2022 Oakland Supercross | Race Report & Results
The Monster Energy Supercross Championship headed a few hours north this weekend to the Bay Area of California. Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum’s expansive floor plan allowed for a more spread-out track with several features and obstacles that kept the action intense and exciting. The addition of a sandy section kept riders on their toes as the soft area of the track got plenty rough and saw a few crashes; most notably one from Malcolm Stewart in which he rode the corner so wide, that he plowed into a Tuff Block lining the following jump.
Crashes took down several front-runners and to say that the results in the premier division were a surprise would be an understatement. Here is how the top finishers in each class landed on the box.
450 Main Event Finish | Third Place
Round two wasn’t shaping up to be spectacular for Justin Barcia, but the New Yorker kept his head down and improved every single time he took to the track. After finishing third at the season kickoff last weekend, Barcia had to be disappointed with the 13th-quickest qualifying time, but he showed up and finished a strong third in the second 450 heat race with a great come-from-behind ride.
In the main event, Barcia gated inside the top five aboard his Gas Gas MC 450F and rode a relatively quiet race, first displacing McElrath in the early laps then taking advantage of Cianciarulo’s slowing lap times to take control of third at the halfway point of the main event. Barcia did close in on runner-up Aaron Plessinger but was never able to get close enough to make a serious attack for the runner-up spot. In finishing third for the second week in a row, Barcia assumes a familiar position with the championship points lead leaving round two.
“I had fun,” he said. “I got a little tight in the middle of the race and had to regroup. I saw Eli coming and had to take a deep breath and pull it back together. I wanna dedicate this race to my buddy Ryan Federow. I think he would be proud of me tonight.”
450 Main Event Finish | Second Place
Aaron Plessinger’s day in Oakland didn’t start off amazingly well as he logged only the 12th-quickest qualifying lap time, over a full second off the leader’s quickest. Undeterred, the new Red Bull KTM rider came through the pack in his heat race to finish a distant third behind winner Chase Sexton and runner-up Jason Anderson. Still, Plessinger used the opportunity to try some different lines and transferred to the main event with some new strategies.
Plessinger got a great jump off the line at the start of the main event and completed lap one in fourth. He displaced Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM rider Shane McElrath on the second lap and took over control of third, then closed the gap on holeshot artist Adam Cianciarulo and found his way past and into second on lap five. With that, Plessinger rode a seemingly lonely race all the way to the checkered flag, a couple of seconds off Anderson in the lead, but comfortably ahead of Barcia back in third. At times, it appeared as if Plessinger would close in on the leader, but the popular Ohio rider never made a serious big for the lead.
“I don’t know where I was last week,” said Plessinger, in reference to his ninth at Anaheim One. “I was in a different mind state. We regrouped this week, though. We spent a lot of time testing during the week and found some better settings. I am stoked on the bike and man this feels great to get my second 450 podium!”
450 Main Event Finish | 1st Place
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson proved to be quite the surprise in his second race aboard his new Jason Montoya-tuned KX450 race bike. The day started off strong for the former Supercross Champion as he logged the afternoon’s fourth-quickest qualifying time, less than three-tenths of a second off the leader.
While Honda HRCs Chase Sexton led every lap of the opening 450 heat race, Anderson served notice that he would be a front runner by staying within a second or so of the leader all teh way to the finish, leading Red Bull KTM’s third-place finisher, Aaron Plessinger, to the finish line by 11 seconds. These two heat race showings would be a sneak peek of what would follow later in the main event.
While Anderson’s Kawasaki teammate Adam Cianciarulo snared the holeshot and controlled the lead for several laps, Anderson assumed control of the runner-up position on lap one and patiently stalked his teammate, knowing well that his injured shoulder would play a factor as the laps wore down. El Hombre planned his bid for the lead and executed it perfectly on lap four, diving beneath Cianciarulo in a right-hander and taking command of the lead with a textbook, contact-free pass. Once into the lead, Anderson was never headed as he looked much like he did when he won the 2018 Championship. At the checkered flag, he enjoyed a near four-second margin over second.
