Austin Forkner Wins The 250 ESX Opening Round in Detroit

Published On: 2/5/2024

Coming back from season-ending injury at last year’s opening round, Forkner brings ‘er full circle with the win. While Monster’s Dax Bennick takes 3rd in first ever SX race.

Monster Energy AMA Supercross opened up the eastern regional swing of its 2024 tour on Saturday, and it’d be Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner who came away with the top prize, dominating the Round 5 250 ESX main event at Detroit’s Ford Field with a wire-to-wire 1st place run.

Forkner’s victory put an exclamation point on a difficult ’23 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season that saw the Missourian miss the entire season with a crash-related injury in the start of his very first contest at Anaheim (Calif.) 1.

“It’s just the first race, but I haven’t had the (leaders’) red plate since 2019 I think,” said an elated Forkner on the podium.

Joining Forkner on the 250 ESX Detroit podium was rookie racer Daxton Bennick (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) in 3rd place – Bennick’s very first pro supercross race and podium finish.

In 450 class racing action Monster Energy was held off the box for the first time this season, though solid performances were put in by Cooper Webb (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) in 4th and Jason Anderson (Monster Energy/Kawasaki) in 5th.



Forkner: “I made a change to my program this year. I started working with Ryno (former pro MX great Ryan Hughes) and Charles Dow off the bike and, I mean, and I feel there I made a point to surround myself with people that lift me up, basically. And kind of the mental change was just to kind of have more fun riding. As anybody in any sports knows, when you’re dealing with injuries, you don’t want to do it as much. You start being scared of what you fell in love with, essentially. And to ride a dirt bike scared, at this level? You can’t do it. So we kept the preseason fun, and did our work, and obviously that shows with me. Kept me in a good mental space coming into this season.”

Bennick: “Tonight was cool. I’m pumped with it. And it feels like it lifted some weight off my shoulders. Podium in my first supercross, so I’m pretty happy with that. But I also know that we have nine rounds. It’s not just about tonight. We’ve gotta be there next weekend, too.”

Detroit 450 class results250 ESX class results
4th - Webb (Monster/Star/Yamaha)1st - Forkner (Monster/PC/Kawasaki)
5th - Anderson (Monster/Kawasaki)3rd - Bennick (Monster/Star/Yamaha)
7th - Ferrandis (Monster/Honda)10th - Hymas (Monster/Honda)
Overall Standings (5 of 17 rounds) 
450 class250 ESX class
4th - Webb, 92 points1st - Forkner, 25 points
5th - Anderson, 84 points3rd - Bennick, 20 points
6th - Tomac, 82 points10th – Hymas, 12 points

450 Highlights

  • Coming out of qualifying, Webb was in 2nd place, just 9/100ths back of leader Jett Lawrence (Honda). Eli Tomac (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) also made the top five in qualifying times, 3/10ths behind Webb and Lawrence.
  • Scoring heat race podiums were Justin Cooper (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) with a 2nd place run in Heat 1 and Anderson with a 3rd place run in Heat 2.
  • Monster Energy’s highlight of the prelim racing came when Justin Hill (Team Tedder) won the LCQ – his first last chance qualifier win of the season. Hill topped local favorite Mitchell Harrison (Brighton, Mich.) by 2.5 seconds in the win.
  • The 450 main event saw Tomac get out to the best Monster Energy start (2nd at the holeshot stripe), but he was quickly passed by Chase Sexton (KTM) and settled into 3rd place.
  • Anderson also got a solid start and was running behind Tomac in 4th place on the first lap before a minor mistake allowed Ken Roczen (Suzuki) and Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis (Phoenix Honda) to get by.
  • Anderson would battle back to a top five position by race’s end, one spot back of Webb (4th). Tomac would place 6th.

250 WSX Highlights

  • Forkner would be Monster Energy’s top qualifier, parlaying a qualifying-best time of 44.571 into 3rd place result. Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) would rally his KX250F to a 5th best qualifying time of 45.149.
  •  The opening 250 ESX heat race in Detroit was all Monster Energy up top as Cameron McAdoo (Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) won by .635 seconds over Haiden Deegan (Star Racing/Yamaha.) Heat 2 would also feature a Monster Energy 1-2 finish as Forkner topped Bennick by 2.8 seconds for the win.
  • All heck then broke loose as the start of the Detroit 250 ESX main as a massive first turn pileup took out Deegan, McAdoo, Hammaker and Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Nick Romano.
  • Surviving the carnage was Forkner, who got his Kawasaki KX250F out to the front – and never looked back. But if he did, he’d have seen Monster Energy’s Chance Hymas (Honda) in a good battle with Max Anstie (Honda) for 2nd place during much of the race (12 of 21 laps).
  • Bennick, who started in 9th place, narrowly missing the first turn pileup himself, set a quick course to the top five, making it there by Lap 4.
  • On Lap 16 Bennick would get past Hymas and into 3rd place, but still had a bit of time between himself and Anstie. So 3rd place it’d be for Bennick as Forkner ran away with the victory, giving Monster Energy the 1st/3rd finish in the Detroit 250 ESX main.

Notes & Quotes

  • “The biggest thing for me on Austin Forkner is ‘Can you do this the whole series?’ And for me I know he can. I just want to see him make it through the whole series and lock this thing up. Finally seal the deal.” – NBC color man Ricky Carmichael on Forkner.
  • “You could just see the sense of relief just come off him,” NBC track announcer Will Christien.
  • What was fortunate for Forkner was unfortunate for a number of Monster Energy 250 ESX racers as a massive pileup on the start of the Detroit main collected Monster Energy/Pro/Circuit/Kawasaki’s Cameron McAdoo and Seth Hammaker, along with last year’s 250 World SuperMotocross champion Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) and teammate Nick Romano.
  • Remaining on the start crash, Romano was able to regroup and limped around to a 14th place finish, with McAdoo and Deegan behind in 16th and 17th, respectively. Hammaker wasn’t as lucky as he was unable to continue due to a mangled motorcycle.
  • The Detroit track was especially rough as the racing went on throughout the day, as noted by Bennick: ““We changed my bike a good bit. We have the same track at the farm, but it’s obviously a lot different. This dirt’s super sticky and I was a having a little trouble with my bike, but Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha has a really good suspension guy and we fixed it.”

Up next…

Monster Energy AMA Supercross packs back up and heads west to Arizona’s (Glendale) State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, for Round 6 of the series on Saturday, Feb. 10th.