2023 Monster Energy Supercross 250 East Class Preview
We sit just a little over 24 hours out from the 250 East Supercross slate kicking off in Houston, but this field is already at less than 100 percent. Title contenders Jo Shimoda and Seth Hammaker from Pro Circuit Kawasaki both went down with significant injuries just days apart last week. While Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Jalek Swoll went down with a rough injury around that same time frame.
Hunter Lawrence, while entering the year as a favorite on the east coast to start with, has had his stock only increase as of late. With that said, guys like Michael Mosiman, Jordan Smith, and Jeremy Martin, all have a real chance at this Championship themselves. Additionally, there is a ton of true rookie flavor in this field, including most notably the highly touted Haiden Deegan of Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha. Going into Houston, what does the hierarchy of the 250 East field look like?
Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250 East Preview
*- Bold statistic indicates series leader
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha
No. 29 Nate Thrasher
2022 Supercross Stats (250 West): 1 Win, 17 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 10.6, Average Finish of 8.2, 152 Points (5th)
Thrasher is a rider who at this stage of his career, can be best described is wildly inconsistent. One week he’s a lock for a top five, and the next he’s out of the top 10, with not much in between. With that said, he has three career Main Event wins in two seasons, and is a natural candidate to make a year three jump. Watch out for Thrasher specifically at Daytona and Atlanta by the way, taking away his Daytona finish in 2021, his average finish at speedway events is 2.75.
No. 54 Nick Romano
2022 Supercross Stats: N/A (Making Supercross Debut)
While Romano will be making his pro debut with Star Yamaha, it will not be this weekend in Houston. An injury he suffered in early January will push his start date back several weeks until he is 100 percent good to go, and that is the right call by Star Yamaha. Last year, the four-time Loretta Lynn’s Champion ran select Motocross Nationals and came away with top 10 finishes at Hangtown, Southwick, and Unadilla. When he does lineup for the first time, I'd expect Romano to be competitive once he gets his feet wet.
No. 80 Jordon Smith
2022 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 8.3, Average Finish of 8.5, 116 Points (6th)
Smith, now on his third factory 250 team, hopes to finally break through and become a 250 Supercross Champion. Feels like eons ago when he entered Las Vegas ’17 with the 250 East red plate, then crashed out of a title. Last year, Smith was very sporty with the Firepower Honda squad, rattling off five consecutive finishes of fifth-eighth from Dallas to St. Louis.
Staying upright has been a well-documented issue in years past, but I kind of like that he’s coming in under the radar here, even with Star Yamaha. I fully expect him to give Lawrence a run for his money in the coming weeks and months coming up.
No. 238 Haiden Deegan
2022 Supercross Stats (250 East): N/A (Making Supercross Debut)
Deegan has yet to take a single professional Supercross gate drop, but despite this, has been one of the most polarizing riders in the sport for several years now. Just to get this out of the way, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but let’s not hate on every little thing he does here, nor crown him as the second coming right away. He’s 17 years old, and he’s going to look good at times here, just as he’s going to make mistakes, it’s all a part of the process, and he’s more than likely going to be just fine in the long run.
With that out of the way, Supercross Futures last weekend didn’t go as planned for Deegan, but he was consistently one of the fastest riders on track in terms of his best laps. In that evening’s 250 West field, he would have been around 12th for context. Considering the state of the East field currently, I think he conceivable end up top 10 in points with the heavy hitters that are out all missing at least one round. And again, let’s not go overboard with him, or Talon Hawkins, Chance Hymas, or any of these other true rookies.
No. 62 Jace Owen
2022 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 1 Holeshot, Average Start of 10.1, Average Finish of 11.3, 101 Points (8th)
A solid pickup here for the Phoenix Honda squad picking up Owen from ClubMX Yamaha. Outside of a 17th at the Atlanta Showdown round, he was a borderline top 10 rider just about every week running 250 East last season. Would expect more of the same in 2023.
No. 67 Cullin Park
2022 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 1 Lap Led, 1 Holeshot, Average Start of 13.0, Average Finish of 15.0, 56 Points (15th)
Park’s maiden voyage in Supercross last year wasn’t much to write home about, but he was able to take home a season-best ninth in Foxborough late in the season. I feel like the natural expectation is that he jumps up into a spot similar to Owen, consistently competing for top 10s on a weekly basis.
