2022 Salt Lake City Supercross | Race Report & Results
The Monster Energy Supercross Championship came to a close with a thrilling night of racing at the 2022 Salt Lake City Supercross. Seventeen rounds of action in eighteen weeks had taken its toll on the field of riders, including the combined 250 East and West Regions and the 450 Class, but any of them that rolled in to Rice-Eccles Stadium knew a good result would come if they clicked off clean laps and stayed on two-wheels.
1ST | 250 EAST-WEST SHOWDOWN
Nate Thrasher’s role going into the finale was uncertain. Would the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider find a place among the top-10 of the combined regions? Was he assigned to block for teammate and championship contender Christian Craig? Could he add a third win to his stat sheet in the always wild Showdown?
The day started well for the second-year pro, as he was fourth overall in the West Region’s Timed Qualifying results with a 48.221, then hustled to a runner-up result in the evening’s Heat Race to Craig. Although Thrasher’s laps were just a tick off the pace of Craig-Lawrence-Mosiman, his consistent riding more than made up for the difference in speed.
Any questions about Thrasher’s motivation or pace were answered in the early minutes of the Showdown. A good line through the first turn put him into third place on the opening lap and right behind title rivals Lawrence and Craig. While Craig and Lawrence felt each other out, Thrasher went on the attack, as he made passes on both riders in just two and a half minutes, then put two seconds of difference between himself and Lawrence.
Thrasher’s role as the rabbit of the race paid off. He led 17 laps of the Showdown, an impressive number given his admittedly slow to start season, the competition, and a few close calls through the whoops in the closing stages of the race, which kept Lawrence from scoring the full 25 points and allowed Craig to secure the title.
“It hasn’t been the best season for me and the team, but we put it all together tonight. I feel like that’s what we’ve been missing all season,” he shared on the podium. “I finally got a good start and I knew I had the speed. We put it all together and it feels so good.”
2ND | 250 EAST-WEST SHOWDOWN
Hunter Lawrence did everything he could, short of a takeout, in his attempt to get the 1W plate. The Team Honda HRC rider came into the weekend with an 18-point deficit in the standings, but maintained a positive outlook that he’d do what he could to get the win, and maybe it’d be enough to swing things in his favor. Unfortunately, a hard crash by brother-teammate Jett in the morning’s practice and the 1E’s withdrawl from the race meant the Hunter would be alone in the Showdown.
A hectic 250 West Region Heat Race started the night. Lawrence got out of the gate okay, was shuffled back to sixth place in the opening laps while rival Craig ran up front, then went down while trying to make a pass on Dominique Thury in a flat turn. The crash was more frustrating than anything, as Lawrence was able to remount, finish in seventh, and turn his attention to the Showdown.
A holeshot in the Showdown put Lawrence in the lead and just ahead of Craig. The highly anticipated battle between the two never materialized because of the early attack by Nate Thrasher, who Lawrence instead spent the entirety of the race pursuing. He got close in the closing moments, a charge aided by the leader’s issues in the whoops, but an unsuccessful pass attempt with two laps to caused him to lose important ground. How close were the two at the finish line? Less than half a second.
“I can’t wait until next year. We learned a lot and am getting better and better,” he said of his season. “Second last year, second again. It’s a bummer to fall short, but there is progression within us.”
3RD | 250 EAST-WEST SHOWDOWN
Pierce Brown’s podium might have been unlikely, but it continued the trend of wild results at the Showdown. The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing rider’s best lap in the morning practice was fifth-fastest in the 250 East Region, but seventh in the combined times. Things reached a tipping point after a pair of crashes in the 250 East Region Heat Race, a slide-out on the opening lap and a separate incident later, kept him from advancing directly to the Showdown. Fortunately, Brown was able to put in an uneventful seven-lap run during the LCQ, which got him a spot on the gate for the last race of the SX season.
Pierce must have got all the excitement out in the Heat Race and LCQ, because he was on his own for most of the Showdown. While Lawrence-Craig-Thrasher dueled early, he pushed forward and got into fourth place. When Craig went down, he picked up third, stayed on two-wheels for the next 13 laps, and crossed the finish line four seconds behind the leaders but nine seconds ahead of fourth.
