We were back in Salt Lake City this weekend for the final two rounds of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and man, just under a year ago we were here for the final seven rounds of the series. Doesn’t seem that long ago, huh? The juxtaposition between the three rounds in Atlanta and the smaller floor of the Rice-Eccles Stadium was quite jarring for sure.
Couple of notes before we begin.
Christian Craig looked so fast and so good (then again is there ever a time where he doesn’t look so good and so fast?) in practice and yeah, he was eight points down and needed some luck, but he looked great to get at least three back. And then it all went sideways. He clipped a jump doing a rhythm and went down hard. He actually got off lucky initially because the bike was endoing and he had to jump off and he slid right down a jump. Unfortunately, he still cracked his lower leg bone and that was it for him. The title hopes gone and also maybe a chance to race the whole outdoor season as well. Bummer for Christian and his team, he still had a very successful season though.
Big shocker announced before the race when Martin Davalos announced that he was retiring. He was at press day and crashed pretty hard, breaking his collarbone in the process. He said that he was going to be done anyways after this year, so he went ahead and told all of us a week early. Marty was fast, man, and probably should have one, maybe two 250SX titles over the years. He’s had some bad luck. He’s crashed a bunch and I’m stoked that he took the plunge to the 450 class (willingly pointing out when Mitch Payton said he didn’t have to) and scored some real good results on a quasi-privateer bike. He almost made a podium last year; he was fastest guy in practice a few times and he made 450 Class podiums outdoors. This year has not been as smooth for him with crashes but all in all, coming from a small South American country to make a lot of money and win races in the USA, it was a great career.
Let’s look at the results, shall we?
1st | #30 Jo Shimoda | Menifee, CA | Kawasaki KX250
I just haven’t been a Shimoda “guy” you know? Like, he’s good for sure but to me I didn’t see anything standing out considering the teams and equipment he’s been on. That’s all I'm saying, don’t hate on me or anything. But he’s taken advantage the last two years of injuries to get some podiums and now, a win! He rode great also, Michael Mosiman and THE JETT were probably faster, but he got the start and didn’t get rattled when both guys took runs at him. Jo was a late addition to the team also and had a try-out against other dudes (Ty Masterpool, Carson Mumford, and Mitchell Harrison) to get this spot. He signed on just days before he was going to sign with Phoenix Honda at that. Now he’s won a race! Nice job for him and the PC guys, maybe I’ll have to be a Shimoda guy now.
2nd | #18 Jett Lawrence | Wesley Chapel, FL | Honda CRF250R
The JETT didn’t shock and awe me in practice or early in the main either the way I expected him to. He was pretty far back and not making a ton of headway to the top two guys but as the race wound down, he got better and better. Whether that was fitness or lines, not sure but by the end he looked to me to be the best guy but needed a bit more time to get by Shimoda. He also perhaps could have pushed the issue a bit, but Jo is his buddy and was going for his first win. Afterwards he was very upset at Mosiman (carrying on from a feud earlier this year) but I’m not sure why, Mosiman didn’t touch him. Guess this dates back to the previous incidents.
3rd | #64 Colt Nichols | Murrieta, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Nichols admitted afterwards that Craig going out with an injury really messed with his mind a bit. I was thinking there was no pressure on him and therefore with the HP advantage he has at altitude, he would rip the start and take off with the win and also, the title. Nope, he struggled a bit with the whoops and really got the podium just through his fitness and steadiness as he wore guys down. He’ll clinch his first title this weekend and that’s pretty cool for a guy like him who was not an amateur all-star by any means.
4th | #42 Michael Mosiman | Minneola, FL | GasGas MC 250F
Mosiman should have won this race. He caught Shimoda more than a few times, he was all over him, but he showed his hand to try and pass in maybe the worst possible spots. Like, seriously, Michael I know Jesus is a savage or whatever that was you said on the podium but maybe you can ask him for some help in how to pass? This was your race, no doubt about it.
