Triple Crowns are back! After a year off, the popular format made its season debut in Monster Energy AMA Supercross at Glendale. Well, I should say it’s a “popular” format if you’re a fan of the series. If you’re a racer or a mechanic, it’s probably the opposite. I get it, I was a mechanic for a long time and I talk to the guys now—it’s a lot of work and pressure, and although there’s an hour scheduled between races, it’s really less than that because you have to be in staging and all that. It’s a total team effort to make sure your bike is ready to go for each gate drop.
But, like extending the main events to 20 minutes a few years back, I think changing a few races to this format is a good thing. We can always go back if it doesn’t work, right? Why not try something different? There’s no way I’d want to see all the races be Triple Crowns, but I definitely wouldn’t want it to be all the same either.
I’ve broken down the pros and cons of the Triple Crown format for you people below.
More action because of shorter races. That’s awesome, right?
More variation of things happening in the races. That’s awesome, right?
I do feel like qualifying is a bit more intense because of the importance of getting into the top 18. That’s awesome, right?
Every time the gate drops, it’s hella important. No more heat races where fifth on back are just making sure they’re in the main. That’s awesome, right?
The LCQ’s aren’t seen by majority of the fans (they take place during the day when the stands aren’t packed, and before the TV show starts, although you can watch on Race Day Live). The LCQs are pretty awesome to watch. I have no idea why the AMA/Feld Entertainment or whomever would not put them at the start of the night. Nothing creates excitement like telling people the top four are in, the rest go home.
It is more dangerous for the racers because of the starts and that’s not a good thing.
It is tougher for the teams and especially the privateers if there are any issues to make the gate drop for all three races/mains.
That’s my next point. Can we please have a name, any name, for these individual races or sprints or whatever? They’re not mains, they can’t be. Can we keep track of them better please and maybe call them something? How about sprints? (Editor’s note: most are referring to them as “race one," "race two," and "race three" but Steve has not adopted this idea just yet).
The final race/main/sprint does sometimes lack drama because the rider in position to win the overall is kind of just riding around.
Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?
250SX Overall Results
1 | #96 | Hunter Lawrence | Wesley Chapel, FL | Honda CRF250R | 2-1-2
Hunter rode great to take his first win of the year and all the attention on the Vince Friese/Christian Craig stuff probably robbed him of more praise for his riding. He was smart, calculated, and was the second best rider out there after CC. This may sound like a slam on Hunter, and with all due respect (whenever someone says that, you know a backhanded compliment is coming), it’s amazing he’s only eight points back of CC after five races. Like, to me Craig has clearly been the better rider but some “incidents” have helped Hunter out. Now he’s in position to take advantage of his breaks. It’s a little like the 1997 125SX east series really, just need to see if Hunter pulls off a “Tim Ferry.”
2 | #28 | Christian Craig | Temecula, CA | Yamaha YZ250F | 1-4-1
Craig was amazing in Glendale, he won two of the three mains, races, XXXXXXXXX whatever we’re calling them rather easily. His charge from last to fourth was amazing in that short of a race and if he was racing his 250 in the 450SX class, he’s probably top five. I know, some of you are saying I should calm down, but man was he great. Also, bonus points for not lighting the MCR truck on fire after the “incident.”
3 | #30 | Jo Shimoda | Menifee, CA | Kawasaki KX250 | 5-3-3
I don’t know, man. I know Jo and his team came into the year thinking title and I know this was the first podium of the year, but no one was too happy over there in the PC truck. Jo didn’t seem stoked on his ride and Mitch Payton didn’t either. That’s the bar they have over there and I’m sure it’s not been great for anyone with Seth Hammaker’s injury and Jo’s rides. Maybe this is the spark he needs to get going.
4 | #35 | Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Yamaha YZ250F | 4-6-6
After somehow not making the main last week, Marchbanks misses the box by one. As usual, his starts weren’t great and it was weird, he was charging up through the pack and got right on Jalek Swoll and Nate Thrasher in the last two mains and in my mind, he was going to get them. I look away at somebody else and then back to that battle and Garrett had lost a second or so. It’s like his momentum stalled right at that moment and he couldn’t get it back.
