Jason Anderson grabbed his fourth win of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season on a high-speed track that stretched in front of the Atlanta Motor Speedway grandstands.
Series points leader Eli Tomac gave up three points to Anderson in the title hunt with a second-place ride on the rutty Atlanta track. Chase Sexton held the lead early but a crash relegated him to a hard-fought third-place finish. The 250SX Class held the first of two 2022 Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown events and Australian Hunter Lawrence took the honors over the top riders from both regions.
Justin Barcia grabbed the holeshot in the 450SX Class Main Event with Sexton, Anderson, Tomac, and Cooper Webb directly behind. Sexton put on a move for the lead just over two minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race. After a short skirmish Sexton took over the spot from Barcia. Anderson was past Barcia soon after, but Sexton was already sprinting ahead to amass a two-second lead.
What looked like a win for Sexton evaporated when the Honda rider crashed awkwardly in a bowl turn after one of the track’s sand sections. Anderson took the lead while Sexton remounted a charge from sixth place with fifteen minutes still on the race clock.
Shortly after that Barcia went down, and the running order upfront was suddenly Anderson, Webb, then Tomac. With just under six minutes left on the race clock, Tomac flew past Webb but had over eight seconds to make up on this nearest rival in the championship standings if he hoped for a win. With just over a minute left on the clock, Sexton passed Webb to get back into the top three behind Anderson and Tomac.
Anderson was happy with another win and is looking for a few more before the season comes to a close
“It seemed like we might have a mudder this morning but, the dirt came around after the sun showed up around mid-day,” Anderson said. “By the time my Main Event started, the track was gnarly but, we’re in a great spot with the bike so I was able to keep pushing the pace through the tough conditions. Even though the whoops were cupped out and edgy, the bike was consistent and predictable, so I kept charging across them every lap. The whole team has put in a lot of effort to have the KX450SR working as good as it is right now so hopefully we can enjoy a few more of these wins before the season ends.”
For championship leader Eli Tomac the runner-up spot was a good result after only losing three points to Anderson and still maintains a hefty 53-point lead going into the final three rounds.
“It was a really tough track that changed the whole time and was very challenging throughout the day,” Tomac said. “In the morning, it was really slick, then it slowly came around, but it was still a tough race track. I made a couple of mistakes early in the main event, and that got me out of touch with the lead, but I was able to have a good second half of the race and fought to finish second on the podium. So it was a solid night and good for the championship.”
Third-placed Chase Sexton was once again in a winning position but another small mistake cost him the win.
“It was a really good day for me, riding-wise. I felt good here last year, and I was excited to be coming back. I felt good with the track again, and I probably haven’t had this much fun riding my dirt bike, ever. The rain made it pretty technical – still pretty fast, but I think it slowed down a tad. I knew Jason [Anderson] was going to be good, and Eli [Tomac] obviously. I put myself in a good position, and then I came into that corner and couldn’t really save it; it was just gone so fast. I had to gather my thoughts and just go for it; I knew I could probably make it back to the podium if I rode like I know how, and that was my goal after my fall. I’m thankful to be back up there, but obviously, I want to be where Jason is sitting. I’m glad the team and I have made this much progress. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way, and you’ve got to keep digging. I know that sunrise is coming.”
250 East/West Showdown
In the unique Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown that pits the top riders from both regions against one another, Jo Shimoda jumped into the lead with a holeshot ahead of RJ Hampshire and Hunter Lawrence. Eastern Regional 250SX Class points leader Jett Lawrence sat in sixth and Western Regional 250SX Class points leader Christian Craig crossed the holeshot stripe in eighth.
Hunter Lawrence was quickly into second place after a battle with Hampshire while his brother Jett crashed exiting the whoops and dropped outside of the top ten. Craig steadily moved forward through the pack while Jett charged frantically to climb back toward the front. Six minutes into the 15-minute plus one-lap race Hunter Lawrence took over the lead and was never challenged for it. One lap later Craig slipped into second and held it to the finish. With two laps remaining Jett Lawrence reached Shimoda and the two had a few near tangles. Lawrence emerged with the final podium position and Shimoda held on for fourth.
“Any time you win is cool, so East-West is really good,” Hunter Lawrence said. “Everyone has been hearing about the East-West deal – who’s going to win, this and that – but it’s not really anything new that you have to change your approach for; you just have to race. I did my best in qualifying, but I live for the night show. I got a good start and took it from there. Jett’s on the box as well, which is so awesome for our family – we’re in the best place we’ve ever been. Our work ethic is second to none, and the team we have around us now is unbelievable – every one of our guys that we work with. It’s cool, and we’re having fun. This is what we train for, and I’m so stoked to pull it off.”
Runner-up Christian Craig admitted it was a bit of a wild round but was happy to have only lost three points to Lawrence in the title chase.
“Atlanta was a wild one! It rained all morning, and I thought the track was going to be underwater, but somehow it stopped at the perfect time, and they were able to scrape off the mud,” Craig said. “We only had one practice due to the rain, but I was able to qualify well, and I won my heat race, which was nice. Then in the main, I got off to a decent start and worked my way up to second about halfway through. I was pushing to try to catch first, and I went down with three laps to go. Luckily, I was able to get up in second and hold that position to the end. We lost three points in the title fight, but we still have a 23-point gap with two rounds left. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, have some fun and move on to Denver.”
Jett Lawrence mounted an incredible charge through the pack that landed him in a third position after being back in fifteenth on the opening lap after crashing early
“The biggest thing today was the traction because it was obviously pretty muddy in the qualifiers,” Jett Lawrence explained. “It was kind of just seeing what the traction was going to be like – when it was going to be tacky and grippy – and I found out those spots where it wasn’t tacky at all. It is what it is, and you can’t really throw your hands up; you have to get back on your bike, put your head down, your bum up, and keep charging. I feel like days like today are a good test of my mental side, to see how I’m building from previous races, and it’s a well-deserved podium. I was definitely cheering inside my helmet when I saw Hunter was P1, and I was just thinking, ‘Be smart Hunter and bring it on home.’ It’s nice that we got 1 and 3.”
Supercross no heads north to Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Saturday, April 23, for Round 15 of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship at the Gillette Stadium.
450SX Class Results
1 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
2 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
4 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
5 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
6 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
7 Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda
8 Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha
9 Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., Suzuki
10 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (325 Points)
2 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (272 Points)
3 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (257 Points)
4 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna (253 Points)
5 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (245 Points)
6 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (227 Points)
7 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (227 Points)
8 Dean Wilson, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna (152 Points)
9 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (141 Points)
10 Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., Suzuki (139 Points)
Dave Coombs Sr East/West Showdown 250SX Class Results
1 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
2 Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha
3 Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
4 Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
5 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha
6 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS
7 Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki
8 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna
9 Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda
10 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (194 Points)
2 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (171 Points)
3 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS (158 Points)
4 Vince Friese, Menifee, Calif., Honda (127 Points)
5 Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki (125 Points)
6 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (112 Points)
7 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (99 Points)
8 Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Yamaha (94 Points)
9 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., GASGAS (90 Points)
10 Carson Brown, Ravensdale, Wash., KTM (83 Points)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (169 Points)
2 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna (122 Points)
3 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (114 Points)
4 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (107 Points)
5 Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda (103 Points)
6 Enzo Lopes, Indian Trail, N.C., Yamaha (100 Points)
7 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (95 Points)
8 Jace Owen, Mattoon, Ill., Yamaha (77 Points)
9 Phillip Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha (76 Points)
10 Derek Drake, Lake Elsinore, Caif., Suzuki (68 Points)