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2024 Monster Energy Supercross Recap: Denver

Two rounds to go in Monster Energy Supercross, and this weekend, and we're back in the building that has effectively decided the last two 450 Championships in two drastically different ways, both involving Colorado's own Eli Tomac. This year, the top crown in the sport is coming down to 450 SX rookie Jett Lawrence and Tomac's Star Yamaha teammate Cooper Webb, with the two separated by 13 points. Another good outing by Jett wouldn't completely slam the door shut going into SLC, but it'd be close enough at this stage.

This, of course, is in stark contrast to the 250 West Championship, with R.J. Hampshire and Levi Kitchen, who came into the weekend only a handful of points apart, and there was a fairly decent chance the two could walk into Salt Lake City in a winner take all showdown. The Rockstar Husky rider did have the advantage during the day, though, pacing the field in qualifying, and he won here over Kitchen, ironically enough, about a year ago on the dot. Could lightning strike twice?

Tomac Locks in for All of 2024

About a year after his Achilles injury, Yamaha confirmed that Eli Tomac is set to run all of Pro Motocross in addition to SMX in the fall. I am not exactly stunned about this, considering that he went from essentially saying there was zero chance of running outdoors to probably a handful of rounds in a matter of months, to now this, but it is a positive development nonetheless. Even with some of the injuries in the summer slate last year, losing the opportunity to see Tomac v. Lawrence v. Sexton was a huge bummer, but at least for now, we'll get that three-man battle a year later.

Daytime Program/Injury Notes: 

- Josh Hill won Friday's PulpMX Privateer Challenge, going 2-10 for the Overall.

- Eli Tomac had a couple of close calls in qualifying, having a massive case in just about the same spot where he had his injury last year.

- 250 West Fastest Qualifier: No. 24 RJ Hampshire (54.546)

- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 18 Jett Lawrence (53.866) (He was the only rider in the second session to go into the 53-second range, and he did it twice. Cooper Webb was sixth on the afternoon slate)

Heat Racing Roundup

250 Class

Jo Shimoda rocketed out of the gates and very quickly put a three-second buffer to everyone else. Helping out the cause for the HRC rider was a slight mishap in turn one by Levi Kitchen, then about midway, a spin and stall by Jordon Smith, which almost took him out of the top five. It was an excellent win for the No. 30 here, though. He's looked for a start just like that all year, and he finally got it.

Onto Heat 2, RyderD, Nate Thrasher, and JuJu Beaumer paced things out of the gate, as RJ Hampshire had to compensate early for a shakey start. Luckily he did, and in quick fashion, getting by Beaumer and setting his sights on those top two. He would get by DiFrancesco, but despite an excellent last-lap charge on Thrasher, Hampshire got the door closed on him after a few good inside corners, securing things for the Star Yamaha product.

450 Class

Hunter Lawrence seems to be figuring out this heat-racing thing because he got out front with some fresh air once again over Cooper Webb. However, some savvy closeout passes and defensive riding by the former two-time Champion would give him the win here. As for Eli Tomac, he didn't look great by any means after his qualifying incidents, but he was still good for a fourth-place finish. I also really liked the fight Hunter Lawrence showed; he made things super tough on Webb.

Thanks to Vince Friese being a moving roadblock or Chase Sexton, Jason Anderson, and Justin Barcia, Jett Lawrence built an early five-second gap on the field, and things were a formality beyond the 45-second mark. Give Chase Sexton credit for closing up a few seconds almost instantly as he got by Friese, but Lawrence looked excellent, so give him credit.

250 Class Recap

1st - No. 30 Jo Shimoda (Honda HRC)

There are those who don't believe in "our" Agenda who said this day wouldn't come in 2024. What are they to say now? Everything finally clicked for Shimoda for the first time this year: Great start, no early mistakes, and his late-race pace, which hasn't been an issue all year, held up despite a strong charge by Levi Kitchen. Not the year that Honda HRC was hoping for, but despite how things cratered in San Fransisco, Shimoda has a very good shot to end up third in the series standings with a round to go.

2nd - No. 47 Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)

Depending on how things go next week, being unable to get Shimoda and an extra three points may weigh on Kitchen's mind for a while, but his goal couldn't be clearer: beat R.J. Hampshire straight up in Salt Lake City, and the Championship is yours. Control what you can control is an excellent way of thinking about things, and the Master Chef is in complete control of his own destiny; it's just a matter of how he responds to the most pressure he's ever had in his young career. Also how his left boot didn't fall off, I have no idea.

