THE AFTERMATH | 2021 SALT LAKE CITY SUPERCROSS 1 | A NIGHT OF COMEBACKS & FIRST-EVERS
THE AFTERMATH | 2021 SALT LAKE CITY SUPERCROSS 1 | CRASHES, CLOSE BATTLES AND MORE
The 2021 Monster Energy Supercross only had two more rounds after finishing the tripleheader held in Hampton, Georgia which featured three massive speedway tracks that were high speed and full of close action. Now, the series has made its way to Salt Lake City, Utah for the 16th and 17th round of the season where the East Coast rivalries would be stirred up once again before the East/West Showdown in the 250 class. Observing the traditional track layout, the track was laughably small in comparison to the previous three rounds. However, the standard track size and layout would feature zero exciting obstacles and we suspected that the majority of the riders would only race on one line, which ended up being the case on race day. In Motocross Action’s The Aftermath, we dive deeper into the biggest news and topics from Round 16 and some of our favorite photos we took. There’s a LOT to unpack from SLC 1 so scroll down below to get the full rundown of the action, crashes, and close battles of the second to last round of the 2021 season.
Photos by Travis Fant
TOP NEWS FROM SALT LAKE CITY 1:
MARVIN MUSQUIN WINS AFTER 765 DAYS
You can say it’s been a while since we’ve seen this French rider on top of the podium.
Right place, right time. Marvin Musquin got a good start in the Main and after making a pass on Rocky Mountain’s Joey Savtagy, would sit in second place. Ken Roczen would get a healthy lead on the 25 but after 3/4s of the race had past, Marvin would begin to close the gap, and eventually make his way around the 94 who was laying on the ground. Then Cooper Webb would knock on his door on the final laps of the race, but he would hold off his teammate and win the Main Event. Marvin’s last Supercross win was on March 23, 2019. Marvin is often brushed off as an older rider nowadays and with a less-than-desirable placing in the championship, he still shows that he can be a very competitive racer. You can say he was pretty stoked about the win.
COOPER WEBB SOLIDIFIES HIS PLACE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP
At this point, it’ll take a miracle for Kenny to catch up to Cooper in the championship.
Heading into the first Salt Lake City round, we figured it would have Cooper Webb’s name written all over it. Standard SX track, only one set of whoops, and plenty of tight technical sections. When both of the riders we suspected would do best won their respective Heat Races (Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac) the anticipation of a battle breaking out between the two was on an all-time high. However, that wouldn’t be the case when the Main Event gate dropped. The two both got a horrible start, while the other championship contender, Ken Roczen, grabbed the holeshot and led the premier class. Cooper Webb was buried in the pack and Eli Tomac was nowhere to be found after tipping the bike over on the slick Utah soil. Then with every race Cooper Weeb is in, the number 2 proceeded to find the fast lines halfway through the event, knocking off other riders from the leaderboard.
Then the race leader, Ken Roczen, would have yet another disastrous mistake while leading a race in the 2021 season, and tip over right before the whoops and letting several opponents make the pass. Marvin Musquin grabbed the lead and would win the race but with the 94 landing in sixth place, Cooper Webb now leads the championship with a 22 point gap on his rival. It is almost a guaranteed championship victory if Cooper Webb shows up to the Main Event and doesn’t finish last.
FIRST 450 PODIUM FOR MALCOLM STEWART
It almost seems this would have happened a while ago with how well Malcolm Stewart has been riding this season. But a few mistakes sprinkled here and there would delay the rider’s first podium to the 16th round.
The 27 got a decent start, sitting in the middle of the pack with plenty of very fast riders sitting in front. After several mistakes by his competitors, Malcolm snaked his way through the pack and even past teammate, Dylan Ferrandis, who has also been riding extremely well this season. It felt like a long time coming but Malcolm expressed plenty of emotions on his first Main Event podium.
“LIFE’S A GARDEN, DIG IT” – JOE DIRT
Keep on keepin’ on.
It’s hard to count how many times Chase Sexton has taken a soil sample of Dirt Wurx’s tracks, but unfortunately for the 23, Chase has had numerous amounts of gnarly get-offs, usually ending head first. In qualifying, Chase would suffer a similar result to Christian Craig, coming up short and then having to ditch the bike in mid-air. To show how tough Chase is as a competitor, he still lined up for the Heat Race, got second, and then also finished in fifth place in the Main, passing his teammate Ken Roczen. Chase has some serious potential to be a regular on the podium with how fast he is in qualifying and the races. But as of right now, we’re just hoping he takes a break from the research and development on Alpinestars’ helmets.