5 | #62 | Vince Friese | Menifee, CA | Honda CRF250R | 3-10-4
Well it was eventful evening for Vince, huh? The thing to me is that Vince probably has a podium if he doesn’t launch his bike at Craig and clean both of them out. I’m not sure what he was thinking really, it was bizarre and I’m a guy who defends Vince when the lynch mob comes for him (unfairly, I feel many times). This was indefensible to me and I can’t believe the AMA didn’t fine him. The AMA said they had no complaints on record since 2019 and so that was why it was just probation. I have a friend who’s a regional AX champion and TV guy who told me he thinks Vince is going after Craig because Christian has now twice said he’s tried to ask Vince to ride smart and clean, so he can do better and make everyone’s lives easier. My TV buddy says this probably makes Vince mad. I don’t know man, sometimes it’s tough to defend Vince Friese.
6 | #31 | Jalek Swoll | Clermont, FL | Husqvarna FC 250 | 6-5-7
I’ve been waiting for Swoll to get more into the mix but I’m sure that Anaheim 1 crash was pretty impactful on him and it’s probably tough to get back to where he was. I thought he looked pretty good in the whoops this week also.
7 | #49 | Nate Thrasher | Livingston, TN | Yamaha YZ250F | 8-7-5
Craig took Thrasher a bit high in the second turn when he was coming through the pack after getting “Friesed,” and then Nate ran it into him deep the next turn. Both moves were a bit odd considering they were teammates and Christian said they had words about it after the race. Thrasher’s got to be smarter IMO there. Sure, you’re a little “WTF” when CC does that but if he had knocked Craig down in the next turn, I’m sure he would’ve been hearing about it.
8 | #910 | Carson Brown | Ravensdale, WA | KTM 250 SX-F | 9-9-8
Another top ten for Brown and this is a cool story for sure. He’s top ten in points, which he’s never been, and he’s having a career SX season in his third time racing the series. He missed last year’s season with an injury.
9 | #29 | Michael Mosiman | Sebastopol, CA | GasGas MC 250F | 10-2-15
Crashes in two of the races did Michael in and he probably eliminated himself from a title after this race. Hard to see him making up 23 points on two riders with five races left. That second was good though! I didn’t see the crash on the bridge in the third race but I heard it was a good one.
10 | #69 | Robbie Wageman | Newhall, CA | Yamaha YZ250F | 15-8-10
Wageman, like Brown, is setting career highs this year. He’s averaging tenth place and before this his average finish was around 13th. Sure, there have been some injuries and such to the class, but still, Brown and Wageman are a couple of guys who have really stepped up. The Solitaire team also apparently has a Beaver mascot named “Pulpy” and he’s got 762 on the back of his jersey. I also don’t know how to feel about this.
11 | #74 | Derek Kelley | Riverside, CA | KTM 250 SX-F | 7-19-9
Not sure what happened to Kelley in the second main, be it a crash or bike issue, but had he just gotten a tenth, so he’d have been right by his teammate Brown in the top ten, which would’ve backed up both of their great races last week in Anaheim.
12 | #101 | Dylan Walsh | Southam, GB | Kawasaki KX250 | 13 11 11
Good job for Walsh yet again. His starts have been really good, which has helped. He’s lost the second-most positions in the class, which isn’t ideal but shows you how good his starts have been.
13 | #64 | Mitchell Harrison | Leesburg, FL | GasGas MC 250F | 12-13-12
Harrison has had two good races in a row now which is nice to see. He and Jerry Robin were very mad at each other after the last race and they both got put on probation with the AMA.
14 | #66 | Chris Blose | Phoenix, AZ | GasGas MC 250F | 14-15-14
I was talking to Zombie on track walk about life as a media guy and he was asking me about what I’m going to do next, what do I do when I don’t want to keep going to races, and all that. Real deep stuff out there by the whoops. Track talk can get depressing sometimes, guys. Anyway, he had a rib injury amongst other things and wasn’t sure how it would go, but he’s a zombie and he was fine out there at his hometown race.
