Supercross rides into Petco Park


supa cross

Petco Park added another marquee event to its resume, joining last year’s Bill Walton Basketball Festival and the upcoming 2016 All-Star Game.

Where one would usually find a meticulously groomed baseball field at Petco Park, there was instead a complex dirt bike track on Saturday, Feb. 13 for the sixth race of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season.

An adrenaline-filled night with action packed racing, crashes, in your face energy drink sponsorships, pyrotechnics, and energized announcers kept the crowd on the edges of their seats.

Eliza Vera, a University of San Diego alumna, attended the event, experiencing the racing sport for her first time.

“Supercross was so rad!” said Vera. “I loved how involved the crowd was and everyone was so excited to be there.”

The event at Petco Park brought the best supercross athletes in the world to San Diego, including the top three riders in the current standings.

Ryan Dungey, the defending Supercross 450SX champion, won his fourth race of the season.

This victory increased his lead in front of Ken Roczen, by 26 points. From the time the gate dropped to the checkered flag, Dungey led the 20 man pack of riders.

While Dungey remained in first place for all 20 laps, Cole Seely was never far behind and placed second.

Junior Alyssa Flores commented on Ryan Dungey’s successful race.

“I knew Ryan Dungey was going to kill it since he had just come off a couple wins at Oakland and Anaheim,” Flores said.

Much of the entertainment for the 450SX class came from the battle for third place. Trey Canard, Eli Tomac, Jason Anderson, and Roczen all fought for third place throughout the race.

The riders swapped positions several times throughout the race but Roczen was the one who finally was able to hold on to the third place spot.

Typically a crowd favorite rider, Chad Reed, finished in the top ten but was generally unaggressive.

Flores reacted like many other Reed fans on his performance during the race.

“I was kind of disappointed Chad Reed didn’t do so well,” Flores said. “I just feel like this whole season he hasn’t been racing like he used to. Right from his qualifier, I felt like he wasn’t going to take home a win.”

In the West regional 250SX class, Joey Savatgy, won his second race of the season moving ahead of Cooper Webb, by three points.

This win broke a points tie between both riders. Savatgy was under a lot of pressure from Webb, who was closely trailing behind before he crashed.

Nonetheless, Webb was able to recover the positions he lost, eventually passing Christian Craig, and finishing in second place.

While the 250SX class features less powerful bikes compared to the 450SX class, the racing was more competitive.

Although the less powerful bikes restrict riders from taking certain lines on the track, the race was much closer than the 450SX class with many more passes and battles for positions.

Flores provided her opinion on the competition during the 250SX race and Craig’s racing.

“The 250SX was a lot more competitive up until the last lap,” Flores said. “I really thought Christian Craig had it in the beginning. He was racing really well.”

The West regional supercross season has primarily moved within California since the beginning of January, with four races between Anaheim and San Diego and an additional stop in Oakland.

The series also stopped in Glendale, Arizona. It’s next race will take place in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 20. After, the East regional series will begin in Atlanta, Georgia. In May, both series will have a final race in Las Vegas, Nevada for the championship.

Supercross naturally attracts a crowd of dirt bikers and off-road enthusiasts.

Although a stadium supercross course may not be attainable, most students at USD who partake in the sport regularly ride outdoor tracks in Lake Elsinore, Perris, or Glen Helen, all just a few hours outside of San Diego county.

They also commonly visit off-road recreational areas such as Ocotillo Wells and various areas in the Mojave Desert.

The Lake Elsinore dirt track has a reasonable $15 price for all rides after 4 p.m., and is an easy one hour and fifteen minute drive up I-5.