Round TWO (?!?) of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross took place in Oakland this past weekend and what a race it was. Well, in one class anyway. Let’s dive into it, yeah?
This track was nutty, it had Eli Tomac calling it such with the steepness of the jumps, the number of jumps, and the softness of the dirt. Tomac told us he thought there would be lots of riders getting carted off and I was in agreement with that, but it didn’t happen that way. The track was actually pretty good as far as the danger factor, but two sets of whoops, with a dragon-back directly between them definitely took it out of the riders.
I loved it. It was great to see the riders challenged and yeah, they were bitching but no one is forcing them to twist that throttle, you know?
Let’s check out the results from what we hope is the last time we’re at the Coliseum there at Oakland.
1 | #18 | Jett Lawrence | Zephyrhills, FL | Honda CRF250R
It’s Jett’s world right now but he doesn’t have as big of a lead in the points as he should because RJ Hampshire is hanging in there. Jett was quadding in his heat race before the finish with a big lead because, I guess he just felt like it? It was big for 450 guys and there he was, just checking it out. He won handily in the main event, and it wasn’t much of a contest out there. He should be in 450SX by the way, but here we are. About the only criticism I have about Jett is that someone in his posse didn’t put his donuts in the press box for the media this week.
2 | #24 | RJ Hampshire | Minneola, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Hampshire, like Cameron McAdoo, is pretty beat up and wasn’t able to do much with Jett when he was leading. Both RJ and Mac are zombies out there from their crashes and were probably just hoping to get through this race before a bit of a break.
3 | #48 | Cameron McAdoo | Sioux City, IA | Kawasaki KX250
Cam’s been off the bike a bunch since his injury at Anaheim 2 and probably wasn’t the sharpest he could’ve been coming in. Brown caught him and got by before Cam passed him back and left him on the ground. Kitchen was also probably a bit faster than him but didn’t get the start. All in all, I’m sure he’s good with the podium and I know in talking to Mitch Payton afterward, he was as well.
4 | #43 | Levi Kitchen | Washougal, WA | Yamaha YZ250F
Starts, starts, starts. The Chef’s heat and main starts didn’t help his cause at all, but I thought, especially in the heat, he rode very well. He looked aggressive out there and very sendy.
5 | #33 | Pierce Brown | Sandy, UT | GasGas MC 250F
Much better race for Brown this week. He was in the mix for podiums and even catching guys that have been beating him all year. He made two mistakes in the main that probably cost him a podium but this was a very good ride by the kid.
6 | #56 | Enzo Lopes | Chesterfield, SC | Yamaha YZ250F
Lopes had a quiet night in Oakland, although he was on top of the board for a bit in the second qualifying session. Maybe he was worried about his brother-in-law, Phil Nicoletti, who crashed, hurt his wrist, and will be out for a while. This makes Enzo and me sad. #deathcross
7 | #34 | Max Vohland | Granite Bay, CA | KTM 250 | SX-F FE
Vohland looked spicy early on with quadding after the finish line, hammering the dragon back, and seemed to be a rider that picked up on the track real early in practice. But in both the heat and the main, he got dropped a bit by the riders in front of him. Contract year for Maximus, these races are big for his future.
8 | #49 | Mitchell Oldenburg | Godley, TX | Honda CRF250R
Oldenburg wasn’t feeling well coming into the race and admitted that he didn’t have it on this night. He was closing in on Maximus at one point but couldn’t get it done. Good interview with Freckle after the race, especially when I asked him about Jett. Check out the Pulpcasts on PulpMX.com for that one.
9 | #83 | Cole Thompson | Brigden, ON | Yamaha YZ250F
The team had a cool collab with a NASCAR entry into the Daytona 500 where they have the same Heartbeat Hot Sauce sponsor, and both ran the same graphics. That’s called synergy people!
