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SX 2022: Locked, Loaded, and Ready to Race

Published On:: 7/1/2022

The 2022 Monster Energy Supercross season has arrived, poised to raise the bar once again for one of motorsports’ most captivating disciplines.

After an offseason that saw more moving and shaking than usual within the motocross industry, the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross season has arrived, poised to raise the bar once again for one of motorsports’ most captivating disciplines. On Saturday, January 8, the most gifted two-wheeled athletes on the planet will kick off a 17-round run to crown a champion from the sport’s most hallowed grounds, Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Southern California, signifying a welcome return to normalcy after two years of schedule disruption through the COVID pandemic.

This year’s racing calendar regains the intense pace of 17 races in 18 weeks, which deepens the complexity of the title fight. The need to maintain consistency intertwines with the battle to stay healthy and get more out of both bike and athlete. The rider who ultimately emerges triumphant has gone through hell to earn his crown, which is why this is the sport’s most coveted championship.

For years Monster Energy’s lineup of riders have occupied the upper echelon of competitors, becoming an imposing force in the battle for the sport’s most high-profile trophy. However, the roster for the 2022 season is arguably the strongest group ever assembled.

450SX Class

The most high-profile move of the offseason saw 2020 champion Eli Tomac end his incredibly successful tenure at Monster Energy Kawasaki with a move to the growing powerhouse at Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing. The Colorado native will go blue alongside Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis, fresh off his championship-winning Pro Motocross campaign. Given his recent success, lots of eyes will be on Ferrandis to see if his ascension to dominance over the second half of 2021 will continue. What’s certain is that he and Tomac establish the most formidable 1-2 punch in the premier division.

Not to be outdone, the team over at Monster Energy Kawasaki made some noise of their own in filling Tomac’s vacancy. After a decorated amateur career with Team Green, Jason Anderson is back with Kawasaki for an anticipated reunion that has surely grabbed people’s attention. The addition of the 2018 titleholder maintains the team’s championship mettle and puts the New Mexico native alongside another Team Green prodigy, Adam Cianciarulo. In two years of 450SX competition, Cianciarulo has shown world-class speed, but adversity has hampered both seasons and left the Floridian eager to establish himself amongst the elite. Once the gate drops, this new pairing is more than capable of contending for both wins and the title.

Rounding out the 450SX Class lineup for Monster Energy is Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton, a rider on the cusp of a breakout sophomore season. The Illinois native enters his second year of premier class action ready to build on the bright spots of his rookie campaign and take the next step to join his more proven Monster Energy counterparts.

There is no doubt that these five riders will make their presence felt on the podium over the course of the season, with each capable of winning races and making their presence felt in the championship.

250SX Class - West Region

By breaking up the talent-laden 250SX Class into two regions, the Monster Energy Supercross season always provides the stage for the sport’s rising stars to shine. These races produce an array of winners and always see a handful of new faces ascend to the forefront as the title fight wears on. The 2022 season should be no different, particularly for the stacked class of Monster Energy riders that will embark on their season starting in the West Region.

The biggest and most recent news in the lead-up to Anaheim 1 is the heartbreak suffered by defending West Region Champion Justin Cooper before the first gate drop. The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing rider suffered a broken foot in a practice incident and will be forced to undergo surgery, putting the New Yorker’s entire 2022 season in jeopardy.

While Cooper’s absence leaves a significant hole, it also opens the door for one of his teammates to step up and carry the torch. Who better to fill Cooper’s place in the West Region than his championship-winning teammate from last year in the East Region, Colt Nichols? The veteran racer from Oklahoma is in a position to complete the rare feat of dual-region titles, which hasn’t been accomplished since Grant Langston did it during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Nichols is no stranger to winning in Anaheim, so he’ll look to kick off his quest for back-to-back championships in a winning way and ride the wave of momentum.

Nichols will have added motivation in the form of the same rider who chased him every step of the way last season, teammate Christian Craig. The California native has many years of racing under his belt and he got closer than ever to that elusive first title last season. Craig only seems to get better with age and his level certainly elevated by joining the Star Racing effort last year. Together he and Nichols will look to set the tone, much like they did last season.

As tough as the Yamaha pair looks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki is bringing the heat as well out West with two main event winners of their own. In his first year with the legendary team, Jo Shimoda was able to realize his potential under the guidance of Mitch Payton and enjoyed a breakthrough year. The Japanese rider became the bright spot on a team that endured through far too much adversity, and it’s helped him grow into a leader for Kawasaki in the 250SX Class heading into the new season. He’ll be joined by sophomore rider Seth Hammaker, who came into the pro ranks under the radar last season and seemingly came out of nowhere to put himself atop the podium as a rookie. The Pennsylvania native comes into 2022 in a similar position and could just as easily be one of this season’s surprises.

It’s hard to say how many wins could be traded amongst this collection of riders over the course of the 10-round West Region run (which will also include a pair of East/West Showdowns), but given the amount of success they’re bringing to the table, it’s safe to say that all four riders should factor into the championship battle.