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5 things to watch for in Seattle Supercross: There’s still time, but time’s running out

Last week’s Round 10 of 2024 Monster Energy Supercross may turn out to be the pivotal moment of the season — after all, hindsight is 20-20 — but for now the field is looking forward. There’s still time to catch Jett Lawrence, but that time is running out. One thing is certain, Seattle is going to be another crucial moment for the 450 riders.

1. There’s Still Time

Jett Lawrence has a full race of points on everyone in the 450 division except Cooper Webb, but it’s important to note that the field didn’t into a position overnight. Lawrence showed weaknesses in muddy races and Triple Format events at the start of the year and there is still time for him to make more mistakes. Of course, he’s now been successful in loose dirt at Daytona and in the TC at Indy, so those criticisms may be outdated.

In the first four rounds of 2024, Lawrence had only one podium finish and an average of 5.0 while Chase Sexton, Eli Tomac and Aaron Plessinger had two podiums each — but with the exception of the Cowboy, no one was perfect in regard to top-fives. That allowed Lawrence to remain in striking distance. And strike is precisely what he’s done with a worst finish of fourth and four wins in the last six weeks.

While Webb still controls his own fate, it’s going to take a degree of perfection for anyone in the field. Other racers cannot expect Lawrence to make a mistake; the only way to catch him is to beat him. He’s the only rider they need to be concerned with for now.

With seven rounds remaining in the 2024 Supercross season, it is imperative that the field begin to trim Jett Lawrence’s lead.
SMX LA Coliseum 2023 Levi Kitchen - Yamaha livery.JPG

Levi Kitchen carries the red plate into his home state race this week. Feld Motor Sports / Align Media

2. No Time for Rust in Seattle

An annual quirk of the 250 schedule is the long periods of inactivity in both the East and West divisions. The problem is, while the Eastern riders get to train during those extra four weeks at the beginning of the schedule, the Western riders have to start and stop.

True, they spend their four-week, forced hiatus training just as diligently as their counterparts, but there is greater potential to lose momentum. In terms of podium finishes, Nate Thrasher is the only one with back-to-back success at San Diego and in Anaheim 2 but he experienced a massive get-off at Glendale in the one race that division has run since. Nothing arrests momentum quite like an accident.

Red plate holder Levi Kitchen and third-place RJ Hampshire now have consecutive podiums with their Arizona results added in and there is a tight five-point scrum at the top of the charts. But it will be important to knock the rust off quickly before they settle into a more balanced part of the season.

Michael Mosiman last raced in the second round of the 2023 Pro Motocross season before being sidelined by injury.
Supercross Round 9.jpg

The field still has time to position themselves for success, but the next two rounds will be critical. Feld Motor Sports / Align Media

3. Positioning

It takes more than a single race to build momentum. With an off-week coming up after the Seattle and St. Louis rounds, it is imperative for Ken Roczen, Webb, Chase Sexton and Jason Anderson to score back-to-back top-fives before riding into Foxborough.

For Webb, his best chance at remaining relevant for the championship is to score consecutive podiums — something he has failed to do since rounds 3 and 4. Sexton has the opportunity to enter the off week with three straight podiums and he remarked last week that his riding has improved.

As for the rest of the field, they’re just looking for a reason to get out of bed Sunday morning.

Every rider in the Supercross field has a distinct personality, but Justin Barcia, Aaron Plessinger and Malcolm Stewart exude it.
SX Hunter Lawrence Houston reflection

A successful season for Hunter Lawrence means he has to put the first 10 rounds behind him. Feld Motor Sports / Align Media

4. Hunting a Strong Finish

It’s safe to presume this is not what Hunter expected from 2024. He missed the season opener after crashing in his heat and failing to get a good start in the Last Chance Qualifier in Anaheim 1, then struggled through mud races at San Francisco and San Diego. That is enough to throw a rider off his game, but Hunter did not rebound in Detroit and that made a huge difference in how this season is perceived.

For a moment, it appeared Hunter’s trajectory was changing with back-to-back, fifth-place finishes at Glendale and Arlington, but Fate had other plans and a crash in Daytona created a small break in his shoulder blade.

He shook the injury off quickly and returned after one week’s recovery but failed to score a top-10 at Indy. The good news is that he still has time to slowly improve and at the very least challenge for a podium in his rookie 450 SX season.

The scapula injury is described as a “small fracture” by the team and the hope is for a rapid return.
Eli Tomac

Winning is the only thing that matters for Eli Tomac now that the championship is practically out of reach. Feld Motor Sports / Align Media

5. Just Win, Eli

In Daytona, Tomac told NBC Sports that winning was the only thing that mattered there. That is just as true now as it was then. Tomac cannot realistically expect to challenge for the championship now that he is fifth in the standings and 36 points behind Jett.

What he can do is extend his winning streak to 10 consecutive Supercross seasons — even if he has to put his bike at risk.

There is still no word on whether Tomac will extend his contract with Monster Energy Star Yamaha for the Motocross and SuperMotocross seasons. That could be contingent on how he turns things around in the next seven race weekends.

Last week’s podium finish in Arlington gave Tomac much-needed momentum, but nothing short of a win will do for him in Daytona.

More SuperMotocross News

Seattle by the Numbers
Mindfulness turned Cameron McAdoo’s SX program around
Jett Lawrence sweeps Indy Triple Crown
Coty Schock returns to SX only five days post-surgery
Michael Mosiman joins Star Yamaha
Robbie Wageman reprises retro gear
Haiden Deegan penalized for second time at Birmingham
Jett Lawrence extends points lead with Birmingham win
Deegan almost ends Coty Schock’s Cinderella season
Colt Nichols returns with a top-10 on his mind