5th | #773 Thomas Do | Murrieta, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
Do was good all day long, the Frenchman was ultra-excited to get second in the heat race, so you had to know that this fifth was going to be a highlight for him. Very good season for Do.
6th | #241 Joshua Varize | Perris, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
Very good rookie season for Varize. Yes, the injuries and lack of depth really helped him to get these results but even at round one, he was good. He’s got a clean riding style; he doesn’t look sketch out there and he seemed to get better and better as the series goes on. He’s a supercross rookie kid so all in all, this was great. When he makes the shootout this weekend that will be another learning step for him.
7th | #88 Logan Karnow | Amherst, OH | Kawasaki KX250
Karnow looked great out there, when he got lapped, he really made sure to let the guys by which cost him some time for sure but hey, you don’t want to be THAT guy right?
8th | #914 Geran Stapleton | Cape Schanck, VIC | Honda CRF250R
Stapleton got hurt early on the series and came back for this race, I think just his second one. He was fast all day long and this is a career best for him. He also looked to be racing with the leaders a bit too much when he was getting lapped. I’m just saying.
9th | #193 Hunter Schlosser | El Paso, TX | Yamaha YZ250F
For sure Schlosser was the rider that I knew NOTHING about that impressed me the most. I did a Privateer Island pod with him a little while ago and learned some interesting stuff about him. Mostly that his path to being a top ten kid wasn’t easy and he was a worker.
10th | #55 John Short | Pilot Point, TX | Suzuki RM-Z250
John is out there repping RM-Army and I wonder how he felt about his bike out there at elevation?
11th | #125 Luke Neese | Jamestown, NC | Kawasaki KX250
Neese didn’t look good in the heat and that was weird because he’s been a main event guy in a regular field, never mind this injury depleted one. In the LCQ he rode much better to easily get into the main event.
12th | #170 Devin Simonson | Laurinburg, NC | Kawasaki KX250
Not a lot here, early on Devin was further back and rode into this spot in the main.
13th | #621 RJ Wageman | Newhall, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
RJ hasn’t raced all year, not sure why, but he came out for this one and made his first “real” main event rather easily with good times. He made the San Diego mudder (AKA lime gate) main in 2019 but I’m not really counting that. This one does count though and for him to get 13th is awesome as well. His brother Robby jumped on 450 for this one and the less said about that ride, the better. #PulpmxFantasyProblems…RJ is my favorite Wageman at the moment.
14th | #509 Alexander Nagy | Richmond, IL | KTM 250 SX-F
Nagy did it again! Another main event for Nagy and this one was straight from the heat at that. Nagy lives in his van; he is the epitome of a privateer and I’m sure he celebrated this main event by heating up some ravioli in a hubcap afterwards.
15th | #162 Maxwell Sanford | Pasadena, MD | Honda CRF250R
Sanford looked…errr, I don’t have anything to say about Sanford. I’m sorry. Good job though!
16th | #57 Justin Rodbell | Prince Frederick, MD | Kawasaki KX250
Rodbell went down to 250’s for this weekend. I imagine he looked at the entry list and immediately fired up that 250 from last year, right? He easily rode into the main event and from there, it was all gravy for Justin. Be warned people, the summer of Rodbell Part 2 is coming up…
17th | #185 Wilson Fleming | Jacksonville, FL | Honda CRF250R
Early on in the heat, Fleming was pretty far out of qualifying which surprised me when you looked at the guys he was around. Sure enough, he got his butt into gear and made up a bunch of time to get into the main.
18th | #625 Jonah Geistler | Newark, IL | KTM 250 SX-F
Jonah got the last spot into the main event and by the halfway mark of the 250SX LCQ, there were five guys out there with Geistler having a huge lead on fifth. It was rather bizarre to watch, that’s for sure.
19th | #974 Brian Marty | Olympia, WA | Husqvarna FC 250
We lost Marty Davalos to retirement, but it was nice to see a “Marty” was still in the 250SX class!
20th | #597 Mason Kerr | Altoona, IA | Kawasaki KX250
Kerr was perhaps the most, “Huh? Who’s that?” rider in then main event but he rode by himself for most of the LCQ to easily get in.
