Monster Energy Supercross Free Agency Frenzyby Jack Gaffney October 1, 2021 0 comments
October 1 serves as what could be considered the opening of “free agency” in the Supercross/Motocross realm. Although 99-percent of deals are done well ahead of time, that is more or less the date they are officially announced. Heading into 2022, there are more than a few major moves that will shake up the paddock. Including a pair of former 450 Supercross Champions.
Disclaimer: Monetary value on deals are almost never given out.
No. 3 Eli Tomac– Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha
A long-expected move is finally confirmed, the Land Shark is taking his talents to BluCru. His brand new one-year deal has some form of a multi-year kicker and likely is a top-of-the-market deal. This also likely will bring the soon-to-be 29-year-old Colorado native to the end of his hall of fame career. In addition, he will now team up with defending AMA Motocross Champion Dylan Ferrandis, as what shapes up to be the top teammate duo in the 450 class.
A potentially significant note with this move is Tomac is not bringing near career-long mechanic Brian Kranz with him. Dating back to 2011, the pair have won a grand total of 83 Supercross Main Events and Motocross Overalls. Second all-time to only Ricky Carmicheal and Brian Watts who won 90 events between 1997 and 2002. Tomac will now be paired with Josh Ellingson, who was working in-house with Justin Cooper. While continuing to use KYB suspension, which was a big part of this move.
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger– Red Bull KTM
After a career year with Star Yamaha, the former 250 Supercross and Motocross Champion has opted to move on. Plessinger is headed to Red Bull KTM on a multi-year deal, reuniting with former Star Yamaha teammate Cooper Webb. He essentially is the replacement for Marvin Musquin, who is Supercross only next year in what is likely his swan song.
His new wrench is also a new addition to the team, former mechanic of Chase Sexton, Jade Dungey. Brother of Ryan Dungey who won three Supercross titles with the team. Finally, Plessinger, who has been using Thor gear for years, now, has his deal with them up, as does Webb. Would imagine they have some companies interested in the two riders. As for an official announcement, Plessinger on Instagram said it is coming “just a few more days” from now.
No. 21 Jason Anderson– Monster Energy Kawasaki
This could be considered the corresponding move to Tomac leaving. The 2018 Supercross Champion leaving Husqvarna just a year after Bobby Hewitt left as team manager is not much of a surprise. However, Anderson has been the de facto face of the Austrian brand since its relaunch under KTM. Their loss turns into Kawaski’s gain here, as El Hombre now goes from teaming with Zach Osborne and Dean Wilson to Adam Cianciarulo.
With the aforementioned Kranz moving to an in-house factory role with Kawasaki, Anderson’s new wrench is also a fresh face with Team Green. Long time mechanic of Malcolm Stewart, Jason Montoya, will be making the jump to Kawasaki as well. Like Tomac’s deal with Yamaha, it is a one-year deal with an option for El Hombre.
No. 27 Malcolm Stewart- Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
Unlike the rest of these moves, Stewart to Husqvarna was announced a number of weeks ago. His full two-year deal is a great outcome for both himself and the Husqvarna team. Additionally, Stewart, who has not run Motocross since 2014, is on a full-year schedule for the first time since 2014. The last time he had run Motocross, Stewart finished 16th in the 450 class while running a 250 in Supercross.
The biggest news of all with Mookie may in fact be where he will be during the week next year. He is going to the most prominent training facility in all the land, Aldon Baker’s Baker Factory. Mookie on that program going into Supercross next year could be downright horrifying for the rest of the field. As of now, his mechanic is unknown, but if Osborne retires (which is unclear at best), look for his man Dan Feeny to possibly move over.
Rocky Mountain ATV-MC KTM WPS
Max Anstie, who just completed his second year in America, is making the jump from H.E.P. Suzuki to Rocky Mountain ATV-MC KTM WPS. There was some drama in Motocross over Anstie’s wife showing displeasure with the H.E.P. team over Instagram, so this is not a shocking move per se. Anstie did ride with the Standing Construct team in MXGP when they still used KTM’s in 2019. He had a late-season stretch of six straight top 10s and a Moto 2 win at Lommel that year.
Joining him at Rocky Mountain is Shane McElrath. His maiden voyage in the 450 class ended before it could even begin. A shoulder injury kept him to just two rounds of Supercross in Orlando with MCR Honda. Hopefully, the former 250 class mainstay can find some better luck with the orange brigade.
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha 250 Team
The 250 squad for Star Yamaha is the same from 2021, with the expectation of Jarrett Frye no longer being with the team. BluCru goes into the 2022 Supercross season with both 250 Supercross Regional titles in house. However, it is worth noting that the defending champions, Cooper and Colt Nichols, are entering what is their final years in the 250 class. What their markets in the 450 class shape into will be most interesting in the coming months.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
Just like Star, Pro Circuit is unchanged for 2022 save for one rider. Jordon Smith, who has had all-time bad injury luck, is no longer with the team after two years. In his place will be top Team Green prospect Jett Reynolds, who won nine Loretta Lynn’s titles from 2013 to 2017. Jo Shimoda, who had to try out for the team a year ago, now enters next year as the top rider on the team, coming off of a top 10 National points finish.
MCR SmartTop Honda
After a few years abroad with Honda HRC and Muc-Off Honda, Justin Brayton is back with the team he won Daytona Supercross with back in 2018. Vince Friese is also back but will drop down to the 250 class while running a 450 on the opposite coast by the sounds of it. The other 250 rider for the team is Mitchell Oldenburg, who is also on the same program as Friese, but likely running adjacent to the veteran.
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Main Image Credit: Yamaha Racing