THE AFTERMATH | 2021 SALT LAKE CITY SUPERCROSS 2 | CHAMPIONS CROWNED
That’s a wrap! The 2021 Monster Energy Supercross season has finally come to an end and as the riders prepare for the outdoors, we look back at the final race and 2021 season to dissect what went down. Round 17 was also one of the more highly anticipated rounds of the year, maybe not for the championship hunt, but for the battles that would ensue between the two 250 coasts. In the morning at the 17th round, it became clear that the line opportunities were plentiful compared to the round prior. In qualifying, Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton were the fastest around the Salt Lake City 2 track. When the time came for the Heats and qualifying had finished, the track showed many signs of wear and tear compared to other tracks, drying out and becoming crumbly and slick. And the signs of damage on the track would continue to show as the gate dropped for the final Heat races of the year.
When the heats arrived, it would be Cameron McAdoo and Michael Mosiman to win their respective Coast Heats in the 250 class. And in the premier class, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac both won their Heat races and we were ready for the Main Events. In MXA’s The Aftermath, we take a deep dive at all the action that happened at the final round of the season. Scroll down below to check out what happened and view some pics that we thought were neat.
TOP NEWS FROM THE SEASON FINALE:
WEBB WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP
And he won the race too, double winner.
Cooper Webb didn’t just show up to win the championship without trying, even though he very well could have with only having to finish above 19th place to win the championship. Cooper had a pretty good finish in his Heat Race, finishing in second place, second to Jason Anderson. We said it before, but the Salt Lake City track layouts had Cooper Webb’s name written all over them. Tight, technical, and plenty of ground for Cooper to take the inside line on literally every turn and make the pass on his opponents.
Cooper Webb may not be known for being the fastest through the whoops, but there was no doubt he was still sending it through the tricky obstacle.
In the Main Event, we would see this happen again and again. Cooper didn’t get the holeshot, but he did land in third place behind his teammate Marvin Musquin and rival Ken Roczen. After making short work of Marvin, Cooper got started to close the gap on Ken. However, it would be Chase Sexton who would make the pass on Cooper through the whoops section, gain ground, and eventually get around the 94. Then Webb started to put pressure on Ken and made the pass once again this season. And just like every late race push, Cooper caught up to Chase near the end of the race waiting for Chase to make a mistake. Chase made a small hiccup in a turn which allowed Cooper to grab first place, and take the win, and the 2021 450 championship.
The pass for second and first by Cooper Webb.
KEN ROCZEN LANDS SECOND IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Unfortunately, the Roczen train started to run out of steam halfway through the season.
We and many others had our fingers crossed that the championship would come down to the final race, the final turn, and the final jump. Roczen dominated the first half of the season, leading the points chase but what would become a giant snowball, mistakes would plague the 94. Lappers, tip-overs, and simply running out of steam during the races when his rival would shine hindered Ken Roczen’s race results. After winning in Atlanta 2, we were hoping that with three rounds left, Ken Roczen would catch up to Cooper Webb in the points chase, but another tip-over would let his rival by. Ken was already significantly down in points heading to Salt Lake City and it would seem Cooper Webb still had the championship in the bag, but you wouldn’t imagine our surprise when the Main Event began.
Ken was the one to make it happen against Cooper Webb this season, but where Ken struggled near the end of the races, Cooper would shine.
Ken grabbed the holeshot and would lead the race while feeling the heat from Marvin until yet another tip-over would cost him the race, and solidify Webb’s place in the championship. Then at the final round of the season, Ken would once again get an amazing start, leading the pack until his teammate Chase Sexton flew passed him and the rest would follow. It was clear that Ken was finished with the season after getting passed by the two KTM riders, dropping all the way down to ninth place. Now, we’re hoping the championship hunt during outdoors can be close to the very end.
Ken still shows incredible speed, and we’re looking forward to his performance outdoors.
ELI TOMAC | SAME CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER, DIFFERENT ORDER
Eli Tomac getting ready for the final Supercross of the season.
