On the stage where the NASCAR Cup Series began its season with the Clash at the Coliseum, the SuperMotocross World Championship will conclude its 31-event campaign.
The L.A. Memorial Coliseum will play host to the SMX finale on Saturday night, where an inaugural series champion will be crowned.
With bragging rights and $1 million on the line in the 450cc class, it’s bound to be a battle for the ages in the very stadium where Supercross was born in 1972.
SMX Playoff Scenarios
With the SMX finale being a triple-points round, there are five riders who, points-wise, have a legitimate shot to win the championship — Chase Sexton, Jett Lawrence, Ken Roczen, Aaron Plessinger and Dylan Ferrandis.
However, of the five, the three most likely candidates are Sexton, Lawrence and Roczen.
With Sexton (90 points) and Lawrence (88 points) separated by two points, it’s a winner-take-all situation between the Honda HRC teammates. If the No. 94 Suzuki of Roczen (80 points) were to steal the win, Sexton would need to finish third or worse.
Sexton Struggles To Show Speed
This year’s AMA Supercross champion came out swinging at round one of SMX, sweeping both motos to take the overall win at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., on Sept. 9
The smile of relief on the Illinois native’s face following the race was telling, as he admitted it was a much-needed victory after he failed to win a moto during the 11-round AMA Pro Motocross season.
But the next week, Sexton experienced the same struggles of the summer.
He said it himself on the podium at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., after finishing third overall at the second round of SMX.
“I didn’t really have much speed. I don’t really know what it was. I was changing bike setup every session, a lot, like big changes — so I just straight up was slower today,” Sexton said in the post-race press conference. “It was damage control (today).”
But the seven-time Supercross main event winner may have a little luck on his side this weekend, as the track inside the Coliseum will more closely resemble the Supercross-style tracks he’s had success on in the past.
“We’ll see what happens,” Sexton said. “I’m extremely motivated.”
Webb Eats ‘Humble Pie’ In First Two Rounds
Two weeks after making his debut with Star Racing Yamaha at the SMX opening round at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., Cooper Webb is not satisfied with his results.
The two-time Supercross champion took to social media following the second round at Chicagoland Speedway, writing, “Going to take the humble pie and keep focused on the goal. Still got a lot left to give.”
Webb was raring to go at round one, stating that he was “here to win,” despite the North Carolina race being his first time on track on the YZ450F. But with an eighth overall at zMAX and a seventh-place finish at Chicagoland, Webb hasn’t made up any ground in the SMX standings, leaving him in sixth with an improbable shot at the championship.
A Determined Masterpool Trudges On To L.A.
Privateer rider Ty Masterpool hasn’t given up since the motocross season began in late May.
And the story hasn’t changed much throughout the opening two SMX rounds.
Despite being handicapped by a severe case of appendicitis, Masterpool has been holding off surgery in order to complete the SMX season. He finished 11th overall at round one and backed it up with a 12th-place finish at Chicagoland.
“Struggled in the first moto and felt really good the second moto, just made a mistake in the sand and got stuck, so the result didn’t show,” Masterpool said via Instagram.
He is currently seventh in the standings, in line for a $120,000 points fund payout should he hold on to his position during the finale.