The plan for Max Vohland is back on track in Supercross


The original plan was for Max Vohland to turn pro during the outdoor season of 2021, but when a ride opened up with the Red Bull KTM team to run Monster Energy 250 Supercross that year, the opportunity was too good to pass up. Plans can be stubborn and have a way of making themselves sometimes, however.

When Vohland signed the contract and began preparation to run the supercross season, he told reporters that Red Bull said he was their top choice to sit atop their 250 East bike, but they also gave Vohland a choice.

If Vohland was not comfortable with the plan, the Lucas Oil Motocross ride would still be open.

On the highly technical courses inside arenas, rookies can get hurt. There is not a lot of room for error.

Vohland opted to run supercross and the first three races progressed as they should. In the opening three races at Houston, Vohland finished ninth in Round 1, eighth in Round 2, and sixth in Round 3. His first top-five was in reach until a crash in qualification in Indianapolis dislocated his hip and forced him to miss the remainder of the supercross season.

“I had like three or four months on the 250 (entering the season),” Vohland told NBC Sports. “I definitely had a lot of the track down, but in the whoops, I was under prepared. I ended up crashing the whoops, so preparation could’ve definitely been better. I think we still prepared the best we could for the situation I was put through.”

Max Vohland plan
Max Vohland started the 2021 Supercross season with a three-race streak of top-10s at Houston and was closing in on his first top-five. (Feld Entertainment)

Back to the original plan: Vohland qualified for 12 MX features and finished ninth in the points. He earned his first holeshot in the opener at Fox Raceway, but it took three races to reach the top 10. He was ninth overall at RedBud MX Park in Buchanan, Mich. during the 4th of July weekend after finishing with 10-11 in the two motos. He hovered in that range for a while, finishing 11th overall at Southwick and Spring Creek in his next two starts and then earning a 10th overall (9-12) in Washougal, Wash.

His highly anticipated top-five came the following week at Unadilla in New Berlin, NY.

“A lot of this sport is mental for sure,” Vohland said. “This sport is highly mental, when have enough strength to do it. I feel better technically than other guys.

“I can see what (the other riders are) doing, and I can see why they’re doing what they’re doing. But there’s only a handful of riders that I see and think ‘that’s what I would do’, or ‘that is what I’m doing’. I’ll be doing something and see someone in front of me wanting to do it. I feel like I have a different gateway of seeing things to be able to make my decisions – different line choices.”

In the final MX race of 2021, Vohland narrowly missed scoring his first professional podium. Finishing 5-4 in the motos, he was fourth overall, but the experience allows him to enter the 2022 SX season with confidence.

“When you put that helmet on everything just switches off and the only thing you know is how to ride the bike,” Vohland said. “For me that’s the only switch that’s on. Everything goes away and the only thing you can focus on is riding.

“I think it’s a lot of knowing the feel of it, especially when you make a mistake and something steps out on you. It’s not a technique thing. It’s knowing how to fix it without having to think about it. That’s a lot of what I’ve learned in supercross this year. It’s not a lot of technique. We’ve been working on technique, but really it’s just knowing the feel of it and being able to do it without thinking.”

The reason Vohland does not worry about technique, it because that was ingrained from childhood. The son of Tallon Vohland, Max was literally born to ride.

“I feel that’s one of my stronger points,” Vohland said. “I feel that I’m more of a technical rider.

“Always dissecting the track, always watching and seeing how it’s developing. We’ve been working a lot on whoops since those deteriorate so much in the Main event. A lot of time they turn into jumping whoops, so we’re always watching that and getting ready to cover all of our bases. I feel like that’s one of my strong points, to always know when it’s the right time to pull back and the time to go.

“It’s very difficult to be picture perfect especially on a supercross track. It’s so easy to make mistakes. A lot of that comes from the preparation in the off season, the better prepared you are the faster you can recover. It’s definitely not easy but it’s not impossible either.”

Staying healthy will be critical for Vohland supercross season. If he picks up where he left off in motocross, he has an opportunity to make a run for the championship in what will essentially be his rookie supercross season.

Even if he starts 2022 like he did 2021, he has an opportunity to finish high in the points. But for a rookie contender with a lot of external pressure on his shoulders that is not the most important thing.

“(I want to) prove it to myself,” Vohland said. “I always think like I can do better, in the back of my head, I know there’s always room for improvement. It’s always, ‘he’s good but he could be better’. Also (I want to prove it) to my dad. He’s raced all his life and now owns the company. He taught me everything, so I think I owe a lot to him. I need to prove a lot to myself because I know I can be there (at a high level), but I need to do it to prove it.”

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
Align Media

Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury