The supercross tracks for Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series’ premier 450 class podium was absolutely owned this year by Monster Energy athletes this season. All totaled, racers flying the iconic glowing green M Claw logo captured 15 out of a possible 17 first place main event finishes. Unbelievable when you consider the across-the-board talent level and competition parity to start the 2022 supercross season.
Race Wins 450: 15
Race Wins 250: 7
Combined wins: 22
Podium Finishes 450: 30
Podium Finishes 250: 21
Combined podium finishes: 51
Monster Energy AMA Supercross overall champion, Eli Tomac (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha), and series runner-up, Jason Anderson (Monster Energy/Kawasaki), each racked up seven individual race victories, including runs of five-consecutive (Tomac) and four-consecutive (Anderson) wins. Add to that Monster Energy’s super sophomore, Chase Sexton’s (Honda) win at Round Three in San Diego, and Monster Energy racers were this close (15 wins in 17 races) to sweeping the entire supercross season’s 450 class podiums – including shutting the defending supercross champion off of the top podium spot.
And in the support 250 class racing, Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig won his first-ever supercross championship, capturing the 250 Western Supercross (WSX) title, while teammate Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) would win the East/West 250 Shootout season finale in Salt Lake City versus both the top WSX and ESX racers.
From the opening contests in Southern California, including three races at Anaheim’s Angels Stadium, to the series’ shift eastward for stops in Minnesota, Texas, and Florida, it ended up being an incident at Detroit’s Ford Field that proved to be the turning point for the 450 class. At Detroit, Anderson, who had placed 8th the previous week at Daytona International Speedway (Fla.) and was in need of a win to keep Tomac within sight in the overall 450 points chase, ended up crashing out of the race – and leaving Detroit with just two championship points. A 6th place finish the following weekend in Indianapolis for Anderson would, over three races, mark a 44-point swing in favor of Tomac – who had won all three contests (Daytona, Detroit & Indy).
Anderson would not cave in the least to the pressure. And, over the next six races, he’d win four of them, finish runner-up in another, and just off the podium (4th) in another. Tomac would add another race win (Seattle), two more podiums (St. Louis & Seattle), and had the luxury – despite having injured his knee earlier in the season (Atlanta) – of wrapping up the championship at the penultimate round (Denver) in front of his home state fans. Tomac then sat out the final race in Salt Lake City, having clinched the series by nine points (359-350) over Anderson.
“This is truly unbelievable,” said Tomac who, along with Anderson, switched factories this season (Tomac from Kawasaki to Yamaha and Anderson from Husqvarna to Kawasaki). “It’s been in my dreams to make this happen. I messed up my knee in Atlanta, so that’s why my racing was subpar the last few rounds. But we were able to make it happen. Thanks to my team, Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha, my family, my friends, and the fans. I LOVE YOU DENVER!”
Added Anderson, from atop the Denver podium, regarding his longtime friendly competitor’s overall championship: “The win tonight’s a little bittersweet. But congrats to Eli. We’ve been racing each other since we were eight years old and he’s tough to beat.”
Beyond the championship, the 15 of 17 main event victories and 30 podium finishes for Monster Energy’s 450 class racers, the numbers would have been even better had there not been two significant injuries on the season. Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha), the defending Outdoor Nationals MX champion, scored a podium finish (3rd) at the San Diego supercross round and numerous top-five finishes, running in the top ten overall for much of the series. Unfortunately, Ferrandis, like Anderson, was injured in Detroit – and was unable to race the final seven rounds (wrist). And Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy/Kawasaki), the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250 ESX champion, was only able to race two rounds in 2022 before being sidelined with a shoulder injury.
The 250 WSX championship was never in doubt as Craig won four of the first six races, including the prestigious Anaheim 1 opener, before the series shifted to the east. Racing smart to win the championship, Craig would podium in the remaining five WSX races (three 2nds and two 3rds) in his impressive run to the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250 WSX title.
The 250 ESX field saw a stacked Monster Energy-backed crew start the season, only to have two of its top racers – former 250 champion Jeremy Martin (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) and Austin Forkner (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) - go down with injuries. Martin, with a practice track accident (shoulder) in Florida, following a 2nd place podium finish at the Arlington, Texas, and Forkner, following a 2nd place finish at the opening 250 ESX round in Minneapolis, who was taken out – mid-air – by Jett Lawrence (Honda) at the Arlington round. Forkner was able to return from a broken collarbone to win the Denver round – easily one of the best supercross comeback stories of 2022.
Two other Monster Energy-backed racers that had multiple podium finishes, and were unable to challenge for their respective 250 regional championships due to injury, were Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) and Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki). Hammaker would make the WSX podium at both Anaheim 1 and Oakland (Calif.), before hurting his back while practicing for the San Diego WSX round. McAdoo was on fire in the ESX region, with five podium finishes – including a win at Arlington – and challenging for the overall ESX championship when an unlikely press day crash at St. Louis (shoulder) knocked him out for the remainder of the season. McAdoo was only 11 points back of eventual ESX champion Jett Lawrence when the accident occurred.
Finally, the Supercross Futures AMA National Championship – showcasing the best up-and-coming U16 racers who’ll turn pro this summer (Outdoor National MX) – was a who’s who of Monster Energy racers as the event’s podium was awash in that familiar Monster green glow. Monster Energy’s Chance Hymas (Honda), Ryder DiFrancesco (Kawasaki), and Gavin Towers (Yamaha) put on a heck of a racing display at the Salt Lake City final round - dominating the event’s podium with a 1st/2nd/3rd place sweep, respectively.