The 2020 season for Eli Tomac was dominated. The 2021 season, well, not quite as much. The 2021 season for Eli Tomac seemed to be a hit or miss season and most of it could be directly correlated to his starts. Where in 2020, Eli could get away with a poor start and make his way through the pack was not the same in 2021. In 2021, the 450 roster was one of the most stacked rosters we’ve ever seen, denying the passes made by Eli. The races where Eli did well, he got a good start and would have to fend off the rest of his opponents. Despite rarely getting in front of the pack, Eli was still remarkably consistent with finishing near the top three, allowing himself to get a third-place finish in the season. Now that we’ve witnessed the impressive premier class, we can’t wait to see who does well in the Pro Motocross season.
COLT NICHOLS WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP ON THE EAST COAST
The fight for the championship between Colt and his teammate Christian made the 250 East season exciting.
The championship on the East coast was one to watch once the battle between Christian Craig and Colt Nichols commenced. It was a flip of the coin whether or not Colt or Christian would finish better than the other at each race and with the championship coming down to the line at Salt Lake City, we were at the edge of our seats. Unfortunately, the championship fight would be cut short after Christian suffered a scary crash during qualifying at SLC 1, taking him out of the fight. Then, Colt Nichols had a massive points advantage over the rest of the competition going into the final two Main Events.
Colt getting passed by Jett Lawrence through the whoops.
Colt would qualify well at SLC 2, and even grab the holeshot during the East/West Showdown. Colt proceeded to lead the entire race until a few laps left would feel the pressure from Jett Lawrence. With a championship on the line, Colt played it smart and safe, letting the rowdy 18 make the pass for the win. Colt then won the East Coast Championship.
Colt and Jett were pretty stoked on how the race turned out.
JUSTIN COOPER WINS ON THE WEST
Justin Cooper’s Main Event was a lot less eventful than Colt Nichol’s.
The 2021 season for Justin Cooper was similar to that of his teammate but instead of Christian Craig being his Main rival, Justin Cooper held off countless rookies, and 250 vets, Cameron McAdoo and Hunter Lawrence. However, Cameron McAdoo would be the only one to make significant ground on the Star Yamaha rider in the points hunt but a disastrous Main Event at Atlanta 3 would separate Justin’s point lead from the rest. In qualifying, Justin Cooper would once again be the fastest qualifier in the 250 class. But in the Heat Race, Justin Cooper was pushed wide by Hunter Lawrence and off the track. He then made his way back up to eighth place and gained a transfer to the Main. The Main Event for Justin was pretty uneventful as head rode safe throughout the entire race back in ninth place.
Similar to his teammate and Cooper Webb, Justin Cooper wouldn’t have to work very hard at the final race to win the championship after the three put in the work during the rest of the season. Justin won the West Coast Championship.
The Star Yamaha team had a pretty successful 2021 season. This was the first time they had won a 250 East title which also meant it was their first time winning both coasts.
JO SHIMODA GRABS SECOND IN THE EAST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP
Jo’s consistency pays off.
Jo Shimoda’s consistency throughout the entire season paid off for the young Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider, as his wins weren’t plentiful with only having one, but his ability to stay on two wheels and place well in the Mains would land him second in Points in the championship. Jo passed Christian Craig in the points after his crash in SLC1, finishing in first place in the Main Event. Jo may not have had the greatest finish in the East/West Showdown finishing in sixth, but he still finished second in the East Championship.
THE LAWRENCE BROTHERS FINISH ON THE PODIUM AT SLC 2
One finished second in Points, while the other finished in third.
The emotions were high after both of the Lawrence brothers finished on the podium during the East/West Coast Showdown, granted the race leader did let one of them slide by in the whoops section. It is safe to say that we were surprised by not only Jett’s performance throughout the season but Hunter’s as well. After Cameron McAdoo’s tough Main Event at Atlanta 3, Hunter Lawrence had gained significant points, sliding into third in the championship. Jett Lawrence had bumped up a position in the championship after Christian Craig’s ordeal.
Then in the Main Event at SLC 2, Jett Lawrence got an excellent start, riding right behind Colt Nichols while Hunter Lawrence would gain ground on Cameron McAdoo who was ahead. Once Jett made the pass on Colt, Hunter would follow his brother’s lead, passing Cameron McAdoo and finish in third place. Hunter Lawrence finished second in points on the West Coast while his brother Jett finished in third on the East.
