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2024 Monster Energy Supercross 250 East Preview

Five weeks into the Supercross season, we're switching up the 250 coasts for the first time this year. The schedule is a bit wonky this year, so the 250 East Championship gets an immediate week off after Detroit tomorrow, but then are in it for the stretch run with six rounds in nine weeks, capped off with a Showdown round in Nashville. But we have a long way to go before then obviously.

Even with a notable absence right off the bat with Enzo Lopes, now of Star Yamaha, being ruled out for the weekend, this year's 250 East field showcases a ton of depth in the overall 250 class. Sure, you have your Haiden Deegan's, Max Anstie's, Austin Forkner's, etc., but there's a lot of first and second-year guys who have the shot to get into the title mix right away, Tom Vialle, Daxton Bennick, and Chance Hymas, namely. And lastly, we're finally going to see where the Triumph 250 machine stacks up in race action with Jalek Swoll and Evan Ferry. So, without further delay, here's my take on this field going into Saturday afternoon.

NOTE: Enzo Lopes of Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha is left off due to an injury, keeping him out for at least this week.

Honorable Mentions: No. 33 Jalek Swoll and No. 751 Evan Ferry (Triumph Factory Racing), No. 99 Jett Reynolds (Muc-Off/FXR ClubMX Yamaha), No. 83 Guillem Farres (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), and No. 511 Nick Romano (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)

10) No. 6 Jermey Martin (Muc-Off/FXR ClubMX Yamaha)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 1 Holeshot, Average Start of 6.9, Average Finish of 8.3, 132 Points (6th)

Last year was very quiet for JMart, but outside of Atlanta and Salt Lake City, he was the textbook definition of a top-five guy. Outside of the 21st and 16th he put up at those two rounds, he exclusively finished fourth, fifth, or sixth at the other seven rounds he ran. Set to turn 31 right as the Supercross season comes to a close, I worry about how he'll keep pace with some of these young guys, but if the 250 West season has been any indicator, he has a great bike underneath him going into Detroit.

9) No. 48 Chance Hymas (Honda HRC)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 8.0, Average Finish of 10.0, 60 Points (16th) (Injured after Daytona)

It's a shame we only got to see eight total rounds of either Supercross or Motocross out of Hymas in 2023 because I thought he looked really good in spots, even if the final tallies didn't show it. Now seven-ish months post ACL tear, I think the 18-year-old Pocatello, Idaho native has a great opportunity to far outpace his ranking here.

8) No. 39 Pierce Brown (Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 10.5, Average Finish of 6.7, 98 Points (8th) (Injured after East Rutherford)

Brown had a brutal start to last year, going end over end in the opening rhythm lane in his first heat race of the season. He went on to have some good runs at places like San Diego and Oakland, but his title hopes went down the drain before the first Main Event of the year. Like most of these guys ahead of him, staying upright is the biggest thing, but I'd like to see Brown compete for more podiums at the bare minimum in 2024. He put up a trio in 2022, so he's capable enough.

7) No. 59 Daxton Bennick (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)

2023 Supercross Stats: N/A (Making professional debut)

We saw Bennick mixing up in the pro ranks for about half the outdoor season in 2023, but it's worth remembering that he also won the opening two SX futures rounds of that year. Guys who appeared in one or both outings include Haiden Deegan, Julien Beaumer, Casey Cochran, Preston Boespflug, Cole Davies, and Talon Hawkins. With that in mind, I can see Bennick playing the role Beaumer is in the 250 West Championship, where he's probably a back-half top-10 guy who shows off some major flashes.

6) No. 64 Austin Forkner (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 West): N/A (Crashed on the start straight in the Main Event of A1 last year, missed the entire Supercross season)

You can make this exact same case for all three of the Pro Circuit guys on the East Coast; Speed and/or talent isn't the issue, staying healthy is, and that rings true for Forkner the most. Last year, he never even made it to turn one at Anaheim 1, and that one wreck cost him six months. And if you want to discount A1 last year as a start, his last clean Supercross finish was the 2022 finale in Salt Lake City.

