Welcome back to the GBU! It's the first round of 2022 and we're here to give you our thoughts on who did good, who did...well, Bad and who had a night to forget forever (the Ugly). Staff members Grant Dawson and Michael Lindsay have their thoughts, below.
Grant Dawson - The Good: Christian Craig | 1st Place
Although Christian Craig has been racing this sport professionally for over 10 years, last year felt like a true break out year for him even though he wasn't able to bring home a championship. That year of stability and success set him up perfectly to make a run this season. He's by far the most experienced title contender in the West Division, and with the unfortunate departure of Colt Nichols due to injury...most of his fellow title contenders are young guys who are still finding their footing in Supercross. I still think Christian will face some serious challenges this season, and guys like Michael Mosiman and Hunter Lawrence will eventually see if they can push him into a huge mistake like he has made in years past. But, ultimately, this looks to be Christian's title to lose at this point. We are only one round in, though.
Michael Lindsay - The Good: Carson Mumford | 10th Place
Let's get this out of the way. Yes, Carson Mumford did finish the first lap in fifth. Yes, he did slide back a bit and ultimately finish tenth. But yes, I consider this my good pick for A1 250s. Why? Simple, I was an in-person witness to Mumfy's first couple rounds of Supercross in 2021 and literally anything that could've gone wrong, went wrong for him. To watch someone who had worked their whole life for that moment and to watch it literally go beyond sideways was tough to see. Carson buckled down and has really dedicated everything to making it happen coming into this season. On paper it's not the flashiest result but he's come a long way and the start to 2022 is a good foundation he can build off of. Starting off in tenth is still a top ten finish and if he can stay under that number all season, it'll be a solid year.
Grant Dawson - The Bad: Michael Mosiman | 6th Place
Michael Mosiman's night started off well with a heat race win over Seth Hammaker, but it didn't take long for his Main Event to take a turn for the worst. He made a mistake about a minute into the race and found himself on the ground in the whoops while the entire field sprinted by him. He put in a decent effort to make it back to sixth place by the end of the race, and he definitely still has a shot of the title because of the result he salvaged. However, this has long been the story of Michael's career. He has always had the speed to win and he has never been afraid to give it his all, but he has consistently self-sabotaged himself with crashes and minor mistakes that a title contender just can't make. He has been a pro since 2018, and it's getting to the point where he needs to get himself past this trend. Due to the strength of the field and his experience, this season is his best shot at winning the title since he turned pro. He's gotta bounce back next week.
Michael Lindsay - The Bad: Jo Shimoda | 7th Place
Considering Jo Shimoda was stuck behind the gate and also down on the ground during the main event, 7th isn't horrible but it's also not good for someone who should compete for the title this year. It may seem like a harsh take at round one but the 250 regional Supercross series are just too short for bad nights like this. With solid performers like Christian Craig and Hunter Lawrence on the box at round, it's hard to picture a night where those two won't be within podium reach. However, Jo has sort of used his throw away evening right off the bat at A1 and if he wants to be in the title hunt come Salt Lake, he's going to need to be no worse than top five the rest of this season.
Grant Dawson - The Ugly: Jalek Swoll and Colt Nichols
Injuries in Supercross are inevitable, as are injuries to title contenders. It happens every year, but that's just the nature of our sport. It's always horrifying to watch a rider have a hard crash and either lay there motionless or be trapped under their machine. Jalek Swoll and Colt Nichols both had huge crashes that will sideline both of them out for a bit. Jalek Swoll's was a very concerning crash in which he got knocked out, but it actually sounds like he only sustained a concussion judging by early reports. Concussions are still serious business and the team should wait until he is 100% ready to come back, but I imagine we will see him again sometime this season. However, I will be surprised if we see Colt Nichols again before the outdoor season. He sustained injuries to both arms that will require surgery. I hope both of these dudes heal up well and hopefully we see another update on each of them soon.
Michael Lindsay - The Ugly: Carson Brown
At one point, I wasn't sure if we'd see Carson Brown lining up in 2022. His longtime team, JMC, was no longer racing and support seemed to have dried up for the young pit bike phenom out of Washington. Carson was planning on doing a few rounds on his own, but at the last minute a hail marry was throw his way with the AEO KTM team picking him up as the fill-in rider for Ty Masterpool. The AEO group is a first year team but it's the best equipment Carson has ever been able to race (if you know about their bikes, you know what I'm talking about). Finally, things really seem to be swinging the right way for Carson entering 2022 and after a solid qualifying run plus a good start to the main. However, that went sideways in a hurry as he got turned onto his head, literally. Luckily Carson will be back for Oakland unlike the two mentioned above, however it was still an ugly end to A1. C'mon Carson, make Oakland your B!$%&.
Grant Dawson - The Good: Ken Roczen | 1st Place
Ken Roczen may be one of the only riders in this sport where everyone is happy any time he wins a race, and I'd love nothing more to see him go on to win this title after many years of trying. However, we've been in this situation many times before, and the question will always be whether or not he'll end up in a slump late in the season or not. I hope he gets it done this year, but we'll have to wait and see. This was a great win for him, though. He withstood the pressure from a very quick Chase Sexton until Chase took himself out of the race, and then he cruised it on home from there. Next week should be good.
Michael Lindsay - The Good: Malcolm Stewart | 7th Place
Okay, hear me out. Yes, on paper Malcolm Stewart's 7th isn't fantastic. It's not bad, but it's not fantastic. But in my opinion, Malcolm's day as a whole was positive. Malcolm was number one qualifier, third in his heat race and was battling for seventh when Marvin Musquin took them both to the ground. He remounted and due to the chaos around him was able to get back that seventh position. The good I took from tonight was his speed throughout the day, his fitness in the main and the fire he showed at the end of the race. For years, many have wondered how much Malcom cares about racing. Well I'd say based off that heated exchange with Marv, that he cares A LOT! I'm feeling that Mookie fever again and am very interested to watch Malcolm through these opening couple rounds to see if he can push towards the podium in the mains. He's 29 now...it's time for him to put up or shut up per se. And I think he's ready to put up the results.
Grant Dawson - The Bad: Eli Tomac | 6th Place
Would it really be a new Supercross season without Eli Tomac landing as "The Bad" within the first few rounds? Okay, this wasn't actually a bad ride for Eli. He didn't get a great start and he moved through the field as best he could. Luckily, the 450 class stayed injury-free for the most part this off season so right now it's pretty a freaking stacked field. There are only a couple of guys who will be able to salvage a podium finish after starting outside the top 10 right now, and I don't think Eli is one of those guys any more. I think he'll still win a couple of races this year and land on the podium a handful of times, but I think Eli's days of being a true title contender might be over. It was always going to happen eventually as age catches up to everyone, but it is a bummer that there are multiple guys on the gate right now that are near the end of their career.
Michael Lindsay - The Bad: Chase Sexton | 5th Place
Technically, I stole this pick from Grant as his second "bad" pick, but it was my number one pick for this spot over Eli and a couple others. Chase Sexton has the ability, the bike, and the people around him to be the guy to get into the championship trio of Roczen, Webb, and Tomac...but again, he couldn't keep it off the ground with back-to-back moments that cost him a for sure podium if not a win at A1. I honestly felt he had the speed to get around Roczen but he still doesn't have the experience. Recovering to fifth still puts solid points on the board but if he really wants to be in the title hunt, he probably can't have another night like this all year. He's got maybe one more mulligan in the bag.
Grant Dawson - The Ugly: Dylan Ferrandis | 16th Place
Considering Dylan is a title contender this year....starting off the season with a 16th place finish is not ideal. It's a long season, and he could definitely claw his way back into the title fight, but he's going to have to put together a pretty impressive string of mistake-free races. Dylan isn't generally a good starter, and he does hang it out every time he's on the track. That isn't exactly a recipe for consistency, but Dylan will have to figure that out if he ever wants to win a Supercross title in this class. His style works outdoors due to how many races there are and how long the motos are, but his style will definitely bite him in the butt a few times a year in Supercross. Now, this finish was actually brought on by a bike stall, but the other two things I mentioned will probably come up at some point this season as well. He could go out and win next week, or he could start near the back and finish in seventh place, neither result would surprise me.
Michael Lindsay - The Ugly: Justin Bogle | DNQ
It's hard for me to disagree with Grant on the Ferrandis take. But since I have to be a bit different here...I was between Shane McElrath starting top five in the 450 main and tumbling to 18th place and Justin Bogle not qualifying. After a little thought, I'll have to go with Bogle. Justin admitted in the press conference prior to A1 that his off-season has been quite what he wanted. There were no "this is the best I've ever felt, never been stronger, etc" style talk from him but instead mentioning that he hadn't had a lot of time on the bike due to putting together his deal a bit late and other factors. After qualifying 18th, which was still a spot ahead of Plessinger, I figured Bogle wasn't in for a great evening...but at least a night where he'd transfer right to the main, put in some laps, and learn about his bike heading into round two of the season. Instead, both his heat race and LCQ were disastrous and left him without a spot on the main event starting gate. It was pure chaos at A1 but Justin should've been in there no problem. Onto the next week and hopefully brighter days for the #19.
Words by Grant Dawson and Michael Lindsay
Photos by Ryne Swanberg and Garth Milan / Octopi Media