Features 19 May 2022

Top 10: Performances of the Supercross season

Breaking down a mix of standout rider moments from 2022.

The 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Championship delivered its share of action, excitement and challenges along the way. With this year’s series now in the books, we look back at the Top 10 performances throughout the season.

Image: Octopi Media.

1. Record-breaking Tomac makes it six at Daytona:
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac well and truly established himself as the king of Daytona, taking a convincing main event victory to surpass Ricky Carmichael’s win record at the venue. Tomac was shuffled back to fifth following an opening lap tussle between Malcolm Stewart and Jason Anderson. The red plate-holder swiftly made his way forward, capitalising on a collision between Anderson and Stewart to move into third, before using the split lane to pass Sexton for P2. To the roar of the crowd, Tomac passed Webb for the lead – who was hindered by lapped traffic – in the whoops and rode to his sixth Daytona victory, extending his red plate advantage.

2. Anderson reborn with Monster Energy Kawasaki:
Critics had labelled Jason Anderson as ‘damaged goods’ when Monster Energy Kawasaki announced his signing in 2022. While ‘El Hombre’ is a popular figure in the sport, the question remained if he could deliver in green after a challenging few years since winning the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship in 450SX. At A1’s opener, he charged his way into podium contention before being brought down by Justin Barcia – a promising Kawasaki debut nonetheless. In just his second race on the KX450 at Oakland, Anderson made a move past teammate Adam Cianciarulo for the lead on lap four and didn’t look back as he took the checkered flag to end a 47-race winless streak. While Anderson went on to claim victory in a total of seven races in 2022 450SX, standing on the top step at Ring Central Coliseum holds extra significance considering it was his first with Kawasaki and that it marked his arrival back at the front of the field.

3. Tomac crowned in Denver:
While Tomac won five races in a row throughout the middle of the season, his results started to decline after Atlanta’s 14th round as Anderson started a winning streak of his own, in a final bid for the title. Tomac had his second opportunity to secure the crown at the penultimate round in Denver and he launched to second in round 16’s main event behind Sexton, before taking the lead as the Team Honda HRC rider made an error. As the race progressed, Tomac was shuffled back to fifth, where he would ultimately finish and take the 2022 450SX title. It would be understandable if Tomac dropped off late in the season to bring home the championship, but it was later revealed he had been managing a damaged MCL since Atlanta, making the achievement even more commendable. With such injury easily aggravated, the fact Tomac could wrap up the title in Denver was critical as it eliminated the chance for his knee’s condition to worsen, and allowed him more time to recover before the Pro Motocross season commences at the end of May.

4. Jett Lawrence clinches at Foxborough:
Jett Lawrence was in a league of his own for the majority of the 2022 250SX East season. As misfortune plagued some of his key closest rivals, Lawrence kept his head down to secure four victories and eight podiums throughout the year. His final podium of the season came at Foxborough, where he recovered from a poor start to work his way back to second and clinch the 250SX East crown with a round to spare. The second place at Gillette Stadium didn’t come easy though, Austin Forker – who had returned from injury – fought Lawrence hard for the position initially, before the pair moved past Pierce Brown and continued their battle in the closing stages. It was a spectacular end to the race, with Lawrence just missing the victory, but doing what he had to do to secure the title.

5. 450SX opened by Roczen guns-blazing:
A dominant performance from Ken Roczen saw him lead every lap in Anaheim 1’s main to take the first win of the season. The Team Honda HRC rider withstood early pressure from teammate Chase Sexton, ultimately crossing the line to take a convincing 7.296s victory. While A1 remained Roczen’s only 450SX victory in his illness shortened 2022 indoors campaign, the dominance displayed to commence the year remains a standout ride.

Image: Octopi Media.

6. West is best as Hunter Lawrence stands tall:
Seemingly missing that last piece to match Christian Craig in the opening 250SX West rounds, Hunter Lawrence needed to win some races in the second half of the season if he were to have a shot at the title. The Team Honda HRC rider scored his second victory of the season with the region returned to action in Seattle, but a standout performance came at the first East/West Showdown of the year at Atlanta. Lawrence crossed the holeshot line in third, and moved into second when he narrowly avoided RJ Hampshire going down. The number 96 then moved past Jo Shimoda in the sand section to take the lead, where he would ultimately finish the race ahead of Craig and brother Jett, who recovered from an early fall.

7. San Diego breakthrough for Sexton:
Speed has never been a question for lightning-fast Team Honda HRC rider Chase Sexton, it’s just been a matter of ironing out costly mistakes. Sexton vowed to minimise such in 2022, and was left devastated as mistakes cost him a chance at victory at A1’s 2022 opener. Redemption came at San Diego’s round three, where Sexton started second behind Marvin Musquin and worked to lap five to make a pass for the lead. From there, the number 23 withstood pressure from the hard-charging Jason Anderson, before a mechanical issue slowed the KX450 rider. Sexton capitalized to take his first 450SX main event victory with a six-second advantage – a breakthrough and notable performance for the 22-year-old in 2022 Monster Energy Supercross.

8. Top step at A3 sees Craig extend:
Christian Craig delivered many commanding 250SX West performances in 2o22, including four victories on route to ultimately clinching the title at SLC. A decisive moment, however, came at Anaheim 3. Hunter Lawrence claimed a win in Glendale to keep the title pressure on Craig entering round six, as the pair both launched to a great start in the main event. Craig swiftly passed the number 96 in the whoops for the lead, and set a blistering pace to put the pressure on Lawrence to keep up. Lawrence then got off-balance in the whoops, resulting in a main event ending crash for the Australian. Craig went on to secure victory in what was a night of attrition, with the likes of Lawrence, Jo Shimoda, Michael Mosiman and Jalek Swoll all crashing. The advantage gained from A3 ultimately proved vital for Craig to withstand the late-season charge of Lawrence and take the 2022 250SX West title.

9. SLC Showdown victory ends Thrasher’s season on a high:
Having not stood on the 2022 250SX West podium, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Nate Thrasher entered the SLC finals determined to end the season on a high, and he did. Thrasher clicked a gear at Rice-Eccles Stadium that he hadn’t found all year, and slotted quickly behind Hunter Lawrence and teammate Craig in the main event. He made a move past Craig for second on lap two, and took the lead from Lawrence a lap later. The number 49 opened up an advantage during the first half of the race, then kept his nerve as Lawrence closed on the final laps to take his first victory of the season. Although Craig captured the 250SX West title on the day, Thrasher’s commanding performance to win the Showdown can’t be undermined.

10. Consistency for Musquin to reign supreme in St. Louis:
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin was one of very few riders to finish every main event in 450SX this year. With much attention being on teammate and defending champion Cooper Webb, Musquin quietly went about his business and delivered consistent top five results for the squad. With both Webb and Aaron Plessinger absence from St. Louis due to injury, it was up to Musquin to deliver in the Triple Crown. Out-scoring Sexton, Anderson and Tomac, the Frenchman produced consistent 2-1-2 results to take the victory, the first and only for KTM in 2022 Monster Energy Supercross.