A look back at 2021 ahead of the Supercross season opener in Anaheim

0 Comments

The 2022 Monster Energy Supercross championship starts in one day and it’s time to look back at 2021 ahead of the season opener in Anaheim.

Fans hope for a little return to normalcy following two years of schedule adjustments needed to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the earliest racing series to take the track each year, Supercross has been tasked with facing many of these obstacles first. In 2020, they were forced, along with all sports events in the United States, to go on hiatus as America waited out stay-at-home orders that eliminated most live events.

VIEWER’S GUIDE: Five things to watch

KEEP RIDING: Adam Cianciarulo will race despite injury

In 2021, Supercross modified the schedule to minimize travel, with most events happening in two- and three-race residencies.

Finally, the 2022 schedule returns to a semblance of normalcy with 17 races in crisscrossing the continent and fans attending all events.

All 17 races will be broadcast live across NBC Sports platforms.

Another return is that the season opener is back in Anaheim for the first of three races. The race will be televised live on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on CNBC; click here for more details on how to watch.

Despite the challenges faced last year, Supercross had a compelling two-rider title battle in 450 between Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen (with defending series champion Eli Tomac winning three rounds). There were also some interesting storylines and now is the chance to catch up.

 look back 2021 Supercross
Justin Barcia battled Cooper Webb in the first of three Houston races. Barcia went on to win his third consecutive season opener. (Feld Entertainment)

First: Justin Barcia proved to be the king of the opening round. It didn’t matter that the series moved to Houston for the first time after 29 years of kicking off in California, Barcia scored his third consecutive Round 1 win in style as the eventual points’ contenders mostly struggled.

Round 2 revealed a different winner as Eli Tomac made up for a disappointing Round 1 and corrected his course with a win in the first Tuesday night race of the season, which was the middle event of the three-race stand in Houston.

Round 3 set the stage for Cooper Webb. Winning his first of eight races in route the championship, he became the third different winner. Like Tomac, Webb needed the win after getting off to a slow start. He finished ninth in the first round at Houston and was fourth on Tuesday. Saturday night’s win allowed him to close to within one point of Roczen and the championship hunt took shape.

 look back 2021 Supercross
Ken Roczen swept the Indy residency and kept the points’ battle with Cooper Webb tight. (Feld Entertainment)

New winners continued into Round 4 with Roczen proving he would not simply allow Webb to walk off with the lead. The following week, Roczen became the first repeat winner of 2021 – and scored his first back-to-back victories for the first time since he sustained a serious injury in 2017. And then, he achieved another milestone by becoming the first rider to sweep one of the season residencies, denying all comers at Indianapolis in three races.

In Round 9, Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael with a fifth Daytona Supercross win. He’ll get his first opportunity to break that tie in March with his new Yamaha ride.

With Roczen throwing down the gauntlet in Indy, Webb stepped up and swept the residency at Arlington, winning Rounds 10, 11 and 12.

 look back 2021 Supercross
An emotional Eli Tomac celebrates his fifth Daytona Supercross win that tied him for the most with Ricky Carmichael. (Feld Entertainment)

It would not be as simple as one rider running away from the field, however, and the top three riders each won one of the next three races. Tomac won Round 13, Roczen took Round 14 and Webb set the stage for the final title run with his Round 15 win.

Marvin Musquin added his name to the Supercross win list in Round 16 . It was his first win in two years. In his defense, Musquin missed the entire 2020 Supercross season with a knee injury.

Finally, Webb capped off his second Supercross title in style with a convincing win in the season-ender at Salt Lake City.

FINAL 2021 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings

LOOK BACK TO 2021: FULL SUPERCROSS COVERAGE

ROUND 1, HOUSTON: Justin Barcia wins opener for third consecutive time

ROUND 2, HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds, wins after Round 1 disappointment

ROUND 3, HOUSTON: Cooper Webb wins, Ken Roczen denied revenge

ROUND 4, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen makes it four winners in four races

ROUND 5, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen goes back to back for first time since 2017 injury

ROUND 6, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen is perfect in Indy for third straight win

ROUND 7, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb trims Ken Roczen lead

ROUND 8, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb sweeps Orlando to put pressure on Ken Roczen

ROUND 9, DAYTONA: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael at Daytona; Ken Roczen, Copper Webb war 

ROUND 10, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb takes the points lead with five straight top-two finishes

ROUND 11, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb wins first two races of Arlington residency

ROUND 12, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb becomes championship favorite with Arlington sweep

ROUND 13, ATLANTA: The infield course at Atlanta gives Eli Tomac a late-season chance

ROUND 14, ATLANTA: A clutch win for Ken Roczen and a gutsy performance for Cameron McAdoo

ROUND 15, ATLANTA: Cooper Webb responds to pressure with Atlanta win

ROUND 16, SALT LAKE CITY: Marvin Musquin scores first Supercross win in two years

ROUND 17, SALT LAKE CITY: Cooper Webb caps 2021 championship with eighth Supercross win