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Dean Wilson’s Cinderella story at Anaheim ends in fourth

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It will pay to remember that Cinderella’s slipper was made of glass.

In last week’s Monster Energy Supercross season opener at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Dean Wilson grabbed the hole shot in his heat before eventually falling 2.78 seconds behind to Ken Roczen. His second-place finish gave him a great gate position that allowed him to get the hole shot again in the Main. On a heavy track that was rapidly rutting, he led the first 14 laps.

It appeared Wilson was on his way to winning.

Wilson never wanted to be Cinderella. By the fifth round of the 2017 season, he was offered a factory ride with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna. He immediately began scoring top 10s with the team.

He lost factory support at the end of last year and immediately switched gears toward once more becoming a privateer.

“It was non-stop all through December,” Wilson said on this week’s PulpMX Podcast. “Honestly, the hardest thing about being a privateer is the running about you’ve got to do. I’d be done riding and then I’d have to get wheels. I’d be ordering clutches and then writing emails. There’s a lot that goes into it. A lot more work. Stress. The one thing about factory teams is you ride, train, rest. That’s it.”

Then came January and Wilson’s replacement at Rockstar/Husqvarna Zach Osborne sustained a collarbone injury in a practice crash.

Speculation surrounded Wilson and whether he would become a fill-in driver. The offseason investment in his own team was too considerable to make that an appealing choice, but he and Rockstar/Husky settled on an agreement in which they provide assistance.

At Anaheim those two forces combined to almost give Wilson the victory.

“I think it was a great day,” Wilson said. “Qualified second, hole shotted my heat, led the heat for a bit and then hole shot in the Main.”

Remember that Cinderella’s slipper is made of glass. It didn’t shatter, but it developed some cracks with about five minutes remaining on the clock.

The muddy track obscured his goggles, which slowed him before he eventually discarded them partway through the event. The bigger obstacle was lapped riders he was forced to get around.

“I wish I had a remote where I could rewind and change a couple of things,” Wilson said. “It kind of hurts. I feel like I could have and should have won it. I was in the prefect position for it. I ran into some lappers and when I met that double, double in the middle I was committed to double – but the rut was getting really choppy. I made a mistake.”

When Just Barcia caught him on Lap 14, Wilson chose the wrong side of the lappers handing the lead to the eventual winner. Roczen and Eli Tomac also got around the No. 15 Husqvarna.

“We’ve got 16 more tries.” Wilson said as he searched for and found the silver lining.

Inside every silver lining is a black cloud, however.

“I almost feel like it’s a last shot kind of thing,” Wilson said about his privateer season. “Like this is my last shot, or I find something else. I’ve worked my butt off training a riding – and being a privateer for the rest of my career; it’s not really ideal.. Sure it’s run right now, but I want to be back on a factory team and I want to get results.”

Next race: January 12, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen takes pole at Brazilian GP

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has taken pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

It’s the second career pole for the Dutch driver, who beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just 0.123 seconds.

Verstappen’s first pole was earlier this season at the Hungarian GP in August.

Six-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes will start from third position. The 2018 winner at Interlagos finished 0.191 seconds back.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon finished in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Hamilton was fastest in final practice earlier Saturday, 0.026 quicker than Verstappen.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday is the penultimate race of the season. Hamilton secured the season title, his sixth, in the previous race in the U.S.