Anaheim, Ca (January 7, 2018) – The TPJ Racing team headed to Anaheim, Ca for the opening round of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Season. For the first time in the teams history, they arrived in style in their all new semi truck.
The prestigious Anaheim 1 opener is known for setting the tone for the entire season, crowning some unusual winners and it’s unpredictable weather. Being an open stadium, the riders are not safe from the elements; this year Mother Nature decided to level the playing field by pouring down rain half way through the night show. The more the rain came down, the more slick the track became.
Forty-six 250SX class riders and fifty-eight 450SX class riders arrived at Angels Stadium of Anaheim on race day to compete for their chance to make it into the night show and secure valuable championship series points. So, how do they get there?
Day Qualifying – Rider’s from each class are given an eight minute free practice session to get comfortable with the track. After that, each class has 2 separate ten minute qualifying sessions to try to lay down the fastest lap of the day in order to gain entry into the night program and a better heat race gate pick.
The Night Show – The top 40 qualifying riders from each class are selected to compete during the night program in front of the thousands of fans in attendance and the millions watching from home. The night show begins with 2 Heat races per class; twenty riders in each race. The riders are given 6 minutes + 1 lap, those that finish in the top 9 advance directly to the Main Event. Everyone else will have one additional race, the Last Chance Qualifier or LCQ, to secure 1 of 4 final spots for the Main Event; they have 5 minutes + 1 lap.
Then, 22 of the day’s top riders from each class line up for the coveted Main Event. The 250SX class is given 15 minutes + 1 lap and the 450SX class has 20 minutes + 1 lap to lay it all on the line and go bar to bar with the best in their respective classes. Each rider has one goal in mind, being the first to cross the finish line with the checkered flag waving. Rider’s in the Main Event secure points based on their final position.
This year TPJ Racing has veteran team member Mason Wharton #767 and new comer Blaine Silveira #446 competing in the 250SX West Coast Championship. Wharton and Blaine qualified for the night show in 34th and 32nd respectively. Both riders lined up during 250SX Heat #1; Mason started in 12th and finished in 14th. Blaine had a nearly last place start and was able to move up to finish 15th. The LCQ would prove similar to the heat; Mason finished 16th and Blaine 17th. Both riders are happy to have the first race of the season under their belts and look forward to the next 9 rounds where they hope to make their first Main Events of the year.
The Alaskan Assassin, Ben Lamay #41 qualified 20th for the night show and would line up for 450SX Heat #1. Ben rounded turn one in his heat in 17th and had to battle his way through the pack to finish 10th; meaning he would have to race the LCQ. He launched his Maxim Honda CRF450R off the start of the LCQ ahead of the pack; he sat in second for most of the race and ultimately finished 3rd. Ben fought hard during the Main Event and finished out his day in 18th; securing 5 points to start his season.
Local rider, Austin Politelli #99 qualified 22nd for the night show and would line up with teammate Ben for 450SX Heat #1. Austin started in 11th and quickly moved his way up to 10th; electrical problems on the fifth lap of the race would place him 19th, and meant he would have to line up for the LCQ as well. A back of the pack start in the LCQ didn’t discourage Austin; he battled his way up to a respectable 10th place finish. Austin is looking forward to round 2 and gaining points in his first Main Event of the year.
The entire TPJ Racing team would like to thank our amazing sponsors for making this all possible. Click on each name to checkout their website. Fly Racing, Karcher, Pirelli, Bike Bandit, Lucas Oil
3D Designs, Acerbis Plastic , Benning Auto Parts, Bolt , Boyce Excavating , California Coast Plumbers , Carl’s Cycle Sales, Cometic Gaskets, Cylinder Works, DSC Construction , Engine Ice , Extreme Recycling, Fire Safety Services, Galfer, Hot Cams, Magik Graphics, Meade Support Group, Millennium Trailers, Monarch Heavy Haul, MoTool, No Toil, Pivot Works, Randall Reed’s Prestige Ford, Rekluse Clutches, Ryder95, SDG Seats, Tokyo Mods, Torc1 Racing, Vertex Pistons, VP Racing Fuel
Words By: Kendra Keene
Photos By: Brown Dog Wilson