2024 San Diego Supercross Preview

Son of a bee sting! We’re off to San Diego and I promise not to pull a Ron Burgundy and tell you all to go f-… I’m sure you know the rest of the line.

Important! This is the final race preview that will be free for all. After this weekend, The Garage and all its goodies will be for members only. We hope you’ll join us as we continue to build this unique experience for Supercross and Motocross fans.

The first button will get you registered. First 50 are considered “Founding Members” and will receive a We Went Fast in an exclusive colorway.

Want to scope out some of the other features? the second button takes you to the 2024 Race Center.


Welcome to San Diego

This week, the series heads 500 miles south on I-5 to visit San Diego, “The Birthplace of California” and even often nicknamed, “America’s Finest City” (although all the park benches in Baltimore – “The Greatest City in America” – dispute San Diego’s claim).

Snapdragon Stadium is the first football venue of the series. It’s home to the San Diego State University Aztecs and The Wave of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Mike Bell at the 1980 San Diego Supercross. Cycle News Archives
Mike Bell at the 1980 San Diego Supercross. Cycle News Archives

Starting with the final round of the 1980 series, San Diego is now a top 10 marketplace for most races held in Supercross history. Yamaha’s Mike “Too Tall” Bell won the inaugural running in 1980, which was held in late October but it’s Chad Reed (6x) who is the all-time leader in San Diego.

San Diego started as the series closer, flipped to round 1 in 1985 and has been an early season stop since 1986.

More info on San Diego and its winner history, click the button below.


Parity Party: 2024 After Two Rounds

The wide range of talent in Supercross is on display after just 2 rounds in both divisions. The only wish we could ask for at this point is more passes for the lead in the main events. All four main event winners have led every single lap.

Consider:

Four Different Fastest Qualifiers
Eight Different Heat Winners
Four Different LCQ Winners
Four Different Main Event Winners

In the 450 class, Chase Sexton is the only rider so far to be on the podium at both races. In the 250 class, Jordon Smith and Levi Kitchen are the only two podium finishers.

Compare 2024 with 2023, where the same 3 riders went 1-2-3 in the 250 class and the same 2 riders went 1-2 in the 450 class.


Manufacturer Spotlight: KTM

In San Francisco, Chase Sexton became the 6th different KTM rider to win a 450SX main. Ryan Dungey was the first, almost 12 years ago to the day when he won the 2012 Phoenix Supercross.

Ryan Dungey, 2012
Ryan Dungey at the 2012 Phoenix Supercross, KTM’s first ever 450SX win. Photo: Frank Hoppen.
KTM Premier Class Winners

Noteworthy: Ian Harrison and Roger De Coster are celebrating 30 years of working together.

  • Harrison is the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager. He’s originally from South Africa.
  • De Coster is the Director of Motorsports, North America for KTM’s group of brands, which includes Husqvarna and Gas Gas. De Coster is a 5-time World Motocross Champion from Belgium, whose post-racing resume is even longer.
(l to r) Greg Albertyn, Ian Harrison, Roger De Coster in 1995. Photo courtesy Motocross Action
(l to r) Greg Albertyn, Ian Harrison, Roger De Coster in 1995. Photo courtesy Motocross Action
  • In 1995, Harrison came to America to continue as mechanic for Greg Albertyn, a 3-time World Motocross Champion (1992-1994) who was picked up by American Suzuki and its team manager at the time, De Coster.
  • At the end of 2010, De Coster and Harrison left Suzuki for KTM and developed it into the program that now has 62 450SX wins and five championships.

Hot Starts: Sexton & Plessinger

Chase Sexton is off to (by quite a margin) his best career 450SX season start and he’s holding the red plate for the second time in his career. He has a 7 point lead over Jett Lawrence (45 to 38), which is one more point than Eli Tomac had over Cooper Webb in 2023 after 2 rounds.

Chase Sexton, 2024 San Francisco Supercross
Chase Sexton led the 2024 San Francisco Supercross wire to wire. Photo: Feld Entertainment

The last time a rider had a lead this big after two rounds was in 2018, Jason Anderson’s championship season. He started consistently (2-1) and had a 7 point lead over Ken Roczen. In 2015, Roczen had a 9 point advantage over Ryan Dungey after 2 rounds.

For Sexton, this is the first time he’s ever passed the 40-point mark in 2 races. That means even more in 2024 because riders are now getting 1 fewer point for each position than they did from 2018-2023 when the 26-point scale first went into effect.

