Every sport has one. An event that drives fans to that next level of completely out of their mind anticipation and excitement, an event so hugely over hyped and covered by the media weeks and weeks before (and after) hand.
Football has the World Cup. American Football has the SuperBowl. Athletics have the Olympics. Cycling has Tour de France. Even cricket has the Ashes! But does motocross have one? Does the sport of motocross have that one definitive event that every athlete, every single rider on the planet would trade their Nan and her dog to make it onto that podium? That one event that every single fan, follower and enthusiast the world over dreams of one day attending. Does motocross have a SuperBowl? Hell yes we do! We have Anaheim One.
Anaheim One is our SuperBowl… Which is quite fitting as just over 40 years ago the very first supercross race ever held, the race that ultimately led to the birth of Anaheim one as a tent-pole event in the motocross calendar took place in the LA coliseum and was dubbed ‘The SuperBowl of Motocross’
As always the 2014 edition of Anaheim One, the opening round of the ‘Monster Energy AMA/FIM World Supercross championship’ – to give its full grand title – was not short of any hype and/or excitement. It is not very often that as a motocross fan you feel that buzz of an event. Anaheim One certainly provides this, and then some!
Just a brief look on Twitter or Facebook in the days, hours and minutes leading to that very first gate drop of the year and you can really feel and see that buzz, that hype. But that is all it is right? Hype. It is the same with all these big-ass staple events. How many times have you been sat, disappointed, at the end of a completely lacklustre 0-0 England performance against a country you ain’t never heard before?
Anaheim One on the other hand – it never disappoints. And that is no understatement, particularly in 2014! Believe the hype, as they once said…
Speaking of believe the hype, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the Holy Grail of holeshots that Mike Alessi gifted us with during the start of his heat race in Anaheim. Kids take note, because that is how it is done. And being the dedicated start tutor that he is Mike also provided the kids with a lesson on how not to start a supercross race. His radical turn-a-round from start supremo in the heat to stuck in the gate pleb in the main was the first of a few memorable and surprising moments to occur during the madness of the opening 450 Supercross main event of 2014.
Despite Alessi giving it his best to make the start of the 450 main a good one, it looked as though not only the start, but the middle and the end of this race was going to be a snooze fest too, as the three time reigning champ Ryan Villopoto pinched the holeshot and well you have heard this story before right? Wrong! It seems as though a certain German did not receive the memo saying that when RV snags the holey that is indeed race over.
With, what I imagine, the majority of Europe sipping their ‘it is too damn early to be awake’ coffees, huddling around laptop screens to urge the kid on, Ken Roczen was able to do what not too many men in recent years have been able to do… Keep Ryan Villopoto honest in a supercross race. And he was not alone. Roczen had a whole herd of huge names close behind. Reed, Dungey, Grant, Brayton, Stewart, Barcia.
All in tail of the three-time champ. And it seemingly got the best of him as a costly mistake saw him eat dirt and fall from the front of the field into the midst of that very list. And that is where he stayed, more or less, which for me was the most surprising and disappointing thing of the night. Yes, Roczen’s big win was surprising, and a welcome one at that. James Stewart’s whoop section breakdance/ dirt sample was disappointing (for the record I think we are going to be seeing the win or crash Stewart of old reappear this year.) But for me the fact that RV did not remount and make a charge to the front of the pack like a monstrous dragon out for revenge was the most shocking.
As always A1 left us with more questions than answers. What is up with RV? Is the competition just better this time around? Can Kenny do it again? Was it a fluke? What about James? Is Bubba back? Or is it just another crash waiting to happen? And most importantly, how the hell did Mike Alessi pull off that god damn holeshot?!
Despite this it is still only round one of 17 and it is still all to play for, only time will tell and provide us with the answers to these questions. But have no doubt – this season is going to be a good ‘un!