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Adam Cianciarulo Walking Away on His Own Terms is the Best Possible Outcome

When I heard on Thursday afternoon that Monster Energy Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo would be calling it a career at season's end, I wasn't shocked, considering that his longtime mechanic Justin Shante was headed out after St. Louis Supercross. That said, it doesn't make the news any less bittersweet. Since turning pro, AC has been through the wringer from a health standpoint, with countless injuries and never damage in his hand, which he mentioned right off the bat in his retirement video. And now, after these final half-dozen rounds of Supercross, a storied 10-year career in the pro ranks will come to an end.

The Next Big Thing

This may come as a surprise for newer fans of the sport, but once upon a time, Cianciarulo was perhaps the single most anticipated amateur Motocross prospect ever. His mere presence at some of these amateur races, especially in the latter stages of his amateur career, made those events, well, events. Friend of the program, Tanner Hall, put it well in that AC literally changed the way amateur motocross racing was covered from a media perspective; that's how good he was.

Nevermind the fact that he's tied for the most Loretta Lynns titles ever with Mike Alessi and James Stewart (so good, by the way), he entered his first professional Supercross season at the age of 17 years old and won, outdueling then-teammate Blake Baggett. He'd three of the opening five 250 East rounds in that 2014 season before a shoulder injury in Toronto ended things early, but to come in with James Stewart-level hype, and I say that with zero hyperbole, and live up to it says all you need to know about he was before things began to snowball from an injury standpoint.

Not that Cianciarulo's career was bust-worthy, far from it. He's one of just 20 riders to hit at least 11 250 Supercross Main Event wins, etched his name as an AMA 250 Motocross National Champion in his final season in the class (2019), and is the last guy ever to win the Monster Energy Cup isn't exactly too shabby.

Curtain Call

Cianciarulo's long-anticipated 450 debut in 2020 was a big storyline, especially after he had just won the final-ever Monster Energy Cup months before A1. Outside of some real success in the COVID-shortened Motocross campaign, where he finished 12 points shy of the title, those injuries continued to pile up, and he could never truly replicate the best of his 250 indoor performances in the premier class. In short, he's only 27 years old, has his whole life ahead of him, and made this call on his own terms. This is the best way for him to go out, and I don't think he'd have to search for an industry job that hard. There are not many better ambassadors for this sport than AC. A lot of what-ifs in his career, but I'm happy that this choice was his and his alone.

On a final note, I thought it was nice that, specifically, Cooper Webb put out a nice Instagram post about AC yesterday. It's not exactly a secret that the two were bitter rivals in their amateur days. After Webb had won the 2019 450 Supercross Championship, he famously stated when asked about AC losing the 250 West titles in the gut-wrenching fashion he did earlier in the evening, "He cracked, I didn't.". Super nice gesture on his part, and there's a ton of cool clips in here.

If you see Adam in person at any of these last few Supercross rounds, give him a good hand and wish him well. He cares about the overall sport of Motocross as much as any rider, and as stated, may have been its best ambassador, especially in the back half of his career.

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