2022 Monster Energy Supercross: 250 West Previewby Jack Gaffney January 6, 2022 1 comment
With Anaheim 1 now just two days away, this year’s 250 West field has officially rounded into form. Typically, the heavy hitter teams like to play games with who they send out for the opening Regional Championship. This year, however, we now know the 250 riders who will open the season in Monster Energy Supercross. For varying reasons, we are guaranteed new Champions on each coast this year, but this year’s 250 West field is not lacking for talent. Before we meet the field, we must first get to some major injury news that has dropped in the last 48 hours.
Justin Cooper to Miss Entire Supercross Season
The first bit of major news dropped on Tuesday evening. Cooper, the defending 250 West Champion, will miss all of Supercross, as a result of a broken foot earlier that day. It is worth noting that he was slated to run 250 East, however, this takes him out of the running there as well. A devastating blow for one of the 250’s best. Who as of now, is in his final year as a 250 class rider. Whether this injury changes that or not remains to be seen.
Jett Lawrence forced to 250 East Supercross
Just a day after the Cooper news, his title rival during last year’s Motocross season was also revealed to have a preseason injury. Lawrence, in a preseason crash, hit the ground after a mid-air ejection. While the exact injury is unknown, it is for sure rib-related. This will force the Jett out of 250 West, however, he is set to compete in the 250 East Championship, which begins mid-Feburary in Minneapolis.
ICYMI why Hunter is racing west: pic.twitter.com/7D2GOyqDoP
— The Voice of the Drunken People (@Drunken_People) January 6, 2022
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha
No. 28 Christian Craig
2021 Stats (250 East): 2 Wins, 6 Podiums, 1 Holeshot, Average Finish of 2.4, 55 Laps Led, 4th in Points
What would have been an excellent opening Supercross season with Star Yamaha was cut short for Craig. A leg injury in Salt Lake City 1 Qualifying cut his season short by two rounds. Knocking him out of a sure chance at the 250 East Championship. Moving onto the positives, Craig got his first win in nearly five years in Houston to open things up. His 2.4 average finish was also the second-best among East riders. Coming into 2022 with a clean bill of health, expect the veteran to once again be a contender.
No. 45 Colt Nichols
2021 Stats (250 East): 3 Wins, 6 Podiums, 2 Holeshots, Average Finish of 2, 53 Laps Led, Defending 250 East Regional Champion
Last year’s East Champion is swapping coasts in 2022, so no No. 1E on the plates for Nichols this year. This was according to plan as far as we know as well. Entering his final year in the 250 class, Nichols now looks to add a second Supercross title to his resume, and he’s coming off of a strong 2021. Not once did the Oklahoma native finish off the podium in nine races. Additionally, Nichols won three straight Main Events from Houston 3 to Indianapolis 2.
As he is set to become a 450 rider next year, there is no guarantee he stays with Star Yamaha beyond this year. Yes, they have been willing to go with a three-rider lineup, as seen last year, however, he will have some internal competition. Namely, Cooper, who has a stronger resume in Motocross, which likely gives him an edge for a possible third seat. With that being said, any number of teams should be in on Nichols. He should translate well to the big bike most likely.
No. 49 Nate Thrasher
2021 Stats (250 West): 2 Wins, 2 Podiums, 1 Holeshot, Average Finish of 8.1, 19 Laps Led, 7th in Points
Maybe the shocker of the 2021 period was Thrasher going two out of three at Atlanta Motor Speedway in April. Outside of those two wins, Thrasher at times had a rough go of things. There were multiple times a year ago where had stints in the LCQ. Ironically enough, two of those instances were when he won in Atlanta oddly enough. In year two, Thrasher should hopefully be able to limit frequent trips to the LCQ. He clearly has shown the ability that he can win races, but his consistency needs to be better.
Team Solitare/Nuclear Blast Yamaha
No. 58 Ryan Surratt
2021 Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 19., 0 Laps Led, 34th in Points
Kicking things off for the Peoples Team is their newest addition in the now five-year pro Surratt. His Supercross season was not what was impressive a year ago, his late-season run on a 450 in Motocross is what was. In four of the last five rounds, he finished top 15 overall. In the Pala finale, the Corona, California native went 8-8 for seventh Overall. Now with a solid Yamaha squad, expect Surratt to have a respectable season.
No. 69 Robbie Wageman
2021 Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 13.7., 0 Laps Led, 20th in Points
Next up is the returning Wageman out of Newhall, California. Last year Wageman made four Main Events on the year and finished no worse than 16th. Dating back to 2019, he has just two finishes outside of 20th in 16 Main Event bids in Supercross. If Wageman can get the Main Event start clip up, don’t rule out a points finish inside the top 15.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
No. 31 Jalek Swoll
2021 Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 1 Podium, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 6.2, 0 Laps Led, 20th in Points
A good 2021 secured Swoll an extension with the Factory Husqvarna team. Now he serves as the team’s lone entry in the 250 West Region, with Stilez Robertson and R.J. Hampshire set for 250 East. An interesting note for Swoll is that this will be his first true year out west. Outside of Salt Lake City, he has never run a round of Supercross on the west coast. That is more so an oddity than a concern however for the talented Swoll. He should be a sleeper contender for this title behind the usual suspects.
