Features 23 Sep 2023

Racefeed: 2023 SMX Final Los Angeles

Direct updates from the final race of the post-season at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Follow the 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) with direct updates from tonight’s final round of the post-season in Los Angeles through Racefeed.

Justin Barcia qualifying for Los Angeles Coliseum SuperMotocross

Image: Octopi Media.

250SMX qualifying:
After Haiden Deegan set the mark to beat in the first 250SMX qualifying session, it was another bike under the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing tent that later turned the fastest lap in the class. With a 1:08.512 in the second go-around of qualifying on the Supercross-focused Los Angeles Coliseum track, Justin Cooper earned the distinction of being the last top qualifier in the 250 class in 2023. RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) qualified second, coming within 0.017s of Cooper on their respective best laps. Pierce Brown (TLD Red Bull GasGas) landed third on the combined qualifying timesheet, followed by Deegan and Maximus Vohland (Red Bull KTM) to complete the top five. Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing), Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), Ryder DiFrancesco (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), and Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) filled the rest of the top 10 and will head to the gates accordingly for the final two motos of the season. Battling pain following a crash during free practice Friday, Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) earned the 14th gate pick with a best lap 1.904s off Cooper’s.

450SMX qualifying:
Multiple quick laps were turned in during the closing moments of the final 450 qualifying session of 2023, but the 1:07.986s lap set by Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) stood firm as the fastest in the class. Just 0.039s separated Sexton from Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) on their best laps, earning Anderson the second qualifying position — and first-moto gate pick — to start the season finale. Strong throughout both qualifying sessions, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing newcomer Cooper Webb placed third, beating out Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) and Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) in the top five. Winner of the most recent moto at Chicago, Ken Roczen (Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki) landed sixth, ahead of Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing), Ty Masterpool (HBI Racing Kawasaki), Garrett Marchbanks (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha), and Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) in the top 10.

Hunter Yoder executed a strong start and took the lead as the day’s first last-chance qualifier race began. The rider of Partzilla PRMX Racing’s No. 508 Kawasaki KX250 didn’t relinquish the lead during the race’s five laps, safely securing his spot on the gate for the final two motos of the year. Preston Kilroy (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha) held second throughout the race and was chased by Mitchell Oldenburg (MotoConcepts Racing Honda), Coty Schock (Phoenix Racing Honda), Luke Neese (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha), and Derek Kelley (AEO Powersports KTM Racing) in positions three through six, with seven transfer positions available. A heavy crash for Team Solitaire Heartbeat Hot Sauce rider Robbie Wageman opened up a transfer spot. Chris Blose swiped it despite being on the ground in the race’s second turn with his Phoenix Racing Honda teammate Cullin Park. As the checkered flag approached, Park aimed to catch Blose enough to mount a challenge while also fending off pressure from Joshua Varize (AEO Powersports KTM Racing), who was muscled out of the way by Blose previously for the final transfer position. Park came up short despite setting the second-fastest lap of the race behind Varize. Along with Park and Varize, Wageman did not qualify.

As he has in the previous two SuperMotocross LCQs for the premier class, Phil Nicoletti gave Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha representation up front as he led all five laps and punched his ticket to the Los Angeles SMX motos aboard his No. 69 Yamaha YZ450F. Giving Jeremy Hand (Hand Racing/Valley Motorsports Honda) trouble from the race’s halfway point on, Jerry Robin (Estenson Racing/FCC Motosports) eventually made the pass for second to leap over the finish line jump past the checkered flag next in line behind Nicoletti. Hand finished third for the final transfer position, while a surging Jace Kessler settled for fourth on his privateer Yamaha YZ450F. A mistake in the first rhythm lane for Kevin Moranz put the characteristically strong starter out of contention, and the privateer rider went on to finish eighth behind Kessler, Romain Pape (TPJ Racing GasGas), Justin Starling, and Joshua Cartwright.

