Welcome to the Good, Bad 'n Ugly from Unadilla! It's the ninth round of 2022 AMA Pro Motocross season and we're here to give you our thoughts on who did good, who did...well, Bad and who had a day to forget forever (the Ugly). Staff member Grant Dawson is sharing his thoughts this weekend.
Do you agree with our picks and opinions, or do you have thoughts that differ? Let us know in the comment section below.
250 Motocross Class
The Good | Jo Shimoda and Max Vohland Continue to Impress
Jo Shimoda is having what I would consider a break out year as he has consistently been on the podium since High Point and just continues to improve. He has always been an ultra smooth rider and as a result we could always expect for him to log some consistent results. However, this is the first year where has has contended for wins, and it's really starting to look like he'll be a title contender in 2023. The consistency is there, and now he has also shown that he can win races, combine that with the assumption that he'll be even better by the time we head outdoors in 2023 and it's looking like we may be in for a Jo Shimoda and Hunter Lawrence title battle. Mitch Payton should give himself a pat on the back for scooping up Shimoda after his time at GEICO Honda ended.
I had mentioned earlier this year that I felt like Max Vohland still hadn't lived up to expectations. He had a lot of hype coming out of the amateur ranks, and he's the only 250 rider on Red Bull KTM...but the results didn't really pop out on paper. Now, he did state on social media earlier this season that the progress he had been making on the bike wasn't really evident on race day, and it seemed pretty clear he felt like his hard work would eventually pay dividends. Well, it looks like that has come true. The past three rounds he has logged 4-6-7-5-6-6 moto results, which are far better and more consistent than his results from earlier this season. Hopefully, he can keep the ball rolling and head into the off season and 2023 with a head full of steam.
The Bad | The Lawrence Brothers
I don't think the Lawrence brothers would classify Saturday as a good day. Jett really struggled to keep it upright as he had multiple crashes that ultimately lead to him missing out on a podium finish for the first time this season, while Hunter also had a crash at one point and dealt with some bike issues in moto two. Funnily enough, a bad day for these two amounts to third and fourth place overall finishes, but it shows that no one is safe from having the occasional off day at the race track. The good news is that they're still in position to finish first and second in the standings this year.
The Ugly | Seth Hammaker - 42nd Place Overall
Seth Hammaker took an absolutely nasty hit during the first 250 moto, and he, unsurprisingly, didn't return for the second moto. I haven't seen any updates as far as his condition goes on social media, but I'm sure something will be posted before Budds Creek. Of course, the hope is that it is minor, especially since Seth has had a pretty solid season and this was his first DNF this year. He's one of the riders that I think is set to take a huge leap in 2023. I don't know if he'll be a title contender, but I could see him as a top five regular with several podiums.
450 Motocross Class
The Good | Chase Sexton - 1st Place Overall
Eli Tomac can be passed?! Chase Sexton definitely thinks so. He was on absolute rails at Unadilla and he Tomac'd Eli Tomac. It's kind of funny to think what was probably going through Tomac's head when he was riding at his absolute limit, but he couldn't do anything to prevent Sexton from passing him and leaving him in the dust. He didn't have bad starts, he didn't have bike issues, and he didn't have any health issues, he just got straight up beat by Sexton. Now, Tomac has always been pretty vocal that Unadilla is not one of his favorite tracks, and his results at Unadilla throughout his career definitely back that up. However, it was still a statement race from Sexton at a crucial time in the championship. At one point, I was convinced that once Tomac took over the red plate he was going to lay down the hammer and distance himself from Sexton in the standings, but that hasn't happened at all. Instead, Sexton is heading into Budds Creek with a one point lead on Tomac. We couldn't have asked for a better set up for the final three rounds. The best part is that whichever of these men comes out on top absolutely deserves it. These two have absolutely destroyed the field this year, and I think Tomac should be proud of what is presumed to be his final outdoor season, regardless of the final result. Bring on Budds Creek.
The Bad | Christian Craig - 10th Place Overall
First off, Christian Craig has had a great season. He has shown why Rockstar Energy Husqvarna has signed him for next year, and he has proven that he's going to be a top five guy on the 450 for at least the next few years. He landed in this category this week because I believe this was more or less the final "try out" for the 250 spot on Team USA. Now, he wasn't on a 250, and the Motocross of Nations isn't being held at Unadilla...so I doubt the results from Saturday will be the the only deciding factor when the selections are announced. Honestly, I think Craig and Justin Cooper are both solid picks for the spot, and I won't be surprised regardless of who gets picked. I just hope they show up to RedBud with the rest of Team USA ready to win the title.
The Ugly | Justin Barcia - 8th Place Overall
Justin Barcia has just been a tick off the pace this outdoor season. I don't know if it's due to issues with the bike, or if he just hasn't been able to find the flow, but he only has one moto podium on the year and really he has been slotted in between fifth and ninth place most races. He's definitely a rider I would expect to have more moto podiums and at least one overall podium by this point in the season, but clearly something just isn't clicking. The good news is that he has remained healthy all year, and he should be able to make some progress this off season and come out swinging in 2023.