In the Western Regional 250SX Class at the Salt Lake City Supercross, Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Shane McElrath took his third victory of the season, but it was Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Justin Hill who celebrated clinching the Western Regional Championship.
In the Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event it was Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner claiming the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot over Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger and McElrath. Plessinger took advantage of his best start of the season to move into the lead, bringing McElrath along with him into second. Forkner settled in to third. Hill started behind this group in sixth, but made early passes to take over fourth.
Plessinger set a torrid pace to establish a multiple-second lead over the field and appeared to be in full control of the race. However, a mistake on Lap 7 in the whoops sent Plessinger to the ground and out of the race. That allowed McElrath to take control of the lead, with Forkner moving into second and Hill into third. Forkner was poised to challenge McElrath for the lead but he too encountered misfortune in the whoops, altering his line while navigating around a lapped rider and losing control. Forkner crashed out of second, allowing Hill to assume the spot and moving Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Mitchell Oldenburg into third.
Oldenburg put on a charge and caught Hill for second, successfully making the pass on Lap 13. Hill continued to lose ground and was soon at risk of falling off the podium as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Martin Davalos closed in from fourth. With McElrath in the lead, Hill needed a podium result to clinch the title.
McElrath went on to take his third win of the season by 3.9 seconds over his teammate to give the Troy Lee Designs team a 1-2 finish.
“This win was about staying up. It’s unfortunate for Aaron [Plessinger], but tonight was one of those tracks where you couldn’t ride too hard because it was so technical and precise. I’m pumped for Justin [Hill], but for us to finish 1-2 is amazing.”
On the final lap Davalos and Hill battled for third, with Davalos making a pass for the position. However, Hill refused to give up and made an impressive pass in the final corner to take away Davalos’ line and grab the final podium spot by mere inches, securing the title as a result.
“This championship means everything [to me]. We’ve worked so hard,” said Hill. “This is my fifth time around and I’ve had bumps along the way, which makes this win way more sweet. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid. This is awesome.”
The championship is Hill’s first career professional title, clinching one round early. It’s also the 20th title for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, the most successful team in the history of the sport.
Western Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM
2. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM
3. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki
4. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
5. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda
6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki
7. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha
8. Hayden Mellross, Australia, Yamaha
9. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Honda
10. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Yamaha
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki – 180
2. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM – 154
3. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 143
4. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna – 142
5. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda – 122
6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 105
7. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha – 96
8. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Honda – 85
9. Cole Martinez, Rimrock, Ariz., Yamaha – 73
10. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM – 60