2022 Denver Supercross | Race Report & Results
The 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Championship has finally been decided as Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider Eli Tomac clinched his second premier title with a safe, but solid fourth-place showing in front of his home-state fans in Denver, Colorado. The Cortez, Colorado, resident revealed on the podium that he’s been struggling with a knee injury sustained in his heat race at the Atlanta Supercross, and cited that as the reason he has been winless for the past three weekends. But no matter, it was all ET3 when the smoke cleared, as he was presented with the championship plate with one round remaining, thanks to seven wins and consistent great finishes at the events he did not win. “It was a dream of mine to do this,” he said. “To win another championship with this new team, in my home state. I love you, Denver!”
The Western Regional 250 Supercross Championship, meanwhile, will have to wait to be decided at the Salt Lake City finale, however, as Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence earned his third win in a row and prevented Christian Craig from clinching the title early. Craig went down early in the race while challenging Lawrence for the lead and was able to race back to third but it was not good enough.
But let’s see how the top three in each class got there, shall we?
250 Class | 1st
The elder Lawrence brother was on fire all day, turning in the fastest qualifying lap time aboard his Honda HRC CRF250R, turning in a 45.252-second time, besting Craig’s 45.405 lap. Lawrence led every lap of the second 250 heat race and scored a convincing win over Michael Mosiman, greeting the checkered flag with a six-second margin of victory, and he anxiously awaited the main event.
Lawrence continued his perfect afternoon in Colorado by snagging the holeshot aboard his CRF250R and leading every lap of the 250 main. The Aussie felt pressure from Craig early on, but a mistake by the Yamaha rider saw Lawrence left all alone out front to earn his third win in a row in convincing fashion. At the checkered flag, Lawrence enjoyed a five-second cushion, in spite of taking some time to celebrate on the final lap.
“It’s all I can do – try to win every race,” he said. “Unfortunately we had some bad luck earlier in the season that has left us in a points deficit, but it sure feels good to be on this winning streak. I hope to carry it on in Salt Lake next weekend.”
250 Cass | 2nd
The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/Gas Gas rider’s day started off quietly as he qualified fifth-quickest, over a second off the leader’s pace. Lined up against pole position winner Lawrence in the second heat Mosiman came home second and earned a direct transfer to the main, albeit some six seconds behind Lawrence, who led every lap and scored an easy win.
In the main event, the Gas Gas pilot started fourth, overtook Jalek Swoll early on for third, then benefited from a mistake by Christian Craig on lap six that basically handed him the runner-up position. Mosiman rode a relatively uneventful race to finish six seconds behind Lawrence aboard his Dave Burgess-tuned MC 250.
250 Class | 3rd
All eyes were on Christian Craig coming into Denver, as the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha had a shot at clinching the Western Regional 250 Championship if he were able to gain three points on championship rival Hunter Lawrence. After qualifying second behind Lawrence, Craig absolutely dominated the first 250 heat race, leading every lap and opening up a near10-second lead over runner-up Jo Shimoda.
Everything looked great for Craig when the gate dropped for the main event as he started the race in second behind Lawrence and looked to be well in control as he pressured the Honda rider for the lead. Had Craig been able to pass Lawrence and win the race, the championship would have been his when he crossed the finish line. It was not to be, however, as a miscalculation in the sand section on the sixth lap caused Craig to part ways with his Yamaha YZ250F and drop back to seventh. As he has done before this season, Craig maintained his composure, turned in fast laps, and clawed his way back up through the field. It wasn’t until the 16th lap, however, that he overtook Japanese rider Jo Shimoda for the third and final podium position, where he would stay until the finish.
Entering next week’s East/West Shootout, Craig enjoys an 18-point advantage over Lawrence and should be able to clinch his first career Supercross Championship with ease.
450 Class | 1st
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson came into Denver on a roll. With the previous two race wins under his belt, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was armed with confidence and momentum, and he put them. to work for him. After qualifying third fastest in the morning aboard his Jason Montoya-tuned Kawasaki KX450, Anderson finished a very close second to fast=qualifier Chase Sexton in the second 450 heat.
In the main event, Anderson gated well and completed the first lap in third and he looked comfortable on the dry, baked track surface inside Empower Field at Mile High. All hell broke loose on lap two when leader Sexton hit the ground after running into a track barrier and caused a momentary shakeup in the lead cluster of riders. Once into second, Anderson seemed. to easily close the gap on Tomac, who had taken control of the point position on lap three. On the sixth lap, El Hombre made an authoritative pass for the lead on the Yamaha rider and set sail, leading the remaining 22 laps with no challenges and no mistakes. At the finish, he enjoyed a whopping 14-second lead over eventual runner-up Malcolm Stewart.
“It feels amazing to be on this high,” he said. “Winning three in a row and getting in a streak like this late in the season is more than I could ask for. I hope to eliminate the bad rounds in 2023 and come back to get my second Supercross championship.”
450 Class | 2nd
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Malcolm Stewart has been hungry to return to the podium, and he made it happen in Denver. After struggling early on with the dry hard-packed track (Malcolm qualified an uncharacteristic seventh), Stewart rebounded to finish a solid third behind Sexton and Anderson in his heat.
In the main, Stewart started inside the top five and took control of third by the fourth lap. As the race wore down, he began to look more comfortable on the Denver soil and he closed in on eventual champion Tomac. A great pass on lap 10 saw Stewart overtake Tomac for the runner-up position, where he would stay until the checkered flag. At the end of the race, Stewart was 13 seconds abreast of winner Anderson, but equally clear of third-placed Marvin Musquin. “I still have one more chance to win one of these things,” he said. “And next week in Salt Lake I am gonna give it all I got. I’ve had some other great firsts there, so we will see!”
450 Class | 3rd
Once again, the crafty Frenchman on the Red Bull KTM team rounded out the 450-class podium. Musquin qualified fourth fastest on his KTM 450 SX-F, then transferred to the main with second in the second heat race, coming home some three seconds behind Tomac.
In the main, Musquin’s smooth style and strong technique helped him steadily climb through the field after starting outside of the top five. Musquin benefited from a mistake and crash by Justin Barcia at the halfway point of the race, and this allowed him to close to the rear tire of Tomac. On lap 16, Musquin made a calculated pass on the champion and earned yet another podium finish in the penultimate race of his 2022 season.