Features 17 May 2024

Top 10: Performances of the Supercross season

Rating some of the standouts moments from the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross Championship.

The 2024 Monster Energy Supercross Championship was full of surprising moments and close racing. With this year’s series now in the books, MotoOnline looks back at the Top 10 performances from throughout the season.

Image: Octopi Media.

1. Jett only needed one:
One year is all it took for Jett Lawrence to become a dominant force on a 450. Of course he was a favorite coming into Monster Energy Supercross on the heels of a perfect AMA Pro Motocross season and winning the first ever SuperMotocross World Championship on a 450, but there were still question marks. Only two rookies (Jeremy McGrath and Ryan Dungey) had ever won a premier class Supercross title in their first season and now Jett Lawrence has thrown his name on the list as well. It wasn’t as smooth as AMA Pro Motocross, but the eight wins on the season show he was the best guy throughout the season and a deserved champion. His first full year on a 450 was historic and is truly unbelievable if it really is just the start of what Jett is capable of on a 450.

2. RJ finally gets his:
It’s been a long road for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s RJ Hampshire, and it all culminated in a the 250SX West title in 2024. Hampshire’s career had been marred with injuries at the start, but once he made the switch to Husqvarna, Hampshire began to turn the page into racing, winning and championship contending speed. He mentioned several times after clinching the title that everyone’s story is different and his long journey to the top shows that sticking with it can earn your way to a championship. Hampshire’s championship was perhaps the most emotional of the trio from Supercross and was well deserved after a hard-fought battle all season with Levi Kitchen.

3. Plessinger’s first career victory:
When Aaron Plessinger tumbled to the ground with two laps to go at the 2023 Detroit Supercross, he tossed away a nearly surefire first career 450SX victory. There was little doubt at that point that Plessinger had the speed to win, but that Detroit ride was not seen for the rest of the season out of AP. Many very talented riders have not won a 450SX main event and some questioned whether Plessinger would ever get the opportunity again. Well in the mud at San Diego during the third round of 2024, Plessinger delivered. A roaring crowd shook Snapdragon Stadium as fan favorite Plessinger collected his first career win and took over the points lead with it. In one foul swoop, Plessinger went from first time winner to championship contender. He was perhaps the biggest surprise of the season as he remained a title contender for much of the year before going out with injury at the 13th round in Foxborough, but Plessinger proved he may be a force to be reckoned with once he hits the track again.

Image: Octopi Media.

4. Prado lands in America:
Reigning MXGP World Motocross champion Jorge Prado shocked the industry in the offseason when it was announced he would try his hand at some Monster Energy Supercross races. Particularly of interest was that Prado was ineligible to race a 250 as a 450 World Motocross champion and thus he would be making his Supercross debut in the vaunted 450SX class. Prado managed to do well, winning a heat race and collecting 13-7-11-12 scores in four races before heading back to Europe. All signs point to Prado returning to the USA full-time from 2025 onwards, but it was unique to see the current MXGP champ moonlight in Supercross.

5. Tomac’s St. Louis triumph:
Eli Tomac’s comeback from a torn Achilles tendon was one of the biggest storylines in Supercross in a long time. Many thought when the would-be champion of 2023 rolled off the track on one leg at the Denver Supercross last year that it was the last time Tomac would ever race professionally. He eventually made the decision to come back, and the fans roared their appreciation every single week. The season did not go how Tomac wanted, but come the Triple Crown at St. Louis, we finally saw a bit of that Tomac magic as he swept the Triple Crown for his 52nd career Supercross victory. If the crowd was loud when Aaron Plessinger won in San Diego, it perhaps matched or even bested it when Tomac crossed the line in the third race to seal the deal. Quite a comeback for an all-time legend of the sport.

Image: Octopi Media.