Two Aussies and an Oklahoman on the podium.
CAMERON MCADOO FINISHES THIRD IN POINTS AFTER A TOUGH SEASON
Cameron McAdoo easily had one of the most difficult seasons out of all of the riders.
Countless crashes would plague Cameron’s excellent performance throughout the 2021 season and unfortunately, it would be a rough week in Atlanta that would affect his position in the points. Atlanta 3, would be the greatest variable as his hard hit at the beginning of the day in qualifying and Garrett Marchbanks completely unjustified takedown would cost him valuable points in the championship. Despite all of his hard hits, Cameron still showed up to SLC 2 with only having 15 minutes on the bike after Atlanta. He grabbed a good start and would ride in third place until Hunter made the pass. Cameron finished third in points on the West Coast.
CRASHES AND POINTS
The championship wasn’t handed to anyone, but it sure made it easier on the points leaders that their opponents would fail to stay on two wheels.
One of the biggest factors in the championships would be the ability for the points leaders to stay on two wheels. For each of the three championships, the rider who challenged the title would suffer in the points after hitting the deck. Ken Roczen, Christian Craig, and Cameron McAdoo were all in contention for the championship but Cooper Webb, Colt Nichols, and Justin Cooper were capable of being more consistent with finishing with their bikes still intact.
TOP CONTENDERS KNOCKED OUT OF THE SEASON EARLY
Remember these guys?
Another huge factor in the season was the number of top riders who were highly anticipated but made contact with the ground early in the season. Jeremy Martin, Austin Forkner, Rj Hampshire, Alex Martin, and Max Vohland ended their 250 season fairly early. In the 450 class, Adam Cianciarulo, Zach Osborne, and Justin Brayton were eventually knocked out of the season after several crashes.
The battle between Christian and Colt was a highlight of the 2021 season. With being the only one to best Colt Nichols at several rounds, Christian was a true contender for the championship. Unfortunately for Christian, he would crash hard during qualifying at Salt Lake City 1, taking him out of the championship title hunt.
Similar to Christian Craig’s case, Chase showed incredible speed for his rookie season on the 450, but crashes were Chase’s Achilles heel. It’s hard to count for us, and probably Chase, and how many times he hit his head during the season, with one even taking him out for several races. Chase was without a doubt one of the fastest qualifiers when he was onboard his HRC Honda, and even in the SLC 2 Main Event he almost won the race.
Dylan Ferrandis was a fastest enough 450 rookie to earn himself the 450 rookie of the year award. Dylan’s speed was pretty insane at some of the races, making his way through the pack after getting a poor start. We anticipate Dylan to perform even better as he dials his starts in.
Another Star Yamaha team rider impressed us in the 2021 season. Malcolm Stewart was able to ride extremely consistently at each round, typically finishing near fourth or fifth. Only a couple of rounds did Malcolm finish poorly but his performance was definitely a highlight for us in the season.
Aaron ain’t joking around in 2021. Aaron’s performance in the 2021 season was a surprise for many of us along with the rest of the Star Yamaha 450 effort. After getting some amazing starts and holding off past 450 champs, Aaron looked pretty comfortable onboard his new Star Yamaha gid. Now, there’s rumors that he is getting offers from other teams such as KTM. But we wonder if other teams will be able to communicate with the rider as well as Star did in the 2021 season.
Seth’s remarkable rookie performance throughout the season earned him rookie of the year award for the 250 class. His qualifying performance and several race finishes had surprised us the entire season, rivaling several 250 vets.
Silencing all the keyboard critiques, Justin was successful winning the first round of the season. But for Justin, that would be the only highlight of his season as many mistakes and poor starts would hinder his performance. Despite this, we can’t deny how impressive the newly formed team and Justin’s performance were during the season. Justin still finished fourth in points and scored multiple podium finishes with an upbeat attitude heading into outdoors.
Michael Mosiman led laps in 2021, scored multiple podium finishes, broke his hand and missed two races, but came back to battle at the front again at SLC. He won the 250 East Heat race commandingly after grabbing the holeshot and pulling away, but a pile up in the first turn of the East West Shootout left him with a bent up bike and a beat up body. He finished 15th.
