ANAHEIM – Consistency is often more important than speed when it comes to winning an AMA Supercross Triple Crown race.
Cooper Webb, though, had both on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
He finished second, second and fifth to win the overall title in Anaheim with nine points. It was his first victory of the season, and there has now been a different winner in each of the four races held this season.
Jason Anderson (fourth, first and seventh) finished second on the final podium with 12 points followed by Eli Tomac who earned 13 points after winning the final 450cc race on Saturday.
Three 12-minute races were held during this event with riders earning points in each based on their finishing positions. The one with the lowest total won the overall title.
“It is unreal. It is a weird feeling, but I’ll take it,” Webb said. “I didn’t quite have the pace or intensity that I wanted, but it was a great night of racing.”
The night got off to a rough start for Jett Lawrence, who won the season opener earlier this month in Anaheim.
To begin with he was greeted by a rather loud chorus of boos during the opening ceremony. Last week he got in a little scuffle with Anderson after the main event in San Diego and came out looking a bit like the bad guy.
And then moments after Lawrence started his first race on Saturday, he lost control of his factory Honda, falling off the track. It took him quite some time to get going, and when he rejoined the race, he was in 20th place almost 13 seconds behind Chase Sexton. Sexton led all 14 laps to claim a 2.311-second victory over Webb.
The second race was much different for Sexton, though. A poor start put Sexton deep in the field, and he spent the first half of the race running outside the top 10 more than 11 seconds behind Jason Anderson, who passed Webb on the second lap to take the lead.
Sexton worked his way up to sixth on Lap 10, but he crashed in the whoops and dropped to 12th. He finished 11th, 37.4 seconds behind Anderson, who led the final 12 laps. Webb finished second once again.
Levi Kitchen finished first, second and second on his Kawasaki to win the overall 250cc title on Saturday night. RJ Hampshire (second, first and seventh) placed second overall on his Husqvarna.
“That (Getting the hole shot) hole shot was key,” Kitchen said. “I knew that if I could get that first one done that would be important. It was a super fun race.”
To get ready for a triple crown race like this one, Plessinger said he tweaks his mid-week riding schedule a bit. Instead of putting in the simulated 20-minute main events the practice track, he’ll spend a day riding in three 15-minute sessions and then another day scheduling three 12-minute plus one-lap sessions.
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But when it comes down to it, the best way to approach this unique format is to treat it as just a regular race.
However, the strategy isn’t always win at all costs as it is every other Saturday night. Should he do well in the first two races, he knows he doesn’t have to take crazy chances to get every position back if he gets a bad start in the finale.
And yes, he is doing the math in his head as he flies over a triple jump.
“Sure, I have a good idea of where the people and what the points are, especially toward the end of the event,” he said. “But even though I might not have to lay your whole night on the line to get that position back if someone passes me, I’d be selling myself short if I didn’t give it 110 percent and go for the win each time.”