10 | #84 | Mitchell Harrison | Leesburg, FL | GasGas MC 250F
I don’t know what Harrison did on the little west break, but he was WAY better in Oakland. In practice he looked better, qualified well, and then did this in the main event. Like, huh? Was he hurt coming into the year or something? Whatever he did coming into Oakland, do that again for the next 250SX west race.
11 | #79 | Dylan Walsh | Wildomar, CA | Kawasaki KX250
Oh man, Walsh almost died off the dragon-back on one lap as he nose-picked his way off it. Could’ve been ugly, but as it was, he got into the main via the LCQ and then with that crappy gate pick, finished about where he usually does, which is good.
12 | #59 | Robbie Wageman | Newhall, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Wageman holeshot the heat race! RM ARMY BABY! He also looked a little better than he had last time we saw him out there and maybe the main didn’t go the way he wanted it to, but he didn’t get the start. Still, he led the heat!
13 | #85 | Dilan Schwartz | Alpine, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
As Dilan told me after the race, he just can’t seem to get a bunch of SX races in a row going to get some confidence down. He’s been hurt a bunch, and this is the best finish of the year for him so maybe this can be the start of something. Between (Marshall) Weltin going DNQ to start the year and Dilan not doing that great to start the year, HEP will take this 13th I’m sure.
14 | #53 | Derek Drake | Lake Elsinore, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Drake was the third Suzuki in a row in the main event and that’s about all I have as I didn’t notice much.
15 | #508 | Hunter Yoder | Menifee, CA | Kawasaki KX250
Yoder was gonna quit the sport before PRMX offered him a spot on the team, based out of South Carolina. And now he looks the part each week of a main event guy and creeping toward a top ten. Cool story here.
16 | #111 | Anthony Rodriguez | Tallahassee, FL | Honda CRF250R
I spoke to A-Rod after the race, and he wasn’t happy with his entire day from qualifying on. He said that generally his return to American SX has gone okay, and he’s hoping to get closer to the front, but in Oakland, he said he just needs to be better.
17 | #981 | Austin Politelli | Murrieta, CA | GasGas MC 250F
Not sure why Austin wanted to drop down to the 250s after years in the 450s but hey, he made the main event!
18 | #162 | Maxwell Sanford | Pasadena, MD | Honda CRF250R
Sanford rode well in the LCQ to get in. He came from way outside the top four to get into the main. From there, yeah, I’m not sure, but the LCQ ride was great!
19 | #500 | Julien Benek | Mission, BC | Kawasaki KX250
Oh Canada! Good ride for Benek to get in to the main. This was his first ever main event I believe and good for the PRMX team to get Benek, Yoder, and also Cade Clason into the mains.
20 | #173 | Hunter Schlosser | El Paso, TX | Yamaha YZ250F
Schlosser’s LCQ was very exciting. He was in, he was out, but ultimately, he got it done. Love those LCQ’s.
21 | #41 | Derek Kelley | Riverside, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
Kelly went down early, and I thought we might see a red flag but he army crawled off the track and got out of the way. I heard he was fine after the race.
22 | #100 | Matt Moss | Heathcote, AUS | Suzuki RM-Z250
Moss came back to the USA for the first time in, what, ten years? He was factory Suzuki at one point here, went back to Aussie, got suspended for four years, came back to WSX, he won Paris SX, raced with Justin Brayton in the Aussie SX, and seems to be right back to where he was, which is impressive. He qualified well in Oakland on his new team, Bar-X Suzuki, and got third in the heat. That’s where the good news ends—he jammed a wrist and pulled off early in the main. All of us in PulpMX Fantasy silently wept.
1 | #1 | Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Yamaha YZ450F
We had ET on the PulpMX Show Monday, and he told us that yup, he was happy to get second and was just going to survive a tough Oakland when Sexton gave him that gift. He was doing a little slower rhythm but didn’t care, he just wanted to get through the race, and he won! Tomac also told us he is 50/50 on racing the SMX races at the end of the year as opposed to 90/10 NOT doing them before the year started. This is good news for all of us fans, that’s for sure.
