2022 Salt Lake City Supercross Recap
Christian Craig merely needed to finish in the Top 15 to clinch the 2022 250SX West Championship during the final round of the Monster Energy Supercross series on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, a near foregone conclusion considering he reached the podium in the previous nine rounds of the 10-round series.
So, after washing out the front end of his dirt bike while in third which sent him to the floor with less than 10 minutes remaining, Craig settled in for a relaxing cruise around the track, looking more like a lapper than a pending champion, taking eighth and securing his first title.
"This feels like a dream right now," Craig said. "I wrote on a white board in September, with my wife, a picture of this number one plate and I wrote down what it's going to take to get this thing and it's real. I got it and I can't be prouder of my whole team. I love this feeling and I hope this isn't a dream."
The final round featured the second East/West shootout of the year as riders from both coasts lined up behind the gates. But missing was 250SX East Champion Jett Lawrence who tweaked his ankle in qualifying leaving him sidelined and unable to help his brother Hunter Lawrence in his longshot quest for the 250SX West Championship thus Craig's primary competition on the track ended up being himself.
Craig has endured his share of ups and downs in the sport including retirement but he won the first two rounds to open the 10 round 250SX West series and despite some serious competition from Hunter Lawrence, Craig never relinquished the Red Plate. Craig and Lawrence each finish the season with four wins and both reached the podium all rounds except one: Craig on his history making night but Lawrence hit the dirt hard at Anaheim 3 while navigating the whoops and finished 18th propelling Craig to a 28 point lead with four rounds left.
Craig will ride the premier 17-round 450 class next year leaving Lawrence as the top contender in the 250s along with his brother and Austin Forkner. Lawrence was also unable to make it four straight wins because Nate Thrasher won his first race of the season in his best performance of the year which put him in to fifth for the year. Pierce Brown, who finished third in the 250 East class, took third in Salt Lake City.
2022 Supercross 250 West Class Final Standings
- Christian Craig - 230: 250SX West Champion
- Hunter Lawrence - 220
- Michael Mosiman - 197
- Jo Shimoda - 162
- Nate Thrasher - 152
2022 Supercross 250 East Class Final Standings
- Jett Lawrence - 192: 250SX East Champion
- RJ Hampshire - 158
- Pierce Brown - 149
- Mitchell Oldenburg - 132
- Enzo Lopes - 117
Over in the 450 class, Eli Tomac who wrapped the title up last week sat out to rest his bum knee for the Outdoor season and Jason Anderson already had a lock on second which he stamped with his fourth straight win giving him a career best seven in a season. Both Tomac and Anderson switched teams and bike brands this year giving them new life and arguably their best seasons ever.
Be that as it may, all the action was for third-place in the standings and Justin Barcia delivered. With just under 11 minutes remaining, Barcia punted Malcolm Stewart for third in the race dropping Stewart to sixth. Barcia trailed Stewart by four points for third-place in the standings entering the final round. So many third-places here you're probably confused. I'm not even sure what I'm writing because I've been up since 3:45 a.m. thanks to my sister-in-law choosing a 6 a.m. flight to go home.
Well, Stewart climbed back to fourth-place as the fans willed him to catch drop-kick Barcia either for retaliation and/or because they didn't like what Barcia did considering Stewart passed him earlier in the race cleanly and efficiently. All that to say, Stewart clinched a career third on the season, Barcia kept the third-place finish for the race (more confusing third-places) but was docked a whopping 10 points for living up to his "Bam Bam" name dropping him to fifth for the season. He was booed rather heartily by the fans too.
2022 Supercross 450 Class Final Standings
- Eli Tomac - 359: 450 Class Champion
- Jason Anderson - 350
- Malcolm Stewart - 314
- Marvin Musquin - 305
- Justin Barcia - 302
The MotoSport Sponsored Muc-Off / FXR / ClubMX Team
Alex Martin finished 14th in Salt Lake City and 15th in 450 class standings. Enzo Lopes had trouble in the Main finishing last but took 5th in the 250 East standings. Jace Owen took 12th in Salt Lake City and eighth overall for the 250 East class while Dominique Thury took 18th in the final round and 14th in the 250SX West standings.
Stay tuned for more day late and a dollar short racing recaps for the 50th season of the Pro Motocross Championship which starts May 28 at Fox Raceway. And if that World Supercross series really upends what we affectionately know as our racing season enjoy the 2022 Outdoor series as much as you can.