YOU’VE HEARD OF COW TIPPING, BUT HAVE YOU HEARD OF DIRTBIKE TIPPING?
You can say the Main Event was pretty eventful with how many slid and slides the fastest riders in the world were riding on. One, in particular, would be the second time Ken Roczen felt the pressure from the rest of his competitors and fall over just before the whoops. In Atlanta 3, Ken had fallen over in the whoops section and lost the Main Event as well. It is still remarkable that four riders had small crashes with big consequences in the Main Event, and we were hoping that the championship would come down to the very last race. Well, it’s starting to seem whoever can stay on two wheels will win.
JO SHIMODA: FIRST JAPANESE RIDER EVER TO WIN A SX RACE
Hard work pays off for the 18 year old.
Jo Shimoda was quick to get to the holeshot line first and lead the race. There was plenty of intense racing in the pack, but Jo was focused on racing his own race. Jo eventually felt the pressure from Michael Mosiman, but after several failed passing attempts, would get some breathing room as Jett Lawrence would make the pass on the 42. However, the breathing room wouldn’t last long as Jett would be breathing down his neck for the last couple of laps, but it was Jo who crossed the finish line first. It is pretty amazing how Mitch Payton and the rest of the Pro Circuit team took a chance with the SX rookie showing that some gambles pay off. Jo’s consistent riding throughout the entire season has also paid off as despite only winning one Main, he now sits second in the championship.
Jo was even rewarded a hug from fellow competitor, Jett Lawrence, as the racing finished.
CHRISTIAN CRAIG HAS SEASON ENDING CRASH
Yeah, we’re bummed for the 29.
Near the very end of the second qualifying session, Craig would come up just short of the landing before a triple, losing lots of momentum and ground to get speed to make the jump. This would aim him directly at the face of the next hump, coming up short and bailing before things would get worse. Christian’s bail (no not Christian Bale) was well calculated but his ankle barely snagging the landing would come with its consequences. It was immediate that Christian was not feeling right as the medics drove over and carted off the fastest qualifier. Christian then lined up for the second Heat Race but after half a lap of rolling every obstacle, he pulled off and went back to the rig.
Christian via Instagram: “Me having higher hopes that the ankle & fib would last longer in that heat :/ Glad I tried but bummed I couldn’t make it work. Heading to the doctor tomorrow morning to make sure we are set for May 29th”
Colt Nichols expressed his disappointment about his teammate and championship rival crashing as well. Similar to the 450 class, we were also hoping that we would see a close battle at the final race between the two competitors. But now, Colt Nichols will most likely get the championship title as long as he stays healthy and on two wheels.
COLT NICHOLS HOLDS DOWN THE 250 EAST COAST CLASS
He may have gotten third in the Main, but he’s number one in the championship.
Similar to Cooper Webb and Colt’s teammate Justin Cooper, Nichols has worked hard to create a massive lead over the rest of the competition. With the sad news that Christian Craig is out of the picture, Colt now sits an impressive 23 points ahead of Jo. With the other two classes showing that their leader is most likely going to win, the East Coast class was the one to watch out for till the very end, and it was certainly looking that way until the end of qualifying.
MICHAEL MOSIMAN’S BATTLE FOR FIRST, SECOND, AND THEN THIRD
There had to be a hundred passing attempts.
Jo Shimoda held onto first place in the 250 Main while Michael Mosiman hung on to second. Several passing attempts were made on Jo during the race by Michael but unfortunately for the 42, the passing attempts would result in losing time and letting the rest of the 250 guys catch up. Soon Jo would start to break away while Jett started to close the gap on Michael. Eventually, a mistake through one of the rhythm sections and coming up short would not pay off for the GasGas rider, allowing Jet to slide by. Michael then aimed for the side of the HRC 250 rider just before the finish, failing to make the pass and earning himself a #1 finger over the jump by Jett. Then Colt started to knock on Michael’s door but another costly mistake would cost Michael the fourth place position in the race.
The 250 pack was close, we just wish there wasn’t one line for the entire track, which would allow more passing opportunities and close battles.
