The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

Tomac 22 SX championship banner

It’s hard to believe that we are now down to just one more round in the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Series. The past four months have been nothing short of incredible with great battles in all of the classes and a plethora of excitement at each round. Right from the opening gate drop at Anaheim 1 we’ve been treated to some excellent racing and with Eli Tomac clinching his second SX title on Saturday afternoon, he joins Jett Lawrence as one of the 2022 SX Champions. All that is remaining now is the 250SX West Series to be decided this weekend in Salt Lake City as Christian Craig failed to score enough points this past weekend to secure his first-ever championship. During the opening laps of the 250SX West Main event, Craig was in a difficult spot as he looked to be a little faster than Hunter Lawrence. However, on the slippery Denver track and with the championship to think about Craig had to be cautious when trying to make a pass. Then, after crashing in the sand section Craig was forced into salvage mode and the best he could do was third place. So unless disaster strikes this weekend in SLC Craig’s championship celebration will have to wait until Saturday as currently, he’s 18 points ahead of Lawrence. It should be an exciting 250SX main event in SLC as the final round is also a 250SX East/West event.

Craig 22 SX Denver
Christian Craig will have to wait at least one more week before hopefully clinching his first-ever SX title.

Well, what a season it’s been for Star Racing Yamaha rider Eli Tomac. Throughout the series, he’s won seven times and really has controlled things from Anaheim 2 on. There isn’t anything that Tomac has done wrong in 2022, his starts have been vastly improved over past years, he’s been aggressive when he needed to be and patient the rest of the time, and as RC pointed out during the broadcast this weekend Eli has looked like he’s been having fun this year. Maybe it’s the new bike and the new team, maybe it’s being a father or two, maybe it’s been the success that has made this season more fun, or perhaps it’s just a combination of everything? Either way, this past season we’ve had the pleasure of seeing the best Eli Tomac ever and at 29 years old hopefully, he has a few more years in him. Tomac also admitted during his post-race press conference that he had tweaked his knee in Atlanta and since then it’s been quite sore. With the pressure of this championship now off of his shoulders, I guess we will find out just how injured Tomac’s knee is in the coming weeks. Does he race this weekend? Does he even race this summer in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships? First, I would expect to see Tomac race this weekend in SLC as I’m sure he wants to finish this series off in style. However, it also wouldn’t surprise me to see him sit out the nationals this summer to recharge his batteries and give his aging body some time to recover. Don’t forget, the Star Racing Yamaha Team has the defending 450MX Champion Dylan Ferrandis all ready to go with the big #1 plate on his YZ450, and Christian Craig is also racing a 450 again this summer. We’ll see what happens with Tomac and the upcoming outdoor series, but for now, let’s all celebrate with him as he’s put on quite a show so far in 2022.

Ryan Dungey is back for at least the opening two rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro MX Championships.

As I mentioned, the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is set to kick off its 50th Anniversary season on May 28th at Fox Raceway in California. With the SX Series almost over everyone, I repeat, everyone is looking forward to the gate dropping on the outdoor series. Also, as we saw last week the first two rounds at least of the series are going to be a little extra juicy as KTM announced that both Tony Cairoli and Ryan Dungey with be joining Aaron Plessinger under the tent. With the additions of these riders, it was also rumoured last week that Cooper Webb could be taking the summer off. With Webb being in the final year of his KTM contract and coming off a lackluster SX series, perhaps there is some truth to the speculation that he’s headed to another team for 2023? If that happens I’m not sure where he would go unless Roczen doesn’t resign with Honda and Webb goes to the red team and joins the Lawrence Brothers there. Maybe Webb and Roczen simply switch teams for 2023? At this point who knows how the silly season will play out? Since Webb had recommitted to training at the Baker’s Factory in the past month I can’t see him doing that unless he was planning on returning to KTM for another season. If Webb was headed elsewhere then I would think that he would’ve just written this season off and not bothered to go back to Aldon Baker’s facility. But he did go back and obviously that is Webb admitting that he made an error in not training with Aldon during the off-season which couldn’t have been an easy thing to do.

Webb SX 22 Denver
Will Cooper Webb race this summer? Will be back with KTM in 2023?

So my guess is that Webb is staying with KTM and they’ve given him the summer off to recharge and not only get ready for the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Series but also to perhaps prepare for the new FIM World SX Championship Series which is rumoured to starting on September 10th in Montreal. If this new SX Series has any hopes of being successful then they’re going to need some top riders to be on the starting gate. Webb would be a perfect fit but not if he spends the summer slugging it out at the nationals. Anyway, it hasn’t been confirmed that Webb is sitting out the summer so perhaps he does plan to be on the line at Fox Raceway later this month. Either way, it’s exciting that both Cairoli and Dungey will be racing the first two rounds of the series. I can see Dungey doing the entire series if his first two races go okay, he doesn’t seem like the type of person to put all the work in and then just do two races. This most certainly adds to the hype of the outdoor series for 2022.

Anderson 22 SX
One rider who isn’t going anywhere except to the podium is Jason Anderson. Photo by Matt Wellumson

Now let’s move to some Canadian moto news. Yesterday the official Press Release came out stating that the GASGAS/CMS/Callus Team has signed Mitchell Harrison to race in the 250 class this summer. This is great news as with the border restrictions dropped our Canadian teams are free to bring up any USA rider they want. Harrison is fast and as recently as 2020 he finished 8th overall in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships in the 250MX class. Harrison will be arriving in Nova Scotia soon and will have at least three weeks to prepare for the opening round of the Triple Crown Series, which by the way is just over a month away. Trust me, for a rider (and their teams) who are getting ready for a challenging national series the moment the calendar states that you’re a month out from the first gate drop a tiny bit of panic sets in. These next four weeks will go by at lightning speed as everyone works on their final details of preparation.

I’m sure Mike Alessi wishes he was at Wild Rose MX this past weekend as racing kicked off in Alberta.

As we mentioned in our Friday 10 story last week, the Alberta race season kick-off this past weekend at Wild Rose MX Park in Calgary. By all accounts, it was a massive turnout on both days with over 900 entries and lots of great racing. Racing season is now underway in Canada and I believe that Saskatchewan kicks off its season this coming weekend. Round 2 of the Future West MX Series goes this weekend in beautiful Kelowna and also the second round of the 2022 AMO Racing OPC Series takes place this coming weekend at Auburn Hills Raceway. This will be the first event held at Auburn Hills since 2008 and there are a lot of people excited about it. I could on and on about the good memories I have from this infamous natural terrain track as I did a lot of racing there in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Auburn Hills is a fun track but if I could pass along some advice to riders who are headed there for the first time, make sure you’re focused every time you take to the track. Especially in Moto 2 as this track is constantly changing and if you’re not paying attention it can bite you quickly. So look for good lines and adapt to the track as it changes throughout the day.

Well, that is it for me today. I hope everyone has a great first week of May and good luck to everyone who will be racing this coming weekend. Finally, thank you for reading, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of the incredible moto moms out there. We love you and we cherish you!


Check Also

Quinn Amyotte

The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

You know, I’m always amazed at how nature seems to balance itself out, and here ...