2023 Monster Energy Supercross Recap - Oakland
No rain, all sunshine, and a 5:00 PM east coast start time in California? In THIS economy? Sign me up. About a month after the devastating rains and floods in Northern California, Oakland Supercross is finally a go, featuring one of the rougher tracks in recent memory. A nice welcome-back present for the 250 West division on what was set to be an open bye week for everyone, but they have one last weekend in the office before another month-long break.
The big story last week was of course Cooper Webb snapping a year-plus-long win drought in Tampa, and with the way this track was deteriorating during the day, could be in for another good outing. Can Webb pull off two in a row in the building where he won his first-ever 450 Main Event? Or can Eli Tomac or Chase Sexton rebound after leaving meat on the bone a week ago?
Daytime Program/Injury Notes:
- Roughest track of the season so far.
- Benny Bloss qualifies ninth in the 450 class.
- Phil Nicoletti misses out on the night show.
- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 18 Jett Lawrence (106.470 Seconds) (Two seconds faster than seventh fastest qualifier Enzo Lopes onward).
- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 23 Chase Sexton (shocker I know) (105.771 Seconds) (Only Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac qualified inside of a second of him).
Heat Racing Roundup
An excellent start by Max Vohland jolted him out in front early over R.J. Hampshire by a few bike lengths. He also broke out just a casual quad into a 90-degree corner right after the finish line the second go around. His whoop speed, or lack thereof, was apparent and he was only able to hold up his training partner for so long, as Hampshire pulled away for a multi-second Heat Race win. Nice comeback here by Levi Kitchen, who was buried in the pack at the start.
Robbie Wageman pulled out to a surprise holeshot in Heat 2, but was quickly run down by Cameron McAdoo, and had Jett Lawrence, Enzo Lopes, and Pierce Brown all over him. All three would get by the time they got back to the whoops section where McAdoo got to the point, setting up a Wacker v Jett battle. Just like in the opening heat, the whoops were the equalizer, and McAdoo was no match for Lawrence here. This was probably Lawrence's best heat race performance of the season. Great job recovering from a so-so start, cutting inside on the first corner, getting right into the top five, and subsequently a win.
By a matter of inches, Jason Anderson took the opening 450 holeshot of the evening over Ken Roczen but lacked the drive into the opening section that he had, so it was the RM out to the early lead. Despite a couple of rough-looking cases around midway, Anderson looked significantly better than Roczen on the back half of the track. On the final lap, Anderson had a shot to do a late bump and run but just missed out. Hard to say if it was a mistime on his part or his showing restraint due to his recent probation punishment. Either way, this was a great run for Kickstart Kenny on an increasingly rough track surface.
It was a Red Bull KTM 1-2 early with Cooper Webb and Aaron Plessinger, with Eli Tomac and Chase Sexton hot on their tail. Both got by Plessinger and made haste on Webb. Tomac then made a two-for-one pass to get to the point, but Sexton was still comfortably in striking distance. But Tomac had this one on lock with little time remaining, probably his best single race run in several weeks.
250 West Class Recap
1st - No. 18 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC)
Not a wire-to-wire blowout, but the Jett just keeps rolling on the west coast this year. Based on the lap times and vibes both before and after Hampshire went down, he was going to catch him at some point, and it only took him four laps. Lawrence, more so than maybe anyone in either field probably did the best job at managing the whoops, which explains the 12-second margin of victory perfectly. Now the points leader gets over a month break while sitting on a 20-point lead, winning three of his first four Main Events.
2nd - No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing)
I doubt that Hampshire would have been able to hold off Lawrence last night, but we'll never know after he tipped over in the holeshot corner four laps in. In fairness to R.J., he finished out strong getting back to second when he almost fell from first to fourth on that fifth lap. On the flip side, he's now 20 points down to Lawrence just four rounds in. Not exactly ideal circumstances.
3rd - No. 48 Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)
Didn't know what to expect from McAdoo just weeks removed from his left arm turning into the Hulk's via swelling, but at likely under 100 percent, I think you're ok with a podium. I wish I was joking about the Hulk thing, look for yourself.
5th - No. 33 Pierce Brown (TLD/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing)
If not for some mid-corner contact with McAdoo, I think Brown ends up second on the night in Oakland. He was consistently the fastest or top three fastest 250 guys on a per-lap basis and was even faster than Lawrence on four of the opening 10 laps. Super impressed by the Utah native even if it didn't end up with a podium.
9th - No. 83 Cole Thompson (Team Solitare Heartbeat Hot Sauce Yamaha)
Quietly, Thompson has had a very solid start to 2023, and just picked up his best result of the year in Oakland. Additionally, he's just points shy of being top 10 in points, but that's not why we're talking about him. This weekend the Solitare team were running a bike wrap based on Ryan Ellis' Heartbeat Hot Sauce NASCAR Xfinity Series ride. But Michael Antonvich pointed out on Saturday afternoon, VERY similar to the Power Wheels Bigfoot Monster Truck back in the Penda days in the best way. On the topic, bring back the Pink and Teal OBS truck @BobChandler.
