Aaron Plessinger Finally Breaks Through at San Diego Supercross

Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego, CA — January 20, 2024

Round Three of the Monster Energy Supercross 2024 season stops in Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.

After just two rounds the early season racing has been super competitive. Tonight’s event may well be an opportunity for someone to make their mark as conditions are going to be a factor. Heavy rains have turned the racing surface into a giant mud puddle.

The weather improved before the first gate drop. However, the heats are going to be up for grabs as riders face an unsteady surface to race on.

250SX West Heats

In Heat One, Nate Thrasher(57) shot out to the early lead, but could not hold on. Mitchell Oldenburg(55) caught him and made the pass just over a minute into the moto.

However, the muddy conditions brought the moto to a halt with a red flag as several riders down just past the flag stand jump. It turned out to be a huge break for Oldenburg as he went down in the mud just after the race was halted.

A complete restart was warranted as three laps had not been completed when the incident occurred.

The second time around Levi Kitchen(47) took the top spot with Thrasher right behind and Josh Varize(78) in third. Oldenburg restarted in seventh position.

Jo Shimoda(30) sat in fourth but was losing time to the top two riders.

As the clock wound down, Shimoda got going and passed Varize for the third spot. Oldenburg worked his way up to fifth.

Kitchen ran off with the heat win. Thrasher held on to the second spot. Shimoda went down twice on the final lap but was able to finish in third. Oldenburg finished fourth.

Heat Two was just as slippery, as the riders continued to battle track conditions from the early evening rain. Ryder DiFrancesco(34) grabbed the holeshot from Jordan Smith(31). But, it was RJ Hampshire(24) moving to the front to establish the early lead.

Hampshire caught a rut that pulled his bike left as he crossed the finish line jump and he landed off-track, forfeiting the lead and dropping to seventh place.

Smith was outside the tuff blocks early. Fortunately, he was able to recover without losing too many positions. Garrett Marchbanks(26) was the beneficiary of all the chasos and established himself as the leader quickly putting space between himself and the rest of the field.

With the win secured, Marchbanks will likely be the favorite in the main. Smith finished second, Phil Nicoletti took third and DiFrancesco placed fourth. Hampshire recovered to finish sixth.

450SX Heats

In the first 450SX Heat, Eli Tomac(3) was inched out by Cade Clason(81) for the holeshot. Jett Lawrence(18) got a poor start, but using the inside line grabbed the seventh spot early.

Tomac passed Clason in the whoops as everyone tiptoed through the tricky part of the course. Everyone that is except Lawrence. He moved to the outside, held the throttle wide open, and blitzed his way into the lead.

The second time through the whoops, Lawrence pushed too hard and went down. Getting his bike stuck in the mud. By the time Lawrence was able to dig it out and get back aboard he dropped to the sixth position.

Lawrence was riding with a thumb injury suffered during a crash on Friday’s media day.

Tomac took the heat win with Malcolm Stewart(27) coming across the line a close second. Lawrence was able to recover to finish third with Benny Bloss(67) taking fourth.

Heat Two saw familiar names at the front of the pack early as Ken Roczen(94), Christian Craig(28), and Dylan Ferrandis(14) in the top three positions.

Chase Sexton(1) and Hunter Lawrence(96) got caught up in heavy traffic out of the gate and found themselves in 14th and 17th positions respectively.

Sexton went down and dropped further back. While out front, crowd favorite, Aaron Plessinger(7) charged to the front and passed Roczen for the lead.

With two minutes left in the timed portion of the moto, both Sexton and Lawrence sat outside the top nine and were looking at the possibility of having to qualify for the main via the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).

Once in the lead, Plessinger pulled away to a comfortable five-second lead and locked up the victory. Roczen held on for second. Cooper Webb(2) made a late run to take the third spot.

Sexton finished seventh and Lawrence in eighth to make the main event for the 450 class.

After failing to qualify in his heat, Adam Cianciarulo won the LCQ to get into the final.

250SX West Main Event

RJ Hampshire fired off to the holeshot and an early lead. Levi Kitchen, Jordan Smith, Mitchell Oldenburg, and Garrett Marchbanks followed the leader.

Missing from the front of the pack was Jo Shimoda, who got off to a bad start and sat back in tenth position.

Kitchen twice closed to put pressure on the leader. Unfortunately, he dropped his bike and got passed by several riders just before the halfway point of the moto.