Sexton’s Career 450SX Standings After Rd. 2
Chase Sexton, San Fran, 2024
Chase Sexton on his way to the win in sloppy San Fran. Photo: Garth Milan

Aaron Plessinger has matched his best season start. Plessinger is in his 6th season of 450SX and sits 4th after consistent finishes in 2 rounds. In 2022 he also sat 4th, but it came after lopsided 9-2 finishes. He was 6th at round 3 and dropped to 7th in points.

In 2023 he is actually tied for 3rd with Eli Tomac but Tomac gets ranked 3rd because he has the highest single finishing position in the season so far.

Aaron Plessinger, San Fran, 2024
Aaron Plessinger used his long legs to his advantage in San Francisco. Photo: Garth Milan

Plessinger had the 2nd fastest lap time in the main at A1 and he topped qualifying in San Fran.

Plessinger’s Career 450SX Standings After Rd. 2


Rookie Win followed by Rookie Washout

With Jett Lawrence’s 9th in San Francisco, Damon Bradshaw will remain the only rider in sport history to win his first two 450SX main events after moving up from the 250SX division. Of all the rookies who won the opening round of the season, Lawrence’s 9th was the worst follow-up performance.

Rookie Season 450SX First Round Winners

Jett Lawrence, San Fran, 2024
If those bright yellow numbers were not glowing through the mud, we’d have no idea this was Jett Lawrence. Photo: Garth Milan

Adios, Jorge!

Jorge Prado will return to Europe after the San Diego Supercross. He will defend his MXGP title and has hinted at a full-time go at racing in America in 2025. After 2 races, how has he done against other world champions who came to the United States and went straight to the 450 class?

I can tell you one thing for certain: no reigning MXGP has ever come to the United States and won a heat race in just his second try. Not a single one on the list below.

Jorge Prado, San Francisco, 2024
Jorge Prado won his heat race in San Francisco! Photo: Garth Milan

Here’s how World Champions did in main events in their first three 450SX races in the United States.

World Champions Who Moonlighted in America (First 3 450SX attempts)

* Notes: Trampas Parker was an American who raced two 125SX mains back in 1985, went to Europe and won two world titles and then qualified for four 450SX mains in 1992 before returning to Europe to defend his world title.


Been a Minute

Jordon Smith’s San Francisco win was his first since Daytona 2018, a nearly six year long gap. Similarly, Garrett Marchbanks’ 3rd in San Francisco was his first 250SX podium since Orlando 2021 (3rd).

The chart below is the perfect example of why joining The Garage will be well worth your yearly $49.99. This is the type of information we’re able to produce with the We Went Fast database. Join us!

Longest Gap Between 125/250SX Wins
Jordon Smith, San Francisco, 2024
That’s a nearly 6-year exhale there. San Fran was Jordon Smith’s first victory since 2018. Photo: Feld Entertainment

Consistency Key for Kitchen

  • Mr. Inconsistent, Levi Kitchen, must be working a New Year’s resolution. Going back to Denver 2023, he has 4 straight 250SX podium finishes
  • Kitchen has 13 career 250SX starts
  • His average finish in the first 9 starts: 9.4. And they range from 21st to 1st (and everything in between)
  • His average finish in his most recent 4 starts: 2.5 (2-3-3-2)
Levi Kitchen, San Francisco, 2024
Levi Kitchen is on a four race podium streak. Photo: Feld Entertainment

Championship Killers

The mud in San Francisco may have sunk several championship runs and it left several riders in, well, a quagmire. These title hopefuls (who now need more than hope) are already more than one full race out of the championship lead.

If any of the four riders in the bulleted list below pulled off a championship, it would be a record for the 250SX division (more on that below):

  • Nate Thrasher (21-18), 42 points out. He needs miracles, and many of them.
  • Jo Shimoda (4-22), 29 points out of the lead.
  • Ryder DiFrancesco (9-21), 33 points out. This especially stings, considering he won his San Fran heat race.
  • Maximus Vohland (5-19), 27 points behind. Brutal reality considering he’s been in a podium position two weeks in a row!

RJ Hampshire is already nine points behind. Consistency is crucial in a regional championship series and this is what has killed RJ over the years. Here is a sampling of RJ’s recent season starts:

  • 2023: 2-2-2-11
  • 2022: 5-16-7-4
  • 2021: 5-9 (only did 2 races)
  • 2020: 6-3-2-4 (only did 4 races)
  • 2019: 4-4-4-13

The biggest comebacks in 125/250SX history (after two rounds):

Crazy Coincidence: The biggest 250SX comeback and the longest span between 250SX wins share the same race.

The same night that Shae Bentley dug himself that 27 point hole was the same night Tallon Vohland won his first SX race in nearly 9 years: January 15, 2000.

Shae Bentley, 2000
Shae Bentley started the 2000 250SX West series with 5-22 finishes and still won the championship. Cycle News Archives

NEWBS… with SX Futures and KTM Juniors Experience

Two weeks in a row we’ve had 4 riders make their first career main event in the 250SX class. Most interesting, 5 of the 8 riders came thru SX Futures. And a different 5 of 8 raced KTM Juniors!

San Francisco
  • Slade Varola – His girlfriend is Rhowan McGrath, Jeremy’s oldest daughter. (1st at A3 2013 in KTM Juniors)
  • Matti Jorgenson
  • Ty Freehill (3rd at A3, 2013 KTM Juniors)
  • Deegan Hepp (5th at Glendale, 2022 SX Futures)
Anaheim 1
  • Ryder DiFrancesco (4-time SX Futures winner and 1st at Las Vegas 2013 KTM Juniors)
  • Julien Beaumer (2-time SX Futures winner and 1st at Las Vegas 2014 KTM Juniors)
  • Lux Turner (2 top 10 SX Futures and 1st at A3 2014 KTM Juniors)
  • Anthony Bourdon

Recommended RC Insight

Below are recommendations that We Went Fast makes directly to Ricky Carmichael to consider (and expand on) in his role as the analyst for Supercross on NBC.

450SX: Make a Statement
  • Now’s the time to win and build a points lead.
  • Chase Sexton is in the perfect position to gap the competition.
  • The rest of them need to close that gap.

250SX West: Consistent Podiums
  • Jordon Smith and Levi Kitchen have been on the podium in first two rounds. They need to keep it going.
  • The rest need to keep them in sight.


Race Day Live – Fast Fact

Below are recommendations that We Went Fast makes directly to Dan Hubbard and Justin Brayton to consider (and expand on) in their role on Race Day Live.

250SX West: 2,135 days
  • That’s the number of days between Jordon Smith’s 3rd and 4th career 250SX wins. Now the question: how many days till his next!?
450SX: 1st in 2023
  • Eli Tomac was 2nd in the mud last week in San Francisco. He won the inaugural race in Snapdragon last season. Can he make it two here or was last weekend ‘just a mud race’?


Potential Milestones

Accomplished

  • Chase Sexton’s 8th win tied him for 25th on the all-time 450SX wins list. He’s even with Ron Lechien and Jimmy Ellis. A 9th win would give him sole possession of 25th on the list.
  • Ken Roczen (114 SX+MX podiums) tied Jeff Stanton for 10th all-time
  • Jordon Smith (936 SX points) passed Christian Craig (913 sx pts) for 14th all-time.

Potential

  • Chase Sexton (26 SX podiums) is just 1 shy of David Bailey (27 SX podiums) for 31st all-time.
  • Justin Barcia (150 SX starts) is just 1 away from tying Davi Millsaps (151 SX starts) for 12th all-time.
  • Josh Hill (99 SX starts) is just 1 from tying Ivan Tedesco and Rick Johnson (100 SX starts) for 41st all-time
  • Jordon Smith (99 SX+MX starts) is just one shy of 100!
  • Ken Roczen (220 SX+MX starts) is just one shy from tying Ryan Dungey (221 SX+MX starts) for 18th all-time
  • Jason Anderson (2,338 SX points) is just 20 points shy from Ricky Carmichael (2,358 SX points) for 11th all-time. He’s also just 5 points behind Gary Semics in combined SX+MX points.
  • Jo Shimoda (1,973 250SX points) is just -3 behind Barcia for 43rd all-time and -7 from 2K!
  • Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen are tied for 10th all-time with 21 sx wins. Either of them winning bumps the other out of the top 10!
  • Cooper Webb (22 sx+mx wins) will tie Kent Howerton (23 sx+mx wins) for 15th all-time with a win
  • Cooper Webb and Justin Barcia are tied with 60 sx+mx podiums, 25th all-time. With a podium, either breaks the tie and moves to 22nd all-time and tied with JMB, MX Kied, and the O’Show.