No. 110 Kyle Peters
2022 Supercross Stats: N/A (Raced opening four rounds of 250 East SX in 2022 before injury)
The King of Arenacross will once again be running east coast Supercross, but we won't see him right away. Peters is looking to solely focus on another AX title before he drops into some bigger venues this year.
No. 243 Carden Braswell
2022 Supercross Stats: N/A (Making Supercross Debut)
Braswell, the 2022 recipient of the Nicky Hayden AMA Motocross Horizon Award, is a sneaky big pickup for Phoenix Honda. Just last year he won 250 Pro Sport at Loretta Lynn’s, on top of having two other amateur titles dating back to 2018. This is a huge opportunity to show off what he can do at the professional level, and against some old rivals at Loretta’s to boot. Keep an eye out on the 243 this weekend and moving forward.
No. 285 Coty Schock
2022 Supercross Stats: N/A (Raced opening two rounds of 250 East SX in 2022 before injury)
After his incredible run on a 450 in the 2021 Motocross season, things haven’t gone too well for Schock. He only ran two rounds of Supercross last season then his year was over. But looking at his Supercross results from that year, the Maryland native is capable of giving you an honest result every day of the week. Hopefully, this year goes smoother that being said.
Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing
No. 31 Michael Mosiman
2022 Supercross Stats (250 East): 1 Win, 33 Laps Led, 2 Holeshots, Average Start of 7.4, Average Finish of 4.3, 197 Points (3rd) Mosiman is comfortably in the title favorites club for this 250 East tilt. He was a top-five guy from start to finish out west last season, in a field that featured Hunter Lawrence, Christian Craig, Jo Shimoda, and Nate Thrasher. Notching off his first win in San Diego, only the first two riders listed bested him a year ago. If Mosiman can come right out of the gate with a win, that would be gigantic. He’s one of a few guys in this field that I think is getting slept on just a bit.
Red Bull KTM
No. 128 Tom Vialle
2022 Supercross Stats: N/A (Reigning FIM World MX2 Champion)
This is the most intriguing rider on this side of the Atlantic Ocean in the 2023 calendar for my money. You might not find a better Motocross rider on a 250 than Vialle, clearly demonstrated by his comeback last year in the MX2 World Championship against Yamaha’s Jago Geerts. But Vialle is a true rookie in the world of Supercross, and I'm fascinated to see how he develops in his rookie season.
For those unfamiliar with the MXGP scene, here's what you can expect from the Frenchman. Firstly, Vialle is an elite, ELITE, starter. From 2020-2022, he picked up 53 out of a possible 104 holeshots in ‘GP Motos he ran. In simple terms, that's a 51 percent holeshot percentage on 104 gate drops, absurd. His race pace is elite as well, given the couple dozen GP wins he has as well. I think most of that will translate to Supercross, but I am worried about the whoops with Vialle. That is going to be quite the learning curve for him.
HEP Motorsports Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
No. 50 Marshall Weltin
2022 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 16.4, Average Finish of 16.5, 39 Points (19th)
Nice to see Weltin get a permanent home with the HEP squad after filling in for them Outdoors down the stretch. On a 450 no less, he had some solid outings last summer, but before that, was running with Lovejoy MX Yamaha on the east coast. The HEP Suzuki’s out West have struggled a big, so it should be worth watching if Weltin has those same issues starting in Houston.
Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha Racing
No. 6 Jeremy Martin
2022 Supercross Stats (250 East): N/A (Shoulder injury suffered the week of Daytona Supercross knocked him out for the remainder of 2022)
After a lackluster stint with Star Yamaha, JMart joined the ClubMX squad midway through last year in order to prep early for Supercross. He only ran two rounds last year but he put up finishes of fourth and third in back-to-back events. Given the recent runs from Enzo Lopes and Filthy Phil out west, I absolutely believe Martin can get to the top step of the podium with this group. I’d like to think he’s familiar with the team at this point, and if he keeps it upright the whole way, he should be a contender.
No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks
2022 Supercross Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 1 Holeshot, Average Start of 12.4, Average Finish of 8.4, 117 Points (8th)
Marchbanks’ 2022 was much like Thrashers, only to a severer degree. He even failed to qualify for the Anaheim 2 Main Event early on. But the worst of his five best finishes last year was sixth, which isn’t bad by any stretch. I would definitely like to see Marchbanks be more consistent in 2023 though, even if that means the top-end results take a slight dive. If that happens, he should be in good shape points-wise.