“Ever since I won the Supercross Championship in 2018, it has been a rollercoaster for me,” he said. “Last year was a tough one for me because I was not performing. Last year I also lost my grandma. She was at my last race win, and I know my grandma is looking down on me now and smiling! I’m grateful that the guys at Monster Energy Kawasaki gave me a chance this year and this win feels so damn good. I wanna keep the ball rolling. Let’s go!”
250 Main Event Finish | Third Place
With a podium finish under his belt at last weekend’s Anaheim One season opener, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Seth Hammaker served notice that he intends to contend for this year’s West Coast 250 Championship. Fourth in timed qualifying, Hammaker looked great in his heat race as he pressured his teammate Jo Shimoda the entire was for the runner-up position en route to a third-place finish and direct transfer to the main event.
In the main, Hammaker gated well and patiently worked his way past the quick-starting Vince Friese and onto the rear wheel of Shimoda, who led the first lap of the race before being overtaken by eventual winner Craig. Hammaker closed in on his teammate and looked to be smoother and more consistent, and he inherited second place when Shimoda endoed in spectacular fashion in the whoops. A late-race charge by Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence, however, saw Hammaker drop to the third and final step of the podium before the race’s end. While Hammaker was glad to finish on the podium again, you can tell third for the second weekend in a row is not good enough.
“It was a solid night here in Oakland,” he said. “I’m gonna take it and learn from it. Not super stoked with the finish but I need to start wracking up some wins to contend for this championship.”
259 Main Event Finish | Second Place
Hunter Lawrence’s day in Oakland started off quietly as he qualified fifth aboard his Cameron Camera-tuned Honda CRF250R. A solid second in the second 250 heat race behind Christian Craig was encouraging, but he was eight seconds back in what would only be a seven-lap qualifier.
In the main event, Lawrence didn’t get the greatest jump off the line and he was mired at the start in eighth, then spent much of the race making up time on the leaders. Lawrence was forced to work past several riders, but he benefited from crashes from Mosiman and Shimoda’. Following Shimoda’s crash, Lawrence found himself in a podium position in third. Not content with the final step on the box, Lawrence turned up the heat as the race wore down and for the second week in a row, closed the gap on Seth Hammaker. Unlike last week’s Anaheim One final, however, Lawrence made a great pass for the position in the closing stages of the race and earned his first podium of the year, in second.
“I rode great tonight,” said Lawrence. “But I am not stoked on second. I know what I need to work on this week, as I didn’t get a good enough start to challenge for the win.”
250 Main Event Finish | 1st Place
Loaded with confidence from his season-opener win at Anaheim One, Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig rolled into Oakland calm, cool, and collected. Though he was bested in the first timed qualifying session by local boy Michael Mosiman, Craig turned in a blistering lap in the final timed session to top the charts and earn the pole position with the only 250-class time below the one-minute mark.
Craig equaled his qualifying sprint lap during the second heat race, which he had no trouble taking control of and winning with relative ease, leading Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence to the checkered flag by a whopping eight seconds.
In the main event, Craig rounded turn one in third behind Jo Shimoda and Vince Friese, but took over second exciting the first corner, and set his sights on the Japanese rider. Craig looked composed as he bided his time and waited for an opportunity in the whoops to swoop past and into the lead on the second lap. Once into the point position, Craig rode a flawless event and added to his lead with each passing lap. At the finish, Craig enjoyed an eight-second margin of victory and by all accounts, it looks like the 250 West Coast Championship is Craigs to lose.
“It’s always cool to win, but to do it two weeks in a row is very special and something I am very thankful for,” he said. “I have a good support group and people who push me every day to be the best that I can. I got behind Jo at the start and he bobbled in the whoops and I was able to get by and take the win. It feels good.”