Craig Concludes AMA Supercross Season with Fourth-Place Finish in Las Vegas
The 2018 AMA Supercross series came to an exciting close for Team Honda HRC at Las Vegas’s Sam Boyd Stadium, as replacement rider Christian Craig rode to another strong fourth-place finish. In the final main event of the year, Craig launched his CRF450R down the start straight from the far inside gate, coming around the first turn in fourth. For the remainder of the 20-minute-plus-two-lap race, the Californian rode smoothly and consistently, maintaining his position to the checkered flag. It was the second weekend in a row that Craig matched his career-best result, which he initially achieved at Daytona back in March.
- During Friday’s pre-race press conference, MotoConcepts Racing made the exciting announcement that Justin Brayton had signed a two-year contract extension with the team. Brayton, who won this year’s Daytona Supercross aboard an MCR CRF450R, will stay with the team during the 2019 and 2020 AMA Supercross seasons. The agreement was in conjunction with a partnership extension with American Honda Racing for 2019.
- On Friday night, Team Honda HRC’s Christian Craig was joined by GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin and Chase Sexton, and Smartop/Bullfrog Spas MotoConcept’s Justin Brayton, Vince Friese, and Jake Weimer, along with Adam Enticknap, for an autograph session at RideNow Powersports. Hundreds of fans were on hand for the one-hour event, to get pictures and hang out with the Red Riders.
- With lap times over a minute, the Las Vegas track was one of the longest of the season. During the daytime program, Craig logged the seventh-quickest qualifying time at 1’02.694”.
- On race day, 16 grand-prize winners of the Honda Accessories Rewards Event—a contest for Honda dealerships around the country to get an expense-paid trip to Las Vegas—were provided with a rig tour of both the GEICO Honda and Team Honda HRC race rigs, as well as an opportunity to meet and take photos with Craig following qualifying practice.
- The Vegas finale marked the second 250SX East/West Showdown of the season, with riders from both regions battling for the top spot, and GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin and Chase Sexton rode their CRF250Rs to fifth and sixth, respectively. Martin wrapped up the East series in third with 175 points, while Sexton was fifth in the West series with 167 points. Following his heat race, Sexton was awarded 2018 250SX Rookie of the Year honors.
- The day after the Vegas race, a few Team Honda HRC members flew east to join recovering racer Ken Roczen at his home, where he has been testing with mechanic Oscar Wirdeman and Showa technician Adrian Bernal. Roczen says he will be ready in time for the first AMA Pro Motocross round in Sacramento on May 19, and his team is doing everything it can to help him prepare.
- Whereas Roczen is working to be ready in time for the first AMA Pro Motocross round, teammate Cole Seely has a longer recovery period ahead of him. That said, the Californian got out of his wheelchair a couple of weeks ago and began walking—first with crutches, then with a cane, and now unaided. He recently had a follow-up appointment with his doctor, and things are progressing well. Cole is planning to attend the Hangtown and Glen Helen races with his team, who are eager to hang out with him at the track.
- With the AMA Supercross season completed, Team Honda HRC will enjoy a much-needed weekend off (only their second since the January 6 season opener), before kicking off the AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, May 19, in Sacramento.
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Christian Craig 28
“Today started off pretty good. I felt comfortable on the bike right away, which I think showed throughout the entire day and night. I just had a good flow and was feeling relaxed. After qualifying seventh during the day, I went into the night just wanting to put in a solid result to finish the season on a high note. The heat race went pretty good; I felt like I put in some good laps to finish fourth. In the main, I actually picked the first gate on the inside. I don’t know why I’m confident there, but I always find myself picking one of those tight inside gates and seem to get good starts. I came off to a fourth-place start, sticking myself in behind [Blake] Baggett, and just clicked off my laps. I just put in my laps, rode consistent, and tied my best finish with another fourth. I’m really happy. There’s a lot more left in me and I feel like I have some podiums in me, so there’s a lot of confidence heading to outdoors.”
“Tonight was a great way for Christian to gain confidence and momentum before transitioning to outdoors. After his fourth in Daytona, he had a string of bad races so he kind of started to lose some faith in his ability to be up there, but to get a fourth last weekend and then to back it up again here, is huge from him. I think he was just putting too much pressure on himself before, so this weekend he was more settled down. Obviously, the season was tough overall with both of our main riders getting injured, but bringing Christian in and him performing how he did, really helped turn the season around. I’m proud of his efforts for us and am looking forward to motocross.”
450SX Main Event Results
|1||Tomac Eli||3||USA||Monster Energy Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|2||Musquin Marvin||25||FRA||Red Bull KTM||KTM|
|3||Baggett Blake||4||USA||Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS||KTM|
|4||Craig Christian||28||USA||Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha|
|5||Anderson Jason||21||USA||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna||Husqvarna|
|6||Bloss Benny||73||USA||SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda||Honda|
|7||Peick Weston||23||USA||Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing||Suzuki|
|8||Wilson Dean||15||GBR||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna||Husqvarna|
|9||Barcia Justin||51||USA||TLD/Red Bull GasGas||GasGas|
|10||Friese Vince||62||USA||SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda||Honda|
|11||Reed Chad||22||AUS||Mountain Motorsports/CBDmd/CR22 Racing||KTM|
|12||Brayton Justin||10||USA||Muc-Off Honda||Honda|
|13||Stewart Malcolm||27||USA||Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha|
|15||Ray Alex||87||USA||SGB Racing/Maxxis/Babbitt's Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|16||Miller Henry||81||USA||Trigger Racing||Yamaha|
|17||Tedder Dakota||111||USA||Team Tedder/Monster Energy/Lucas Oil/KTM Racing||KTM|
|18||Autenrieth Cade||330||USA||Mountain Motorsports/Factory Connection/Hinson||KTM|
|19||Hill Joshua||46||USA||Valley Motorsports||Yamaha|
|20||Bowers Tyler||83||USA||Bowers Racing||Kawasaki|
|21||Politelli Austin||981||USA||Old Town Construction/ TripTagger/ Yamaha||Yamaha|
|22||Cunningham Kyle||39||USA||H.E.P Motorsports||Suzuki|
Sam Boyd Stadium, East Russell Road, Las Vegas, NV, United States - View in Google Maps