2 | #2 | Cooper Webb | Newport, NC | KTM 450 SX-F FE
How about Webb busting out that quad over the table? He told me after the race he did it on the parade lap but then waited too long to start doing it in the main. Webb just did what he does out there. He got yarded early by the top two guys, figured things out, then used his race craft and endurance to almost win the thing. Brutal track conditions and that plays right into Webb’s strengths.
3 | #23 | Chase Sexton | Clermont, FL | Honda CRF450R
I mean, what can you say? Sexton should’ve won Oakland like he should’ve won Tampa last week. But yeah, we all saw it. He’s got to be frustrated for sure, I had a member of another team tell me that if he gets two in a row, it might be over for everyone else, he’s that good. Are we seeing a three-rider breakaway here? These three might just make most of the rest of the races a thrill ride of orange, red and blue.
4 | #7 | Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH | KTM 450 SX-F FE
Look, this finish is really good on paper, especially coming off his podium last week but man, I was really surprised at how fast and far he got dropped from the first three. Like, he was in it and right there and then, two laps later, he was like eight seconds back. Not sure what happened there but hey, KTM will take AP’s rides the last two weeks all day long.
5 | #21 | Jason Anderson | Rio Rancho, NM | Kawasaki KX450SR
Anderson looked like he wanted to really do “something” in his heat to get Roczen but then remembered that he was literally put on probation last week, so he’s got to watch himself. That checkup was neat. In the main he lost the front end and lost some of the momentum he was building and in case you’re wondering if the Kawasaki guys are stoked on his incidents this year, they are not.
6 | #51 | Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | GasGas MC 450F
The last two weeks have seen Bam-Bam ride very angry out there. I had a rider tell me that he was out there just aggressively going after people working through the pack. This rider was saying that how he rides in this mode, and it takes up so much energy, he’s not sure how Barcia can ride like that all main event long. Anyway, in the last two weeks Barcia for sure has the most passing points.
7 | #28 | Christian Craig | Clermont, FL | Husqvarna FC 450 RE
This was much better for Craig, even though maybe the seventh isn’t amazing on paper? Craig qualified better, he rode better, and he was in the mix for the first time this season. This is progress people!
8 | #17 | Joey Savatgy | Clermont, FL | Kawasaki KX450SR
Well, Joe-Dawg got some better parking this week and he also got his season best finish on a burly track. Looks more and more like he will be parking the bike after Daytona to get ready for WSX with Rick Ware Racing and he and the team can’t come to terms for a full SX run. That’s too bad. I don’t think either side is pissed at each other, it just happens. Savatgy’s been solid all year.
9 | #45 | Colt Nichols | Murrieta, CA | Honda CRF450R
Nichols was good this week, maybe his best ride of the year and yes, I’m including his opening round sixth in this. He looked more aggressive and moved forward in the main event as well. I’m guessing he’s able to ride a bit more during the week than he had been.
10 | #32 | Justin Cooper | Tallahassee, FL | Yamaha YZ450F
Cooper was a last minute add to Oakland once Ferrandis wasn’t able to go and although he didn’t get seventh like he had the first two rounds of his 450SX career, he did well to get a top ten. Must’ve been a bit surreal for him to pass Roczen in the main event, right?
11 | #94 | Ken Roczen | Clermont, FL | Suzuki RM-Z450
The good—Roczen won a heat race and looked great in doing it. The bad—he faded in the main event. It looked like he had himself a decent top five and then the wheels fell off. Not sure what happened. I know he tried himself some new suspension (developed with help from Chiz) and that seemed to be good, but this was Kenny’s worst race on the HEP Suzuki. More good news in that he gets another shot in seven days at a Triple Crown format he’s usually very good in.
