News 27 Nov 2023

Continuity key in McElrath decision to extend with Suzuki

Set for AMA Supercross, Pro Motocross, SMX and WSX in 2024.

Image: Octopi Media.

HEP Suzuki is set to feature Shane McElrath in its SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) and Pipes Motorsports Group-operated World Supercross Championship (WSX) programs next year, that continuity between both series key in his extension.

McElrath competed with Twisted Tea Suzuki onboard an RM-Z450 this year in 450SX, before transferring to a privateer Yamaha with Rick Ware Racing (RWR) support for select Pro Motocross nationals and the SMX post-season.

Additionally, he lined up onboard a YZ250F with Mobil 1 Rick Ware Racing in the shortened WSX championship, ultimately finishing P2 in his SX2 title defence after misfortune at Marvel Stadium saw him ninth overall for the round.

After lining up with RWR for the last two years in WSX, McElrath’s opted for a deal that provided him the opportunity to race for the same organization and on RM-Z machinery all year long, with multiple WSX rounds being canceled this year also playing into his decision. It’s unclear if he will enter SX2 again or step up to the WSX 450 class in 2024.

“I’m pretty excited about it, I did commit to HEP Suzuki,” McElrath told MotoOnline. “For me, Rick Ware Racing has been really good. I love Rick, I love working with him, he is such a great guy. What we are looking for is how can we be on one team, but on one bike the full year.

“Rick is working on trying to do AMA Supercross, but he is not to that point yet. With WSX, with our original agreement that we signed, it was for kind of a lot more… It was supposed to be six rounds, and then eight rounds, so that’s not worked out how it was supposed to. Those contracts were kind of changing a little bit, so it is like we wanted to stay with Rick, but we weren’t going to be able to do it because of what WSX is kind of offering at this point.

“It’s a great opportunity and the way that we did my WSX deal with Rick Ware, I signed a two-year deal and Rick was really good to us. That’s where, with how it’s actually played out, we both understand that we can’t do things like that, because we can’t trust it fully yet.

“I need to race to make money, so that’s where it’s like ‘okay, how can I have a spot and an opportunity, and then be able to go and earn more?’. With the HEP guys, I’m going to be with them for the full year. For me to be on one bike for the full year, I’m really excited about that, because the last couple of years, I haven’t had that. I’m just bouncing around, that is tough mentally.

“I’m doing everything next year – Supercross, Pro Motocross, SMX and WSX, all with HEP. It is a big undertaking, but I’m a racer and this is the way I provide for my family and god has me here. I fully believe that and I’m going to be here until he calls me somewhere else.”

The 2024 WSX schedule has not been released, but next year’s Monster Energy Supercross Championship will commence at Angel Stadium, Anaheim, on 6 January.