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Supercross Power Rankings: Lawrence & Hampshire grab top spot

Supercross is officially back and that means it's time for a brand new series here at Intermission Sports. After each race I will be ranking my top five riders in both the 450SX and 250SX West/East Division classes. Rankings will be based on overall performance from the weekend, not only the main event. Let's get right into with the first race of the year, Anaheim 1.

Anaheim 1 may have not been the most exciting event for the 450 main event, but leading up to it we had some close racing, lots of wheel to wheel racing. Which included Vince Friese making his presence known on the track. Anyways, let's get right into it, starting with the 450SX Class.


(Sam Donsig/Intermission Sports)


It shouldn't be a surprise to see the Team Honda HRC rookie at the NO. 1 spot. After setting the fastest lap in qualifying (1:00.6860), Lawrence was looking strong heading into the heat races. It wasn't his cleanest heat race, as halfway through he got stuck in a rut coming out of a banking and fell onto a tough block. He was able to recover and finish third. Now, the main event was a different story. He got a great start and didn't look back, maintained his lead through the whole 20-minute moto. Was able to keep slowly building on his gap of Jason Anderson who was never really close. Lawrence looked comfortable on the bike on his way to his first 450 supercross win. Hopefully we see a closer battle for the lead in next week's 450 main event.


Speaking of Jason Anderson, what a way to start the year for the veteran Monster Energy Kawasaki rider. Despite only qualifying with the seventh best time (1:01.7090), Anderson was still impressive in his heat race and the main event. He finished just behind Cooper Webb in second place in the 450SX Heat 2, and looked smooth on the bike. He was able to keep composed and kept Jett Lawrence behind him for the entirety of the moto. Jump to the main event, and Anderson got a great start and was able to stay composed for the full moto. He never let off the gas, and kept away from any pressure of the riders behind him. He raced his own race, and finished on the podium. I am excited to see if he is able to keep the strong momentum going into San Francisco for next weekend.


Well it wasn't Chase Sexton's cleanest of nights at Anaheim 1, after a crash in turn 1 in his heat race which was no fault of his own. As Vince Friese cut right across the track and took out both Hunter Lawrence and Chase Sexton. He was able to make a strong recovery, moving up from 17th to 6th in just six minutes to qualify for the main event. Sexton got a cleaner start this time in the main event, and held his own. He was running solid in 4th and had decent pace with a best lap of 1:02.349, but was struggling to keep pace with Cooper Webb in front of him. It wasn't until Webb nose dived off the kicker and it allowed Sexton to move into the final podium place.


Cooper Webb had a great first race of the year, he was looking strong in qualifying, as he finished with the third best time overall with a 1:00.7480. Webb won his heat race with little to no resistance from the rest of the grid, and set himself up in prime position to win the main event. For about 80% of the main event, Webb was showing strong pace and was gaining on Anderson lap after lap. But tragedy struck when he crashed on the kicker while right behind Anderson. He luckily only lost three positions, and was still able to stay in the points. Hence why I have him at number four in my power rankings. Hopefully next weekend in San Francisco he has better luck.


For the Red Bull KTM rider, it was a fairly quiet day for him leading up the main event. He didn't have a great qualifying session, finishing with the 12th best time. But, that didn't matter to Plessinger, as he came out strong out of the gate in his heat race. He was able to avoid the carnage that was turn 1. He had good pace throughout his heat race, finishing with the fastest lap. Punching his ticket to the main event. Plessinger, who got a clean start in the main event, raced on his own for benefitted greatly from Webb's mishap to help secure fourth place.


(Sam Donsig/Intermission Sports)


RJ Hampshire deserves this NO. 1 spot after a really strong day of riding. After a great qualifying session which saw him earn the second fastest overall time with a 1:01.6070. Which translated well into his heat race, and saw him earn second place in his heat race after a close battle with Jordon Smith. Hampshire was able to finish within a second of Smith, and also grabbed the fastest lap of the moto. Looking at the main event, Hampshire dominated from start to finish. He got the holeshot and was able to keep Smith and company behind him for the entire main event. Hampshire looked comfortable on the bike, had great rhythm and kept it clean, which helped propel him to victory.


Jordon Smith another rider who deserves a lot of praise for his efforts at Anaheim 1. Smith who didn't have the greatest qualifying session. Which saw him earn the eighth fastest time with a 1:02.2040. However, that didn't stop him from winning his heat race and punching his ticket to the main event. Smith handle the pressure of Hampshire behind him well, and was able to stay composed throughout the entire heat. In the main event, it was similar to his heat race, except things were flipped around, Hampshire was in front of him and Smith was never really able to get close to him. He was able to maintain a good distance from Kitchen and company though, and hence why he earned the NO. 2 spot in the rankings. I am excited to see if he can capture a victory in the main next weekend or if will be a season of second places for the rider from North Carolina.


Now I know what you are thinking, Beaumer didn't have the best race in the main event. However, looking at his day as a whole and coupled with the fact that he is a rookie and 17-years-old. Who made it into the main event, is pretty impressive to me at least. Beaumer had the third fastest qualifying lap, and looked really comfortable in his heat race. He was able to keep a close gap to Maximus Vohland throughout the entire race. The 17-year-old carried that confidence into the main event and still performed well. He had a great start in the main event, which propelled him into the lead before being overtaken by RJ Hampshire. From there, Beaumer ran a pretty clean race, other than a small moment as he got stuck in a rut. Which resulted in him losing two places to Maximus Vohland and Jo Shimoda. Overall, a great debut for the rookie, and I am excited to see what he achieves this season.


Levi Kitchen had a great day of racing, and never let anything put him down. After a great start to the day by fastest lap in qualifying, Kitchen was looking good for a his heat race. Now it wasn't the prettiest of heat races, for the rider from Washington. He struggled with pace during the entire moto and only finished seventh, but it was enough to send him to the main event. From there, it was a different story, Kitchen got a great start, and was on the heels of Julien Beaumer from the start, all the way until he passed him to move into third place. I look forward to see what Kitchen can do next weekend in San Francisco.


Jo Shimoda had an up and day at Anaheim 1, but it ended on a high. After qualifying fourth fastest and only a couple tenths off of Levi Kitchen's time. After a rough start in his heat race, Shimoda was able to stay composed and maintain his ninth place to just squeak into the main event. Shimoda who qualified 17th for the main event, had another slow start to the main event. However, he was able to make up several positions and showed some really good pace. Which resulted in him making his way all the way up to fourth place. Shimoda has to improve on his starts, and being confident out of the gate. As a whole, a pretty good weekend for the Team Honda HRC rider, and I am interested to see how he fares next week.


Well there you have it, my power rankings for the 450SX & 250SX West classes after Anaheim 1. Like I said earlier, it wasn't the most exciting of racing in specific moments, but as a whole. A great way to start off the Monster Energy Supercross Championship and Monster Energy SuperMotocross World Championship. Stay tuned for next week's rankings and see where your favourite rider lands.

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