21st | #124 Lane Shaw | Alvin, TX | KTM 250 SX-F
Shaw got together with Josh Osby and couldn’t finish the race…shrugs shoulders.
22nd | #95 Joshua Osby | Valparaiso, IN | Honda CRF250R
Osby has a cracked bone in his wrist from a practice crash and went to SLC just hoping to do the best he can. He ended up on the ground and crawling off after a collision with Shaw. I’d really like to see Osby go race quads or GNCC’s this summer for Phoenix Honda, who’s with me?
1st | #25 Marvin Musquin | Corona, CA | KTM 450 SX-F
Wow! Didn’t see this coming, right? Marv’s had an up and down year but for whatever reason, SLC 1 was his night and that was pretty cool to see. He was catching Roczen in the middle of the race and probably didn’t need a #94 crash to win, he was just going that much faster. First win in a long time (he didn’t race SX last year due to injury) and again, good to see the veteran guy not be mentally beat down from a year that he was not used to having. Also, good boost for him heading toward the outdoors.
2nd | #2 Cooper Webb | Newport, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
This guy is incredible. Early on the in the main he’s just sort of riding around in the middle of the top ten and Malcolm Stewart is all over him trying to make the pass in the whoops. It just looks like a third or fourth place kind of night for Webb. But as the mains go on, he gets better and better and figures out the whoops and is probably a too-aggressive-for-a-teammate-while-having-a-nice-points-lead-type-of-pass away from winning the whole thing. Great late race race craft once again from Paul [Editor’s note: Paul Cooper Webb is his full name, he goes by Cooper though, and Matthes has yet to let this go]. He’s on the verge of getting his second 450SX title and it’s been fully deserved.
3rd | #27 Malcolm Stewart | Haines City, FL | Yamaha YZ450F
Great work for Mookie to get his first podium of his career in the 450SX Class. He was catching Eli Tomac late in the heat race so that should’ve given us a bit of an idea he’d be good in the main event. He was all over Webb at one point and trying hard to make the pass, if he does, I wonder if he goes on to win the whole enchilada, you know?
4th | #14 Dylan Ferrandis | Lake Elsinore, CA | Yamaha YZ450F
A quiet race for Dylan but a good one. He seemingly was at the tail end of the Webb/Malcolm/Sexton/Anderson freight train but then slowly worked his way past a couple of those guys. These are the rides that Dylan needs and not so much the crash and then go balls out fast from last place to get ninth type of rides. These pay better and also are easier on the body!
5th | #23 Chase Sexton | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R
Man, Sexton had a big one in practice and I wasn’t even sure he was going to race so this spot was pretty good for him. I was kind of waiting for him to strike at some point but again, I’m sure he was feeling it from the crash. This seemed to be a good track for him with the traction.
6th | #94 Ken Roczen | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R
Well, count me shocked to see the #94 crash out of the lead two races in a row. Like, really? That was so unlike Roczen but yeah, it happened. Also, Musquin was catching him when he went down. I mean, he’s just not prone to making mistakes and his crash this weekend was something strange…it was something that I would do out there, not a champ like Roczen.
7th | #21 Jason Anderson | Rio Rancho, NM | Husqvarna FC 450
The PR for the team said that Jason was dealing with his longtime nemesis altitude sickness out there and that makes sense because he was right there off the start and then just dropped back from there. Too bad, he was my pick to win as he looked great all day long. Word in the pits is that Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing is making a push to sign JA21 for next year.
8th | #7 Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH | Yamaha YZ450F
AP rode well but he just didn’t get the start he needed to get into the mix. He was right behind Anderson at the finish and miles ahead of Wilson, so it was kind of one of those nights for him. Still, he continues to be fifth in the points and that’s great. The rumor mill has him going to Red Bull KTM for next year BTW.
9th | #15 Dean Wilson | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 450
I’m telling you, Dean’s DNQ was the turning point of the season for him. Since that happened to him, he’s been the best he’s been all year long. He’s denied that to me, but facts are facts bro, that lit a fire under him or something.