As wild as it sounds, this is Forkner's ninth year, yes, ninth year, as a pro and eighth on a full-time basis. Even with the high-end results he's been able to put up ever since the start of 2019, he's a hard guy to gauge since he cannot stay healthy, which isn't a slight, simply a matter of fact. The worst part is the last few occasions have been no fault of his own. So while I expect good runs from Forkner, I can't rank him higher than this.

5) No. 43 Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)

2023 Supercross Stats: N/A (Is making his first Supercross start in over two years on Saturday)

It doesn't feel like Hammaker has missed this much Supercross time, but indeed, he has just 11 Supercross starts since 2021. The thing is, the sample size is really good. In just those 11 rounds, the Pennsylvania native has a win, five top fives, and just two runs outside the top 10. I'd like to see him just complete all the rounds, but wouldn't be stunned if he ends up being a title contender.

4) No. 63 Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 3.0, Average Finish of 3.6, 101 Points (7th) (Injured after Seattle)

To start things off with Wackers, there's a mind-boggling stat for you. Dating back to the start of the 2021 250 East season, McAdoo, in 19 starts, has 15 podiums but only two wins. That's the kind of stuff racing with the Lawrence brothers can do. While injuries have also hampered him in the last few years, I think he should be considered the best Pro Circuit rider on this coast. The proven track record of consistently putting it on the box is hard to ignore.

3) No. 16 Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 2 Laps Led, 0 Holeshots, Average Start of 9.8, Average Finish of 11.0, 120 Points (t-7th)

Although the results left much to be desired, I saw enough flashes from Vialle in SX and SMX to feel great about his standing coming into 2024. I'd like to see his starts be a bit more consistent than they were a year ago, and more akin to what we've seen in MXGP, and if so, he's going to be a race-win threat every week. Not many guys with better raw pace on a 250 on this side of the pond.

2) No. 37 Max Anstie (Firepower Honda)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 East): 1 Win, 14 Laps Led, 2 Holeshots, Average Start of 6.4, Average Finish of 5.0, 182 Points (3rd)

Fresh off the heels of a WSX 250 title, Anstie now hopes to one-up what he did on the East Coast a year ago and take home an AMA No. 1 plate. It's also worth remembering that he did even better than what these stats would suggest. A year ago in, ironically enough, Detroit, he went down and junked the bike on the opening lap, giving himself a dead-last start and finish. Take away that night, his average finish and finish would've been 3.8 and 4.4, which would've been second best to only Hunter Lawrence. As long as he can avoid rounds like Detroit last year, Anstie will be in this thing to the end.

1) No. 38 Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)

2023 Supercross Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 2 Laps Led, 2 Holeshots, Average Start of 6.4, Average Finish of 5.0, 183 Points (2nd)

A preseason wrist injury has me somewhat concerned about the reigning 250 SMX Champion, but he's bracing it up and giving things a go. No longer the upstart rookie he was just 11.5 months ago, Deegan is, for all intents and purposes, the universal favorite to win this Championship. While I also worry about his maturity potentially getting him into trouble (see how his MX season went after his promo on Hunter Lawrence at Washougal, or him getting way too rough with Jordon Smith at Detroit last year), the talent is undeniable.

No one should be anticipating the lack of wins and laps led from '23 to carry over into '24, and even with the concern over the wrist, a win this weekend should shock no one (unless he looks so far off pace in the morning, but semantics). I don't believe the gap from him back to Anstie is significant, but it's hard to say he isn't the clear choice to win the Championship.

2024 Monster Energy Supercross 250 East Championship Pick: Haiden Deegan

No recap this week since I'm at a family event, so enjoy things on Saturday. 2:00 EST start by the way.

Main Image via KTM


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