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RACE REPORT

2024 Denver Supercross Race Report and Results

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2024 DENVER SUPERCROSS | COMPLETE COVERAGE

Presented by FXR Racing

The Mile High City of Denver, Colorado, hosted the 16th round of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series, and a challenging, hard-packed track greeted the racers for an important night of racing. The Honda HRC team performed flawlessly in the altitude and its pre-race preparation and testing for the thin air paid off with Jo Shimoda’s first 250 SX win of the season, Jett Lawrence’s eighth 450 SX victory, and Hunter Lawrence’s career-best finish of second in the 450 class. This is how the night unfolded.


250 Heat 1

Jo Shimoda shagged the holeshot when the gate dropped for the first time of the evening and led Talon Hawkins, Jordon Smith, and Max Miller. Championship contender Levi Kitchen suffered an average start after being pushed wide in turn one and completed lap one in eighth. Shimoda looked comfortable on the hard-packed Denver soil and began to establish an immediate lead. Kitchen, meanwhile, went to work quickly and moved to fourth quickly. Smith went down when he lost the rear end in a left-hander and dropped to fifth, allowing Hawkins to take over the runner-up spot momentarily, Kitchen made quick work of Hawkins for second but could not close in on the long-gone Shimoda. The Japanese rider crossed the finish line with a nine-second lead over Kitchen, Hawkins, Smith, and the rest.

“I feel like I am riding a little bit better, but getting the holeshot like that makes a big difference,” said Shimoda.

250 Heat 2

Ryder DiFrancisco rocketed out of the gate at the start of hear two and began the race with Nate Thrasher, JuJu Beaumer, and series points leader RJ Hampshire in tow. DiFrancisco looked solid up front, but there was no denying Thrasher as he dove to the inside of the Gas Gas rider and took control of the point position. Hampshire was next to close to DiFrancisco’s rear fender, and he also passed the Bakersfield native with an inside pass. By this time, Thrasher had a two-second lead and the Husqvarna rider went to work. KTM rider Beaumer also found himself past DiFrancisco in the same corner that Hampshire had used to his advantage. As the clock ran out, and the white flag waved. Hampshire followed Thrasher by only inches and the last lap was spectacular as the two battled for the win. In the end, Thrasher was too strong and earned his first heat race win of the year. Hampshire lead Beaumer and DiFrancisco across the finish line.

“The track is really breaking down,” said Thrasher. It’s really hardpacked out there. I think I can win tonight if I execute properly.”

250 LCQ

A massive first-turn crash took out nearly half of the field at the start when rookie Noah Viney pushed the front end and went down. This left Max Sanford in control of the lead with Preston Taylor and Carter Stephenson in hot pursuit. Brad West passed Kile Epperson on the last lap to nab the final ticket to the main event.

 

250 Main Event

Shimoda executed a beautiful start when the gate dropped at the start of the main. Smith was second early on but Kitchen forced his way past quickly. Hampshire was next to pressure Smith, but his charge forward was momentarily delayed by a big pass attempt by Thrasher. As the chaos of the first lap settled down, Shimoda led Kitchen, Smith, Hampshire, and Thrasher. Hampshire dove to the inside of Smith in a tricky rhythm section and spooked Smith into riding wide and coming into contact with a Tuffblock. With that, Hampshire took control of third, two seconds adrift of Kitchen. 

At the halfway point of the race, Shimoda enjoyed a 2.3 second lead over Kitchen, who had about four seconds on Hampshire. It was around this time that it became apparent that Kitchen’s left boot was half unbuckled. The Kawasaki rider, though, seemed unaffected and rode a solid race. Hampshire closed in considerably at the two-thirds mark when Kitchen made a big mistake in a rhythm section. Kitchen regrouped, however, and pulled away again aboard his Kawasaki KX250.

At the finish, Shimoda completed a flawless main event to earn the second 250 Supercross win of his career, Kitchen closed significantly on the final lap, as did Hampshire, making for an exciting 1-2-3 finish, 

With these results, Kitchen and Hampshire enter the series finale at Salt Lake City next week in a tie for the championship.

“I switched teams this year and I struggled earlier in the season,” said Shimoda. “I just never gave up. I know it’s late but better late than never it feels great to win!”

