Points-leader Nichols salvages podium following opening lap incident.
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Christian Craig earned his second 250SX East victory of 2021 at Indianapolis 3, a pivotal win in a round where Colt Nichols was forced to battle through for the podium.
Red plate-holder Nichols picked up where he left off in the heat race earlier and grabbed the holeshot with Mitchell Oldenburg (Muc-Off Honda) and Craig just behind.
But it wasn’t long before the points leader would endure a massive crash, cross-rutting out of a corner and up the face of a jump on the first lap, thus allowing Craig to slip past for the lead as Nichols dropped all the way to dead last.
Phoenix Racing Honda-mounted Josh Osby got a great start and put himself inside the top five just behind Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), with Shimoda taking control of the third spot early on. Nichols cracked back into the top 10 after just five laps.
Shimoda worked his way past Oldenburg with 10 minutes left in the race, just back from them Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) had worked his way into the top five after a dismal start that left him buried in the pack. Nichols latched onto the back of Lawrence a few laps later and the two would begin to battle over fourth.
Nichols attempted to make a pass with three minutes left and Lawrence looked back, slowed down and closed the door, keeping the points-leader at bay. As they battled, they reeled in Oldenburg in third.
Meanwhile, however, out front Craig stretched out an 11-second lead over Shimoda. Lawrence then worked his way by Oldenburg with three laps to go and Nichols would also try to sneak by, but Oldenburg battled back to maintain the four spot.
A half-lap later he’d get by and set his sights back on Lawrence for the final spot on the podium. Lapped riders came in to play, first holding Lawrence up in a rhythm lane, allowing Nichols to secure third and then again on Lawrence, running him wide and off the track on the landing of the finish line, forcing him to miss the corner.
All the while, Craig maintained his gap and went on to grab his second victory of the season by a commanding 7.560s margin ahead of Shimoda who earned his way onto the podium, while Nichols recovered valuable points to finish on the podium.
Oldenburg took advantage of Lawrence’s incident and took the fourth spot back from him, the duo rounding out the top five. Osby bought his Honda home in sixth with Hunter Sayles (KTM), Devin Simonson (Kawasaki), Thomas Do (KTM) and Luke Neese (Kawasaki) rounding out the top 10.
It’s still Nichols who leads the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX East standings, now by six points over Craig, with Shimoda climbing to third after Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas) was injured in practice earlier this afternoon. The series now heads to Orlando next Saturday, 13 February.