450 POINT STANDINGS AFTER THE FINAL ROUND
Marvin Musquin didn’t hug Cooper after the race, but he did congratulate him.
Despite not finishing where he may have wanted to in the season, we can’t help but applaud Ken’s positive mindset through 2021. Losing a race can be frustrating but Ken still managed to keep a positive mindset through the season.
250 EAST POINT STANDINGS AFTER THE FINAL ROUND
Colt finished first in points after having an exciting season battling his teammate.
Nice job Jo. Mitch took a chance putting Jo on the team, but it shows Mitch Payton definitely knows what he is doing.
250 WEST POINT STANDINGS AFTER THE FINAL ROUND
Justin Cooper and the rest of their 250 army was one to contend with for everyone else.
Hunter Lawrence ahead of McAdoo and Hammaker mid-air.
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
Cooper Webb via Press Release:“It’s been a heck of a year with everything in the world going on, but we dug deep this year and stayed the course. It’s been an incredible journey, a hard-fought season with a lot of hard races but this is all worth it right here. Being a two-time champion is incredible and to get the win tonight is the cherry on top. I’m speechless, this is incredible.”
Ken Roczen via Press Release: “Round 17 was a tough one again. I just seemed to struggle with the altitude. After getting the holeshot in the main, the first little bit of the race looked promising, but I really let go and dropped way back. Overall, I’ve had a good season. I’ve never stayed in the game for so long—making it all the way to the last round being in the championship hunt. Last year I was third, this year I was second—at least we’re going in the right direction. We had some really good battles, and I learned a lot about myself this year. I’m looking forward to the outdoor season now, and the supercross season next year.”
Justin Barcia via Press Release: “I felt good all day and was comfortable on the bike and the track, but finishing seventh wasn’t the way I wanted to end the season. All-in-all it was a solid year, I ended up fourth in the championship. Next year we’ll have some improvements to make but for the first Supercross season with the team, it was really enjoyable and fun and we have a lot more to show for next year, so we’ll keep on plugging along!”
Aaron Plessinger via Press Release: “My night started off a little slow. Qualifying didn’t go the way I wanted, but we made some changes and that seemed to help a lot. I got a pretty good start in the main, but my body kind of stalled out during the middle of the race. Compared to the last two years, this season has been way better. I think last year I was 11th overall and this year I was 5th, so it’s been a great turnaround. I can’t thank the whole team enough because they’ve put the work in and it showed. I’m ready for what’s next with the outdoors and to show everyone what we’ve got.”
Malcolm Stewart via Press Release: “I struggled a little bit at the start of the day but the team worked hard and we turned it around when it came to the Main Event. Looking back at the season as a whole – I had a great run and I’m more than blessed to have this team to support me. We got a podium and checked that off the list, and we ended the season with a top-five and had a solid run. We’ve got some things to work on but I feel really good overall about the year.”
Dylan Ferrandis via Press Release: “The race was extremely difficult. I don’t know why but I felt a little more tired compared to last week. The track was really tricky and I made a couple of mistakes, but I gave everything I had. I’m a little disappointed to not finish on the box, but it’s still a good result, and it was a good end to the season with two fourths.”
Jason Anderson via Press Release: “The night was going pretty good – practice was alright, the heat race was a good result even though I didn’t feel like I rode the best and then the Main Event didn’t go so well,” Anderson said. “I think I ended the season in eighth overall but we’ll work on it for next year.”
Marvin Musquin via Press Release: “I’m happy to finish this season on a very high note, going 1-2 in Salt Lake City. The chase was really fast and we are super high in altitude so the breathing was tough, but it felt so good to give my best like that. I’m really happy to give good results right now because it’s been a tough season but I’m showing that I’ve still got some speed and endurance. I’m excited, we’ll be back next year!”
Colt Nichols via Press Release:“It would have been nice to get the win, but I can’t complain about second place. I think I might be the only person to be on the podium at all nine rounds so I’m happy about that. I was off all day. I couldn’t really loosen up, but kudos to the team because they knew exactly what to do with the bike to get me comfortable. I was able to get a good start and lead some laps and had a fun battle with the Lawrence brothers. It’s an amazing feeling (to win the championship). I haven’t really ever been in a position to be a contender in the past and this year I put myself in a good spot. It’s a dream come true.”
