Two more top contenders have switched power valves and fatty pipes for intake valves, exhaust valves and camshafts prior to round three of the Amp’d Mobile/AMA Supercross Series at Angel Stadium in Anaheim tonight.
Jeremy McGrath, the seven-time AMA Supercross Champion, has abandoned his factory Honda CR250 for a factory Honda CRF450R, and BooKoo Honda rider David Vuillemin has followed suit, also switching from a 250cc two-stroke to a 450cc four-srtoke.
For the 34-year-old McGrath, who is seeking his 73rd career AMA Supercross win at Anaheim II, the switch comes on the heels of a fine fourth-place finish aboard his 250 during round two of the series in Phoenix.
“You know, it’s funny that I switched to a four-stroke this week after a good result last week, but this is a good time to do it,” McGrath said. “I don’t think that the 250 was as much of a disadvantage at Phoenix as it was the prior weekend at Anaheim, but now it’s eliminated out of the equation. With me only having three days on it, who knows how it’s going to turn out, but I think that everyone’s on 450s, and I need to be on the same equipment. It’s fair to say that with the long straights here, it’s going to be an advantage.”
Vuillemin, on the other hand, said that he was much more reluctant to leave his 250 and switch to a 450.
“I’m not really stoked because I love the two-stroke, but it seems with the race conditions, the starts and also because the tracks have been really slick the last two races, I don’t think it was a very good advantage to ride a two-stroke," Vuillemin said. "We’re taking a chance this week. We were going to wait to Anaheim III before switched because I don’t have much track time on it. I don’t think that I will be worse on it. I just need to get on the bike and ride it. I don’t have much Supercross experience on a four-stroke.”
Both McGrath and Vuillemin appeared to be in decent form aboard their thumpers during the first Supercross practice session at A-II, with both men clearing all the obstacles in the same fashion as current top-three contenders James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed on a track that has been modified slightly from the previously published track diagram. Instead of a split section that was to feature whoops in the left lane and a rhythm section on the right, there is now only one lane with a whoop section in the second half of the lane, just before turn two.
Just like at Phoenix, the anticipated sellout crowd should be able to expect closer racing on a faster, less technically demanding racetrack than the one used at Anaheim I.