The plan for Max Vohland is back on track in Supercross

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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.”

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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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.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

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.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

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.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


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.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

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.

Supercross 250 Points

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.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* 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.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage