Weekend watch: Supercross supercross supercross!

With a weekend off for most of the MXGP riders as they prepare for the first round of the 2018 World championship, and the UK Arenacross series wrapped up, the focus is all on the Tampa, Florida, for round eight of the supercross series.

Chad Reed hasn’t had the best of results this season due to injury but he is still breaking records! If he qualifies for the main event this week in Tampa, he will have the most premier class main events in history with a mind-boggling 228.

Chad first raced a premier class main event way back in 2002. Hot off a season in 250 GPs that saw him finish second to Mickael Pichon (who has a son racing in MX2 now), Reed signed with Yamaha of Troy to race the then 125 East region class, but rode the first three rounds of the premier 250 series to get his feet wet and even then he was impressive, going 6-5-8.

He would win the 250 (then 125) East coast title that year winning every race but one, then graduate to the main class for the rest of his career – beginning with a win at Anaheim one in 2003!

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Now in his 17th year of racing in the premier supercross class, Reed should own a record that should stay around for a long time such is the lack of longevity with the top stars of the sport in recent seasons.

“This is my 17th year on tour and this will be my first time to be able to drive next to the airport and not to the airport so I am excited about. You couldn’t have planned it any better, if all goes well that will be when I break the all-time main event starts (over Larocco) so that will be a big weekend for us I think.” commented Reed to Gatedrop on the chance to break the record in Tampa.

Retirement comes early in supercross but not for Chad Reed, who, at nearly 36 years old, is also still chasing another record – to be the oldest supercross winner in history!

Anderson Pic: Doug Turney/ Gatedrop

Meanwhile at the front of the championship, Jason Anderson has a whopping 36 point lead on second place Cole Seely with Blake Bagget third, 40 points behind Anderson.

The closest challenger of the pre-season favourites is Marvin Musquin who is fourth, despite missing a race, and sits 41 points behind Anderson while amazingly, Eli Tomac, despite three wins this season the latest coming last weekend, has also got three DNFs and a DNS, so sits a staggering 70 points behind Andrson.

It does however alleviate the title pressure Tomac is normally under and it could mean he wins several more races, if he can get the starts and stay out of trouble.

“It totally sucks just because of the amount of time you put into it, we all put in that work. It’s tough when you put in three months or whatever it is and you have your hopes high and then all of a sudden you are 70 points down out of the lead.” admitted Tomac after his win in Arlington. “It’s a place I never want to be in but here we are and at least we are back to winning races.”

Anderson meanwhile can afford not to win races, but won’t want to back off to much in-case a change of tactic results in mistakes. So will Anderson let Tomac go if they are both in position for the win? Or will he want to show he is still the fastest rider in the series against an on-form Tomac and go down like he did last weekend?

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“I just need to keep the ball rolling,” suggested Anderson after he salvaged a fourth place despite the crash.

This is Anderson’s title to lose now and it will be interesting to see how the Rockstar Husqvarna rider copes with managing the title from now on in, especially if a guy like Musquin finds form and starts inching closer in the points.

An exciting addition to the 450 field is Justin Hill, who will race his first race on a big bike and carries some good momentum following his win two weeks ago on the 250 with the JGR Suzuki team.

For the unlucky Martin Davalos and Dylan Ferrandis, the two fastest men in the 250 calss at Arlington, Texas, they already have a mountain to climb to win the East title. Both riders got caught in a first turn pile-up in the main as defending champ Zach Osborne took the win and already has a big lead over his toughest rivals. You have to think Ferrandis or Davalos will have to win this weekend to have any shot at this 250 East championship.