Championships Were Decided At The 2018 Las Vegas Supercross
Believe it or not, this is it, the final round of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Series. On this night, the 250 SX East and West Region championships were to be decided, as well as the 450 SX championship. The odds were in the favor of Aaron Plessinger, Zach Osborne, and Jason Anderson, respectively, but the 2018 Salt Lake City Supercross proved that anything can happen in racing. From the first gate drop until the final checkered flag of the season, this is how the night played out in Sin City.
250 SX HEAT ONE
Michael Mosiman grabbed the first holeshot of the night, while Jordan Smith and Sean Cantrell battled over second place. Close behind them would be the series leader, Zach Osborne. By the second lap, Osborne made his way around Cantrell and put pressure on Smith. Then Mosiman rolled the triple, allowing Smith to jump by. However, Smith checked up for the triple as well and cased it. It was initially unclear if the red lights had been illuminated at the top of the jump, and there was only a yellow flag, no red cross flag. This gave the lead back to Mosiman and gave Osborne an opportunity to get into second. Osborne then went to work on Mosiman and made the pass for the lead, with Smith right on the back tire of both riders. Smith would later pass Mosiman for second. As the race was coming to a close, Jeremy Martin was able to catch and pass Mosiman for third place. On the final lap, Smith would pressure Osborne for the win, but Osborne would hang onto first place.
250 SX HEAT TWO
The holeshot would go to Joey Savatgy, with Adam Cianciarulo right by his side. Cianciarulo would make the pass for the lead, but Savatgy would get him back before the whoops. Cianciarulo would pull up alongside him and the two would ride in tandem before Savatgy eventually grabbed the lead. Right behind them would be Shane McElrath, Kyle Chisholm, and Aaron Plessinger. However, Plessinger would make the pass on Chisholm for fourth. Once in this order, the top five would be locked into their positions. Further back, Justin Hill would make the pass on his teammate, Phil Nicoletti, for the final transfer position.
250 SX LCQ
Martin Castelo claimed the holeshot by a decent margin, with Josh Osby and Brandon Hartranft running second and third. Merriam would hold the fourth and final transfer position for the early part of the race before losing his front end and dropping to eighth. This would give the spot to Justin Starling, who had a two-second gap on Josh Mosiman. On the final lap, in the final rhythm lane, Castelo would make a mistake and nearly give the lead up to Osby, but barely held onto the LCQ win.
250 SX MAIN EVENT
McElrath grabbed the holeshot with his teammate Cantrell right behind him. However, Martin quickly made moves and put himself into second place. Savatgy ran third, Smith in fourth, and Cianciarulo in fifth. Osborne and Plessinger would be much further back, running ninth and tenth after the first lap. Martin would hang less than a second off the back of McElrath lap after lap in the opening minutes of the race. At the 11 minute mark, Cianciarulo would move his way up to third. This would vital, as he was trying to narrow the gap on Plessinger, who had only moved up to eighth. Then, Plessinger would make a huge mistake, swapping back and forth at a high speed on the slick Las Vegas dirt. Somehow he managed to not go down, but it would slow his progress.
With eight minutes left, McElrath was now under intense pressure from Martin and Cianciarulo. Martin made contact with McElrath and Cianciarulo took advantage of the time lost to catch and pass Martin. Cianciarulo continued to push forward and caught and passed McElrath for the lead. This narrowed the points gap between him and Plessinger to just two. Plessinger continued to hold down eighth place, with a solid gap over Hartranft. Just a position ahead of him would be Osborne in seventh. Towards the front, Jordon Smith had found some extra speed and made the move to get around Martin for third. Later, he would also pass McElrath for second.
On the final lap, Savatgy would put the pressure on Martin for fourth, with McElrath in both of their sights. Out front though, it would be Adam Cianciarulo who would claim the win over the rest of the field. Smith and McElrath would round out the podium. Osborne and Plessinger would wrap up their championships by finishing seventh and eighth.
450 SX HEAT ONE
Eli Tomac looked to have the holeshot, but he made a mistake and fell back in the order. The holeshot would be awarded to Chad Reed, with Malcolm Stewart right behind him. The two battle over the lead, but Stewart would make a mistake and give the spot up to Tomac, who managed to race back up towards the front on the opening lap. Tomac then put pressure on Reed, but Reed didn’t forfeit the spot easily and Tomac would struggle to find a way around the veteran racer. Tomac would make the pass on Reed with two minutes to go through the whoops. Behind Stewart in third would be Tyler Bowers and Dean Wilson. On the final lap, Stewart would go down and fall back to sixth. Tomac would hold on for the win.
450 SX HEAT TWO
Marvin Musquin pulled the holeshot in the second 450 heat. He would be followed by Benny Bloss, Jason Anderson, and Blake Baggett. Anderson would quickly make the move on Bloss. Baggett would be the next rider to put pressure on Bloss, with Christian Craig now starting to catch up to them both. Both Baggett and Craig would make passes on Bloss. With two minutes to go, Peick would catch up to Bloss and try to make the pass for fifth. However, Bloss would fend off the attack and hang onto his spot. Meanwhile, Musquin laid down quick times and raced uncontested to the heat race win.
450 SX LCQ
Dakota Tedder rode wide around the outside to take the holeshot. Behind him would be Austin Politelli, Henry Miller, and Josh Hill. These four would all be bunched up in a battle, with Politelli pressuring Tedder, and Hill pressuring Miller. Politelli would make the move for the lead with just over two minutes to go. Then, Miller would take second away, getting by Tedder. Hill would follow Miller through and Tedder would drop to fourth. Scott Champion would then make his way into the picture in fifth. Tedder would narrowly hang onto the final transfer spot, holding off Champion. Politelli would be the winner.
450 SX MAIN EVENT
Tomac narrowly grabbed the holeshot with Musquin just behind him. Meanwhile, Anderson had a mid-pack start and ran in eighth. Baggett ran in third. Anderson would go to work on moving forward in the pack, moving up to sixth in the first two laps before getting Bloss for fifth. Meanwhile, at the front of the pack, Musquin had initially pressured Tomac, but started dropping back slightly. However, at the 12-minute mark, Musquin closed the gap back up and was right on the rear wheel of Tomac. In response, Tomac started jumping out of the sand section and over the single leading to the straightaway out of the stadium. This would be good enough for just a small margin, but Tomac could only pull off the move twice in a row. Then, Musquin would get hung up by a lapped rider and drop back to two and a half seconds off the lead.
As the race wound down to the final laps, Tomac continued to hold a small lead over Musquin. Further back would be Baggett, Craig, and Anderson rounding out the top five. At the checkered flag, this order would not change, and Tomac would take the main event win with Musquin and Baggett taking second and third. Anderson’s fifth place would be good enough for him to clinch the championship.