Craig rebounds with pivotal 250SX East win following Nichols incident.
Runaway 450SX leader Ken Roczen completed a clean-sweep of the Indianapolis 2021 Monster Energy Supercross rounds tonight to extend his advantage in the standings, as Christian Craig was back on top in 250SX East.
Roczen launched off the line and into the lead with Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas), Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM), Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) and his teammate Eli Tomac all in tow.
The top five settled in over the first three minutes until Barcia attempted a move on Team Honda HRC’s Roczen, running into his rear wheel and slowing the two down momentarily.
At that point the top five were all covered by 2.5 seconds, before Tomac began to pressure Webb as the pair worked to close the gap to Barcia. A bit further back, Malcolm Stewart (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) began to catch Cianciarulo for fifth, passing for the spot just past the halfway point.
Former champion Webb continued on the charge to Barcia, dropping Tomac just a bit with just under two seconds between them. Cianciarulo’s night continued to trend downward as Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) got by for sixth.
Back at the front, Webb made the pass on Barcia, allowing Tomac to close the gap as well. A mistake by Barcia allowed Tomac to get around for a moment for third, but Barcia slammed the door in the following corner to take the spot back.
With short time on the clock, Barcia’s night would come to an end abruptly as he’d get tangled with lapped rider Vince Friese (Smartop Bullfrog Spas MCR Honda) over a double. The crash collected Tomac, who had no where to go, gifting third to Musquin.
On the final lap Webb closed the gap to Roczen, but it was too little, too late, as Roczen would take the checkered flag and complete a sweep of all three rounds at Indianapolis with a wire-to-wire win. Musquin showed grit with a third-place after starting deep in the top 10, followed by Stewart and Cianciarulo.
On return, Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) grabbed sixth position with a solid rebound after missing the last round, as Tomac would remount to finish seventh, with rookie Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) eighth, Joey Savatgy (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS) ninth and Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) 10th.
Roczen is now 16 points clear of Webb in the second position following six rounds, with Tomac a further eight back in third. Monster Energy Supercross now heads to Orlando next Saturday, 13 February.
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Christian Craig earned his second 250SX East victory of 2021 at Indianapolis 3, a pivotal win in a round where Colt Nichols was forced to battle through for the podium.
Red plate-holder Nichols picked up where he left off in the heat race earlier and grabbed the holeshot with Mitchell Oldenburg (Muc-Off Honda) and Craig just behind.
But it wasn’t long before the points leader would endure a massive crash, cross-rutting out of a corner and up the face of a jump on the first lap, thus allowing Craig to slip past for the lead as Nichols dropped all the way to dead last.
Phoenix Racing Honda-mounted Josh Osby got a great start and put himself inside the top five just behind Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), with Shimoda taking control of the third spot early on. Nichols cracked back into the top 10 after just five laps.
Shimoda worked his way past Oldenburg with 10 minutes left in the race, just back from them Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) had worked his way into the top five after a dismal start that left him buried in the pack. Nichols latched onto the back of Lawrence a few laps later and the two would begin to battle over fourth.
Nichols attempted to make a pass with three minutes left and Lawrence looked back, slowed down and closed the door, keeping the points-leader at bay. As they battled, they reeled in Oldenburg in third.
Meanwhile, however, out front Craig stretched out an 11-second lead over Shimoda. Lawrence then worked his way by Oldenburg with three laps to go and Nichols would also try to sneak by, but Oldenburg battled back to maintain the four spot.
A half-lap later he’d get by and set his sights back on Lawrence for the final spot on the podium. Lapped riders came in to play, first holding Lawrence up in a rhythm lane, allowing Nichols to secure third and then again on Lawrence, running him wide and off the track on the landing of the finish line, forcing him to miss the corner.
All the while, Craig maintained his gap and went on to grab his second victory of the season by a commanding 7.560s margin ahead of Shimoda who earned his way onto the podium, while Nichols recovered valuable points to finish on the podium.
Oldenburg took advantage of Lawrence’s incident and took the fourth spot back from him, the duo rounding out the top five. Osby bought his Honda home in sixth with Hunter Sayles (KTM), Devin Simonson (Kawasaki), Thomas Do (KTM) and Luke Neese (Kawasaki) rounding out the top 10.
It’s still Nichols who leads the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX East standings, now by six points over Craig, with Shimoda climbing to third after Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas) was injured in practice earlier this afternoon. The series now heads to Orlando next Saturday, 13 February.