The man on the move was Marchbanks. He took the lead away from Hampshire. Who fell back into the clutches of Nate Thrasher in third.

Thrasher eventually prevailed moving into second. The leader began lapping traffic and got caught behind slower bikes allowing Thrasher to continue his charge and become the new leader. As the podium positions swapped around, Smith and Shimoda sat six seconds behind the front three.

Nate Thrasher / Photo Credit Feld Motor Sports Inc.

The final lap brought plenty of drama as the three leaders bunched up for a run to the checkered flag. Nate Thrasher got the job done going from third to first. Marchbanks slipped back into second and Hampshire went down before crossing the finish line and went from a podium position to sixth at the checkered flag.

It was Smith out racing Shimoda for the final spot in the top three. Allowing Smith to retain the red plate as the series leader.

250SX West Main Event Results

1 57 Nate Thrasher Yamaha YZ250F 16 Laps Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (250)
2 26 Garrett Marchbanks Yamaha YZ250F 1.203 Muc-Off FXR ClubMX
3 31 Jordon Smith Yamaha YZ250F 5.141 Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (250)
4 30 Jo Shimoda Honda CRF250R 5.572 Team Honda HRC
5 47 Levi Kitchen Kawasaki KX250 6.390 Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki
6 24 RJ Hampshire Husqvarna FC 250 10.486 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
7 55 Mitchell Oldenburg Honda CRF250R 38.741 Mitchell Oldenburg Racing
8 34 Ryder DiFrancesco GASGAS MC 250F 51.399 Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas
9 85 Hunter Yoder Kawasaki KX250 15 Laps Partzilla PRMX Racing
10 100 Anthony Bourdon Suzuki RM-Z250 11.599 Bar X Suzuki
11 73 Robbie Wageman Yamaha YZ250F 17.043 Robbie Wageman Racing
12 71 Cole Thompson Yamaha YZ250F 24.043 Cole Thompson Racing
13 78 Joshua Varize GASGAS MC 250F 38.557 Josh Varize Racing
14 245 Matti Jorgensen GASGAS MC 250F FE 40.743 Matti Jorgensen Racing
15 41 Carson Mumford Honda CRF250R 50.172 Carson Mumford Racing
16 929 Julien Beaumer KTM 250 SX-F FE 51.350 Red Bull KTM
17 162 Max Sanford Kawasaki KX250 14 Laps Host Grindstone Kawasaki
18 135 Lance Kobusch Honda CRF250R 5.365 Lance Kobusch Racing
19 35 Talon Hawkins KTM 250 SX-F 12.175 AEO KTM Racing Team
20 116 TJ Albright Yamaha YZ250F 32.565 TJ Albright Racing
21 509 Alex Nagy KTM 250 SX-F 43.669 Alex Nagy Racing
22 36 Phillip Nicoletti Yamaha YZ250F 10 Laps Muc-Off FXR ClubMX

250SX West Points Standings

1 31 Jordon Smith Belmont, NC 67
2 47 Levi Kitchen Washougal, WA 59
3 26 Garrett Marchbanks Coalville, UT 57
4 24 RJ Hampshire Hudson, FL 54
5 55 Mitchell Oldenburg Godley, TX 41
6 100 Anthony Bourdon Hossegor, France 39
7 30 Jo Shimoda Suzuka, Japan 36
8 41 Carson Mumford Simi Valley, CA 36
9 85 Hunter Yoder Menifee, CA 36
10 929 Julien Beaumer Lake Havasu City, AZ 33
11 78 Joshua Varize Perris, CA 31
12 57 Nate Thrasher Livingston, TN 30
13 34 Ryder DiFrancesco Bakersfield, CA 28
14 71 Cole Thompson Brigden, Canada 27
15 20 Maximus Vohland Sacramento, CA 20
16 73 Robbie Wageman Newhall, CA 19
17 36 Phillip Nicoletti Cochecton, NY 18
18 245 Matti Jorgensen Helirod, FL 17
19 162 Max Sanford Pasadena, CA 15
20 135 Lance Kobusch New Florence, MO 9

450SX Main Event

As the 450SX riders pulled up to the gate for their final, the umbrellas were back out as the rain returned falling lightly. And the drama kicked into gear early as defending series champion Chase Sexton and Malcolm Stewart got together in turn one and dropped to the back of the pack.

Out front, Ken Roczen led followed by Justin Barcia(51) and Aaron Plessinger. Tomac ran in the ninth position, Hunter and Jett Lawrence started 13th and 14th.

Tomac and Christian Craig both had problems early and dropped to the rear of the field.

Five minutes in, Plessinger had moved past Barcia into second. Jett Lawrence was up to seventh but trailed the leader by 24 seconds. Hunter Lawrence ran ninth and Tomac was up to 15th.

With 13 minutes to go, Roczen caught a rut that turned the front wheel sideways and he went down giving the lead to Plessinger.

Aaron Plessinger / Photo Credit Feld Motor Sports Inc

At the halfway point, Plessinger led Cooper Webb by 7.26 seconds and Barcia by 9.32 seconds. Jett Lawrence was sixth, Hunter Lawrence seventh, and Sexton ran in the ninth spot. Tomac was up to 13th but trailed the leader by almost a full second.

Barcia continued to lose time, while Webb had cut the interval behind the leader to less than two seconds. However, a bobble by Webb cost him dearly and Plessinger doubled the space between them.

When Webb collided with Chase Sexton while lapping him, the result was assured. Aaron Plessinger finally earned his first 450SX main event win and in the process became the series leader grabbing the red plate for the first time in his career.

450SX Main Event Results

1 7 Aaron Plessinger KTM 450 SX-F FE 22 Laps Red Bull KTM
2 2 Cooper Webb Yamaha YZ450F 2.188 Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (450)
3 51 Justin Barcia GASGAS MC 450F 22.099 Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas
4 18 Jett Lawrence Honda CRF450R 37.164 Team Honda HRC
5 21 Jason Anderson Kawasaki KX450SR 42.230 Monster Energy Kawasaki
6 14 Dylan Ferrandis Honda CRF450R 44.447 Phoenix Racing Honda
7 96 Hunter Lawrence Honda CRF450R 52.323 Team Honda HRC
8 1 Chase Sexton KTM 450 SX-F FE 21 Laps Red Bull KTM
9 3 Eli Tomac Yamaha YZ450F 4.517 Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (450)
10 15 Dean Wilson Honda CRF450R 21.237 Firepower Honda
11 111 Jorge Prado GASGAS MC 450F FE 23.058 Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas
12 94 Ken Roczen Suzuki RM-Z450 30.311 HEP Motorsports
13 9 Adam Cianciarulo Kawasaki KX450SR 34.841 Monster Energy Kawasaki
14 32 Justin Cooper Yamaha YZ450F 44.074 Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (450)
15 67 Benny Bloss Beta 450 RX 59.286 Liqui Moly Beta
16 12 Shane McElrath Suzuki RM-Z450 20 Laps HEP Motorsports
17 22 Freddie Noren Kawasaki KX450SR 17.580 International Supercross Race Team
18 81 Cade Clason Kawasaki KX450 43.686 Partzilla PRMX Racing
19 27 Malcolm Stewart Husqvarna FC 450 RE 47.480 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
20 28 Christian Craig Husqvarna FC 450 RE 19 Laps Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
21 148 Justin Rodbell KTM 450 SX-F 1.460 Justin Rodbell Racing
22 125 Vince Friese Honda CRF450R 18 Laps Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda

450SX Points Standings

1 7 Aaron Plessinger Hamilton, OH 60
2 1 Chase Sexton LaMoille, IL 59
3 18 Jett Lawrence Landsborough, Australia 56
4 21 Jason Anderson Rio Rancho, NM 49
5 2 Cooper Webb Newport, NC 49
6 14 Dylan Ferrandis Bedarrides, France 49
7 3 Eli Tomac Cortez, CO 48
8 94 Ken Roczen Mattstedt, Germany 42
9 51 Justin Barcia Monroe, NY 40
10 111 Jorge Prado Lugo, Spain 35
11 9 Adam Cianciarulo New Smyrna Beach, FL 33
12 12 Shane McElrath Oakland, FL 29
13 96 Hunter Lawrence Landsborough, Australia 27
14 15 Dean Wilson Glasgow, Scotland 24
15 32 Justin Cooper Cold Springs Harbor, NY 22
16 52 Derek Drake Lake Elsinore, CA 16
17 27 Malcolm Stewart Haines City, FL 14
18 28 Christian Craig San Diego, CA 12
19 81 Cade Clason Medina, OH 10
20 46 Justin Hill Yoncalla, OR 8
21 22 Freddie Noren Lidköping, Sweden 8