News 13 May 2024

Smith details contact with Deegan in 250SX title-decider

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammates clash at Salt Lake.

Image: Octopi Media.

250SX class veteran Jordon Smith has detailed the contact between he and Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Haiden Deegan in Salt Lake City, which happened before he remounted to claim third position in the western regional point standings.

The ever-competitive Smith came into the second Showdown of the year with an outside chance of winning the 250SX West title and challenged Deegan for the lead in the main event’s late stages on Saturday night.

After being unable to make his way past sooner, Smith ultimately went down in the incident upon running into the rear of 18-year-old Deegan after the whoops, but managed to make his way back by Jo Shimoda (Team Honda HRC) for the final place on the podium and P3 in the series as a result. His lone win of the year came in San Francisco.

“It was tough because my best line in the whoops was all the way down the right side, and I knew all night that that was going to be kind of a problem trying to make passes, because you can only hit them so fast, and if someone else hits them pretty good, you can’t make a pass around the outside, you know?” Smith told MotoOnline.

“And especially, I know how Haiden’s going to battle. Whenever he’s in the lead, you’re not going around the outside of him, so I knew that I needed to try and get to the inside of him. It was just so tough coming out of that 90-degree turn before to get to that left side. And then, yeah, I made a run down the right side, I got stood up by him, and kind of backed off, kind of reset. It’s like, ‘Okay, this is how we’re going to battle.’

“And yeah, I made a run there through the whoops that lap, he kind of got a little sketchy, and I had a good run up the inside. I went for a pass and maybe didn’t go hard enough. I wasn’t trying to take him out or anything, like he was leading, and that’s what he needed to do to try and win the championship. You know, we’re on the same team, I’m not going to try and take him out – our bikes got stuck together.

“Looking back on it, maybe I should have just went in a little harder, maybe I should have backed off… I don’t know, I need to go back and watch it and see. We only had a few laps to go, so I was kind of running out of time a little bit. I was just really bummed how it turned out there, but also glad that I got up quick and was able to make a pass on Jo because that was for third in the championship. There’s no bonus or anything for that, but it’s still nice to get that third.”

Deegan entered the finale 15 points outside of eventual 250SX East champion Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM), who only needed to finish 11th or better to earn the title. He was comfortably inside the top 10 throughout to clinch with an eighth-place finish in the end. Smith – already linked to Triumph for 2025 – indicated that he was simply racing to win the main event.

“I mean, I never really knew where Vialle was the whole time,” he added. “I was just racing to win, but I was trying to be pretty cautious because he was doing what he needed to do by leading. And then whenever we made contact after the whoops the first time, I was like, ‘Okay, well I’m just going to go for it now.’

“You know, I wasn’t even really close enough to try and make a pass on him and he ran me high and stopped, kind of dumped the clutch into me, so I was just like, ‘Okay, well obviously he doesn’t really care because we could have both went down there, so I’m just going to race him now, you know, and see.’

“I could kind of see where Vialle was – I thought he was far enough up, but I wasn’t sure, so I was just trying to race to win. I think that we were both in that situation, like, we needed other things to happen… I had a shot at winning the championship tonight too, but it was a very, very long shot. Crazier things have happened, but yeah, I was racing to win and I went for it. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but you live and you learn.”

For Deegan, despite going on to win his third race of the year and picking up the first 250SX East/West Showdown victory of his career, he found Smith’s move questionable with the title on the line – firing a shot of his own at the experienced 29-year-old post-race.

“I obviously was going to block the line and he ran into my rear wheel and fell,” Deegan reflected. “He did the same thing he did last year at Detroit, ran into my rear wheel and fell. I’m like, ‘Dude, why did you do that again?’… Whatever. I mean, I guess that’s why he’s been in the class for 10 years, maybe.”