Monster Energy athletes sweep the 450 class podium @ San Diego as Chase Sexton (Honda) secures first 450 pro win

Tomac (Yamaha) & Ferrandis (Yamaha) round out 450 podium for Monster; Craig overcomes start crash to podium (3rd) in 250 – retains o/a class points lead

CORONA, CA – January 25, 2022 (Motor Sports NewsWire) – In an awesome display of stadium motocross mastery this past Saturday Monster Energy’s Chase Sexton (Honda) took charge of the premier Monster Energy AMA Supercross’ 450cc class from the start and put his CRF450R up on top of the podium for the first time in the 22-year-old’s young career, winning the main event at San Diego’s PetCo Park. And completing the class sweep of the overall podium, making for a decidedly dominate night for Monster Energy – headquartered in nearby Corona, Calif. – were teammates Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis of Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha.

Monster 450 podium San Diego

Monster 450 Podium San Diego

“This is a dream come true – and that felt like a dream ride,” said Sexton. “A lot of work with Honda on the bike this week paid off.” Added race announcer Ricky Carmichael and all-time SX/MX race wins leader: “Nothing like winning your first one… nothing.”

And in the 250cc class race, Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig put up one of the better last-to-podium efforts in recent years, overcoming a first corner crash at the start – re-entering the race in dead last – and racing through a field of the world’s premier 250 class athletes to place 3rd. With the effort Craig, who won the first two 250 SX West series rounds, retained his overall point lead in the class.

Here’s how everything came together this evening…

450 class qualifying

Eli Tomac Action San Diego

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Eli Tomac

  • Heading into the qualifying heat sessions Ferrandis had one of the faster timed qualifying efforts out of the Monster Energy athletes, but found himself in 13th place at the start of Heat 1. The French motocross star, and defending U.S. Outdoor National MX champ, would buckled down and put his YZ450F in the 5th transferring spot. … Josh Hill (Monster Energy/Team Tedder/KTM) would just miss making the main in Heat 1, placing 10th and having to go the LCQ route (where he’d eventually transfer to the main).
  • In the second 450 heat race the gate was stacked with Monster Energy athletes, including Week 2 450 Main winner Jason Anderson (Monster Energy/Kawasaki), Tomac, Sexton and Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy/Kawasaki). Anderson, the fastest timed qualifier (47.896), took the lead on lap two of the heat over Alex Martin – and won going away. Tomac would put his YZ450F on the heat race podium in 2nd, while Sexton transferred to the main in 4th
  • Noteworthy in Heat 2 was Cianciarulo getting jammed up at the start. This appeared to aggravate an apparent leg injury he sustained in timed qualifying, and it would mark the end of Cianciarulo’s night as he’d be unable to answer the call for both the Last Chance Qualifier and, subsequently, the 450 main event.
  • For their heat efforts Anderson and Tomac would receive the 1st and 3rd gate pics for the main, respectively, while Sexton would have the 7th gate pick.

450 Main Event

Dylan Ferrandis Action San Diego

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis

Sexton smashed the start, rocketing out to 2nd place, then taking the early lead past KTM’s Marvin Musquin on lap 4. The following lap Tomac would set up and pass Musquin, giving Monster Energy the top 1-2 spots in the field. Ferrandis, who pulled a descent start (6th) and rode much of the first half of the race in 7th place, started to make his move after the midway mark, passing defending series champ Cooper Webb (KTM) on lap 13 for 4th place. … On that same lap Anderson, who’d started in 8th, was on a spirited charge to the front – and passed Tomac for 2nd, giving Monster Energy the top four spots in the race for several laps. This until lap 18 when something appeared to slow Anderson’s bike – which likely occurred when he and Honda’s Ken Roczen got together earlier in the race – and Anderson quickly dropped out of contention. “Rarely do you see this happen,” added Carmichael regarding a possible mechanical issue with a factory race bike. “He (Anderson) just has to limp home, salvage as many points as he can.” Ferrandis would move into 3rd place on lap 18. Late in the contest Sexton was continuing to ride flawlessly, leading by eight seconds over Tomac. At the checkers it was Sexton (1st), Tomac (2nd) and Ferrandis (3rd). With the 2nd place effort Tomac takes over the overall 450 class point lead.

Tomac: “I felt like I was in the game this time. (I) pushed as hard as I could. Overall we’re getting better every weekend.”

Ferrandis: “Today I got a better start and was able to fight my way up to 3rd. Super stokes to have Eli on the podium with me.”

250 class qualifying

Christian Criag Action 1 San Diego

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig

  • Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) and Kaeden Amerine (Monster Energy/Team Tedder/KTM) would both transfer to the main out of the opening 250 heat race.
  • Craig would pull a good start (2nd) and took over the race lead from Vince Friese (Honda) on lap two. Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) would rocket up to 5th, then 4th, about a second-and-a-half behind heat winner Craig, transferring eventually in the 4th
  • Said Craig: “I feel good, excited for the main event. Couple guys out there doing good, so I’ll work to get a good start and get after it.”

250 Main Event

Christian Craig Action 2 San Diego

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig

All heck broke loose at the start of the 250 main when Craig and Shimoda were caught up in a log jam in the first turn. Both riders hit the dirt, with Craig getting re-started in dead last. Up to that point Craig was undefeated, fastest overall 250 racer in timed qualifying, 3-0 in heat races and 2-0 in 250 main events. With no helmet visor (to protect his face from rear tire roost as he made his way through the pack) Craig began to mount a charge, to which Carmichael would say: “I’m loving the grit I’m seeing in Christian Craig. It’s not always going to be perfect.” Thrasher would escape the first turn carnage and get past Carson Mumford (Suzuki) on lap six for an early podium spot bid (3rd). Both Craig and Shimoda continued to charge through the ranks and up to the front of the pack. By lap 12 (of 20) Craig was in an amazing 5th place – and still climbing – while Shimoda was just a couple clicks back in 7th. On the previous lap (11) Thrasher would disappear from the top three as he came up short on a triple jump heading into a corner and launched himself off the track, returning in the 9th position. On lap 18 Craig would approach Friese, a notoriously tough racer to pass, and got by cleanly for the final podium position. “What an unbelievable comeback by Christian Craig. Dude is on a mission,” said Carmichael. Shimoda (5th) and Thrasher (8th) would round out the top ten for Monster Energy.

Craig: “Nothing worse than leaving the first turn with your head in the ground. I dug deep. Heard the crowd. My hometown. Thank you, San Diego. That was a lot of fun.”

Overall 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Points

450 class

Chase Sexton Action Headshot San Diego

Chase Sexton


2nd Sexton

6th Anderson

10th Ferrandis

250 class (SX West)

Christian Craig headshot San Diego

Christian Craig

1st Craig

5th Shimoda

7th Thrasher

Up Next

The Monster Energy AMA Supercross series keeps ‘er in California for the second round of racing at Anaheim’s Angels Stadium (Round Four of Monster Energy AMA Supercross) set for Saturday, Jan. 29. Gates open at noon (FanFest) with qualifying rounds beginning shortly thereafter. Opening Ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. with the gate dropping on the first moto at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at

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