Assorted racer comments following the 17th round of the season.
In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out in round 17 of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship at Salt Lake City.
Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) – First:
I’m really at a loss for words right now. Getting the win tonight was just the stamp on this season. I really wanted this win more than anything. It still sounds insane to hear that I’m the supercross champion. It takes a team behind you to win though, and even when we were at our lowest in the middle of the season, no one gave up the fight. It was a long journey to get here, even a long week knowing where we were. I’m happy to get this one checked off the list, and to get everyone at Honda the championship they deserve.
Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Fourth:
All in all, this weekend was another step in the right direction for me and the whole Monster Energy Kawasaki team. I’ve been focused on putting the building blocks in place throughout this season and it’s great to have these strong results in the final rounds. Of course, it would have been awesome to close out with back-to-back podiums, but we were in the battle and still had a solid night. Now, we’ll shift focus to Pro Motocross and look to keep the fight going.
Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Second:
It feels good to cap the season off with a podium. I went down a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back, but made good progress through the week and decided I could race. I’m still a little sore, though today was a crazy day! The clouds were all over the place – it was hot and cold, and then the rain came down. This track is like concrete, so the rain made it tough, but it was fun. The whoops were tough, as I showed in the heat, but we remounted well and came back with second in the main, so I’m pumped to finish the supercross season off like this.
Ken Roczen (Progressive Ecstar Suzuki) – DNF:
Overall we had a really good day here in Salt Lake. We were always up in the mix, battling for the top spot. We had a great heat. We were thrown a curve ball with the rain, but everything looked great. In the main, we got off to a decent start. I went around the third turn, dabbed my leg down, and hyperextended it. That ended my night and spooked me a little bit. I’ve never done anything to my knee, and it was hurting pretty bad. Luckily, it didn’t pop. It seems to be fine. But I had so much fun this year. I’m keeping my head high. We’ve been riding really well, have been solid on the bike, and we’re having a lot of fun with the team. That’s really what I’m holding onto. I can’t wait to have a couple of weeks off and then start competing in World Supercross.
Shane McElrath (Twisted Tea Suzuki) – Seventh:
Tonight was a pretty strong race. I ended up seventh after starting last. I just didn’t have the consistent starts I had last weekend. I felt good on the track tonight, felt like I made some really good passes. It felt great to race and to keep pushing until the end. It was an overall good season. I ended up 11th in the series so it’s a lot to take away. There was a lot of learning and I gained experience this year. I’m just thankful. It’s been a lot of fun and this team has been really great.
Kyle Chisolm (Twisted Tea Suzuki) – 14th:
I started the day off not feeling very well. My Suzuki was impressive, but I just couldn’t get a flow and connect the track together, then we had rain before the heat, and I knew the start was important. I nailed the start and ended up third in the heat, which was awesome. In the main, I ripped another good start. I ran third and then settled into fifth. I was wanting to get a top-five tonight. I came up on a lapper and didn’t anticipate it well enough; the lapper made a mistake in front of me, and I landed behind him and went down pretty hard. I’m bummed because we were in the top five. But it’s racing, and I’m happy to finish the season healthy. The team did great all year.
Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
It still hasn’t sunk in that this is my last 250 race – it really didn’t cross my mind until I crossed the finish line. Obviously, I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my 250 career. I wish I could have battled more with Hunter, but I’ll take the win. It’s going to be weird this summer with a different schedule, getting dressed at a different time than Hunter. The outdoor season will be full of fun battles with my teammate Chase, and it will just be a great learning experience. It’s exciting pretty much starting from the bottom again.
Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Sixth:
I didn’t really have any pressure on me today, so I could just go out there and ride my race. Obviously, I want to win every time I’m on the track, but today I just had to take what the race gave me. I didn’t get the best start, and when I ran into the back of someone on the first lap, I knew this wasn’t going to be my race. I’m happy to get out of here healthy and focused on the motocross season.
Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Fifth:
It feels good to get through another supercross season and be healthy and make every round. We had a pretty good season overall. Other than a few races, I was in the top five and got a lot of podiums. We got close to that win a couple of times; it just eluded us this year. We’re going to keep working all summer, for outdoors and SMX, and be ready to come back and try and battle for the championship next year.
Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Eighth:
Today was really good. We just tried to get everything dialled in during qualifying. I was able to win the heat race, and with the showdown, it was pretty much half the main event for the heat race, so I was definitely excited to win that. It gives me some confidence for next year. In the main event, it started raining, and I slid off the gate and didn’t get a great jump and had to work from the back. I made my way up to eighth and ended up securing second in the points because (Max) Antsie was right in front of me, which was where I needed to finish to get second. So yeah, second in the points, three podiums, and two heat race wins in my rookie season – I’m pretty hyped about it!
Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Third:
It was a pretty day good for me – qualifying fourth, getting the heat race win, and then finishing third in the main. I’m not only really happy with the day but with the season as a whole. It was just a big learning year for me, so I’m ready to come out next year and be one of those guys fighting for wins every time. I’m really looking forward to that and looking forward to the outdoor season.
Chris Blose (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 12th:
I was in the mix for the early portion of the race but just fell back toward the end. It wasn’t my best night of the season, but there are still plenty of positives to highlight from this year as a whole. It’s been great to race with the support of the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team and I’m really thankful to Mitch [Payton] for this opportunity. I only had a few days on the bike before we started racing and still, we managed to finish in the top-five of 250SX East points. That sort of progress doesn’t come without a lot of effort and sacrifice so, a big shoutout to the whole crew for always going the extra mile and backing me completely.
Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Fourth:
We have made a lot of progress since I came back to racing from my shoulder injury earlier this year and we almost earned another podium tonight. It’s tough when you don’t get a start at the very front in the East/West Showdown races because it’s so competitive in the class. I had good speed and kept pushing to the end but couldn’t quite close the gap. Next we go to the Pro Motocross season and will be ready to fight for the championship.
Carson Mumford (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 10th:
I was unfortunately toward the back from the start and really had my work cut out for me to earn a top-10. With the East/West Showdown format, there are just so many good guys out there that you have to be on point the whole way through. I think we’ve made good progress as a group and, even though I joined the team a little behind the eight ball, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in this short time. I’m super grateful to the whole Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad and, as my butt patch said, this has been a ‘Dream Job’ for me.
RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Second:
It was an awesome night and season. I gave myself a chance at it, that’s all I asked of myself for tonight. I got a really good start. I just kind of lost it in the whoops there. But overall, it was really solid. Another podium, the seventh of the season. It should have been eight, but who’s counting New York? I’ll take this confidence and keep the ball rolling into the outdoors, and we’re going to have a really awesome season there, too.
Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) – 14th:
The day didn’t begin so well here in Salt Lake City as I had to go through the LCQ. Happy to finish third there and transfer through to the main event, though had almost the last gate pick. Thankfully, I got a great start, I was third, but a couple of mistakes put me in P5 for two laps, then had a small crash. I was up the back, although happy to charge to where I did, and happy to finish the supercross season healthy in eighth overall and learn a lot for next year.
Maximus Vohland (Red Bull KTM) – DNQ:
Tough night for me in Salt Lake. I got a bad start in the heat and struggled to make up positions. Ended up missing qualifying for the main by one spot and had to go to the LCQ, where I got a better start, but struggled with the mud and just didn’t find my groove, which meant I missed out on the main event. Not the way I wanted to end my 2023 SX season, but I’m healthy and looking forward to outdoors in a couple of weeks.
Dilan Schwartz (Progressive Ecstar Suzuki) – 13th:
It was an East/West Showdown for the 250s, and it was good to qualify ninth, I carried that into the heat and transferred straight into the main. A little rain came down, so it was a bit muddy and slick, but I felt like I rode better. I ended up with a 13th in the main. I’m pretty happy with that. It took a while to get going this season, but I’m really happy with how the season ended.
Robbie Wageman (BarX Suzuki) – 16th:
Great season-ender! The track was awesome. The rain made for interesting conditions. Overall, the track and race were great and I’m happy to end the season on a positive note!
Derek Drake (BarX Suzuki) – DNQ:
The night didn’t go as planned, but I felt strong during practice, I just need better starts and the rest will follow. I’m just glad to be healthy and now it’s on to outdoors!