The third round of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season took place this past weekend in Anaheim, California at Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the last time this year, officially marking the end to the beginning of the season. Considering the close proximity to the hub of the industry, there was another massive crowd and the stadium was filled with one of the most challenging tracks of the season thus far. There were two sets of substantial whoops on offer, a challenging dragons back before the finish line, and a split option rhythm lane that made for some good racing. The track proposed a plethora of choices for the racers and it broke down in a gnarly way by the main events, turning the whoops into a crucial make-or-break section leading up to the finish line. The same riders that started the season off for the LS2 team were back in action at Anaheim II -- Kyle Chisholm, Cade Autenreith, Joan Cros, Scotty Wennerstrom, Bubba Pauli, Josh Greco were set to compete in the 450SX class while David Pulley and Addison Emory opted for the 250SX West category.
The two separate whoop sections were a pivotal section of the track that could seriously hinder or help a fast lap time, but the rest of the track was challenging in its own right. The conditions during practice and qualifying improved between sessions and reached the optimum point for the final qualifying session of the day as the fast lines had been carved into the track. In the 450 SX class, Kyle Chisholm led the way for the LS2 riders with the 23rd fastest lap in combined qualifying times in the form of a 55.423. Cade Autenreith was a few positions further back in 27th place overall with a lap time of 56.241 to his name, proving right from the get go that he didn’t lose any speed from missing round two at St. Louis. Josh Greco improved his qualifying position from last weekend by one crucial position and put it in the night show for the first time this year, finishing in 40th overall in combined times with a 58.044. Bubba Pauli was the next rider in the lineup in 43rd position with a 58.177, missing the qualifying cutoff by only one tenth of a second. Joan Cros was next in line in 44th place overall with a fastest lap of 58.541 and his teammate, Scotty Wennerstrom, was a few positions further back in 47th with a 59.112.
Pauli said “We made big changes to the bike set up going into A2 which made me feel way more comfortable and confident --with a more stacked field this weekend it proved not to be enough, missing the cut by only six hundredths of a second was a tough pill to swallow after all the hard work that went in throughout the week, but I am not discouraged. I’m motivated to keep working harder and finish where I want to be next weekend!”
“It was a tough week, I had a big crash during practice last Tuesday and I hurt my knee, then I spent all of Thursday night in the hospital for a stomach problem. I tried to ride Saturday and was better than expected but I crashed in the second qualifying and destroyed my bike. It was a little bit frustrating but I’m happy and blessed to be in one piece. I hope to have a good recovery and stay 100% for next weekend,” stated Cros.
Wennerstrom said “It was a tough weekend as I never recovered from the previous weekend’s illness, but a challenging track with lots of whoops and perfect SoCal weather made a trying day a productive one nonetheless. Although I came up a bit short of qualifying, it was still good to be close on a day that was not ideal. I’m definitely looking forward to one of the biggest stadium floors and a great track layout next weekend in Glendale for the fourth round of the series!“
In the 250SX West class, Addison Emory narrowly missed out on a spot in the night show with a 1:02.213, finishing one place outside of the qualifying zone in 41st position overall. He stayed consistent throughout practice but wasn’t able to make any major improvements to his lap time between sessions, barely missing out on the night show. David Pulley made the move back to the 250SX West class for round three and he finished qualifying in 43rd position overall. Although he knocked a couple of seconds off of his time between the two separate qualifying sessions, the Californian wasn’t able to finish inside the fast forty and put himself in the night show.
Emory commented “It was a rough weekend, I struggled to find a setup I was comfortable with. I need to work on my speed in the whoops, so I’m going to work hard in practice this week and come back ready for Glendale!”
“It was my first day on the 250, not the best day but definitely a building day. I almost didn’t race because I was only able to practice on the 450 this week. I picked up the motor on Thursday night and stayed up until midnight putting the motor and chassis in myself and swapping the subframe and suspension over. I went out in free practice and felt pretty good, I definitely have the speed and confidence on the 250. I had a little mishap in Q1 and struggled with some adjustments, the two sets of whoops were pretty gnarly, but we’re focused and ready to put down a good showing in Glendale next weekend,” said Pulley.
In the 450SX class, Josh Greco was the lone LS2 rider on the gate of the first heat race and he did his best to secure a decent starting position. He emerged from the first corner in 18th position and battled back and forth in an attempt to gain positions, but he wasn’t able to make any progress by the checkered flag, eventually finishing where he started after the eight laps came to a close. Chisholm and Autenreith were on the gate for the second 450SX heat and they both secured a place within the top fifteen on the opening lap. There was a fierce battle for the final transfer position and Chisholm rode consistently within striking distance in 11th place, but a mistake at the midway point of the race forced him into landing on a tuff block which caused a pretty hard crash, effectively ending his night. Autenreith improved from his starting position and fought his way forward to 12th place, but he had a crash in the whoops which pushed him out of contention for a spot in the main event. Greco and Autenreith contested the LCQ but neither of them were able to get the necessary start to challenge for a place within the top four positions. Greco started near twentieth position and wasn’t able to make much progress, finishing in 17th place while Autenreith charged from outside of the top ten to an impressive 6th place result. Although he showed the speed worthy of a spot in the main event, he unfortunately ran out of time to make it happen.
Greco commented “This weekend went great for me. I came into the weekend with no expectations with the stacked 450 class and my whole goal was to build off the weekend and progress through the season. After the first round of qualifiers, I was right on the bubble sitting 42nd with a 59.5 second lap time and after the final round, the division before me bumped me back to 45th so I knew I had to drop time. I ended up getting a 58.0 second lap time, pushing me up to 40th exactly, making the night show by one tenth of a second. This is my first night show of the year so I just want to build off of it and get stronger every round and stay healthy the entire season.”
“Anaheim 2 was a great building point for me, free practice went well and I felt good on the bike and comfortable. In qualifying one, I had a problem with breaking my seat which led it to coming off, so I was only able to get one good lap down. I swapped seats for qualifying two and ended up finishing in 27th overall. Going into heat two, I was in 12th and had a fall in the whoops. In the last chance qualifier, I didn’t get the greatest start but I charged forward and finished 6th. It was a good weekend based on how I felt, so I’m looking forward to improving at Glendale,” said Autenreith.
Chisholm said “I was feeling good being back at Anaheim and was battling for a transfer position in the heat race when I clipped a tuff block and went over the bars. I hit the ground pretty hard which bruised my lung and ribs and caused me to cough up some blood so they sent me to the hospital to run some scans and make sure it wasn’t too serious. The scans checked out good so it’s just a bruised lung and ribs but I also separated my shoulder and bruised my elbow pretty good. They thought I had a fracture but x-rays at the hospital came back negative which is good news. My entire left side is pretty sore but all in all they weren’t too serious of injuries and I’ll heal up quickly. I just need to let myself rest and I’ll be back out there as soon as I can be.”
The 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series heads to Glendale, Arizona this coming weekend for the fourth round of the season on Saturday, January 25th. •