Features 10 May 2024

Input: The Supercross finals

Contenders share their thoughts ahead of Salt Lake City 2024.

Ahead of the final race of the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross season, the top contenders in 450SX, 250SX West and 250SX East all faced the media in a press conference at Salt Lake City. Even the soon to be retired Adam Cianciarulo spoke about his last race as a professional. See what some of them had to say ahead of the finale.

Image: Foremost Media.

Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC):
I think last time I lost a championship was near the beginning of 2021 in Supercross. I was obviously still trying to figure that stuff out and it sucked. I wanted to win that really badly and losing is what I think drives us the most each weekend. Losing that big points lead this season wasn’t very ideal and you have to stay pretty grounded when you have a big points lead. The exciting thing with this championship, it’s not over until the last race is done. Cooper has been able to take it to that last round and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we can just click off another good round like the previous ones.

Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki):
There’s a lot that went into [deciding to retire]. Obviously, the nerve injury, I’ve been trying to figure out this lack of grip strength in my right arm now for three years and I had a bunch of different surgeries to try to fix it. If anything, all of the surgeries have made it worse. It’s one of those things, nerves just need rest. That’s the only thing that’s going to maybe help it get better. For me, to be able to go the speed I would be happy with, I’m just not able to do that anymore. I’m not able to feel good about what I can put on the track. I can go out there and do my best within reason, but it’s just not where I want to be. I don’t want to half ass it really and that’s just it. I would rather move on, and I think all of us dirt bike racers, it’s a big jump to move on. Especially, I’m 27 years old, I have a lot of life left to live. I know there’s a lot more out there and I’m just looking forward to seeing how that all turns out. I just want to have the same passion I had for this and put it into something else.

Image: Foremost Media.

RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna):
Either way, it was going to come down to Salt Lake this weekend. Now we don’t have to do math. Whoever wins, takes it all. I’m just excited. I’m thankful to be in this position, to have the red plate at the final round, that’s what you want. We’re here and we’re ready to go.

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki):
I think just having a full season last year was the difference [for me]. It’s easy to say that last year I wasn’t where I am now. I actually had pretty good speed last year, I just never started up front. I’d say a combination of the bike and a couple of other things. The position I’m putting myself in every race is really what’s changed. I don’t think my riding has changed tremendously honestly.

Image: Foremost Media.

Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM):
I would say I feel way more comfortable on the bike this year. I had a really good winter, my preparation was good, and I didn’t have an injury or anything. I could really train the way I wanted. The first race was pretty bad with the crash, I didn’t expect that. But I’ve actually been on the podium I think every race after that. I’ve been way more consistent than last year. I would say I’ve been feeling way more comfortable on the track. Last year, I’d come to Supercross races, and I was not scared, but I didn’t know what to do. I feel like this year I am way more confident, and I feel way better on the bike.

Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing):
I mean there’s definitely been a lot of learning moments from this year just from incidents with racers, incidents with myself, winning. I know this year people had a lot of championship hopes in me, but I’d never even won a Supercross until this season. Just to win two Supercross races this season has been a big check off the goal list. We’ve checked off a lot of things this year which I’m super happy about and we’re continuing to go up.