Just a few months ago, Malcolm Stewart looked like he might enter the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season without a ride. Saturday night, he rewarded the team that took a chance on him with the first 250 Class win of his Supercross career.
After getting a good start in the main event, Stewart worked his way into the lead on Lap 3 by making a pass on rookie rider Chris Alldredge. Stewart was soon overtaken by Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill for the top spot though, and Hill looked to be on the way to victory until he had a huge crash while going through the sand section midway through the race. The mistake allowed Stewart to reassume the lead, and despite feeling the heat from both Alex Martin and Cooper Webb at times, Stewart led the final eight laps to record the victory.
It’s been an eventful offseason for Stewart. He was the odd man out in the initial silly season shuffle, and without a team signing him to a contract, he purchased his old Honda from the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil team and was preparing to enter the season as a privateer until the GEICO Honda squad stepped in and gave him a ride for 2015.
There was also the controversy surrounding his brother, James Stewart – one of the most prolific racers in the history of the sport. James was suspended by the FIM for the 2015 season after testing positive for Adderall. On the podium, Malcolm made clear that the victory was bittersweet without his brother being at the race.
Cooper Webb – the points leader in the 250 Class – turned in another impressive ride, although he once again had to work his way through the pack after crossing the line in 10th after the first lap of the race.
There’s been no lack of drama this year, and one of the biggest stories has been the aggressive last-lap pass that Webb made on Tyler Bowers last week to steal the win at Anaheim. Early in the race at Oakland, the two riders were matched up once again. With Webb riding in front of Bowers, Bowers ran into Webb as Webb checked up rounding a turn, and Bowers’ elbow made contact with Webb, knocking the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider to the ground.
Webb remounted outside the top ten but put his impressive speed on display as he charged through the field all the way up to second place. During the charge, he ended up getting back around Bowers with a clean pass.
Unlike last week, things weren’t so amicable between the two training partners after the race.
Never one to shy away from saying what’s on his mind, Webb let it be known that he was unhappy with Bowers’ move and hinted that “payback” could be coming in the future.
After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.
Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.
Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.
Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.
Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.
After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.
The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.
Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.
It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.
Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.
Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.
Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.
Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.
Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
Max Anstie – E
Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
Haiden Deegan – E
Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
Mitchell Oldenburg – W
Michael Mosiman – E
Jeremy Martin – E
Tom Vialle – E
Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
Chance Hymas – E
Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
Max Vohland – W
Cullin Park – E
Chris Blose – E
Derek Kelley – W
Enzo Lopes – W
Pierce Brown – W
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.