12 | #15 | Dean Wilson | Menifee, CA | Honda CRF450R
Ladies and gentlemen, we have, for maybe the first time ever, a top tier rider telling me after the race that he got tired! YES! Not “tight,” or “arms pumped up,” or “issues.” No, Dean told me he got tired! I can’t believe it. Anyway, props to Dean for saying that and also, he’s been better the last two weeks in the first half of the mains. I was talking to Marty Davalos in the truck after practice and they are working on getting the clutch better for Dean. Wilson’s a good guy, I hope he’s not done racing after this year.
13 | #751 | Josh Hill | Huntersville, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
Hill hadn’t made three mains in a row until last week in Tampa where he looked a lot better and again this week. Not sure if he did some testing or what but the last two weeks look a lot different than the other three weeks.
14 | #46 | Justin Hill | Yoncalla, OR | KTM 450 SX-F
Last week Justin beat Josh by one spot and this week it was the opposite. Not sure if this is the plan or not? How come when I pick Justin in PulpMX Fantasy, he doesn’t ride like he can?
15 | #9 | Adam Cianciarulo | New Smyrna Beach, FL | Kawasaki KX450SR
Not a good night for AC. I talked to him before the night show, and he was his usual self but then Nick Wey made a crack about “us” e-bike people and I had to leave. Anyway, Adam jumped that quad before the finish, crushed the whoops a bunch, and looked great, but two crashes in the main and then some low energy riding after that left him with his worst result in 2023.
16 | #12 | Shane McElrath | Oakland, FL | Suzuki RM-Z450
Despite this 16th on paper, Shane was much better this week. The team stayed in Florida and did some testing, McElrath qualified the best he had, he was running just outside the top ten for most of the race and just looked “racey” you know? He was certainly pretty happy after the race with everything that had happened.
17 | #44 | Benny Bloss | Oak Grove, MO | Yamaha YZ450F
Benji’s decided that he needs to have his dad Jeff stay home because everything seems to run smoother without pops there. I mean, I’m not sure about that but last week was great for Bloss and this week he was great in heat before, well, I’m not sure what happened in the main. I do know he got sideways, kicked a bunch of Tuff Blocks out and Tomac almost landed on them. Nothing we can do about those Tuff Blocks, folks. Anyway, Benny was also complaining to me about his flight from Florida to Oakland and almost had me feeling bad for him until learning his issues were caused by him trying to save like two hundred bucks.
18 | #11 | Kyle Chisholm | Valrico, FL | Suzuki RM-Z450
Chiz tested all week for Roczen and the HEP guys, he also tweaked a knee a bit and was struggling all day with the ruts and what have you. Kyle’s got the added burden of trying to test and develop this RM-Z along with trying to focus on his own racing, training, and riding. It’s not easy.
19 | #68 | Cade Clason | Chesterfield, SC | Kawasaki KX450
Cade looked good in qualifying and in the heat he was fine, then he didn’t do the easiest double on the track, appeared to get rattled, then fell out of qualifying. It was weird, in the LCQ he took care of business and got in. I think we’re at the point now where he’s a main event guy all the time. He just has to start getting more toward that 15th spot.
20 | #80 | Kevin Moranz | Topeka, KS | KTM 450 SX-F
Moranz is a good starter, and he needs to get a start in the LCQs, which he usually does—it’s odd to not see Kevin up front. I asked Clinton Fowler about Moranz’ LCQ stats and yes, my thinking that he comes through in LCQ’s is correct. Kev’s made 17 450SX main events and a whopping 15 of them were made through the LCQ!
21 | #519 | Joshua Cartwright | Fort Worth, TX | Kawasaki KX450
Cartwright was back in the main this week after a weirdo off-week in Tampa.
22 | #47 | Fredrik Noren | Indian Trail, NC | Kawasaki KX450SR
Freddie crashed a lot all day long. He did hold it together to get into the main though which was good for him and also, great for the people in PulpMX Fantasy that could pick him. SOME OF US picked him last week.
Thanks for reading, we’re onto Dallas, which is a Triple Crown race and those always make for good times! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about this or anything else.