2023 AMA Pro Motocross 250 Class Preview Part 1
In just seven days, the 2023 rendition of The Great Outdoors will begin just about an hour north of San Diego, California at Fox Raceway. Lots of interesting storylines going into National No. 1, such as Jett Lawrence moving up to the 450s, the general vacuum of power left open in said 450 class with no Eli Tomac or Ken Roczen, and reigning MX2 World Champion Tom Vialle getting the opportunity to win his first AMA Motocross crown for Red Bull KTM. Also a notable change to the scheduling in 2023 with the SMX races to come later in the year, in that there are only 11 Nationals this summer, with the second round at Pala getting the boot, which also makes Ironman the finale once again. But of the guys in this 250 field, who's going to be the one to ultimately step up and take hold of this division?
Pro Motocross Purse Money Situation
I originally saw this from Steve Matthes, but Adam Cianciarulo also pointed out the updated purse payout for this Motocross season, which looks as such.
For full transparency here as well, the payout numbers you see are on a per Moto basis as opposed to an Overall basis. With that said, this is still a notable drop-off from what the Supercross purse payouts are in the 450 class. For reference, those numbers this year were 14k for a Main Event win, 7k for a second, and 4.5k for a third. I think it's fair to say that the Supercross payouts being higher makes sense given that it generates more revenue and has more races to do so, but even with the notable injection of money into the prize pool on all fronts of the sport, this doesn't feel like a substantial bump at all, and that's only for the 450 class. I feel like there are plenty of people who can articulate this topic better than me right now, but this is something that I doubt will go away anytime soon.
AMA Pro Motocross 250 Class Preview: Part 1
*- Bold statistic indicates series leader
Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing
No. 29 Michael Mosiman
2022 Motocross Stats: 1 Moto Win, 0 National Wins, 21 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 13.9, Average Finish of 10.9, 208 Points (9th)
Two DNSs, a DNF, and then a 39th at Hangtown after he won the prior Moto ultimately soured what ended up being a solid year for Mosiman in only nine Nationals. Entering his fifth full season outdoors in a contract year, he's never finished higher than eighth in points outdoors. Seeing as it's been floated that his days at TLD are numbered, showing that he can produce and stay healthy for 22 Motos could go a long way.
No. 33 Pierce Brown
2022 Motocross Stats: 0 Moto Wins, 0 National Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 13.0, Average Finish of 16.3, 198 Points (10th)
Brown is one of several riders in both classes that will be missing the opening segment of the season. Just weeks ago the Utah native broke his hand, on top of the fact he's been dealing with a torn meniscus injury for some time now. Although Brown made a notable jump in points from '21 to '22 going from 18th to 10th, he struggled a ton with week-to-week consistency. Just once all season did he put up consecutive Overall top 10 finishes, and just four total. Additionally, Brown also had a rough stretch of 11 consecutive Motos finishing 10th or worse in the early to middle portion of the season. Starting behind the eight-ball will hurt, but I'd like to think he's going to be much more consistent.
No. 243 Caden Braswell (???)
2022 Motocross Stats: N/A (Rookie Motocross Season...if he competes)
With Phoenix Honda pulling out of Pro Motocross, the reigning Nicky Hayden AMA Motocross Horizon Award winner has gotten the opportunity to pursue other options. And as it was rumored, Braswell sure enough was seen testing for TLD/Gas Gas at the Stopwatch Nats at Glen Helen a few days ago. Hard to say if he will be lining up at Pala next Saturday, but that's a hell of a get for GasGas if this turns into something long-term, and Braswell wouldn't be the only pickup either, but more on that in a few minutes.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
*- Both Cameron McAdoo and Austin Forkner are expected to miss the bulk of the series
No. 30 Jo Shimoda
2022 Motocross Stats: 5 Moto Wins, 2 National Wins, 65 Laps Led, 1 Holeshot, Average Start of 6.3, Average Finish of 3.2, 480 Points (2nd) (MX2 Class rider for Team Japan in Motocross Des Nations)
Simply a tremendous outing for Shimoda last summer and for 'the Agenda™', finishing off the overall podium just three times all season, and worse than fifth in a moto just twice. Seeing as he has some races under him now after he came back at the tail end of Supercross, he should be expected to once again be a real contender for this 250 Championship. I'm sure his reported new bosses over at Honda would like for him to come in with that hardware anyway.
No. 52 Carson Mumford
2022 Motocross Stats: 0 Moto Wins, 0 National Wins, 0 Laps Leds, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 17.9, Average Finish of 16.6, 90 Points (17th)
Unknown how long, if at all, Mumford goes in outdoors given the rapidly changing situation with injuries in the Pro Circuit rig, but he was out at the Stopwatch Nats which feels like an indicator that he may be a go for at least round one. I came away impressed with how quickly he acclimated to the KX250 indoors and would like to think he can give Mitch Payton the same level of results in Motocross. Just going to be a matter of how long that will end up being.
No. 75 Ryder DiFrancesco
2022 Motocross Stats: 0 Moto Wins, 0 National Wins, 0 Laps Leds, 1 Holeshot, Average Start of 13.3, Average Finish of 16.9, 67 Points (22nd) (Partial Schedule)
Wasn't a perfect string of outings for DiFrancesco as he was balancing his first few Pro Nationals with the end of his amateur career, but you saw enough to feel excited about what's to come. The 13-8 for eight Overall at Millville was especially nice to see given that was his second-ever outing. Going to be very interested to see how much better he looks this year now that he's a full-time professional. It is also worth noting that Ryder D will not be with this Pro Circuit team next year simply because he's the odd man out. Very odd given his resume as an amateur and longstanding ties to Team Green, but Kawi's loss is going to be GasGas' gain by the sounds of it.