6. Vialle’s rapid year-two progression:
It’s only just been a year and a half since Tom Vialle hopped the pond after winning two MX2 World Motocross championships to pursue racing Monster Energy Supercross in the USA. His first season went as expected with ups and downs as he tried to learn a discipline he’d never even raced on before. Now in 2024, he’s the 250SX East champion. This year has been a noticeable turnaround as Vialle was much more consistent and nearly every week elicited race winning speed, culminating in two victories on the season. Vialle elected to not train with Aldon Baker this year and instead worked with Chase Sexton more at the Sandbox. His confidence from week to week was noticeable and now he’s a champion. The rate in which he’s developed in Supercross suggests even stronger performances are coming in the next few years.

7. Webb pulls the series back:
Following a Triple Crown sweep at the 10th round in Indianapolis from Jett Lawrence, things were getting out of hand in the 450SX title fight as the rookie sat 21 points up on the field. There was still plenty of racing left, but someone had to step up. That rider came in the form of Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Cooper Webb who went 1-2-1 in the next three races to pull the championship back to a tie. We later found out that he did this while dealing with a partial tear of a ligament in his thumb, which later became a full tear after crashing with Jason Anderson at the 15th round in Philadelphia. But Webb was simply the only one to keep Jett honest in a late season push that otherwise would have seen the Australian walk to the title. It will likely be forgotten, but those three weeks made this championship what it was.

Image: Octopi Media.

8. Roczen’s shocking season-ending crash:
Progressive Ecstar Suzuki’s Ken Roczen was holding on to an outside shot at the title still entering the 14th round of the championship in Nashville. He and Eli Tomac were in a similar boat in that they needed to get back in the winner’s circle to stay within striking distance of Webb and Lawrence. Both Tomac and Roczen got out front in Nashville and sprinted, pulling out lines nobody had been doing all day long. Unfortunately, one of the lines was a large wall triple jump that resulted in a hard landing lap after lap, and it led to Roczen’s shock body malfunctioning. When it did, Roczen was unaware for just long enough to still enter the whoop section after at speed. He did a remarkable job to make it nearly all the way through before ejecting at the end of the whoops. The crash resulted in a fractured tibial plateau for the German and ended his season early. It was perhaps the most shocking moment of the season and will be one of those crashes you will see replayed for years to come.

9. Pro Circuit pileup:
Monster Energy Pro Circuit started the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross season with a heat race win for Max Vohland and had their second West rider Levi Kitchen leading the points soon after that. Austin Forkner won the East opener in Detroit a month later and truly they had multiple riders in both coasts that were in a championship fighting position. But then, Max Vohland dislocated his hip after the second round, Austin Forkner had a massive crash from the lead at the second East round that ended his season, and Seth Hammaker had a shoulder injury mid-season that forced him out of the Nashville Supercross. At that time, three of their riders were hurt, but the silver lining was their two remaining riders in Levi Kitchen (West) and Cameron McAdoo (East) were still leading the points in both regions of 250SX. Then McAdoo damaged his shoulder in a qualifying crash at Nashville. He decided to line up anyway, even made the main event for the Showdown, but then ended up in a second turn pileup with who else but his teammate, Levi Kitchen. McAdoo’s season was over moments later while Kitchen pushed through bruised ribs the rest of the season. Despite the effort, Kitchen lost the 250SX West title by four points. It’s almost unfathomable how this keeps happening to Pro Circuit specifically, but there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel soon.

10. AC says farewell:
Though there wasn’t much in the way of a standout ride or year long performance from Adam Cianciarulo as he constantly dealt with a nerve injury in his hand, 2024 Monster Energy Supercross would end up being the final professional championship AC would compete in. He announced his retirement with over a month of the season left to go and the entire industry and fans alike showered Cianciarulo with praise. Things should have gone better in his career for one of the all-time amateur talents, but what made Cianciarulo special was his humility in all of it. Through all the injuries and low points, he always kept a good attitude and smile on his face. After finishing P20 in his final race, nobody cared about the result. His parade lap slowly around the stadium to stop and sit on a Tuff Block and look up to the crowd one final time was a moment that was hard not to be emotional about for many. It may have been the slowest final lap of a season, but it was one of the most important.