8TH | 250 EAST-WEST SHOWDOWN
250 WEST REGION CHAMPION
Everyone knew what Christian Craig needed to do to clinch the 250 West Region title. A 14th place result by the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider would be more than enough for CC to earn the first title of his pro career, at the last race of his long stint in the 250 SX division. While many expected him to cruise through the day, he instead made it a point to put in the fastest lap of the 250 West Region in the afternoon’s Timed Qualifying session, rocketed out of the gate in the 250 West Region Heat Race, and made a statement on his way to the win in the short sprint.
For a moment, it looked like he was going to go for the win in the Showdown. Craig and Lawrence were bar-to-bar as they came out of the first turn, a scenario that everyone hoped for but few expected to actually see. The back and forth was short lived, though, as teammate Thrasher played the spoiler by getting the win, Lawrence focused on going forward, and Craig lost traction in the flat turn at the end of the whoops. The crash, though not serious, was enough to convince Craig that he needed to back it down. He got up just ahead of Pro Circuit teammates Forkner and Shimoda, conceded positions to the two, finished the race in a respectable eighth place.
“This feels like a dream right now,” he shared on the podium. “I wrote on a whiteboard in November with my wife a picture of the number one plate and what it’d take to do this. And it’s real. I got it and I can’t be prouder. I love this feeling.”
1ST | 450 CLASS
Jason Anderson capped off an incredible season with another 450 Main Event win, his fourth in a row, seventh in 2022, and fourteenth of his career. How solid was 21 in 2022? His stat line includes ten podium finishes, 135 laps led (not counting Triple Crowns), and an average finish of 4.4.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider’s hard pack skills and string of wins made him one of the favorites going into Salt Lake City. He lived up to the hype in every session on the track, including a 46.187 lap in Timed Qualifying that was a half-second or more fastest than anyone’s best and a holeshot turned win in 450 Heat Race Two.
A good launch got Anderson to the front in the 450 Main Event and he was part of a four-rider pack that traded close, aggressive passes with each other. The opening barrage was noted by the wheel Anderson showed Cooper Webb and the simultaneous moves he Chase Sexton put on Justin Bogle. The 21 and 23 ran 1-2 from that moment on, and although the two were within a few seconds of each other for the entirety of the race, there were no serious attempts or positions exchanged through the 26-lap feature.
“It’s surreal to be riding this good, to have this many wins after the last couple of years when I was on a dry run,” Anderson reflected on the podium. “To have a year like this, to switch teams and have everything I’ve worked for come to fruition, is amazing.”
2ND | 450 CLASS
Chase Sexton was solid in Salt Lake City. The Team Honda HRC rider was always among the top-five at the finale, a positive ending to a long and eventful season, and the 450 Main Event were proof that he can go incident-free during a long race on a technical track.
He worked for his trophy, though. An anxious clutch hand nearly got the better of him in 450 Heat Race Two and almost sent him into the gate, but a quick recovery and nice line through the first turn helped him make passes and he finished a solid third.
The 450 Main Event saw Anderson and Sexton go at it again, another chapter in a developing rivalry between two very fast riders with differing techniques and attitudes, but their battle was short lived. Instead, the two clicked off laps within a few second of each other, showed speed, and crossed the finish line.
3RD | 450 CLASS
Justin Barcia came into the final round with one goal: third overall in the 450 Class championship. The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing rider was down a handful of points to Malcolm Stewart and Marvin Musquin, but was confident that a podium finish could turn things his way.
He certainly tried. Barcia was roughly a second off the pace for most of Timed Qualifying, something that could be attributed to the high altitude and hard packed conditions, but found the fast line in the very last moments of the final session and was part of the 46-second club with Anderson-Musquin-Sexton-Stewart. His efforts in 450 Heat Race Two were only about keeping Chase Sexton behind, something he did for the entirety of the moto.
But how much Barcia wanted third overall was made clear in the middle of the 450 Main Event when he made a highly aggressive move on Malcolm Stewart in a tight turn. Sure, the two have made contact with each other plenty over the years, but no prior pass had this sort motivation or repercussion. Barcia’s riding after that was balls-out. He knifed through lapped traffic and did everything possible to keep a few seconds between himself and Stewart, things that got the crowd to their feet in an otherwise unexciting Main Event, then crossed the finish line in third place.
Although Barcia owned up to the incident on the podium, saying that it’s his job to race for the championship, officials reprimanded him for violating the probation he was put on earlier in the year. He kept the hard-earned third place result, but was docked ten points and ended the season ranked fifth overall, behind Stewart and Musquin.