“That was a crazy race,” said Kitchen. “The fans had to love that race. We are all strong and we were all sending it to the end.”

“We’re gonna give the fans a show next weekend,” said Hampshire. “I’m honestly frustrated with this main event, I got hit so hard on the opening lap and it took my momentum.”


450 Heat 1

Hunter Lawrence snagged the holeshot in the first premier class heat race but Cooper Webb was hot on his heels. Dylan Ferrandis and Mitchell Oldenburg tangled in turn one and rejoined the race at the back of the pack. Malcolm Stewart, Shane McElrath and Eli Tomac rounded out the top five as the field began lap two. A mistake from Lawrence allowed Webb to take over out front, and Tomac found his way past McElrath at the same time a few corners further back. Webb did his best to break away, but the elder Lawrence held on to the rear of his Yamaha, shadowing the Yamaha rider’s every move. Lawrence pounced and took the lead for a millisecond, but Webb countered with a crafty line to strike back. Webb put some distance between him and Lawrence, who made a mistake in a rhythm section on the final lap and dropped a couple of seconds at the checkered flag. Stewart was next, followed by hometown hero Tomac.

“I got a great start,”: said Webb. “Hunter was riding great and I picked up on some of his lines and got it done. Let’s see if we can do it again in the main.”

450 Heat 2

Jett Lawrence blasted out of the gate and led Vince Friese, Justin Barcia, Chase Sexton, Justin Cooper, and Jason Anderson through the first corner. Sexton and Anderson made power moves on the first two laps and moved into second and third, respectively. With a clear track ahead of him, Lawrence established a three-second lead in short order, and maintained his advantage over the field with relative ease to earn his seventh heat race win of the year. Sexton and Anderson stayed solid and came home 11 second ahead of Justin Barcia, Dean Wilson, and Cooper.

“Starts are key tonight,” said Lawrence. “I just have to make sure I hit my lines and hit my marks tonight.”

450 LCQ

Oldenburg took control of the 450 LCQ from the drop of the starting gate and led Jerry Robin, Jeremy Hand, Grant Harlan, and Kyle Chisholm. Ferrandis got a bad start and scrambled to work into a qualifying position. Ferrandis moved forward with precision and took over second place with a little over two laps left in the race. The Frenchman blitzed the whoops on the penultimate lap to take control of the lead and win the LCQ. Oldenburg, Robin, and Hand also transferred to the main event.

450 Main Event

The Lawrence brothers blasted off the line masterfully at the start of the main and Hunter led Jett, Cooper, Tomac, Anderson and Barcia, Webb suffered a poor jump and narrowly missed hitting Sexton in the turn one when the defending champion pushed the front and went down. The crowd went nuts when Tomac took control of third, but groaned equally loudly when he pushed the front end in a corner and went down. Tomac’s spill left Anderson in third, and the Kawasaki rider looked comfortable in the position.

Hunter continued to lead Jett as the race neared the halfway point, with a 1.5-second lead over his younger brother. Just past the halfway point, Jett found his way past his brother with a low line in a right-handed bowl corner. Once into the lead, the younger Lawrence began to check out as usual, leaving Hunter to deal with a hard-charging Anderson. 

The man on the move, though, was Sexton. After falling in the first corner, Sexton moved into sixth, turning in some of the quickest lap times of the race. Sexton found his way past Webb for fifth but made a mistake a few feet later and went down just in front of the Yamaha rider. Webb ran over Sexton’s leg but the KTM rider remounted quickly after losing a few positions. 

The closing laps of the main were uneventful at the front of the pack, as Jett Lawrence crossed the finish line with 1.5 seconds over his brother Hunter, earning the eighth win of his rookie 450 season. Anderson came home third for the second week in a row, and was followed by Barcia, Webb, and Justin Cooper.

“I was screaming in my helmet on the first lap when I was behind Hunter,” said Jett. “It is so awesome to go 1-2 in the premier class. Such an awesome accomplishment for our family.”

“It was a good night,” said Hunter. “Brothers going 1-2 is history and that feels great. I am so happy for the team.”

“Just being on the podium feels good,” said Anderson. “To do it here in Denver feels good because it’s close to my hometown. I would love to knock off a win next week.”

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Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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