250 EAST COAST GHOST TOWN
There were as many 250 East Coast riders lined up on the gate as they are people who can fit in an entire van with back seats.
13 riders, yes that is correct. 13 riders each lined up on the gate for both of the 250 East Coast Heat Races with only 29 officially registering for the weekend. Unfortunately for many of the East Coast riders, the contingency purse simply does not pay off the massive drive, expenses, and living that would come out of many privateers’ pockets. It is a huge bummer to see only 13 riders line up on each gate but the LCQ was even more saddening. By the time the LCQ took off for the 250s, several riders were already hurt or DNS’d, leaving only one spot in the entire race to be a non-transfer position with only five total riders on the track at the end of the race. It’s sad to see that there weren’t more riders in the 250 East class trying to qualify for the Main Event.
MARTIN DAVALOS RETIRE’S FROM PROFESSIONAL RACING
It was an awesome run Martin.
Martin Davalos via Instagram: “Welp. Here it is guys. I am sitting here with my eyes tearing up thinking about how amazing my career has been…how I came to the states when I was 15 years old— alone and as a nobody from such a small country. I left my family behind to do what I loved the most which was to race my motorcycle. I am so grateful that my family sacrificed so much to help my dream come true. And I am proud of all I’ve achieved. With that being said, I have decided it is time for me to hang my boots up and step away from racing. My plan was to retire after the last round but unfortunately during press day today I had a crash that caused a broken collar bone and concussion. This career has been full of highs and lows but I have accomplished things I never thought or dreamed of doing and I’m so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to do so…
There have been so many who have helped me along the way and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making an impact in my career. To all the fans that have followed my career over these last 15 years thank you for your support it means the world to me. And the Asterisk medical unit for always taking care of me. I am looking forward to new beginnings!”
450 SX CLASS:
It was a close battle to the finish between Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb, but in the end, the 25 would break his victory hiatus and come out on top showing everyone that he still has it.
Cooper Webb did what he does best in the races, coming out of nowhere halfway through the race and making an example out of his opponents. It is quite impressive to see him bulldog the bike wherever he wants it and study the lines of his competitors. Cooper Webb finished in second and we wonder what the results may have been like if they had one more lap in the race.
SLC would be Malcolm Stewart’s first 450 podium and it was a long time coming. Malcolm and the rest of the Star Yamaha 450s have proven to be one of the most consistent teams we have ever seen, finishing up from in the pack. Now, Malcolm has gotten his first 450 podium and we’re excited to see what he and the rest of the Star Yamaha 450s can do.
Ken Roczen via Press Release: “What a bummer, once again. I got the holeshot in the main and gapped the field, but just found myself on the ground after tucking the front before the whoops. I dropped back to sixth, and that’s where we finished as well. There’s not much that I can say about it, to be honest; it’s unfortunate. I’m finding myself on the ground lately in general, which normally is not my style. I’m just trying to put my team and myself on the top step and it just hasn’t been working out, so I’m looking forward to next weekend.”
450 SUPERCROSS POINTS AFTER ROUND 16 OF 17
Looks like Cooper Webb may have the championship in his grasp.
We wonder what the championship would look like if the 94 hadn’t fallen twice while in the lead.
250 EAST COAST CLASS:
Jo Shimoda never rode over his head in the Main Event, showing excellent racecraft keeping the 42 and 18 off of him. Jo not only won his first Main Event, but he also would be the first Japanese-born rider to ever win a Supercross Main as well.
Jett was quick on his line choices and we noticed from the very beginning of the day that he had already mastered the SLC 1 course. In the Main Event, he would not get the best of starts, but would make his way through the 250 field after passing Thomas Do and eventually Michael Mosiman. Jett would then make passing attempts on Jo but in the end, would finish in second place.
Colt even stated after the race that hearing about his teammate suffer a major crash threw him off in the race mind. Colt didn’t get a very good start in the Main but after several quick passes, would finish in third.
250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS AFTER ROUND 8 of 9
Some will say that the championship was handed to Colt after Christian’s crash, but there is no doubt that Colt worked hard for it, battling his teammate every race during the first half of the season and holding off the rest of the competitors.
Now, Jo sits second in points.
