Main image is from 2019 Denver Supercross, photo by Jeff Kardas
The penultimate round of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship takes place in Denver, Colorado. One of my favorite rounds of the series, Denver has so much to offer. Both this round and the finale in Salt Lake City feel like my now-hometown of Boise, Idaho, and maybe that’s why I like it so much. The people in these cities are all active and into powersports. The mountainous backdrops add character to a series that so often takes place in downtown concrete jungles. One other dynamic of note, the altitude for these rounds puts a premium on motorcycle performance. After several rounds of sea-level racing, taking it a mile high will show who has power on tap and who will be adding teeth to their rear sprocket.
Dirty Little Secrets
The start this week is the typical long, left-hand 180 and immediately into a rhythm section. The approach here will be fairly straight forward, too. Riders will want to stick to the inside line and go 2-3-3. There is a slight chance they could swing wide in that first corner and opt for a 3-3-2, as well, but I believe the race line will lean towards protecting that inside line.
After a 180 left (netted), there is a triple out of the corner and then a standard supercross triple. Another immediate 180 leads to a shorter set of whoops which can be big and burly for Denver. With a 90-degree left coming quickly, watch for riders to check up over the last few whoops to slow down. That dynamic also sets up for a more likely whoop jumping approach as a rider like Musquin could go 3-3-3 and land to the inside. Those that are blitzing with a lot of momentum will have a tough time getting their front tire settled for the inside line. As with most things, there are pros and cons to both methods.
After screaming across the mechanics’ area, riders take another 90 left and into the longest rhythm section of the course. It seems as if the options will be minimal down this sideline rhythm and most will choose the same line. Riders will go on-off, triple, and then triple into the next left hand 90. I could also see riders going 2-1 over the last three jumps, simply to snag that inside line before the sand.
Speaking of that sand, it spans the width of the stadium and looks to have a few waves built in to make things a bit more challenging. A 180 left sends riders into a basic but steep double and into a 90 degree right. The finish line double is on the exit of that 90 so watch for riders to forego jumping the finish line altogether both for qualifying laps and the end of the races, too.
A flat 180 puts riders back onto the starting straight and into the first corner for lap two. Like Indy, this flat 180 after the finish line could set up for some aggressive passing. It’s tempting to slingshot off whatever outside berm may form but that inside line sits wide open for those seeking contact.
Jason Anderson has won two races in a row and while it’s likely he’s eliminated from championship contention this weekend, it’s been a heck of a career rejuvenation.
Chase Sexton looked great in Foxborough and didn’t make the key mistake that has plagued him too often this year. Watch for him to go for the win in these two final races.
Austin Forkner gave us a glimpse of what he had under the hood in Atlanta but made good on it in Foxborough. He looks like the Austin Forkner of old. Welcome back.
Jett Lawrence won his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross (250SX) title in what I feel could be a recurring theme.
Hunter Lawrence comes into Denver after back-to-back West Coast wins. His title hopes are slim, but his riding has never been better.
Steve Matthes gets his very own race this weekend, albeit on Friday. I know that anything can happen in this world but five years ago if someone told me that Feld Entertainment would allow Steve to hold his own event with his own rules, I would have called you an outright liar.
I’m torn putting Eli Tomac here as he’s about to win the 450 title but I really didn’t like that main event ride last weekend. He hadn’t shown us that hesitant, weirdo type ride in a long time. Hopefully he bounces back once this title is clinched.
Cooper Webb went from first to sixth in Foxborough and really struggled in the whoops. He looked very frustrated out there. I have a feeling 2023 will be a much different story.
After offering Webb, Musquin, Max Anstie, and others the chance to ride the KTM 250 this summer, Roger De Coster decides to just do it himself. Watch for the wily 77-year-old to start slow as he works through the 42 year rust factor but by RedBud, these guys are toast.
The Yamaha LCQ Challenge (also known as Steve’s race) is complete anarchy. Several assault charges are pressed in its wake with attorney Arthur Draper emerging as the true winner.
Stank Dog is a notable absentee from the Friday festivities. Steve takes the brunt of this snub via Stank’s social army, but my poor sister has been in therapy for weeks and I haven’t seen my jeans since January.
Christian Craig wraps up his first SX title and as a bonus, his son Jagger is signed by Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing through the 2036 season.