No. 124 Jett Reynolds
2022 Motocross Stats: N/A (Making his Professional debut finally)
If I hadn't seen Reynolds do some press day riding at Minneapolis Supercross a season ago, I would have begun questioning if he even existed at all. His long-awaited pro debut has faced setback after setback after setback over the last few years, but barring anything unexpected, we're finally going to see him at the gate. Reynolds is certainly entering this season with virtually zero fanfare, but don't forget that he is one of the most decorated Loretta Lynn's riders ever, racking up nine Championships between 2014-2017. Think that the former point could also play to his benefit as well.
No. 53 Derek Drake
2022 Motocross Stats: 0 Moto Wins, 0 National Wins, 0 Laps Leds, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 18.3, Average Finish of 18.9, 72 Points (20th)
Drake's outdoor campaign was a little more solid than what the numbers would dictate, being a 15th-20th guy with regularity save the two rounds he DNF'd Motos in. That was also the case in Supercross this year as well, even though he suffered a fracture to his left humeral head (upper humerus bone) after San Diego. I'd probably expect mostly the same kind of results this summer as well but would like to see him get his first top-10 Overall finish since Millville 2020.
No. 59 Robbie Wageman
2022 Motocross Stats: N/A (Making first career 250MX start next week. Has seven career 450MX starts)
The Wage Man is finally getting the opportunity to run Motocross on a 250 full-time after spending the last few seasons with Solitare Yamaha. In seven career 450 Motocross starts however, he had four consecutive top 20s in his last four starts, including a 15th and 10th at the end of the '21 season. Probably wasn't the year indoors that Wageman was probably hoping for, but I think he's going to impress people this summer.
No. 410 Brendon Scharer (???)
2022 Motocross Stats: N/A (Made starts at Pala 1 and Hangtown last summer)
Didn't sound like we were gonna get a ton of Scharer outdoors as is, but a recent arm break is certainly going to knock him out for the opening half of the season.
Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha
No. 6 Jeremy Martin
2022 Motocross Stats: N/A (Took season off to get acclimated with the team)
JMart's 2021 with Star Yamaha was a bit of a roller coaster, but the highs were extremely high. Six Moto wins and a run of three National wins in a four-round span before he went down for the season at Ironman. Before that round, he led the entire class in Moto and Overall wins as well, sitting third in points as a result of a 40th at Thunder Valley in Moto 2, and just an off day at Southwick. But the biggest thing Martin has going for him headed into Motocross is that he's fully healthy. Going into that '21 tilt he had gotten hurt in his first Supercross Main Event of the season at Orlando and went nearly three months between gate drops. I do not doubt that JMart will be a tough out with this ClubMX squad every weekend.
No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks
2022 Motocross Stats (450 Class): 0 Moto Wins, 0 National Wins, 0 Laps Leds, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 16.8, Average Finish of 16.3, 74 Points (T-11th)
Back down to the small bore for Marchbanks after what was a relatively impressive 450 stint last summer. Three bad results ended up hurting his averages a bit, as he was about an 8th-13th guy for most of the season. Also came away impressed that he finished better in points on a 450 than his three prior seasons on a 250. Would have to imagine that has to give him a ton of confidence going into Pala.
No. 71 Preston Kilroy
2022 Motocross Stats: 0 Moto Wins, 0 National Wins, 0 Laps Leds, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 17.6, Average Finish of 18.9, 74 Points (19th)
Kilroy is a late addition to this ClubMX outdoor roster, just getting officially confirmed to run after an injury at Houston Supercross took him out for the entire season. The longtime Suzuki prospect couldn't have found a better landing spot after BarX Suzuki and he decided to part ways. Kilroy was training at the team facility even before he was officially picked up before Houston SX and definitely has ample time on the YZ250 by this point.
No. 96 Hunter Lawrence
2022 Motocross Stats: 3 Moto Wins, 0 National Wins, 69 Laps Leds, 2 Holeshots, Average Start of 6.3, Average Finish of 3.5, 468 Points (3rd) (MX2 Class Rider for Team Australia in Motocross Des Nations)
Things started pretty well for Hunter a season ago. Despite Jett taking a stranglehold of the 250 points lead very early, an engine failure at RedBud gave the elder Lawrence brother the 250 points lead at the midway point of the season. Hunter's possession of the red plate would last all of seven days after a 6-8 run at Southwick, and then a 8-9 at Budds Creek a month and a half later ultimately cost him second in the points as well.
Now that Lawrence is 'the guy' in the Honda HRC 250 program, I would like to think his internal expectations are that he should win this Championship. Given how good he's looked in 2023 so far, that wouldn't be farfetched from Lars Lindstrom and co. The biggest thing for him is just finishing the year strong. In each of Lawrence's last four outdoor seasons, he's had at least one instance where he's finished seventh or worse in the overall standings in the last three Nationals he ran in a year.
No. 832 Chance Hymas
2022 Motocross Stats: N/A (Ran Pala II last year and went 20-11 for 15th Overall)
After a partial SX schedule on the 250 East circuit, this will be the first full season indoor or out for the Pocatello, Idaho native. Wasnt a perfect SX stint, but the numbers don't look too bad on paper whatsoever. Assuming he can be a little better off the gate than he was in Supercross (averaged a 10th-place start), Hymas should be in good shape.
Main Image via Honda HRC