Last night, the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship kicked off with the Anaheim 1 Supercross at Angel Stadium in California. However, the first round had a difficult track (for the season opener) and the night show had all sorts of chaos and craziness. Several riders suffered big crashes and severe injuries, including Colt Nichols, Jalek Swoll, and Carson Brown. Here are the updates we have learned as of this afternoon. We will continue to provide more information when it becomes available.
The 2021 250SX East Region Champion was assigned to the 250SX West Region this year following a strong off-season. Running his new career number #45, Nichols qualified sixth fastest on the day. In the first 250SX heat, Vince Friese holeshot and led the first few laps as Nichols sat close behind. On the fourth lap, the Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing rider took the lead and appeared he would run away with the race win. Unfortunately, Nichols ran into trouble in the first of the two big whoop sections on the track. The #45 missed the top of the second whoop with his front wheel, causing his Yamaha YZ250F to dip upon contact with the next whoop. Nichols endoed over a whoop and then was shut up into the air before slamming down shoulder-first onto the next whoop in a violent crash. Worst of all, Nichols was momentarily trapped immobile under his machine until a track worker moved the bike from atop of him.
Nichols was tended to by the Alpinestars medical crew and eventually was put in a soft cast (on his left arm) and taken off the track on the medical cart. His night was over as he would undergo tests to diagnose the injuries.
This afternoon, Yamaha provided the following in a post-race press release:
“Unfortunately, Colt Nichols’ night ended early with a big crash while leading his heat race.”
The press release continued:
“Nichols was looking to have a strong start, but unfortunately, the 2021 250SX East Champion had a big crash in the whoops while leading the first heat race and sustained injuries to both arms. He will undergo surgery today, and an update will follow."
Team manager for the 250 team Jensen Hendler said:
“It was a rollercoaster night for us, though. I’m bummed for Colt, but we’ll keep pushing forward, and things will come around for him.”
After Nichols went down, our Jason Weigandt and Kellen Brauer on site said, "It felt as if the air was sucked out of the stadium as fans collectively held their breath while Nichols was down for the remainder of the race." Only moments later, in the second 250SX heat race Jalek Swoll had a big crash as well as riders had to check up early in the race. As Hunter Lawrence doubled the first triple, riders tried to check up and avoid landing on one another while still tight together, but as Nate Thrasher drifted slightly to the left in the air, his Yamaha YZ250F caught the front wheel of Jalek Swoll. Unfortunately, the bump threw off Swoll’s trajectory. Swoll remained on his bike until he attempted to land, as he then hit the ground hard, needing attention from the Alpinestars medical crew. The heat race was eventually red-flagged so the medical crew could tend to him. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider was eventually placed on a stretcher and taken off the track on the medical cart, and the heat race was fully started on the gates.
Early this morning, Husqvarna said the following statement about Swoll in a press release recapping the opening round:
“Team rider Jalek Swoll suffered a crash at the beginning of the second 250SX heat race and was unable to continue racing for the night.”
This afternoon, Swoll posted a brief update himself to Instagram—luckily, it appears to be good news.
“Big one last night, unfortunately I don’t think there was anything I could’ve done🤷♂️ was told I was out when they got to me but don’t really remember for some reason 🙂”
He also commented on a SupercrossLive Instagram post “I’ll be back 🦍”
Also in the second 250SX heat race, AEO Powersports KTM Racing fill-in rider Carson Brown had a big crash in a whoop section on the start of the fifth lap that ended his night early. The Washington native stood up and walked off the track under his own Today, Brown posted an update.
“I was having an awesome time at A1. Unfortunately caught a lever through my mouth and rearranged it a little haha. The good news is one of the track crew found a tooth of mine on the track and got it back to me 😭😂 Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the night because I had too many gashes in my mouth that required stitches. Planning on being back for Oakland. Thanks a ton for everyone’s messages, either way I’ve been having a blast on the bike with the @aeopowersportsktmracing team!”