Haiden Deegan doubles up at MX opener

Published On: 5/28/2024

Monster Energy’s Haiden Deegan (Star Racing/Yamaha) doubles up, 1st/1st, in winning Pala MX Nationals opener. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Levi Kitchen places 2nd to Deegan (2-2) as Monster Energy racers dominate the 250 class podium at Fox Raceway, Calif.

The 2023 Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), kicked off its 11-round summer outdoor season on Saturday with the highly anticipated/highly competitive 250 class being dominated by Monster Energy racers as Haiden Deegan (Star Racing/Yamaha) and Levi Kitchen (Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) went 1-2, respectively, at Fox Raceway in Pala, Calif.

Deegan was unstoppable on the day, winning both motos and laying claim early to the red AMA leader’s plate.

“One-One on the day, dream day for Round One, man,” said Deegan. “I put in the work these last (pauses) two weeks of outdoor practice (laughter), but we got ‘er done. We’re hyped, red plate, baby. And we’re going to grind ‘er out this season.”

Kitchen would run great as well, representing the M-claw logo with a 2-2 finish on the day at Pala, giving Monster Energy the top two spots on the podium.

In the opening 250 moto Kitchen would chase – and catch – race leader Tom Vialle (KTM) to take the race’s early lead. Deegan, who started in 8th place, had moved into 3rd around the same time Kitchen got by Vialle. Monster Energy’s Chance Hymas (Honda), who was the fastest rider in the first 250 qualifying session, moved into 4th to give Monster Energy three of the top four riders.

Deegan then took an inside line, easily passing the multi-time MXGP World Champ Vialle, then set sail for race leader Kitchen. The two would battle closely, with Kitchen holding off Deegan for a good five-minute span before, with a lap remaining, Kitchen somehow picked up a track marker in his boot and had to slow to remove it – allowing Deegan to pass for the lead, and eventual moto win by 7.2 seconds over 2nd place Kitchen. 

“Pretty weird,” said Kitchen of the track marker incident. “(It) kind of stabbed my shin and I knew I couldn’t ride with it. It was unfortunate, bit I knew he (Deegan) was going to send it anyway… so I don’t know what would have happened.”

In 250 Moto 2 Deegan pulled the Holeshot and never looked back, leading all 15 laps enroute to a 1.912 second victory over 2nd place Kitchen.

Rounding out the 250 class top ten at Fox Raceway for Monster Energy were Hymas in 4th overall and his Honda teammate, Jo Shimoda, in 6th and Star Racing/Yamaha’s Nate Thrasher in 8th.

Leading the charge in the 450 class at Fox Raceway was Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis (Phoenix/Honda), who parlayed a top five (5th) finish in Moto 2 with a 7th place run in the opening moto to finish just off the box in 4th place (7-5). Just behind Ferrandis, in 6th and 7th places respectively, were Monster Energy’s Justin Cooper (6th) and Jason Anderson (7th). Cooper nailed a top five (5th) finish in the opening moto and combined it with an 8th place run in the second moto, while Anderson finished just off the podium in Moto 2 (4th) - Monster Energy’s best 450 class moto finish on the day - and 10th in the opening moto.

Overall Standings (1 of 11 rounds)

250 class     

1st - Deegan, 50 points

2nd - Kitchen, 44 points  

4th - Hymas, 38 points


450 class

4th - Ferrandis, 40 points

6th - Cooper, 31 points

7th - Anderson, 30 points


Notes & Quotes

  • “We kind of yo-yoed for 35 minutes,” said Kitchen of his Moto 2 battle with Deegan. “I was kind of waiting for him (Deegan) to make a mistake… and he never made one.”
  • When asked if it is “more fun to lead or chase,” Kitchen responded: “Chase. For sure.”
  • “Qualifying wasn’t the greatest, but we’ll work on that. … When it came down to business we excelled.” – Deegan on his 1-1 Pala performance in front of his hometown fans
  • “I don’t even know what the next round is. I look at my flight and that’s how I know what the next round is.” – Deegan on the upcoming (Round 2) Hangtown, Calif., race.
  • “Yesterday was the first day on the bike. Bike’s fantastic and I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” said newly signed Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki racer Ty Masterpool, who placed 15th in the 250 division at Pala.
  • “Day started kind of slow in practice. Moto 1, nothing I could really do – crashed in the first corner and got right up. Second moto I started fourth and ended fourth. Not a bad start. I really enjoy Hangtown and yeah, go from there.” – Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson, who placed 7th at Pala.
  • “Super happy. Really stoked. Podium was within reach, but overall it was a good weekend. Felt comfortable running up front and knew I had the speed to (run up front).” – Monster Energy-backed Chance Hymas (Honda) on his 4th place 250 finish.
  • Bit of a question as to if Deegan gained any sort of advantage when he went off the track in the second moto, paralleling Vialle’s track departure – and subsequent penalty for doing so – in the previous moto. End result: AMA officials decided not to penalize Deegan.

Up next: This Saturday, June 1, the Monster Energy MX racing contingent heads up the I-5, through the San Juaquin Valley, to Prairie City, Calif., for the Hangtown MX Classic, Round 2 of the 2024 Pro Motocross Championship. For more information on the AMA Pro Motocross Championships, link to