Ken Roczen threw away any real chance to claw points back on series leader Cooper Webb when he crashed out of an easy lead in the Salt Lake City Supercross on Saturday. He now trails the KTM man by 22 points with one round remaining.
Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin took the 450SX Class win, his first since 2019, at Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium with one round AMA Supercross remaining in 2021. Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb crossed the chequers right on Musquin’s rear wheel for a second-place finish and Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Malcolm Stewart earned his career-first 450SX Class podium with a third-place finish in front of the limited-capacity, pod-seated fans inside the open stadium.
The Eastern Regional 250SX Class racers returned to racing after a 10-week break and Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda earned his first-ever win with a display of speed and composure under pressure to take the championship battle to the final round. He made history as the first Japanese rider to ever win a Supercross.
When the gate dropped for the 450SX Class Main Event it was Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen who grabbed the holeshot and immediately took control. Roczen sat second in the title points, down by 16 to Webb, and looked completely in command as Webb struggled to recover from a ninth place start. Musquin sat in second and lost time to Roczen in the early laps as defending champion Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac tried to fight forward from just inside the top ten after a bad start.
Webb moved quickly up to fourth with Malcolm Stewart putting heavy pressure on him, making several near-passes as the two tried to climb forward to reach third place being held by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson. Two and a half minutes into the race, Webb sat 5.7 seconds and seven championship points back from Roczen when Tomac had a tip over and dropped back more spots, remounting nearly outside of the top ten
At the race’s midpoint Musquin began to chip away at Roczen’s lead as Webb contended with the constant pressure from Stewart and inched closer to Anderson. With less than ten minutes left on the clock in the 20-minute plus one lap race Webb got around Anderson and into a podium spot. Then Roczen made a mistake exiting the corner before the whoops and went down, dropping him to fifth and handing the lead over to Musquin. Webb broke clear of other riders as he slowly reeled in KTM teammate, Musquin, who was navigating through the lappers. Musquin held his pace and his position and brought home the win, his first since 2019, with Webb following in second and Stewart completing the podium in third. The finish marks Stewart’s first career 450SX Class podium finish.
Musquin said: “I can’t believe it right now – I’m standing on the top of the podium. I have had some struggles this season but my goal is to come back and keep getting better. There are so many good riders, so the start is super important and I was just trying to be consistent, those whoops were really tough. I’m so proud, I gave it my all tonight.”
Webb said:“I didn’t get a great start tonight, which hindered me a little bit. Those whoops were super tricky, I finally found a good line and made a charge there at the end. I thought I was in a good position and Marvin picked it up a lot there at the end. Getting points is key but you want to win when you’re that close. We’ll come around next Saturday and see what we can do!”
Despite a bad gate pick, Gas Gas ace Justin Barcia got off to a pretty good start but he got pushed out and ended up going down hard at the beginning of the race. Starting off in a dead last, Barcia clawed his way up to 11th by the halfway mark and next up was a top-10 battle. However, he found himself back on the ground later in the race and he did what he could to salvage 14th for the day.
Barcia:“I felt really good in practice and in the heat but unfortunately, I ended up going down and tearing my radiator. Thankfully the team got it repaired quickly and got me ready for the LCQ. The Main Event was difficult to say the least. I got pushed out off the start, somehow cross-jumped into the bails and ended up going down and the bike hit me in the back. I charged up to 11th and was still moving forward and then I ended up endo’ing and bending my bike up pretty good. It’s definitely super disappointing on my end but I’m going to regroup and do the best I can do next week to finish the season out strong.”
The Eastern Regional 250SX Class delivered a history-making nail-biter. Jo Shimoda, a late add to the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team this year, grabbed the holeshot and held the top spot despite repeated attacks by two separate riders throughout the 15-minute plus one lap race. First it was Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / GASGAS Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman who tucked a wheel under Shimoda several times, and in fact pulled alongside through one rhythm section, but Shimoda would not be denied the front spot and bumped his way right back into the lead in the next bowl turn.
With under four minutes on the race clock Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence caught and passed Mosiman and set his sights on Shimoda. The Honda rider pressured the Kawasaki rider right down to the checkered flag, but Shimoda had ice water in his veins and never made more than the smallest mistakes as he weaved through lapped riders on the tight Utah track. Shimoda earned his first Monster Energy Supercross win, making him the fourth winner in the division this year and also making history as the first Japanese racer to step atop the podium. Sweeter still, his family was in Utah, visiting from Japan, and able to witness the race thanks to the efforts made to allow fans in the seats in 2021. The win adds Japan to the list now of nine countries to have won a Monster Energy Supercross race.
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Colt Nichols, the red plate holder, needed to only gain two points on Shimoda going into the Main Event to wrap up the title one round early. Nichols crossed the holeshot stripe outside the top five and although the fastest rider on the track at several points, was slow to climb through the pack. Nichols managed a third-place finish, taking the title to the final race, the always unpredictable Dave Combs Sr. 250SX East/West Showdown.
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Christian Craig, who sat eight points out of first at the start of the day, injured his left ankle in qualifying. He lined up for Heat Race two but after one rhythm section it was evident he would not be able to compete and rode off the track and back to the pits. Craig’s departure meant his teammate Colt Nichols would start the Main Event with a 28-point lead over Shimoda and the realistic chance to claim the title at the race.
A surprise announcement just prior to the event was Martin Davalos’ retirement. A crash on Friday during press day hastened the announcement after Davalos incurred a broken collarbone and concussion. The amiable racer moved to the United States at the age of 15 and competed at the highest level of the sport, professional Supercross, for 16-seasons and racked up five 250SX Class Main Event wins.
450SX Class Results
- Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
- Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
- Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha
- Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
- Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
- Dean Wilson, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
450SX Class Championship Standings
- Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM (362)
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (340)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (312)
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (273)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (249)
- Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna (236)
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha (230)
- Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (218)
- Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (208)
- Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., KTM (190)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
- Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
- Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
- Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
- Michael Mosiman, Menifee, Calif., GASGAS
- Thomas Do, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
- Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., KTM
- Logan Karnow, Amherst, Ohio, Kawasaki
- Geran Stapleton, Cape Schanck, VIC, Honda
- Hunter Schlosser, El Paso, Tex., Yamaha
- John Short, Pilot Point, Tex., Suzuki
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
- Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha (187)
- Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki (164)
- Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (158)
- Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (151)
- Michael Mosiman, Menifee, Calif., GASGAS (116)
- Joshua Osby, Valparaiso, Ind., Honda (104)
- Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., KTM (98)
- Thomas Do, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (92)
- Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda (91)
- Logan Karnow, Amherst, Ohio, Kawasaki (77)