2021 Salt Lake City 1 Supercross Recap
New faces atop the box but no clinched championships for the penultimate round of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross series held Saturday at Rice-Eccles-Stadium in Salt Lake City.
In the 450 class, Marvin Musquin won for the first time since Round 11 of the 2019 season as a great start put him in solid position for the podium and win as race leader Ken Roczen went down with less than eight minutes remaining which completely changed the Championship points landscape. What appeared to be a rut guiding his front wheel out of a turn causing Roczen to go down allowed Musquin, hanging in less than two seconds back, to quickly take the lead but even more importantly in the title chase, series points leader Cooper Webb also passed Roczen and finished in second. Roczen crossed the checkers in sixth.
The crash prevented Roczen from closing in on Webb by five possible points (had he won and Webb remained in third) so instead of entering the final round 10 points from the Championship, Webb carries a monstrous 22-point lead in his effort to reclaim the title he lost last year to Eli Tomac. Outside of not competing next week or finishing 20th or worse, Webb, the 2019 Champion, has all but secured the 2021 450 class Supercross title.
Malcolm Stewart, brother of former Fastest Man on the Planet James Stewart, landed in third, his first career 450 class podium. Eli Tomac, the defending Supercross Champion, finished a meager 10th place his worst finish since a 13th place in the opening round. He was officially eliminated from the Championship race and regardless of what happens next week will finish the 2021 season in third overall.
The 250 East class returned to action for the first time since Orlando 1 in February with just eight points separating leader Colt Nichols from Christian Craig but a bar-breaking practice crash ended the night for Craig who tried lining up for his Heat race but quickly bowed out. He later confirmed a fractured fibula and ankle sprain thus ending his season.
That left the door open for Nichols to win the title early but rookie Jo Shimoda, now in championship contention, had other plans. Shimoda grabbed the holeshot and checked out leading every lap for his first career Supercross win.
“It feels amazing. I knew something was coming. I had a few podiums this year. The race I did today was more like, I just kind of kept my pace,” said Shimoda who turns 19 in a few weeks. “I knew I wasn’t the fastest today, but finally I just got a holeshot and with the whole race it was not easy, but I knew it was coming. So, I’m pretty happy with it.”
Shimoda’s win puts him into second-place ahead of Craig who is now officially out of Championship contention. Jett Lawrence finished second and Nichols took third keeping his season-long podium streak alive. Nichols may not have wrapped up the title, but with a 23-point cushion, needs to finish 20th or better in the final round to claim the 250 East title.
The final round of the 2021 Supercross season features the East/West Showdown with three Championships on the line. Gates drop for Round 17 at 7 p.m. Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT. Until then, live Salt Lake City 1 all again.