15 | #97 | Jerry Robin | Hamel, MN | GasGas MC 250F | 17-14-13
Jerry can do a fast lap, we all know this. So the Triple Crown format was made for him baby! He got into the top 18 rather easily but here’s the thing, Jerry has issues with actual racing and finishing well and he makes a few mistakes here and there in case you didn’t know. BUT with three races, Jerry was somehow better than he is with one race. Weird, right? Good night for Robin.
16 | #98 | Dominique Thury | Schneeberg, GER | Yamaha YZ250F | 16-12-20
That 12th is good for Thury and it’s weird why A1 was by far his best result of the season so far. I thought that was a little too ambitious of a finish for him and turns out that was true.
17 | #67 | Logan Karnow | Amherst, OH | Kawasaki KX250 | 18-16-16
Quiet night for Karnow “Asada” but I know he was much higher in main one before crashing late.
18 | #161 | Cole Thompson | Brigden, ON | Yamaha YZ250F | 11-20-21
Thompson crashed out of the second race, didn’t start race three, and then announced on social media he is out for the SX season. A thin class gets thinner.
19 | #914 | Geran Stapleton | Clyde North, VIC | GasGas MC 250F | 19-17-17
Stapleton started the series slowly but has been close to the main lately and in Glendale, he got in. The Aussie has one more chance this weekend to impress before I believe he is headed home.
20 | #181 | Wyatt Lyonsmith | Boise, ID | Kawasaki KX250 | 21-18-19
Absolute gift for Lyonsmith to get into the main when, despite being in qualifying position and making it in, Colby Copp decided to clean out Hunter Schlosser for third (?!?) and they both went down. Yeah, uhhh not smart. Also weird. Did Hunter try to hit on his girlfriend or something? 250SX LCQ- catch the fever! Anyway, Wyatt will take it for sure.
21 | #503 | McClellan Hile | Atascadero, CA | Honda CRF250R | 20-21-18
Absolute gift for Lyonsmith Hile to get into the main when, despite being in qualifying position and making it in, Colby Copp decided to clean out Hunter Schlosser for third (?!?) and they both went down. Yeah, uhhh not smart. Also, weird. Did Hunter try to hit on his girlfriend or something? 250SX LCQ- catch the fever! Anyway, Wyatt McClellan will take it for sure.
22 | #43 | Carson Mumford | Simi Valley, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250 | 22-22-22
Mumfy endoed off the dragon’s back early in the first main and hurt his shoulder so he called it a night. Sucks for sure but doesn’t sound like anything is broken. He put his crash on social media and it’s ugly.
450SX Overall Results
1 | #3 | Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Yamaha YZ450F | 1-1-3
Uh oh, is what the rest of the competition should be thinking right now about ET3. He had another weekend where he looked fantastic. Absolutely stunning performance by Eli to be the first rider to win two races this year and two in a row at that. He was the first guy to grease the 4-4 after the first turn also, and that started his day off on the right foot. He was almost flawless and did look to be just riding around in third in the final main because I’m sure he was doing the math with Sexton and Anderson ahead of him. When he needed to win in the first two, he was basically perfect. I heard on the first start another OEM was saying Tomac saw the guy with the controller that drops the gate (and Eli’s jump was UNBELIEVABLE, so that makes sense) and on the second main, the AMA never moved the guy, even after hearing about it. The third start they did something to hide it from ET. Look, even though he may have been a bit sneaky on the starts, that’s on the AMA to make sure rider’s can’t see the starter. Also, nobody could catch him anyway. Out of all the “takes” out there about Tomac coming into this season, I don’t believe I heard he would be a happier guy and BETTER than ever before?