250SMX moto one:
Swoll won the battle to and through the opening corner after the night’s first gate drop in 250SMX moto one, but Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) soon passed the young Husqvarna rider and took over the lead himself. Smith, surging forward on his Yamaha, had just his teammate Deegan between himself and race leader Vialle once he passed Swoll for third. In quick succession, Smith passed Deegan and Vialle to assume control of the race. Frantic battling continued, with Deegan and Hampshire trading back and forth and Shimoda charging from a sixth-place start. The action funneled into separate duels between Smith and Hampshire for the win and Shimoda and Deegan for fourth. Smith expertly defended a lunge to his inside from Hampshire in a 180-degree bowl turn approaching the checkered flag and successfully closed out the moto win by a margin of 1.278s over Hampshire. Vialle took the checkers third, followed by Shimoda, who kept Deegan at bay after a pass involving heavy contact. Swoll ended up sixth, followed by Cooper, Brown, Vohland, and Kitchen in the top 10.

450SMX moto one:
Cianciarulo snuck through the opening corner first as moto one for the premier class at the finale event kicked off. Sporting a retro look on his No. 9 Kawasaki KX450SR, Cianciarulo led the opening lap before giving way to his Monster Energy Kawasaki stablemate Anderson moments before a violent crash for fellow front-runner Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) brought out a red flag. Anderson was tasked with keeping Roczen behind following the staggered restart and did so until the sixth lap when the German rider launched past Anderson on the inside in a bowl turn with 13 minutes on the clock. Roczen led two laps until Lawrence made a pass for the lead, whose charge forward began when he passed his teammate Sexton for third in the moto’s early moments and continued with a move on Anderson a few corners after Roczen’s. Initially showing an ability to keep pace with and challenge Lawrence for the lead, Roczen ultimately lost touch with the undefeated 450MX Pro Motocross Championship winner and settled for second by 1.561s at the end. Sexton held on for third, 6.316s back. Anderson ended up fourth, followed by a quiet run to fifth for Webb. Marchbanks finished a solid sixth ahead of Cianciarulo, Colt Nichols (Rick Ware Racing Madd Parts Kawasaki), Masterpool, and Dean Wilson (Fire Power Honda) in the top 10 positions. A first-turn crash for Ferrandis and a later fall for Plessinger saw those two join Barcia at the bottom of the results for the first 450SMX race of the season-ending night.

250SMX moto two:
A trio of factory-prepared Yamaha machines exited the first turn at the front of the field as the final 250 race of 2023 got underway. Shimoda pursued Kitchen, Deegan, and Cooper as the field settled into an order, giving Deegan the upper hand in his battle with Shimoda for the inaugural 250SMX title. Though Deegan didn’t find a way past Kitchen for the race lead, finishing 1.469s behind in second was enough to capture the overall win and the SuperMotocross title in the class. Cooper found the final podium spot in the year’s concluding moto, followed by Shimoda in fourth, whose 4-4 results on the night earned him second overall behind Deegan. Brown, Hampshire, Vohland, Swoll, Talon Hawkins (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), and Smith completed the top 10, with Smith reaching 10th after being put on the ground midway through the opening lap. Hampshire earned third overall after Deegan and Shimoda on the results for the finale with 2-6 moto scores. Cooper finished seventh and third for fourth overall, followed by Kitchen with 10-1 finishes for the fifth overall position. Deegan’s successful night in Los Angeles put the young rookie five points clear of Shimoda in the final SMX standings as the series’ first 250SMX champion.

450SMX moto two:
Sexton launched into the lead following the final gate drop of the year, surrounded by his closest competition with $1 million on the line. Cianciarulo, Lawrence, Webb, Anderson, and Roczen also benefitted from solid starts and set their sights on Sexton, with every position weighing heavily given the triple points on offer. A significant shakeup arrived when Sexton violently crashed out from the lead, entering the high-speed sand section on the ninth lap. Lawrence avoided Sexton’s downed motorcycle and assumed the race lead. Though Roczen chased him until lapped riders interrupted the German Suzuki rider’s progress with the year’s final checkered flag nearing, Lawrence led the final 10 laps of the season as he finalized a 1.644s victory. He secured the first-ever 450SMX title simultaneously, ultimately finishing 17 points clear of Roczen in the final standings. Webb found the final podium position behind Roczen in this season-ending moto and the overall results for the Los Angeles SMX. Cianciarulo finished a solid fourth to secure fourth overall with 7-4 results on the night. Nichols earned fifth overall with eighth in moto one and fifth in moto two as he beat Plessinger, Marchbanks, Freddie Noren (HEP Suzuki), Masterpool, and Nicoletti in the top 10 in the final race of the year.