Red Bull KTM’s Aaron Plessinger earned a hard-fought and emotional win at Round 3 the 17-round Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship inside a muddy Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego. With the win—the second mud race in two weekends—Plessinger took over the lead in the championship points.
Two-time champion Cooper Webb battled forward aboard the Monster Energy Yamaha on the deep-rutted track to take second place and his first podium of the year. Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia took the runner-up spot under clear skies on the rain-soaked track at the 50th Anniversary Race which commemorates the sport’s 50th year.
“It feels really, really good,” said Plessinger. “I guess it feels like it should. I got off to a good start and just rode a good race. Kenny [Roczen] was in front and then I just applied a little pressure and he ended up going down. Cooper [Webb] was just right there behind me keeping me on my toes, and so was Eli [Tomac, who was a lap down].
“Yeah, it was a really good race, I just got a good lead and rode my own race, and stayed up. It seemed like we were lapping a lot of people, so it feels good and I’m ready to do it again next weekend.”
“I think I’ve had a great season so far, but on paper it hasn’t [looked that way],” said Webb. “Anaheim 1 was great but last weekend was not, so like we say, we’re hoping that’s the battle and I can charge on from here. And tonight was great to get those points back, get it back in the mix. I felt great on the track. I felt great all day. I was really wanting that win but it was overall a really good bounce back, and for me just to know that I’m in this thing for sure.”
“The rebound this weekend was absolutely awesome,” said Barcia. “I felt really good, just staying in my lane. I didn’t feel the greatest but I ride well in those conditions.
“I was just sitting back thinking about this table [with the three of us sitting here at the post race conference]. This is a really cool table. We all kind of grew up riding together, [in our] professional career we’ve all trained [together], we’ve all been teammates together on different teams, so this is a really cool podium and I’m super proud to be on this podium tonight. And yeah, I’ll just keep plugging along, getting stronger and hopefully [there will be] a lot more podiums with these boys.”
In the Western Regional 250SX Class Nate Thrasher took his fifth career win and his first podium of the year in a Yamaha podium sweep. After fighting into the lead, Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha’s Garrett Marchbanks settled for second but kept Thrasher close right to the checkered flag. Rounding out the podium was Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Jordon Smith, who stretched out his championship points lead on his nearest competitor.
“[The track] was kinda coming around throughout the night, the dirt was starting to grip back up,” said Thrasher. “I was just trying to do everything, like, ride it like it was dry. That was kinda of my goal going into the main event. It was tougher to ride cautious than it was to go out there and ride all-out. So that was my goal for the night: in the main, just go out there and ride all-out and whatever happens, happens, and it was good.”
“Once I passed RJ [Hampshire] for the lead, I’d say for the first lap I was kinda like, ‘Holy crap, I’m actually leading,’” said Marchbanks. “It’s been a really long time since Daytona that I’ve led some laps. I’d say after that it was more putting my head down, just acting like I was at the practice track, just doing some normal laps at ClubMX. Yeah, it is what it is, I got caught up with some lappers, I tried to change some lines up and it wasn’t the best I could do, and [Thrasher] got around me. Nate was riding good and yeah, it is what it is.”
“I got off to a pretty good start, I think I was in third in the first couple laps with RJ [Hampshire] and Levi [Kitchen] right in front of me,” said Smith. “We were still taking it pretty easy on the track, I would say. The lines weren’t cut in and I was just trying to be smart where I was. [It was a] long race, a lot could happen, and then I made a few mistakes and Nate [Thrasher] and Garrett [Marchbanks] both got around me and I just really – not that I tightened up but I was just making a lot of mistakes. I was not putting the track together… I kinda re-focused and then Jo [Shimoda] and Levi were right behind me and we actually were pushing really hard at the end. I think the last five laps were probably the best of the race for me. It was not really any kind of holding back at the end of the race there, it was trying to keep those guys behind me and push forward.”
250SX Class Western Regional Main Event Results – San Diego
- Nate Thrasher (Yamaha)
- Garrett Marchbanks (Yamaha)
- Jordon Smith (Yamaha)
- Jo Shimoda (Honda)
- Levi Kitchen (Kawasaki)
- RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (Honda)
- Ryder DiFrancesco (GasGas)
- Hunter Yoder (Kawasaki)
- Anthony Bourdon (Suzuki)
250SX Class Western Region Points Standings
- Jordon Smith (Yamaha), 67
- Levi Kitchen (Kawasaki), 59
- Garrett Marchbanks (Yamaha), 57
- RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna), 54
- Mitchell Oldenburg (Honda), 41
- Anthony Bourdon (Suzuki), 39
- Jo Shimoda (Honda), 36
- Carson Mumford (Honda), 36
- Hunter Yoder (Kawasaki), 36
- Julien Beaumer (KTM), 33
The series now takes a short trip north for the second 2024 race inside Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Saturday, January 27th. The Anaheim 2 Supercross continues the season’s earlier start times with opening ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST (5:00 p.m. local time). The race represents both Round 4 of the 17-round Monster Energy AMA Supercross series and also the fourth round of the 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship. The SuperMotocross League is in its second year and draws points from the complete Supercross season and the 11-round AMA Pro Motocross season. In September, points are reset and the top racers are seeded into two Playoff rounds and one Final to crown the SMX champions.
story, photos and video courtesy of Supercross and Kawasaki