2 | #27 | Malcolm Stewart | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 450 RE | 3-2-4
We had Mookie on the PulpMX Show and he sounded pretty happy with everything. He did tell us that yes, his amazing whoop speed isn’t as amazing right now as it has been, but that, after some bike changes, it will be back. He also mentioned they did a lot of testing out east and the SoCal & west tracks have been quite a bit different. That puzzles me. Why would KTM not do a bunch of testing out here before the year? Anyhoo, Mookie gets a podium and has been top five at every race this year, which is quite remarkable.
3 | #23 | Chase Sexton | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R WE | 11-3-1
Sexton crashed twice in the first main and told me after the race they were struggling to find front end traction all day and he had the team making a lot of changes throughout. It all came together when he holeshot the third main and took off for the win. He also gets huge points for doing a quad after the finish after he went three in. I never saw it even though I was watching him a bunch, my bad. Then he told me after the race he did it in practice also. I never saw that either. Dammit! I’m always blown away by guys who do things that no one else does.
4 | #21 | Jason Anderson | Rio Rancho, NM | Kawasaki KX450SR | 2-12-2
Well, Jason rode great again and probably should have gone 2-2-2 for second overall but he crashed. And he took a long time to get going at that. Jason also should’ve gotten second at San Diego but he had that bike issue. And he should’ve gotten a third at worst at Anaheim 1 but Justin Barcia happened. He’s been great pick-up for the Kawasaki guys and I think working with Broc Tickle has been very good for him.
5 | #94 | Ken Roczen | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R WE | 4-6-7
Kenny was second in race one and looking good, no one was touching Eli, but I would’ve put good money on Roczen taking that second. Except, he got caught and that was weird. And then he got bumped back to fourth and that was weirder. The other two mains he wasn’t really a podium threat and that was super weird.
6 | #51 | Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | GasGas MC 450F | 6-7-6
Barcia tried really hard out there in coming up from not-great starts and he was around Marv [Musquin] and Coop [Webb] seemingly in every main event. He had the second worst first lap position out of anyone in the top ten (Wilson was the worst) and it looked like this sixth was a lot of work for Justin. I wrote last week that his starts have gone bye-bye since the first couple of rounds and they weren’t back this week either.
7 | #25 | Marvin Musquin | Corona, CA | KTM 450 SX-F FE | 5-4-11
Musquin had an outside chance at the podium when he went down late in the third race but up until then, he was pretty consistent. He was around Webb in every main event also.
8 | #1 | Cooper Webb | Newport, NC | KTM 450 SX-F FE | 8-8-5
Is anyone worried here? Webb lost one spot in race one, he lost five spots in race two, and one spot in race three. That’s seven passes made on him to none for him in the positive. He looked to be trying hard, as usual, but man, this week didn’t go that well for him. Lots of people are positive that once the series heads east he’ll win races and be better, but I think it’ll be too late by then. He’s almost a race down in points already with no signs he’s got the bike where he wants it to be. We’ve got Anaheim 3 and Minneapolis to go before he’s back to dirt that “these” people think will be better. Anaheim 3 is a big race for Coop, in my opinion.
9 | #15 | Dean Wilson | Murrieta, CA | Husqvarna FC 450 RE | 9-9-9
As Zacho [Osborne] said in our review pod, Wilson got screwed in going 9-9-9 for ninth! That kind of consistency should be rewarded, for sure. I mean, some people go 14-9 for 7th overall in the nationals, right?
10 | #12 | Shane McElrath | Oakland, FL | KTM 450 SX-F FE | 10-11-8
Hey, that eighth is pretty good right?
11 | #7 | Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH | KTM 450 SX-F FE | 12-10-10
I guess AP didn’t ride all week from his crash and it showed this week, as he wasn’t really a factor in any of the races. He moved up a bit from some so-so starts and that’s all folks. Hopefully his injury is something that won’t affect him much going forward.
12 | #14 | Dylan Ferrandis | Tallahassee, FL | Yamaha YZ450F | 7-5-22
Guess what? Dylan’s starts were nowhere near where they needed to be to podium in these short races but he rode hard and was fast when the checkers flew in the first two mains. The third one he absolutely ate crap and went over the bars on a small double, not sure what went wrong there but it did. He’s fine but that was ugly.
