The long wait is over as the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship gets underway at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on January 4 as 44 riders attempt to holeshot the season. Eight months to the day that Supercross hosted their last event of 2019 on May 4, the riders return to their seats in an effort to establish early dominance over the field.
It’s not as easy as putting in a fast, clean ride. In fact ‘clean’ was hard to come by in 2019.
Last year a muddy track in the first Anaheim race shuffled the standings early and gave surprise wins to Justin Barcia in the 450 class and Colt Nichols in 250 West. Barcia would go on to finish 13th in the standings; Nichols finished third, while the eventual champions Cooper Webb finished fifth in 450s and Dylan Ferrandis was second in the 250 class.
That should not be an issue this year as the forecast early in the week called for a 0% chance of rain.
A Supercross season is intense, comprising 16 races in consecutive weeks. There is no time to waste. An injury can wipe out the entire season. The last two championships have gone to riders no one predicted during in the opening round. And yet the season often has the same personality as an individual race. Getting the holeshot does not guarantee success, but it makes it easier to manage the rest of the year.
Webb scored his first 450 class win in Anaheim II. He would go on to win six more overalls, but the real key to his success was his ability to finish in the top five. He did that in all but two races.
Eli Tomac won six overalls last year – often in dramatic fashion – but was outside the top five three times. He lost most of his ground with one truly bad run in Dallas when he finished 12th.
Adam Cianciarulo will make a much anticipated debut in the 450 class after winning the Monster Energy Cup last October. He took the victory by winning the final moto in what became a winner-take-all scenario. Teammate Eli Tomac finished second overall in that race and the pair served notice before the season even began that they will be the team to beat in the opening rounds.
Max Anstie was scheduled to make his return to Supercross for the first time since 2013, but will miss the first part of the season with an ankle injury, according to the team.
In 250s, 42 riders were entered at the beginning of the week, headed by Ferrandis with the No. 1 plate on his Yamaha.
Nichols will be on hand to defend his 2019 victory as will Shane McElrath giving all three podium finishers a chance to get off to the same great start. Last year’s fourth-place finisher RJ Hampshire will run the 250 East division this year, but teammate Michael Mosiman will be on hand to compete for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory team.
Eli Tomac won at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas May 4, 2019 over Marvin Musquin and the 2019 champion Cooper Webb.
In the 250 Showdown race, Dylan Ferrandis won over RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo
Justin Barcia won on a muddy track over Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac
In 250 West, Colt Nichols won over Dylan Ferrandis and Shane McElrath