Right from the clank of the starting gate into stadium dirt, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson came out swinging in the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Series, fighting fiercely with Yamaha-backed Eli Tomac during the early rounds of the premier 450SX championship.
This past Saturday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chase Sexton tipped over early in the main event and Anderson immediately took possession of lead and cleared off, leading the final 13 laps to take his fourth win of 2022.
And while Tomac, Sexton, and Cooper Webb flashed across the finish line within 7.0s of Anderson, the No.21 Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450 was for the win. Unfortunately for Anderson, the win might have been too little too late, as Tomac leaves Atlanta with a 53-point lead and only 78 points available in the final three rounds of the ’22 Monster Energy Supercross tour.
Q: Jason, you nailed down a few wins earlier this season. From there, you lost a bit of momentum. How did you process that last month and a half where the speed was there, but there were just mistakes along the way? And how did you fight through that and rebound to come to Atlanta and pull off such a resounding victory?
JASON ANDERSON: It’s like I had everything going for me there for a little bit and then once we got to Daytona, it kind of fell apart. It was frustrating because it was situations that shouldn’t be happening. It’s reading the race and managing it a little bit better. It’s tough to keep pushing and trying whenever it seems like nothing is going right there for a second. To get this win is good. Last weekend I was kind of bummed because the off-weekend, I feel like I made some good progress. Had a little bit of a cold last weekend, and then this weekend felt better but you still kind of doubt yourself a little bit. To be able to get that win feels really good.
Q: How was the track in Atlanta?
JA: It wasn’t too terrible. It was really slick in practice. The whoops, they were kind of cupped, but they weren’t actually too terrible and not too sketchy. But it kept you on your toes. It’s kind of an intimidating track because Daytona, I don’t think, is as big. I think it’s a little more sandy so it keeps the pace down a little bit, but this Georgia clay is a little bit more high-speed. But it’s good. Good track.
Q: Through monitoring your social media accounts, you didn’t really seem to like the Atlanta track, but it came around quite a bit and truly made for some good racing. Did that change your opinion?
JA: Yeah. To be honest, right now I believe that 80 percent of the 450 class is out with injury. Then I think 120-foot triple, I understand they want shock value for the fans to be like, longest start straight, longest triple, but at the end of the day, we’re four rounds away from the end. Let us get through the season. Have good racing. We’re all going to have to hit the triple, but it’s going to rain too and we’re all still going to try and hit the triple.
Luckily, the track ended up good. I just think the shock value that they’re trying to get out of some of the obstacles they put in is a little bit too much for us racers and our safety. But at the same time, I understand where their head is at, but us as racers, we’re humans and we want to stay safe. We want to limit the risk. We know the risk that we take, and when they make it a little bit bigger and we don’t really have control over that, it’s a little bit frustrating for me, personally. I hate to be the Karen, but at the same time, I feel like someone needs to speak. If something happened to me on one of those jumps, I’d be frustrated if I didn’t say anything.
Q: Eli and Jason, it looked like you guys had lot of fun during your heat race, the two of you going back and forth quite a bit. Can you guys talk about that?
ELI TOMAC: Yeah, we had a good battle. I initially was going on that left side in the sand and was making up time there. Then finally I was able to get close to his wheel in that turn and then made the run up the left side. Then we’d go off the triple. I just left the door open again in the sweeper. So, that was that. Then the white flag came around and I tried to do the same sort of move he did to me and I was a little bit too far back and slid out. That heat race was a good push.
JA: It was a good battle. I kept feeling him. I’m telling you, that Yamaha is so loud where the air intake is. You can hear it from far behind. I felt it getting louder after that sand section every time. I’m sure it was tough to pass, and especially in those heat races it’s tough to pass. It was a good battle.
Q: Atlanta has always been a very important and very historical race and over the years has drawn some of the biggest crowds in the stadiums – 70,000 people at times. Would you rather have been racing here in Atlanta at a stadium , or do you like racing here at the speedway and taking a chance with the weather? Do you guys have a preference between the two?
ET: If they keep the 120-foot triples out, the speedway track is all right. This one is gnarly. To me, I don’t know if they’re just trying to out-do Daytona or something, but I don’t think we need that. I think build a normal track and we’ll make the racing the way we do and we’ll battle well. We don’t need the gnarly obstacles. Honestly, I like the bigger tracks, the higher-speed tracks. So, I would rather have this one than indoor Atlanta.
JA: I actually ride good here, but I don’t know if I like it as much as I like racing in the Georgia Dome and stuff like that. I feel like that stadium in Atlanta and the supercross in Atlanta in the stadiums in the city are so nostalgic a little bit, with all the battling and stuff that has gone on inside there. I like this one, but I really liked racing in the stadium, too. All in all, if you keep the track normal, like Eli said, I think the racing is good here. And the fans were here, so it was pretty cool.