When Jason Anderson won the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross championship it may have come as a bit of a surprise to some. Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villapoto had won the previous eight titles and no one knew who would replace them.
Anderson’s best of three seasons in the 450 class was third in 2016. In 2017 he finished a distant fourth – 86 points behind Dungey and 81 behind Eli Tomac. Anderson may have been the only person entering the 2018 season who believed he could win and that is precisely what he did in Week 2 in Houston. Anderson followed that up with three more wins at Oakland, San Diego and Atlanta. All of these were early in the season.
After finishing seventh at Daytona in Week 10, Anderson would not win another overall race, but four podiums and a fifth in the final events was the consistency he needed to win.
Given the streaks put together by champions in the previous eight years, all eyes were on Anderson in 2019. Barely three weeks into the season, Anderson was injured in a practice crash and missed the remainder of the schedule.
“If you get hurt and miss one weekend, your season is pretty much over,” Anderson said at this year’s Supercross Media Sessions. “You can’t get hurt and you have to make it through all healthy. Ready to battle every weekend.”
With Anderson out of the way, another dark horse took his place in 2019 as Cooper Webb won his first 450 race early in the season and held the advantage until the end.
Now, no one knows who will win in 2020.
“You don’t really know who is going to win this year, so it’s going to be interesting,” Anderson said. “There are a lot of good guys that can win and that’s the biggest thing going into this year. It just shows how close everyone is. It’s going to be that way for a little bit because everyone is really hungry to win.”
After missing 14 Supercross races last year and failing to win in the outdoor Motocross season, Anderson will be as hungry as anyone entering Anaheim 1. This is Anderson’s chance to prove that his 2018 championship was not a fluke and that he can take his place alongside Dungey and Villopoto – a chance that was denied him last year.
“I’m just going out there and trying to do my best every weekend and that’s all you can really ask of yourself,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to make it as simple as possible while trying to perform at the top level. … Just go racing, enjoy myself and have a good time”
To give himself the best opportunity to win, Anderson has to stay loose.
“You can try to strategize (about the season) but it never goes to plan,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to take the curve balls as they come and try to make sure you’re ready every time the gate drops, every Saturday night. … I’m a decade into my career so I’m honestly just doing things similar to what I’ve done in the past. Trying to fine tune some things, but nothing too crazy. I just kind of go with the flow and see how it rolls.”