Five Notable Performances from Anaheim 1

Well, the 2023 season kicked off last weekend in Anaheim and here are some things that I believe are worth mentioning. These are my NOTABLE performances from the opener. Not SURPRISING.

Derek Kelley 10th 250 Class

Derek Kelley is someone who popped on to my radar the last few rounds of Pro Motocross in 2021. After that, he strung together a solid campaign for 2022 and he seems to be keeping that momentum going into 2023. Qualifying 12th on the day, Derek looked comfortable on the bike on tricky track conditions. He was an enticing pick for my PulpMX Fantasy team but I decided to pick someone on a yellow bike who I will not mention. Derek went on to finish 6th in his heat race and a very respectable 10th in the main edging out the likes of Dylan Walsh, Derek Drake, and Cole Thompson. I hope to see Derek continue to put together a string of solid results this season and if A1 was any indication, I don’t think that will be a problem.

Colt Nichols 6th 450 Class

Almost one year to the day that Colt Nichols’ 2022 season came to an end, he put together a solid start to 2023. Nichols ended his 250 career in the worst way possible and I was legitimately bummed to see it happen. After missing the entire 2022 season, Colt came out swinging at Anaheim 1. After pulling the holeshot, he would go on to finish the night in 6th place. I put Colt on this list for two reasons: The amount of time spent off the bike and the fact that he is on all new equipment. To spend a year on the sidelines without a gate drop and then come back in the premiere class with a 6th place finish is one thing, but to do all of that on a different manufacturer with a new team is another. Hats off to you, Colt.

RJ Hampshire 2nd 250 Class

So I have been a bit of an R.J. Hampshire fan for a little while now. The dude put on an absolute clinic in the MXGP at WW Ranch in 2017 and ever since I have been waiving the Hampshire flag. Plus, he wins at Budds Creek. My home race.

With that being said, we have seen him have some trouble keeping it on two at times. When I saw the way this track behaved, I though we might see more of the same for my pal RJ. But what I saw at Anaheim 1 was impressive. RJ. looked comfortable the entire day on what I would consider one of the more challenging Supercorss tracks. He looked better than ever, like MXGP 2017 good, and I was glad to see it. If RJ can keep this up, I believe he will be a serious competitor for the 250 title this season.

Cooper Webb 2nd 450 Class

Who can say they had Cooper Webb finishing second at Anaheim 1? Not me. While you can never count out Cooper Webb, he took quite a bit of time off from racing and his 2022 season is likely one he wants to forget. Cooper caught my eye towards the end of the main event as he was charging toward the front in the typical Cooper Webb fashion that we saw in his championship seasons. Sure, I have heard all of the comments about the whoops being small or short, but that track was beat. To put on a charge like he did towards the end of the 450 main was impressive. What I saw on Saturday reminded me of the championship winning Cooper Webb that we are used to. If he keeps it up, these guys might be in trouble.

Eli Tomac 1st 450 Class

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, we all knew Eli Tomac would be impressive. While yes, I did expect Eli to pick up where he left off in 2022, I did not expect him to fall and then pass Chase Sexton back for the lead and eventual win. Watching Eli early on I could tell he was extremely comfortable on this bike. As he was battling with Justin Barcia, he looked calm, cool and collected. Being a new chassis for 2023 you never know what to expect for a rider, we have seen it time and time again (yes I know about the rumors it’s a 2022). With this being Eli’s last year, I am glad we are still getting the best Eli Tomac possible. Crashing then coming back and passing Chase Sexton straight up was incredible especially since we all know how fast Chase can be. I look for Eli to keep the moment rolling this season and I would not be surprised to see him with another championship come Salt Lake.

Honorable mention: Enzo Lopes, Max Sanford, Dylan Ferrandis, Malcom Stewart

Main image: Husqvarna

Written by WadeRaynor

My name is Wade and my wife has a sick RV.

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