10th | #1 Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Kawasaki KX450
Tomac was fast all day long, qualified fastest and won his heat as well. Maybe we should’ve known something was up when Stewart caught him from behind in the heat race? I don’t know but he went down twice in the main event and that was weird. After being so good in SLC last year, you would’ve thought he was ready to crush it again but not so much.
11th | #17 Joey Savatgy | Clermont, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Ah man! Joey was third fastest qualifier of the day and that meant he had confidence. Confidence means that he will get a start and he did just that in the main. Everything was set up for Joe-Dawg to get a season-best finish, but he had to go and ruin it all with a crash early on.
12th | #20 Broc Tickle | Holly, MI | Honda CRF450R
Tick’s nickname should be “RealTree” because he’s like camo out there, I haven’t noticed him much.
13th | #34 Max Anstie | Murrieta, CA | Suzuki RMZ 450
Anstie to me rides very hard in the heats, you can see that he knows getting top nine and saving some energy from the LCQ is paramount to him. He’s also been very steady for the HEP team and again, he’s better than I thought he would be this year in supercross. And let’s not forget, he’ll be on it for the outdoors.
14th | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | GasGas MC 450F
Bam had a brutal night, crash and bike issues in the heat, had to win the LCQ and then two crashes in the main event conspired to add up to this finish. Okay, look I’m half joking here but if he has another shitty SLC this weekend, maybe it wasn’t the Yamaha? Maybe Justin doesn’t like Utah for some reason.
15th | #44 Tyler Bowers | Lake Elsinore, CA | Kawasaki KX450
I did a Privateer Island Podcast with Bowers this week and he mentioned that he was looking to hit up AX next year so that he can start making some money. Word to the wise you AX guys: the Bear is coming for his trophies.
16th | #37 Benny Bloss | Oak Grove, MO | Honda CRF450R
Glad to see Benny’s ankle held up so he could finish the race and get a decent result as opposed to any other time I’ve picked him this year in PulpMX Fantasy and he DNF’s with his ankle. NOT bitter at all folks.
17th | #280 Cade Clason | Tucson, AZ | Kawasaki KX450
Clason’s emergence this year has to be one of the cooler stories out here. Suspended and away from SX for two years, he returned last year and looked like he needed to be dipped into some WD-40. Well, this year he’s so much better and showing good speed and fight each week.
18th | #28 Brandon Hartranft | Brick, NJ | Suzuki RM-Z450
Hartranft has not looked good the last two races in the whoops. I don’t know what’s going on with him this year, he should be so much better in my opinion, this is a dude who podiumed indoors and out on a 250 just LAST YEAR. Now he’s getting beat by dudes that I never thought would. He’s nowhere near his teammate Max Anstie each week.
19th | #81 Justin Starling | Deland, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Starling’s used some of the injuries to get himself into more mains here later in the year but to me he should’ve been in almost all the mains when you look at his skills. Early on this year (mostly when I was picking him in PulpMX Fantasy BTW) he wasn’t as good. Next season Justin needs to revamp his pre-season prep!
20th | #70 Henry Miller | Rochester, MN | KTM 450 SX-F
Good job for Miller to make it into his second main of the year, he rode well in the LCQ to get in.
21st | #43 Fredrik Noren | Indian Trail, NC | Kawasaki KX450
“Fast Freddie” looked smooth and fast all day long. But his “Freddiness” struck him in the heat when, while all alone in ninth and the final qualifying position, he stalled it on the last lap and let Hartranft by. No matter though, Freddie composed himself and got it into the main from the LCQ.
22nd | #519 Joshua Cartwright | Tallahassee, FL | Kawasaki KX450
Cartwright’s first main event of the year and this put his entire PRMX team, in both classes, into the mains. Cool deal for Julien, the team owner.
Thanks for reading OBS, good times in SLC and one more to go here before it’s all wrapped up. I don’t think we’re going to see much drama as all three titles seem pretty secure, but it should be a good race, nevertheless. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about this or anything else.