The 12th round of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season has come and gone. Both classes provided several talking points from passes, crashes, track conditions, engine displacement, and privateers. As such, we fired off some questions to long-time professional racer Jason Thomas to get his take on all things Seattle Supercross.
Big discussion on our podcast this week about short lap times and 450s being so good at jumping huge rhythms (and thus shortening the times). What's your take on slowing the bikes down, or switching to 250s for everyone?
I don’t think it’s necessary. I think 450’s require the most skill and being the highest level of racing we have, I see no need for change. There are ways to slow the track down without fundamentally changing the motorcycles themselves. We can build wall jumps, steepen particular jumps to discourage big rhythms, add switchbacks, etc. That section where Eli Tomac and co. were going over the tabletop-3-3 could be changed very easily to slow things down. The rhythm after the first corner was also very fast, most notably because of the triple-onto-tabletop. Making the first take-off smaller would remove that speed very easily. I personally think we are looking for a problem more than trying to solve one.
As for the 250’s talk, I don’t even really consider it a viable option. The 450’s are not a hazard. There are just as many crashes in the 250 class as the 450. Further, the 250 lap times are almost identical if not faster at certain points of the day. If we are trying to add lap time, it doesn’t seem that a 250 will do that. If we are trying to keep riders safer, it also doesn’t seem that the 250 will do that. Would the racing be more competitive? Possibly, but I would ask you if that Seattle 250 main event was exciting or had battles throughout? That answer is no.
Tomac's 4-3-3 on the opening lap of the 450SX main event:
Tracks get so hammered by the second half of a 450 main event. It's a constant topic. Is this a good or bad thing? Sometimes challenge can be good, but obviously no one is stoked about a track that's crazy hammered.
Again, this is not a new development for the sport. Tracks have always been rough and rutty in the second half of main events. Go back and watch a main event from Pontiac or Indy, etc. in the '80s or '90s. The tracks were very difficult to navigate. The whoops were rutted and uneven. The rhythm sections were rutty and technical. I don’t think this is anything to be concerned with unless you are of the mindset that it’s been a decades long problem that’s never been addressed. I personally believe that being able to maintain a similar lap time as the track deteriorates is a skill that not everyone possesses. The second half of these main events displays that particular skillset.
Christian Craig got knocked down by Michael Mosiman. It actually cost Mosiman too, because he bent a rotor in the incident. What do you think of all this?
The move itself was not dirty or anything even questionable, in my opinion. Mosiman did make contact, but I didn’t think it to be over the top. I actually think Christian could have, and arguably should have, checked up in this scenario. There are only a couple of dynamics that could ruin Craig’s title run and forcing himself into a tight spot is one of those. Some would argue that he’s going for the race win and needs to stay aggressive. I would argue that that’s all well and good but let wins come if they are available and take podiums if that’s what a particular night calls for. Forcing it when Mosiman had the inside is giving opportunity to exactly what Hunter Lawrence and co. are begging for. Their only hope is disaster to strike Craig and upping the likelihood of an incident is cracking the door to disaster.
For Mosiman, I chalk it up to bad luck. He didn’t do anything outlandish, he just happened to damage his rotor. He is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Craig. Every open door should be smashed down with a sledgehammer. Leave no opportunity unchecked. Most times, that move goes to plan and he rides off into the sunset. This time it didn’t work out.
With injuries to the 450 field, it's given a lot of others the chance to step up. Anyone stand out, good or bad?
The privateers are getting a chance to shine. The three riders that come to mind are Cade Clason, Ryan Breece, and Justin Starling. All three started the season on the bubble of these main events. Now, they are scoring top tens and qualifying with relative ease. Breece, for example, was going for absolute broke back in Oakland, taking people out (#722) and eventually just burying himself at the end of the whoops. Things were anything but smooth and calm. Flash forwards a few months and things look and feel a lot differently. The most important factor in garnering a good finish at one of these races is to actually finish. These guys withstood a few months of volatility but are now reaping the rewards of resiliency.