Aaron Plessinger Secures Win and Points Lead in 250SX
Images by Hoppenworld
In front of a crowd of 49,841 fans inside NRG Stadium, Monster Energy Supercross made a return to Houston on January 13 for Round 2 of the 2018 season.
At the start of the 450 main, Yamaha’s Justin Barcia edged out Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen for the holeshot ahead of Suzuki Factory Racing’s Weston Peick and Anderson in fourth.
Anderson was fifth at the start and quickly moved to fourth. He made the move for third around Weston Peick at the end of the first lap and kept digging to the front.
Anderson inched closer to second-place rider, Justin Barcia, found some great lines, then took advantage of a mistake made by Barcia to make the pass for second.
The Husqvarna rider then went on a charge and set his sights on the lead. He patiently waited for his opportunity to strike, then made a successful pass through the rhythm section using an alternate line to take over the lead with just over five minutes remaining.
Anderson had pretty much dominated the entire to take his first 450 Main Event victory of the season as well as the points lead in the class. This was Anderson’s second consecutive podium, this time it was the top step ahead of Roczen and Barcia. Anderson now enjoys a seven-point championship lead.
“Houston was probably the most perfect day I’ve ever had in my career,” said Anderson. “I won every time I was on the track – both practices, heat race and main. It was a battle, but it was awesome. I’m in the zone but, at the same time, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I feel good and I’m in a good spot.”
Ken Roczen continued with his impression return to racing after being out for 12 months after suffering horrific arm injuries early in season 2017.
Roczen was second at Houston and is now second on the championship points table on 42-points, equal with Justin Barcia, who took the third step of the podium in Houston. Ken Roczen also scored the fastest lap of the race and led the most laps, 13 in total, the German the leader on laps 2-14.
Chad Reed scored 16th place in Houston as the Aussie legend continues to recover from ankle surgery just under three-months ago.
Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin showed up to Houston with the 450SX Class points lead and a red number plate after winning the Anaheim Opener but a crash in the Heat Race put Musquin out of the night show and 10th in points.
“After qualifying 3rd today, I went down hard in the whoops in my heat race. I landed on my left shoulder and felt really beat up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to line up for the rest of night. I’m really disappointed about that given the team and I were in a good place after our win last weekend. But I will get checked up as soon as I get home and will know more in the next few days. Supercross is a longer season so I’m hopeful I will be able to line up in Anaheim 2.”
Last year’s championship runner-up, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac, opted out of competition while recovering from a crash at the Anaheim Opener.
Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna
Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha
Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda
Weston Peick, Menifee, Calif., Suzuki
Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., Honda
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrance, Calif., KTM
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., KTM
Joshua Grant, Wildomar, Calif., Kawasaki
Jeremy Martin, Carlsbad, Calif., Honda
450SX Championship Standings
Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna (49)
Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (42)
Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (42)
Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (36)
Weston Peick, Menifee, Calif., Suzuki (36)
Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., Honda (33)
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., KTM (30)
Joshua Grant, Wildomar, Calif., Kawasaki (28)
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrance, Calif., KTM (27)
Marvin Musquin, Clermont, Fla., KTM (26)
Western Regional 250SX
In the Western Regional 250SX Class, Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy took the holeshot ahead of Red Bull KTM’s Shane McElrath and Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo.
Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger battled from a 10th place start to eventually overcome the entire field and claim the podium ahead of Savatgy in second.
For third place’s rookie Chase Sexton, it was his first career podium in his second professional start.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Shane McElrath came into Round 2 with the red plate as he set his sights on defending his championship points lead from a Round 1 victory. McElrath got off to 2nd place start in the Main Event where he battled for a podium position throughout the 18-lap race. With about four laps to go, McElrath lost a position to ultimately put him in 4th place for the evening.
McElrath’s teammate, Alex Martin, sustained a small fracture to his right clavicle at the opening round in Anaheim, thus missed Round 2 in Houston.
Aaron Plessinger celebrates victory and a new points lead after two rounds of the 2018 Western Regional 250SX Class Championship. Photo credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Aussie Hayden Mellross finished the event in 15th place and is now placed 13th in the Western Regional 250 SX Championship Standings.
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