Complete SMX Finals rider lists revealed ahead of playoffs
Race formats and more also detailed entering Charlotte 2023 opener.
Final details ahead of the inaugural 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) playoffs have been revealed, including complete rider lists and the race formats entering the Charlotte opener at ZMax Dragway this weekend.
Led by Chase Sexton (450SMX) and Hunter Lawrence (250MX) as the number one seeds following Monster Energy Supercross and Pro Motocross, each category’s final 30-rider line-up has been now been established for the lucrative series.
Based upon the combined point-standings of both series in the regular season, the top 20 of each class largely remains in tact, save the absence of Eli Tomac (450SMX) and Chance Hymas (250SMX) through injury. In addition, new 450MX champion Jett Lawrence will forgo his place in the 250 field at SMX since stepping up to the premier class full-time.
As a result, three riders will be taken through the LCQs into the Main Event, while positions 21 through 30 have seen an assortment of major changes since the outdoors due to rider availability. Notably, Austin Forkner – after narrowly missing the cut initially – has been elevated into 250SMX contention.
The 450SMX LCQ roster will be made up of Phil Nicoletti, Kevin Moranz, Derek Drake, Justin Starling, Josh Cartwright, Jerry Robin, Jeremy Hand, Bryce Shelly and Jace Kessler. Luca Marsalisi was originally in, but has since been sidelined and his position will likely be replaced by a fill-in.
Riders in the 250SMX LCQ will be Chris Blose, Derek Kelly, Cullin Park, Forkner, Coty Schock, Preston Kilroy, Josh Varize, Michael Hicks, Hunter Yoder and Luke Neese, who was ranked 48th at the conclusion of the regular season.
Race formats across the hybrid-type SMX championship will be unique in themselves, made up of a two-day schedule that will see bikes on-track for free practice during the afternoon on Friday at all three events. Saturday will see the LCQ aired on Race Day Live, before the racing program takes centerstage on Saturday.
Following the last-chance qualifiers, which will take place at each round, the SMX Finals will consist of 20-minute plus one-lap motos for each round across the two categories. In addition, pit bike racing has also been added to the race schedule, headlined by Carson Brown, Ryan Villopoto and Brian Deegan at this point.
SuperMotocross broadcast coverage of all three rounds will be aired on USA Network, in addition to Peacock, within the United States and the SuperMotocross Video Pass streaming service will be available for international viewers.