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Monster Energy® Kawasaki Rider Jason Anderson Claims Fourth Consecutive Win at Championship Finale
Round 17 of the Monster Energy® AMA Supercross Championship brought the world’s finest supercross racers to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the final round of the Supercross Championship at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jason Anderson joined an elite few with his fourth consecutive 450SX Main Event win, totaling a career-best seven wins in one season. In the 250SX Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda raced his way to a top-five finish in the 250SX Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown while his teammate Austin Forkner crossed the line in sixth. In the 250SX Futures National Championship, Monster Energy® Kawasaki Team Green rising star Ryder DiFrancesco brought home runner-up honors after a thrilling back and forth battle.
The track at Rice-Eccles Stadium presented riders with an array of challenges including a lengthy whoop section and peaky jumps. Despite the stadium sitting at 4,637 feet in elevation, when timed qualifying began, Anderson had no trouble utilizing the power of his KX™450SR to set the fastest lap (46.187) in both 450SX sessions and head into the night show as the fastest qualifier.
Anderson launched out of the gate at the start of 450SX Heat 2, easily securing the holeshot. With a clear track ahead, Anderson quickly upped the pace and began to pull away from his competition. The No.21 continued to hit his marks cleanly throughout the six-minutes plus one lap race, giving his competitors no sign of hope as he was easily on his way to claiming the Heat Race win.
At the start of the 450SX Main Event, Anderson again delivered once the gate dropped as he emerged from the first turn in third place. Without hesitation, Anderson capitalized on a mistake from his competition to advance into second before the end of the first lap. The No.21 quickly set his sights on the lead and mounted a brilliant charge that saw him decimate the front runner’s gap and secure first place with an impressive run through the challenging whoop section. With full control of the race, Anderson proceeded to build on his advantage at the front of the pack and solidified a gap by the halfway mark of the race. The New Mexico native combined his cunning race craft and experience to swiftly maneuver around the slower traffic and further add to his lead over the field during the closing laps of the Main Event. When the checkered flag flew, Anderson crossed the line to claim his fourth consecutive win in the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Championship.
Anderson’s outstanding performance at the final round of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship earned him a career-best seven 450SX Main Event wins in a single season.
“This has been an amazing season for me. Taking home seven wins is the best I’ve ever done in a single season, and I have everyone at Monster Energy Kawasaki to thank for helping me reach such an accomplishment at this point in my career. Yeah, I wish I could’ve taken the title fight to the very last round but to finish second my first year with a new team is still an amazing achievement.”
- Jason Anderson
With the final Monster Energy Supercross round presenting fans the thrilling 250SX Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Shimoda and Forkner arrived in Salt Lake City ready for one last battle against the best 250SX competitors from each coast. When qualifying sessions for both coasts wrapped up, Forkner recorded the fourth-fastest time (48.157) in the Eastern Regional division while Shimoda qualified with the sixth fastest (48.281) Western Regional division lap time.
At the start of the 250SX West Heat Race, Shimoda emerged from the first turn inside the top-10 and the No.30 KX™250 rider studied his opponent’s fast lines before pushing forward and settling into fifth by Lap 5. When the checkered flag flew, Shimoda crossed the line in fifth with a direct transfer into the 250SX Main Event.
Quick off the start of the 250SX East Heat Race, Forkner rounded the first turn in second and spared no time making a charge for the lead. The No.33 quickly caught up to the leader's rear wheel and utilized his ability to skim the whoops when others were jumping to make an early pass attempt for first place. Despite what looked like a sure pass, Forkner was unable to secure the lead in his first attempt and immediately set out on another charge. With just two minutes left in the race, Forkner again used his outstanding speed in the whoops to catch the leader and this time make the pass for first place stick. From there, Forkner built a comfortable gap over second place as he proceeded to take the Heat Race win.
When the gate dropped for the 250SX Main Event, the Pro Circuit teammates emerged from the first turn just inside the top 10 with Forkner sitting in seventh and Shimoda close behind in eighth. With the track quickly deteriorating, the teammates took advantage of the many mistakes from their competitors to steadily make their way up through the field. A small mistake in the whoops by Forkner dropped the No.33 from seventh to eighth. Shimoda, who was close behind Forkner all race, capitalized on the mistake to move into seventh. With the end of the race closing in, Shimoda upped his intensity and combined it with cunning race craft as he finessed his way past some of his opponents to finish the race in fifth. After his mistake in the whoops, Forkner regrouped quickly to catch up to his teammate and used a similar strategy to move up the field and cross the finish line in sixth.
Shimoda’s fifth-place finish in Salt Lake City secured the Japanese native’s sixth top-five finish of the season and secured his fourth-place ranking in the 250SX Western Regional points standings. Forkner’s sixth-place result and impressive last half of the season placed him ninth in the 250SX Eastern Regional points standings.
“I’m happy with another top-five finish this season. I was hoping to podium or maybe win because I have experience doing well here from last year, but it wasn’t our night. Now that the supercross season is over, I’m shifting my focus to Pro Motocross and focusing on improving my results from last season.”
- Jo Shimoda
“I was feeling really good all day, especially after taking the win in my Heat Race. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the start we needed in the Main Event and had to battle through lots of traffic to get up to sixth. I would’ve liked to be fighting for the win and I think I had the speed today, but the start hurt us. As we head into this two-week break before we start racing Pro Motocross, I’m going to prioritize working on starts so we can have a better chance at competing for wins and podiums.”
- Austin Forkner
In addition to the 450SX class and 250SX East/West Showdown, the last Monster Energy Supercross round also hosted the top amateur 250 racers in the world for the 250SX Futures National Championship. Amateurs for the 250SX Futures National Championship qualified based on their results from previous 250SX Futures Qualifying races that were sprinkled in throughout the supercross season. Monster Energy® Kawasaki Team Green’s DiFrancesco arrived in Utah with four 250SX Futures wins under his belt and was eager to do battle with his rivals in front of a crowded stadium. When the 250SX Futures qualifying sessions were complete, DiFrancesco qualified for the night show with the second-fastest lap time (50.318).
When the gate dropped on the 250SX Futures National Championship Main Event, it was the No.23 Kawasaki KX™250 of DiFrancesco with the holeshot. With his main rival following close, DiFrancesco was jockeying for the lead early in the race and running in second by Lap 3. DiFrancesco regained the lead momentarily but conceded the position through the whoop section. With the race coming to an end, DiFrancesco tried one last push for the lead but was unable to attempt a final pass and settled for second place at the finish.
“Wow! The crowd tonight was amazing. Getting to race in a packed stadium, at the final race of the season is surreal. I wish I was holding the No.1 plate, but we put on a great race for the fans tonight and I’m proud of my performance. There’s a lot of work that goes into getting here so I’m going to soak it all in while I’m here and then get back to work next week.”
- Ryder DiFrancesco