No. 96 Hunter Lawrence
2021 Stats (250 West): 1 Win, 4 Podiums, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 3.8, 13 Laps Led, 2nd in Points
With his brother on the mend, the elder Lawrence brother will join Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton for HRC in Anaheim this weekend. Before 2021, Lawrence had little to no track record in Supercross, due to injuries forcing him out. With that being said, he did great in his first full healthy tilt. An average finish under four with a win and four podiums to boot is nothing to scoff at. Even if he may be a ‘late switch’, Lawrence should be up to the task and contend for a title here in 2022. He may not be as flashy as Jett, but make no mistake, Hunter can run with the best of them.
Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing
No. 29 Michael Mosiman
2021 Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 2 Podiums, 1 Holeshot, Average Finish of 5.7, 7 Laps Led, 5th in Points
Mosiman is set for his second year with the GasGas outfit, after a solid opening tilt. While he is still searching for career Main Event win No. 1, he has finished fifth in points these last two seasons. Save for a 15th in last years East/West showdown and Houston 1, Mosiman was a top-five rider from start to finish which bodes well for this year. With a year on a new bike under his belt, it will be interesting to see if the California native can jump from a top-five guy into a title contender.
No. 40 Dilan Schwartz
2021 Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 16.8, 0 Laps Led, 23rd in Points
A wise man once said, “Never underestimate the power of the Schwartz.” Entering what is his sophomore year, the pride of Alpine, California is the defacto ‘A’ guy on the three-man West unit. He made four Main Events last year, one of which was a ninth in Atlanta. That doesn’t come as a surprise given that he had a number of impressive runs outdoors. For Schwartz, a good goal should be a points finish inside the top 20, along with more Main Event starts than in 2021.
No. 43 Carson Mumford
2021 Stats (250 East): 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 18, 0 Laps Led, 25th in Points
Hard to not feel bad for how Mumford’s pro career has begun. He would have likely been on the now-defunct GEICO Honda team entering 2021, but they closed shop after the 2020 Motocross tilt. Last year, Mumford slotted in at Phoenix Honda, and now he’s a member of the RMArmy with the BarX team. He made just four Main Events just a year ago, but that number should jump this year hopefully.
No. 68 Preston Kilroy
250 Supercross Rookie
After a final full year as an amateur in 2021, Kilroy joins the professional ranks and goes into the proverbial deep end that is 250 West. In his final run at Loretta Lynn’s, the West Virginia native finished third in both the 250 and Open Pro Sport classes. Afterward, he had some fairly good success in the final few Motocross rounds with the team. Kilroy may be the most interesting rider on this team, his progression in year one should be worth watching.
Muc-Off FXR Club MX Yamaha
No. 35 Garrett Marchbanks
2021 Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 1 Podium, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 7.9, 0 Laps Led, 6th in Points
After getting the boot from Pro Circuit Kawi, Marchbanks is back with Club MX for another year. No wins in 2021, but he brought almost cracked a top-five points finish on a non-factory team. Additionally, his average finish only dropped by about .80 from 2020 to 2021. If Marchbanks can keep it on two wheels, a surprise win should not be out of the question.
No. 98 Nique Thury
2021 Stats (250 West): 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Holeshots, Average Finish of 15.7, 0 Laps Led, 24th in Points
The former European Supercross Champion will ride alongside Marchbanks here for Club MX. Last year Thury only made three main events, two in Dallas, one in Atlanta. Also for Thury, this will be his second year on the American scene, as well as with the team. With that being said, the German should hopefully be more settled in this go-around.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
No. 30 Jo Shimoda
2021 Stats (250 East): 1 Win, 3 Podiums, 1 Holeshot, Average Finish of 3.7, 19 Laps Led, 2nd in Points
A year ago, Shimoda had to try out to make this Pro Circuit team after GEICO Honda folded. Fast forward 12 months later, this is now his team. A year ago he had just one finish outside the top five and was able to hold off Jett Lawrence for an impressive first win at Salt Lake City 1. The only real concern for Shimoda last year was his starts, averaging a seventh. Despite being well off the other top riders of the 250 East, he always was able to make moves through the pack for good results.
In year two with Mitch Payton’s team, Shimoda should certainly be a factor for this Championship. He is as smooth as anyone in the field and faces many of the same riders he did last year. If the starts and aggression can be picked up, a No. 1 plate could very likely be in the future for the pride of Suzuka, Japan.
No. 47 Seth Hammaker
2021 Stats (250 West): 1 Win, 3 Podiums, 1 Holeshot, Average Finish of 5.8, 21 Laps Led, 4th in Points
Last year was Hammaker’s rookie campaign, but you would never know it by how he did. His win at Dallas 1 vaulted him to winning last year’s Rookie of the Year award, along with a fourth place points finish. The only concern with the Pennsylvania rider entering this year was some illness issues that plagued him over the summer. If he is in a good spot health-wise, Hammaker should be just fine. Given the talent in this year’s 250 West field, a top-five points finish feels like a solid expectation.
Preseason 250 West Supercross Top 10 Power Rankings
9. Nate Thrasher
8. Garrett Marchbanks
7. Michael Mosiman
6. Seth Hammaker
5. Jalek Swoll
4. Hunter Lawrence
3. Jo Shimoda
2. Christain Craig
1. Colt Nichols
2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250 West Regional Championship Pick: Jo Shimoda
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
Main Image via Octopi Media