Justin Cooper via Press Release: “It honestly didn’t go that well tonight and the night show felt a little like a disaster. I just stayed mid-pack and knew what I had to do to bring it home. It was a long 15 minutes. I knew where I was. I had won races, but it felt so different. I didn’t really know what to feel. It’s going to sink in over the next few days and I know it will be good.”
Hunter Lawrence via Press Release: “Awesome weekend in Salt Lake City to finish off the season. I got P2 in the West class championship, so that was really cool; I’m stoked on that. I was pretty good throughout the day and was happy with qualifying and felt really good. In the main event I was in a really good position and just rushed a pass for third and washed the front end out. I dropped back to fifth and took a lap to regroup and breathe, and then put on a push and got myself into third on the last lap. The track wasn’t something you could really send it on, so it was definitely about patience and a lot of corner speed–you had to execute your corners really well. Obviously, Jett and myself both getting on the podium was really special. What a way to finish out the supercross season! The team and everyone was really happy with that, and I can’t thank the team enough; they’re like a family and they’ve been awesome, so I’m looking forward to the outdoors and just happy to end it on a solid note. Obviously we would’ve loved to win, but I’m looking forward to going racing again shortly.”
Jett Lawrence via Press Release: “Coming into the weekend, I was excited for the Showdown with my brother Hunter and couldn’t wait for the main event. In the first qualifier I got P1 and was feeling a little better on the track and started to get a good flow. The second qualifier was pretty good also; I had a little mistake in a rhythm lane but nothing crazy. Going into the heat race I was pretty excited to get it underway, and it went pretty good. I got second in the heat and ended up getting the third gate pick for the main. I was throwing up all through the break to the main, so I was a little nervous and didn’t know how I’d do, but I was able to dig deep and kind of focus and came out with a win. I was super-pumped from how I was feeling before the race, and to top it off Hunter got third; it was awesome for both of us to be on the box, so the last round ended pretty well, I think.”
WORDS FROM THE TEAM MANAGERS:
Erik Kehoe via Press Release: “The entire team did an amazing job this supercross season! To have Jett win the final and Hunter finish on the podium at the ultra-competitive 250 East/West Showdown was a real statement! In the 450 final, Chase rode hard and showed his determination to get a podium spot. Ken had a great start, but unfortunately lost his momentum late in the final and settled for 10th place on the night. It was a great finish to the season, with the team finishing in the top three of each championship! The collective efforts of Ken, Chase, Jett, Hunter and the entire team paid off when Honda was awarded the 2021 Manufacturers’ Cup award based on all of the finishes in both classes for the season.”
Jeremy Coker via Press Release: “All in all tonight was good. We are not racing an easy class with a lot of champions, and the guys showed once again that we can do it. As they are learning the 450 class, we are learning the 450 class, and we’re getting better every week. Overall, the season was good. We’ll put our heads down to be ready for the outdoor season and come back for next year’s supercross season even more prepared to show them what we have got.”
Wil Hahn via Press Release: “What a year. It’s really hard to put it into words right now. It’s been quite a while since both championships have gone to one team. I am so proud of our entire team. I can’t even mention everyone because there are so many people that work so hard.”
Roger DeCoster via Press Release: “There have been many great champions over the years but when it comes to race craft and the really deep desire to win, Cooper is special and he ranks at the very top. Even when it was not necessary to win today – he could have just rode around and 18th would have been sufficient – but he decided he wanted to win the race and it was very impressive how he ended the season. The guy has so much heart, he keeps impressing me time after time and I’m really thankful for that. I’m also thankful for the people that make this possible because of course the rider is the biggest factor in this sport by a long margin but there are a lot of people that make this possible also that have influence and make a difference in getting there. Especially the people in Austria, also Slovenia with Akrapovic and then all the people in the U.S. like WP suspension, Carlos and so many other people that have something to do with this championship. I’m just thankful to still be a part of it and witness this awesome racing.”