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
Marvin Musquin via Press Release: “I can’t believe it right now – I’m standing on the top of the podium. I have had some struggles this season but my goal is to come back and keep getting better. There are so many good riders, so the start is super important and I was just trying to be consistent, those whoops were really tough. I’m so proud, I gave it my all tonight.”
Cooper Webb via Press Release:“I didn’t get a great start tonight, which hindered me a little bit. Those whoops were super tricky, I finally found a good line and made a charge there at the end. I thought I was in a good position and Marvin picked it up a lot there at the end. Getting points is key but you want to win when you’re that close. We’ll come around next Saturday and see what we can do!”
Malcolm Stewart via Press Release: “It was a great day! I felt good and rode well all day and just let the race come to me. I didn’t have the best start in the Main Event, but we made it work the first couple of laps. Then Coop (Cooper Webb), (Jason) Anderson, and I had a pretty gnarly battle. I was really strong in the whoops tonight, and even the corner after the mechanics’ area, and kept gaining ground.
Dylan Ferrandis via Press Release: “It was a tough day. We made some changes this week to improve the bike, and it didn’t really work in the first practice, so we had to keep working on more changes, which made it hard to get comfortable. In the heat, we went the wrong way, but we made another big change and the bike was really awesome in the main. I had a good start, then Anderson pushed me off the track, and I lost a couple of positions. It took me a few laps to learn the bike and to feel comfortable on it because it was a new setting that I had never tried before. Then when I felt comfortable, I pushed and gave everything that I had. I made some good passes on some strong riders and I came back to fourth. It’s a good result overall, and we look to come back next weekend and do better at the finale.”
Chase Sexton via Press Release: “Round one here in Salt Lake City started off rough. I had a big crash in qualifying, which could’ve ended my night; it was pretty gnarly. After the crash I was really sore and my heel, left shoulder and right hip were pretty banged up. We did some work and we got myself to where I was able to race. I had a pretty good heat race, coming from a ways back. I didn’t get a good start in the main event, but like the heat race, I just tried to fight my way up. I feel like I was riding pretty good, but kind of lost it with about five minutes to go and got passed by [Dylan] Ferrandis. It was a good top-five after what could’ve been no race at all. It’s something to build off of and we have another race to go, so we’ll just try and get better.”
Aaron Plessinger via Press Release: “The day started out a little slow, I wasn’t really gelling with the bike in practice. That was kind of how it went all day long; I was just struggling with the bike setup and trying to get going. I had a good heat race going but about ripped my shroud off and then couldn’t really turn right that well and finished fourth. In the main, I didn’t get a good start and was battling mid-pack. I made my way up to the back of Dylan, but I just couldn’t get around him. Then I made a few bonehead mistakes and finished eighth.”
Jo Shimoda via Press Release: “This is a dream come true for me,” said Shimoda. “When I came to the U.S. I had to leave some of my family back in Japan and it was really hard at first. To be standing on top of the podium is awesome. I’m so thankful for all the people that helped me in my journey. I still can’t believe it.”
Jett Lawrence via Press Release: “I started the day off good, getting P4 in the first qualifier, and I was able to go fastest in the second one, putting me third overall on the qualifying side. In the second heat race I got a good start and won that, so I had first gate pick. In the main event I was a little slow out of the gate, which didn’t help. I was fourth on the first lap, and I was able to make a couple passes and get to second. I tried doing a little last-lap charge to Jo [Shimoda] but made a few mistakes in the rhythm, which didn’t help me. He nailed the long rhythm, so good job to him, but it would’ve been nice to have those points. Overall, it was a good race. I felt good to see everyone and get back to racing. I was happy with it and can’t wait till next weekend for the East/West shootout.”
Colt Nichols via Press Release: “I don’t even know what to say. It was a good night, getting on the podium, so that’s always awesome. It’s just been a roller coaster of emotions kind of day, we came into this battling my teammate and we were looking to have two really good races here in Salt Lake City, me and him going head-to-head with only eight points separating us, so it was unfortunate that he crashed out and ended up hurting his ankle. That just puts you in a weird spot.”
Michael Mosiman via Press Release: “It’s been a long time off the bike and a long time off racing but it felt great to get back into it today! I felt like I was the fastest guy out there today, I just crumbled on the race craft, trying to make passes in spots that weren’t ideal and it cost me the win. I believe I was the guy that should have been winning and it’s disappointing but I’m trying to learn from it. I will be better going forward.”