250 West Class Oakland Top 10
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence
2nd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire
3rd No. 48 Cameron McAdoo
4th No. 43 Levi Kitchen
5th No. 33 Pierce Brown
6th No. 56 Enzo Lopes
7th No. 34 Max Vohland
8th No. 49 Mitchell Oldenburg
9th No. 83 Cole Thompson
10th No. 84 Mitchell Harrison
250 West Class Points after Oakland
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (101 Points)
2nd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (81 Points)
3rd No. 48 Cameron McAdoo (80 Points)
4th No. 49 Mitchell Oldenburg (69 Points)
5th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (63 Points)
6th No. 56 Enzo Lopes (63 Points)
7th No. 40 Stilez Robertson (52 Points)
8th No. 34 Max Vohland (52 Points)
9th No. 33 Pierce Brown (51 Points)
10th No. 79 Dylan Walsh (49 Points)
450 Class Recap
1st - No. 1 Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
Never let them tell you it's not better to be lucky than good sometimes, specifically for cases like Tomac last night. Up three-plus seconds on the final lap, he overjumped the single on the opening rhythm section and nearly crashed going off to the side. Luckily for him though he had that buffer built up and still won by about a second, definitely not the most ideal way to win. But hey, take him how you can get 'em. With this win as well, Tomac matches Ricky Carmichael in all-time wins at 48 and is now officially just two back of James Stewart (so good by the way).
2nd - No. 2 Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM)
Close but no cigar for Webb, but he does move into a tie for second in points with Chase Sexton with another podium. This track felt right in his wheelhouse and sure enough, it was, as the former two-time champion was in a podium position for 100 percent of the Main Event. Now Webb has some top-end consistency going into Dallas, where he's won four times, and thrice in 2021.
3rd - No. 23 Chase Sexton (Honda HRC)
I'm not gonna say Sexton has thrown away three straight Main Events but...yeah. Even more than Tampa, Sexton had this one on lock after 12 laps, but threw it away in the quad section after the finish-line jump, slipping the bike trying to finish out a triple-single. Then he dropped another spot when Webb got by him clean with little time remaining. The good news is that Sexton is still in a good points position, but this has to be taking a mental toll at this point.
4th - No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM)
I'm happy to say that I now think AP is just 'here' now. As in he's figured out a good setting on the KTM and is consistently putting up the results to match. He only made two passes on the night, but they were on Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson, so you could pick worse people to get by. And don't look now, AP could be as high as fourth in points after next week. Great times to be in that Red Bull KTM camp right now I'd imagine.
7th - No. 28 Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing)
Spent the earlier portion of this week bringing up Craig's lack of qualifying pace hurting him for the rest of the day. Not only did he show up in qualifying, he puts up his best Main Event run of the year in seventh. Everything coming up Aldon Baker it would appear.
11th - No. 94 Ken Roczen (HEP Motorsports Progressive Ecstar Suzuki)
This was a weird one for Roczen. He didn't look super sharp in qualifying, was lights out in his heat race, then didn't translate the pace to the Main Event, finishing outside the top 10 as a result. What makes this even odder is that his start was really good, all the way up in fifth. Taking a peek at his lap times, six of his last seven laps were over 1:11.500 seconds, after he was averaging laps nearly two seconds faster leading up to that. Just a perplexing night.
450 Class Oakland Top 10
1st No. 1 Eli Tomac
2nd No. 2 Cooper Webb
3rd No. 23 Chase Sexton
4th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger
5th No. 21 Jason Anderson
6th No. 51 Justin Barcia
7th No. 28 Christian Craig
8th No. 17 Joey Savatgy
9th No. 45 Colt Nichols
10th No. 32 Justin Cooper
450 Class Points after Oakland
1st No. 1 Eli Tomac (139 Points)
2nd No. 23 Chase Sexton (132 Points)
3rd No. 2 Cooper Webb (132 Points)
4th No. 21 Jason Anderson (111 Points)
5th No. 94 Ken Roczen (107 Points)
6th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (107 Points)
7th No. 51 Justin Barcia (97 Points)
8th No. 17 Joey Savatgy (82 Points)
9th No. 45 Colt Nichols (75 Points)
10th No. 28 Christian Craig (75 Points)
Oakland PulpMX Industry Idiots Fantasy Team
450 Class: Eli Tomac (All-Star +1), Cade Clason (+11), Justin Cooper (No Handicap), Colt Nichols (+3)
250 Class: Jett Lawrence (All-Star, No Handicap), Cole Thompson (+3), Pierce Brown (-1), Robbie Wageman (+7)
Points Total: 248 Points
Next Up: Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium)
Main Image via Yamaha