News 13 May 2024

Showdown battle won, 250SX West title lost for Deegan

Haiden Deegan took his third win of 2024 but fell short of the 250SX East title in Salt Lake City.

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan claimed his third win of 2024 and his first ever 250SX East/West Showdown win at Salt Lake City on Saturday night. Despite the win, Deegan fell just short of the 250SX East title. With his second year of racing Supercross now complete, Deegan feels he is continuing to make strong improvements.

“Obviously as a racer and a guy who’s won a championship already, the goal is always to win another championship,” said Deegan. “But you’ve got to look back at it and my second year of racing Supercross, I’m 18, there’s plenty of time. Going against RJ [Hampshire], Smitty [Jordon Smith], [Tom] Vialle, even Vialle is 23. Those dudes have five to 10 years on me. I’ve just got to look at it as we have time. We’re going to keep learning, keep doing the best that we can, and I feel like we’re going upward. Last year, I got some podiums in Supercross, now this year I have three wins. If you told me I was going to win an East/West Showdown too, I’d be like, “Hell yeah, that’s sick.” So, we got the East/West Showdown in, that’s awesome and that was my goal today. I came into this race like I have nothing to lose, so I was just going to have as much fun as I could and that’s what I did. I came in laughing and messing around. I pulled the holeshot and led the whole race from there.”

Image: Octopi Media.

It was always going to be a longshot as Deegan entered the final round of the championship in Salt Lake City a distant 15 points back of Red Bull KTM’s Tom Vialle. But Deegan’s performance at the finale was perhaps the best of his Supercross career to this point showing he rose to the occasion. He qualified fastest in the 250SX East group, won his heat race, and led every lap of the main event to take the victory.

He even worked to rattle Vialle as much as he could while having a solid day. Going back to press day on Friday, Deegan and Vialle got into it after the first session as they crossed over each other several times and had a few stare downs. Then Deegan blocked Vialle on a few quick laps in qualifying during the day on Saturday.

“Coming into the last round, I’m 15 points behind, I’m going to mess with him,” said Deegan. “I feel like that’s my specialty. I like messing with people. I mean, I have dudes on my team like [Cooper] Webb that are known for playing mind games and stuff. I felt like I got that part pretty dialed. You saw in the heat race that he barely qualified. He was getting passed, looked like he was shook a little, going off the track here and there. In the main, he obviously did what he had to do, and he won the title. He won it straight up against me. I came into the season a little injured or whatever, you could say, but I lost it.”

Image: Octopi Media.

Whether Vialle felt rattled or not, he did have a tough heat race just barely qualifying in P9 leaving him with a terrible gate pick. Vialle still pulled a great start from the outside and managed himself well to finish P8 and seal off the title.

After the dust settled, Vialle was very measured about it all and understood why Deegan was doing what he did.

“I kind of knew that Haiden was already trying to mess with me from press day, but I kind of understood it,” said Vialle. “In his position, I would maybe do the same to be honest. He’s still young and he’s riding good, especially today, he rode well all day. He tried a little bit to mess with me, but I cannot be angry with him because I would maybe do the same.”

Image: Octopi Media.

Deegan ultimately finished four points back in the championship but collected the most wins on the season in 250SX East with three. It’s the second year in a row that Deegan finished P2 in the class, but he did so last year without winning any races.

There’s certainly a case to be made that Deegan was the fastest rider throughout the season at plenty of points, but Vialle’s consistency is ultimately what won out. As the reigning SuperMotocross World Champion, Deegan will have to wait a bit longer to claim a season-long title, but he’s now closer than he was as a rookie.