No. 63 Max Anstie
2022 Supercross Stats (450): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start N/A, Average Finish of 15.1, 55 Points (24th)
Firepower Honda did a little last-second switcharoo and put Anstie’s 2023 debut back around a month. As a brief summary of what I had for Anstie before A1, a rib injury forced him to miss the back half of the 450 season, but the former MXGP rider put up a strong 1-3-2 run at the Australian SX GP with this group. Given some of the injuries in this group, Anstie is should have the opportunity to possibly compete for some top fives right out of the gate if things go right.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
No. 30 Jo Shimoda
2022 Supercross Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 4 Laps Led, 2 Holeshots, Average Start of 7.5, Average Finish of 5.1, 162 Points (4th)
I was very excited to see Shimoda compete for a title in year three, and he probably would have been my title pick here, but guess it wasn’t meant to be this year. Whenever, or if he comes back, Shimoda should be a week-in, week-out podium and win contender, but his title chances are virtually zero, which is a shame. I don’t think the gap between Hunter Lawrence to him is much at all.
No. 35 Seth Hammaker
2022 Supercross Stats (250 West): N/A (Suffered back and spleen injury in between rounds 2-3 of 250 West SX, ending his season)
Hammaker, much like Shimoda would have been fun to watch in year three, but the Pennsylvania native has had some brutal injury luck since turning pro. But when he has been out there, he’s shown race-winning pace more often than not. Hopefully, we get a chance to see him before Outdoors.
No. 57 Chris Blose
2022 Supercross Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 11.4, Average Finish of 11.2, 106 Points (9th)
So much for the retired life for Zombie Blose, but what a great stopgap pickup by Mitch Payton here. It’s fair to say that the long-time veteran won’t be competing for race wins most likely, but Blose can absolutely put the Pro Circuit team in the top 10 on any given night. He’s been testing with the team going into this weekend so this isn’t simply being dropped in with a bike he’s completely unfamiliar with.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
No. 24 Jalek Swoll
2022 Supercross Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 11.9, Average Finish of 9.8, 106 Points (10th)
Swoll would have been an interesting rider to watch this year, before his rough practice crash that left him with a humorous fracture. This has been a rough couple of seasons for the Husky rider, after an A1 crash last year took him out of the running immediately, and now this.
No. 339 Talon Hawkins
2022 Supercross Stats: N/A (Making Supercross debut)
First things first, S tier name here, but fans got a first look at Hawkins last week in Anaheim. He finished third in the Supercross Futures Main Event after securing a holeshot before leading laps two, three, and four. His lap times early on were right on pace with winner Daxton Bennick as well which feels like reason for optimism heading into his first pro weekend.
No. 96 Hunter Lawrence
2022 Supercross Stats (250 West): 4 Wins, 43 Laps Led, 1 Holeshot, Average Start of 3.8, Average Finish of 3.4, 101 Points (2nd)
Onto the de-facto favorite, who put up some great runs last year on the west coast. Had Lawrence not crashed at Anaheim 3, and Christian Craig not played the points game down the stretch, I think he had the pace to possibly take home a title, but alas.
In 2023 Hunter is in the exact same spot as Jett, in that they both ‘should’ win 250 Supercross Championships. Although you have to run the races first, it’s hard to say anyone else is in the driver’s seat at this point. The last time Lawrence finished off the podium in a clean race was Atlanta 3 in 2021. If he puts up podium results every single week, that’s going to be tough for anyone to beat him.
No. 832 Chance Hymas
2022 Supercross Stats: N/A (Making Supercross Debut)
2022 was good to Hymas, as he won the Supercross Futures title over Ryder DiFrancesco in Salt Lake City. Now making his pro debut under a year later, he gets the opportunity to show off his skill before both Lawrence brothers likely move up to 450s next year. I thought he looked good last year, both indoors and out, and am excited to see where he stacks up in this field.
Gaffney's 2023 Monster Energy Supercross 250 East Class Preseason Power Ranking
(Excluding Jo Shimoda, Seth Hammaker, and Jalek Swoll)
10) No. 832 Chance Hymas
9) No. 57 Chris Blose
8) No. 63 Max Anstie
7) No. 128 Tom Vialle
6) No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks
5) No. 29 Nate Thrasher
4) No. 6 Jeremy Martin
3) No. 80 Jordon Smith
2) No. 31 Michael Mosiman
1) No. 96 Hunter Lawrence
2022 Monster Energy Supercross 250 West Class Championship Pick: Hunter Lawrence
Main Image via KTM