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MONSTER ENERGY®/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI RIDER JO SHIMODA WINS THE INAUGURAL SUPERMOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™ PLAYOFF 1
Foothill Ranch, Calif. (September 10, 2023) - Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda brought home the first overall win of the SuperMotocross World Championship™ at the zMAX Dragway. Ryder DiFrancesco finished a career best, landing on the podium in Moto 2 and finishing fourth overall (7-3). Teammates Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner and Carson Mumford finished sixth (5-8), 13th (6-19) and 20th (17-DNS). Monster Energy® Kawasaki riders Jason Anderson and Adam Cianciarulo battled the technical track finishing fifth (4-5) and 16th (9-22), respectively.
Located on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina, the zMAX Dragway was opened in 2008 as an extension of the renowned Charlotte Motor Speedway, famous for its NASCAR events. Throughout its history, the zMAX Dragway has been a witness to countless record-setting performances and exhilarating moments in the realm of NHRA drag racing. This weekend marked a historic occasion as it hosted the inaugural round of the SMX World Championship. During the early morning qualifying sessions, Hammaker found his rhythm placing his KX™250 first in qualifying, while Shimoda was less than half a second behind in fourth. Forkner, Mumford and DiFrancesco finished the session in ninth, 16th and 17th.
At the start of 250 Moto 1, Hammaker catapulted out of the starting gate aboard his Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, securing the holeshot. DiFrancesco, Shimoda, and Forkner closely trailed, all within Top 10 positions. Mumford, unfortunately, encountered a pivotal mishap in the opening turn that momentarily would have him on the ground. As the race unfolded, DiFrancesco swiftly maneuvered himself into a podium-worthy position, capitalizing on Hammaker's error, which caused him to slip to sixth place. With just minutes remaining, Shimoda made a push to battle for a podium spot, overtaking his teammates and ultimately finished in fourth. After a race long close battle of the teammates, Hammaker, Forkner, and DiFrancesco crossed the finish line in fifth, sixth, and seventh positions, respectively. After a challenging race, Mumford completed the race in 18th place.
In Moto 2, DiFrancesco wasted no time launching his KX™250 off the starting gate, securing yet another holeshot for Team Green. Shimoda followed closely in third place, with Hammaker in fourth. As the riders began exploring different racing lines on the distinctive track layout, Shimoda gradually closed the gap, surging past the leaders to claim second place from DiFrancesco. Hammaker maintained pressure on the frontrunners until a series of minor errors forced him back to eighth place, where he ultimately concluded the moto. DiFrancesco, on the other hand, remained in close proximity to the leaders and secured his maiden moto podium, finishing in third place. Shimoda executed a remarkable late charge, enabling him to make a decisive pass for the lead. As the checkered flag waved, it was the No. 30 machine that crossed the finish line first. Regrettably, Forkner's mistakes in the moto resulted in a 19th-place finish, while Mumford, sidelined by illness, was unable to participate in Moto 2.
Riders from Monster Energy® Kawasaki, Adam Cianciarulo and Jason Anderson, faced the challenge of adjusting to a freshly designed SMX track configuration, ultimately securing the fourth and seventh qualifying positions in the morning.
During Moto 1 of the 450 Class, both Cianciarulo and Anderson began their races with strong starts within the Top 10. Anderson engaged in a rapid duel, eventually overtaking the reigning 2023 Pro Motocross Champion of Jett Lawrence, to secure the seventh position. Anderson, aboard his KX™450SR, methodically worked his way past competitors, advancing into the Top 5. A late surge by rider No. 21 enabled him to execute a swift pass, propelling him into fourth place, where he ultimately finished. Cianciarulo encountered an early mishap that caused him to slip back to the ninth spot, which he maintained until the conclusion of the race.
In the Moto 2 of the 450 Class, Cianciarulo and Anderson crossed the holeshot line, in the second and fourth positions, respectively, but it was Ty Masterpool on his KX™450 that grabbed the holeshot. As Lap 1 unfolded however, the No. 9 rider committed a significant error while running in third place, veering off track after the rhythm section and ultimately clipping a Tuff block. Anderson, initially positioned in fourth, executed rapid passes, propelling himself into contention for a podium finish. When the checkered flag waved, Anderson completed the race in fifth place, while his teammate Cianciarulo finished in 22nd position.