliseum has been known as RingCentral Coliseum at Rickey Henderson field since 2019.
Step 1, Win Oakland: The winner of the Oakland Supercross has won the 450SX Class title in 6/13 seasons, including each of the past three appearances to the Coliseum (Jason Anderson in 2018, Cooper Webb in 2019, and Eli Tomac in 2020).
A Real “Who’s Who”: Nine of the 10 250SX Class winners in Oakland are active 2022 450SX Class Championship contenders. Broc Tickle, who is the test rider and potential replacement rider for Kawasaki, is the lone exception of the list: Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Jason Anderson, Malcolm Stewart, Joey Savatgy, Justin Hill, Aaron Plessinger, Adam Cianciarulo, and Dylan Ferrandis.
Christian Craig earned his fourth career 250SX Class victory as he started his 10th season in the class. Craig will be looking to make his 50th career start in Oakland. The victory in the opener matches the accomplishment of his dad, Mike Craig, who won the 1990 250SX Class Anaheim opener.
Seth Hammaker finished runner-up to Craig in the opener, already his fourth podium in 10 career 250SX Class starts. Kawasaki has only won one Western Regional 250SX Class title in the last 10 seasons (2017, Justin Hill). Hammaker’s teammate, Jo Shimoda, finished seventh for his 17th top-10 finish in 19 starts.
Vince Friese made his first appearance in the 250SX Class since 2015. He put together a competitive career in the class from 2009-2015 making 45 starts, earning a podium, three top-fives, 25 top-10’s, and two top-four finishes in the point standings (2013, fourth in Eastern Regional; 2014, third in Eastern Regional). He was able to snag a top-five in the 2022 opener, the fourth of his 250SX Class career. Only Craig (49) and Chris Blose (50) have more 250SX Class starts than Friese of riders in the Western Regional Class.
Hunter Lawrence was primed to be a 250SX Class Championship competitor before the 2020 season. He could only race the final two rounds of that season and then started with fifth and sixth place finishes in 2021, something that came back to haunt him as he only lost the title by 13 points. However, he has begun 2022 with a podium finish, which puts him in a much better position than his first two seasons in the ranks. Lawrence now has five podiums in his first 12 career starts.
History Lesson: The first 250SX Class race held in Oakland was on January 29, 2011 and Broc Tickle won the race on a Kawasaki. Oakland held a 250SX Class race every year from then until missing the 2021 schedule. 250SX Class racing returns to Oakland in 2022 for the 11th time in 250SX Class history.
Step 1, Win Oakland: The winner of the 250SX Oakland Supercross won the Western Regional title in each of its first four seasons and 7/10 seasons overall. Dylan Ferrandis did this in 2020 during his last 250SX Class title run.
Parity: A different rider has won every season in Oakland. This will continue in 2022 as no previous Oakland 250SX Class winners are racing the class.
Yellow Blues in Oakland: Ryan Morais, Martin Davalos, Kyle Cunningham, Brandon Scharer, Killian Auberson, Phil Nicoletti, Justin Hill, Martin Castelo, Jimmy Decotis, Thomas Do, Alex Martin and Jason Anderson are the only 12 riders to make a 250SX Class start in Oakland aboard a Suzuki. Suzuki only has two podiums in Oakland (Hill and Anderson) and zero wins