13 | #54 | Mitchell Oldenburg | Aledo, TX | Honda CRF450R | 13-14-15
The burning questions is, would Freckle have gotten 16th if there was a fourth main?
14 | #10 | Justin Brayton | Charlotte, NC | Honda CRF450R | 18-13-12
Tough night for JB, which came after another tough night last week. He was probably around tenth or so in the first main when he crashed. He got better in the last two but he wasn’t as much of a threat on this track as I thought he would be. He tried the 4-4 after the first turn, clipped the last jump, and almost went down. Then he never did it again but I’m not sure it was faster to do it, it’s just something the old JB would get right away, you know? After the race Brandon Hartranft was telling me how he’s still impressed at how Brayton “smashes” the whoops still.
15 | #41 | Brandon Hartranft | Brick, NJ | Suzuki RM-Z450 | 17-17-13
Hartranft was happy with his third race and he also took the time to remark just how gnarly Chiz is as well. These dudes must just be so frustrated at times when the #11 beats them.
16 | #19 | Justin Bogle | Wesley Chapel, FL | Suzuki RM-Z450 | 19-16-14
Bogle’s still coming around. He’s been emphasizing how far behind he was coming into the year with testing and then of course some off-track stuff happened as well. Two years ago at this race, he was knocked silly in the first turn and that took him out for a long time, which he admitted affected him a bit this weekend.
17 | #11 | Kyle Chisholm | Valrico, FL | Yamaha YZ450F | 15-15-20
Chiz had no rear brake for the last main and that wasn’t ideal on a fast track like this. Before then he was absolutely, totally, 100 percent, chizzing all over everyone. Wasn’t fast enough to get one heater lap in? CHECK. Won the LCQ easily? CHECK. Top privateer in the first two mains? CHECK. This guy’s like the post office man, he just always delivers.
18 | #26 | Alex Martin | Clermont, FL | Yamaha YZ450F | 14-19-18
I feel like “we” are figuring things out and getting a little better out there. Look, I know the 250F and 450F Blu Cru frame is the same and therefore the bikes are basically the same size, but Troll just looks small on the 450. I don’t know why, it’s like those pictures of dots in the mall you look at and see a sail boat. I just see Troll looking tiny on the 450 even though I know it’s the same frame!
19 | #34 | Max Anstie | Wesley Chapel, FL | KTM 450 SX-F | 20-18-16
Anstie had bike issues in one race I believe and the other ones I have to believe his shoulder he crashed on last week was affecting him. Or he’s sad that Lewis Phillips is leaving for the UK soon.
20 | #200 | Ryan Breece | Athol, ID | Yamaha YZ450F | 16-21-17
Breece is having a nice comeback season after missing last year but what I’m most confused about is him telling people he was fined by the AMA for the move on 722 [Enticknap] in Oakland in the LCQ, but the AMA called me and said he was not fined. I’m so confused.
21 | #78 | Cade Clason | Chesterfield, SC | Honda CRF450R | 21-22-19
Cade was back into the main for the first time since A1 and it was probably a relief for him and his team. His teammate Alex Ray didn’t race because of injury so the pressure was really on the 78. Of course A-Ray was his manager so I’m not sure if that helped or hurt.
22 | #61 | Fredrik Noren | Indian Trail, NC | KTM 450 SX-F | 22-20-21
I spoke to Fast Freddie on track walk and he’s much improved this year in SX—he doesn’t have those sketchy moments. He told me he just got time on the same bike, time at Club MX, and more prep coming in than in past years. He’s four for four in mains, which is great for him. He was an 11 HC in PulpMX Fantasy and jusssstttt needed to beat one guy in the main to get double points. He didn’t do it. Not bitter at all, BTW.
That’s it from TRIPLE CROWN MANIA!!!! Good to have it back. Email me at email@example.com if you want to chat about this race or anything else.