Features 8 Sep 2022

Rated: Standouts of Pro Motocross

Breaking down some of the top performers in the 2022 campaign

The 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was nothing short of thrilling, with the 450MX title fight going down to the wire and the quarter-liter class keeping everyone on their toes. In this latest Rated feature, MotoOnline takes a closer look a some of the top performers throughout this year’s series.

Image: Octopi Media.

Rider: Eli Tomac
Rating: A+
Rundown: When pushed, Tomac responded and elevated again to another level in the 2022 Pro Motocross season. Entering the campaign managing a knee injury sustained at the 14th round of this year’s Monster Energy Supercross, Tomac had a steady start at Fox Raceway with 7-4 moto scores. In his second outdoor round with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing, the number three scored a moto victory and backed that up with P1 in the opening race at Thunder Valley. From the second bout at High Point, Tomac really found his stride, winning eight consecutive motos and moving into the lead of the 450MX standings. Normally, such a string of results would provide a rider with a clear championship advantage, however, Chase Sexton finished P2 on each occasion to keep himself right in the fight and raise the intensity of the exciting title battle. In the closing stages of the season, Tomac had to click another gear to fend off the Honda rider, with the red-plate exchanging between the pair, and the multi-time champion delivered when it counted most in Pala’s finals to go 1-1 and secure a fourth 450MX crown.

Rider: Chase Sexton
Rating: A
Rundown: 2022 Pro Motocross was by far Sexton’s most consistent and error-free season in the premier class, which was impressive considering the title fight with Tomac pushed him to a new stage of speed. Starting the year in fine form, Sexton went 1-1 at Fox Raceway and maintained the red plate until Millville. Many were labelling it a matter of when, not if, Sexton would have a major slip up, but the Team Honda HRC rider held his nerve and reclaimed the red plate at Unadilla. Ultimately Sexton missed out on the title by just seven points, and while the number of mistakes he made this season was significantly reduced, the number 23 may look back on moments such as the crash out of the lead in the closing stages of Thunder Valley race two or the falls at Budds Creek and Pala’s finals as crucial points lost in determining the title. Nonetheless, it was a strong season by Sexton who, alongside Tomac, was a clear step above the field.

Rider: Jason Anderson
Rating: B+
Rundown: Anderson banked a solid outdoor campaign, winning two overalls in his first 450MX season with Monster Energy Kawasaki. Opening lap crashes plagued the number 21 as the series approached its halfway point, but ‘El Hombre’ rebounded with a consistent string of results in the final 12 motos, only finishing outside of the top four once. While Anderson was unable to consistently match the intensity of Sexton and Tomac, he was often the rider to complete the rostrum alongside the pair and finished a comfortable P3 in the points standings. He achieved 12 top three race finishes throughout the season, with victory in moto one at Hangtown.

Image: Octopi Media.

Rider: Jo Shimoda
Rating: B+
Rundown: Making Lucas Oil Pro Motocross history, Shimoda became the first Japanese rider to win a moto at an AMA national courtesy of his race victory at RedBud, which carried him to the overall win at round five. From there, Shimoda continued to rise, taking another overall at Unadilla and winning the final bout of the season in Pala by a commanding 24.3s. Although he couldn’t match Jett Lawrence in terms of race wins, his consistency throughout the second half of the season elevated him to P2 in the standings and allowed him to disrupt the Lawrence brothers’ dominance. It was Shimoda’s best campaign yet in the US and his progressing form fires a warning shot ahead of next year.

Rider: Jett Lawrence
Rating: A
Rundown: Back-to-back 250MX champion Lawrence produced a stellar outdoor title run in 2022, winning 9 out of 12 overalls to end the campaign with a convincing 45-point advantage. Jett kept his cool after a mechanical failure caused him to relinquish the red plate to Hunter at RedBud, and stormed to a five-race victory streak in the following races. He was able to recover from mediocre starts throughout the year, and notched 525 points across the 24 motos, 28 more than he did in his title success last season despite the DNF at round five. The 19-year-old admittedly was smoother throughout this year’s Pro Motocross, without the compromise of speed, and will certainly be one to watch in the series next year on a 450.