3rd - No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing)

The two-point loss isn't as big as it would seem for R.J. since if Kitchen and he go 1-2 next week, Kitchen would've won anyway. Now it's down to the vet and the young kid, Rockstar Husky vs. Pro Circuit Kawi, for all the marbles. Wait a minute; this sounds familiar...

7th and 8th - No. 71 Cole Thompson and No. 73 R.J. Hampshire (Heartbeat Hotsauce Solitare Yamaha)

It was a fantastic night for friends of the program Team Solitare. They were having their season-best nights with both of their guys, Robbie Wageman and Cole Thompson. There is nothing else to add; it's good stuff all around.

250 West Class Denver Top 10

1st No. 30 Jo Shimoda

2nd No. 47 Levi Kitchen

3rd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire

4th No. 57 Nate Thrasher

5th No. 31 Jordon Smith

6th No. 36 Phil Nicoletti

7th No. 71 Cole Thompson

8th No. 73 Robbie Wageman

9th No. 35 Talon Hawkins

10th No. 929 Julien Beaumer

250 West Class Point Standings after Denver

1st No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (166 Points)

2nd No. 47 Levi Kitchen (164 Points)

3rd No. 31 Jordon Smith (148 Points)

4th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (138 Points)

5th No. 26 Garrett Marchbanks (121 Points)

6th No. 929 Julien Beaumer (106 Points)

7th No. 100 Anthony Bourdon (96 Points)

8th No. 57 Nate Thrasher (89 Points)

9th No. 41 Carson Mumford (88 Points)

10th No. 36 Phil Nicoletti (77 Points)

450 Class Recap

1st - No. 18 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC)

Picture the perfect outing for Jett's eighth win of the year, which ties Chad Reed for the most by a premier-class rookie ever. It was abundantly clear once they mentioned it on the broadcast, but you saw him flip the switch once Jason Anderson was making his run, and he wisely decided not to get complacent behind his brother. He clearly had the pace to pass him at any time, but I completely understand his strategy, given how Webb looked early on. Now, just a handful of days separate him from his third Premier Class No. 1 plate in as many tries between SX, MX, and SMX.

2nd - No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (Honda HRC)

Even after giving up the point to his brother, Hunter was once again excellent as his first season on the big bore comes to a close. He never let Jett get above a 2.5-second lead, and he was 100 percent quicker in the closing stages, outside of an ill-timed bobble. If he could do one spot better next weekend to end the season, Hunter would almost certainly finish sixth in points as well, which, after Anaheim 1 and the early stretch of the season, I would've never thought was a possibility. Give the young Aussie credit, though; he's been dynamite over the last month.

3rd - No. 21 Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki)

El Hombre is another rider ending the 2024 indoor tilt on a high. After a pair of tough outings in Seattle and St. Louis, Anderson is set to walk into the finale riding a pair of fourths and thirds, seemingly clicking at the right time with outdoors just a few weeks away. Assuming Lawrence plays the numbers game, Ando might not be a bad pick for the win out in Utah.

5th - No. 2 Cooper Webb (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)

I don't want to speculate too much on Webb's left-hand injury, but there's no way that isn't a factor at this stage. In any event, he deserves props for trying to push through it; it just won't net him any bonus points, as his title hopes are virtually nonexistent with a round to go. Still, at the rate he's set to finish, I would call this a wildly successful first year back home with the Star boys.

450 Class Denver Top 10

1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence

2nd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence

3rd No. 21 Jason Anderson

4th No. 51 Justin Barcia

5th No. 2 Cooper Webb

6th No. 32 Justin Cooper

7th No. 27 Malcolm Stewart

8th No. 1 Chase Sexton

9th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis

10th No. 3 Eli Tomac

450 Class Point Standings after Denver

1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (336 Points)

2nd No. 2 Cooper Webb (316 Points)

3rd No. 3 Eli Tomac (282 Points)

4th No. 1 Chase Sexton (282 Points)

5th No. 21 Jason Anderson (264 Points)

6th No. 94 Ken Roczen (223 Points)

7th No. 32 Justin Cooper (205 Points)

8th No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (200 Points)

9th No. 51 Justin Barcia (200 Points)

10th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (198 Points)

Next Up: Rice-Eccles Stadium (Salt Lake City, Utah) (8:00 EST gate drop airing live on Peacock and the USA Network)

On a final note, SOME (not naming names!!!) in the Moto media landscape will be grieving a Game 7 Playoff Hockey loss, but that couldn't be me though; go B's.

(To be perfectly clear, I have nothing but respect for Steve Matthes, just some light banter).

Main Image via KTM


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