The Good, the Bad, and the Slaw of Star Racing
The Bad: Man, you have to feel for Christian Craig. Coming into SLC1, Craig trailed his teammate Colt Nichols by just eight points and in qualifying, was showing that silky smooth style he’s known for en route to the top position. But in the second qualifying session, Craig got loose in a rhythm section, had to ditch his bike and landed hard. Craig tried to race his heat but made it just a lap before pulling off. Probably because he’s dealing with a FRACTURED fibula and ankle sprain. His title is over, but damn, he showed a lot of heart on Saturday.
The Good: While you have to feel for Craig, Colt Nichols continued his impressive season in a come from behind ride to capture his eighth podium (in eight rounds) on the season and leads Jo Shimoda by a whooping 23 points heading into the finale next weekend.
The Slaw: It’s crazy to think how far this Star Racing team has come. They used to be, how do I say this nicely, not the best team in the 250 class. Now, they are the most dominate team in the class and are about to wrap up two titles next weekend. Damn impressive.
These last two rounds will probably stay with Ken Roczen for a long time. He led the majority of the race at Atlanta 3 (which if he had won, would have cut the points lead down to 10) before going down in the whoops and getting caught by the shark that is Cooper Webb. Kenny somehow bounced back from that and once again looked in control of the 450 main event on Saturday at Salt Lake City 1, before washing his front end. Ken rebounded to finish sixth and pushed this championship to next weekend, but he’s now 22 points behind Webb. I hate what ifs, but Kenny could easily be looking at a less than 10 point gap, instead of 22.
Say what you want about a weak class, blah blah blah. While you could say Jo Shimoda getting third in 250SX East Region points last year was a bit of a fluke, don’t be coming at Slaw with that sh** this year. Jo, who literally didn’t have a ride after GEICO shut down, was picked up by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki and has been super impressive all year. It culminated at SLC1, where Jo put in one of the best rides of the year. He handled pressure early in the race from Michael Mosiman, then maintained his composure at the end, holding off his good friend Jett Lawrence to capture his first career main event win. He’s also the first Japanese rider in Monster Energy Supercross history to win in Supercross. Damn impressive for a dude that didn’t even have a ride until late.
What Do You Say About Cooper?
I mean, this is just who he is. We need to stop being surprised by this. Early in the main, Cooper didn’t look great. He was getting caught by Malcolm Stewart and looked like he was going to drop a few spots. HA. That’s what he WANTED you to believe. Instead, Cooper adjusted (as he always does) and turned up the heat to catch his teammate Marvin Musquin with a few laps to go. I honestly thought he would pass Marv for the win, but still, it was another impressive mid-race adjustment from the master of this stuff.
Marv and Malcolm
What a race for these two! Marv, who hasn’t had the greatest year, held off Webb late to pick up his first win since 2019! Meanwhile, Malcolm, who has been sniffing the damn podium all season long finished third to capture his first career 450 podium.
Main image: KTM Images