Photography by Andrea Wilson
It was a roller-coaster night for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. First race leader Dean Wilson crashed out and his night was pretty much over, but stepping up to save the evening in San Diego for the team was Justin Hill. Hill took over after Wilson crashed and pulled away from series leader Jason Anderson to score his first 250 Supercross victory. He follows in the footsteps of his brother Josh Hill, who is a former premier class Supercross winner.
Anderson overcame problems he had in the qualifying races and by the end of the night gathered a basket full of valuable points with his second-place finish. That puts the Rockstar Energy KTM rider into the 250 West lead by four points over Cole Seely as the series now goes into a two-month break as Supercross moves to the East.
Third was Malcolm Stewart. He briefly rode in second behind Hill after Wilson’s crash, but halfway through was passed by Anderson. For Stewart it marked his second podium finish of the year. He moved to within three points of Cooper Webb in the battle for fifth in the standings.
At the start Wilson emerged the leader on the first lap, but three laps in he clipped a tuff block and crashed. The impact seemed to bend something on his bike’s front brake. He pulled off the track with his crew working on his bike. At one point he walked away from the machine, flicking his goggles in disgust, but he later remounted in hopes of salvaging some points. He finished three laps down in 21st, and earned one point. As a result Wilson dropped to fourth in the standings, 33 points behind Anderson.
Once out front Hill displayed his energetic style, flicking the bike around and using a lot of body English to negotiate the jumps. Once Anderson got by Stewart for second, he was 2.6 seconds behind Hill. He was not able to close the gap. At the end of 15 laps, the margin of victory was 5.736. Stewart rode a lonely third to the checkered flag, some seven seconds ahead of Cole Seeley. Shane Mcelrath rounded out the top five, followed by Jessy Nelson. That gave Troy Lee Honda third, fourth, fifth and sixth place.
Hill, who moved to third in the series, seemed to take his first victory in stride.
“I thought I’d be a little more emotional,” Hill said to a reporter after the race. “This is what I work for. I’ve been working a lot and my team’s been behind me 100 percent. I did think I’d be a little bit more emotional at this point, but I just think it because it’s long overdue [the win]. You know… I’ve been feeling so good for so long. Hey, we got it done tonight. I can’t give it up enough to my team. “
Since his brother is a former winner Hill was asked to reflect on what his family’s support meant to him.
“It means everything to me, just because it’s a family sport,” he said. “We grew up racing together, driving to the races in a motorhome as a family and being home schooled on the road. It’s a big deal to have everybody here who helped me to be able to share this moment with me.”
The 250 West Supercross Series now takes a two-month break as the 250 East Series fires up next Saturday in Dallas.
250SX Class Results: San Diego
1. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki
2. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., KTM
3. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda
4. Cole Seely, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda
5. Shane McElrath, Chesterfield, S.C., Honda
6. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda
7. Michael Leib, Menifee, Calif., Honda
8. Scott Champion, Orange, Calif., Yamaha
9. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Honda
10. Dean Ferris, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
250SX Class Season Standings
1. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., KTM, 131
2. Cole Seely, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda, 127
3. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki, 107
4. Dean Wilson, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Kawasaki, 98
5. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha, 92
6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda, 89
7. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 76
8. Shane McElrath, Chesterfield, S.C., Honda, 71
9. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Honda, 69
10. Dean Ferris, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 63