The 250 class was rattled by injuries this weekend in Houston for round three of the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. Championship contender’s RJ Hampshire and Austin Forkner both crashed out and suffered day-ending injuries during qualifying.
The remaining title contenders would be looking to capitalize on this and fully establish themselves as the series’ main protagonist.
Jett Lawrence was another rider who took a big hit in qualifying. However, the Australian was able to get up and continue after his brutal whoop section crash. He was able to bounce back strong in heat one to continue the hot streak he started on Tuesday. Lawrence quickly grabbed the lead and controlled the race from the front.
Although, he didn’t have it all his own way, Michael Mosiman kept him honest until the end. Mitchel Oldenburg rounded out the Heat 1 podium on his Muc-Off Honda.
English lad Dylan Woodcock was riding very well during Heat 1. He was in a solid qualifying position before a nasty crash in the whoops knocked him out of action. DBR sends a big get well soon to Dylan.
250 Heat 2 got off to a wild start. Top names such as Christian Craig and Colt Nichols failed to get out of the gates strong allowing some new faces to lead the way early on. Logan Kernow was the original race leader, but a big mistake on the final corner before the finish saw him fly off the berm and land in the safety nets. 17-year-old Max Vohland then inherited the race lead, the first leading laps of his young career.
Meanwhile Colt Nichols and Christian Craig were quickly slicing through the field. Craig was able to make quick work of the pack to take over second place. The veteran then set his sights on the young rookie. With two laps to go Craig was able to make as pass on Vohland to take the lead and claim the race win. Vohland held on to take second ahead of the hard charging Colt Nichols.
Houston SX III 250 Main event highlights
In a reversal of how things unfolded in his heat race Christian Craig grabbed a commanding holeshot in the 250 Main Event. He was closely followed by his Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha team-mate Colt Nichols. The star of Tuesdays show, Jett Lawrence, was buried in ninth position on the opening lap.
Red Bull KTM’s Max Vohland continues to improve during his rookie season. The 17-year-old sat in third place as the first few laps clicked off, but he was soon joined by a hard charging Michael Mosiman. Mosiman quickly pulled the trigger on a pass for third, but Vohland wasn’t just going to roll over and let the GasGas rider take the position so easily. He fought back to re-take the spot from Mosiman in the next corner.
This back and forth between the battling pair allowed Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda and HRC Honda’s Jett Lawrence to close in and join the party. A couple of small mistakes from Vohland allowed all three of the more experienced riders to advance on through. Vohland would remain in sixth position for the rest of the race, the best result of his career so far.
Jett Lawrence made quick work of Jo Shimoda to take over fourth, but it would take Lawrence some time to close the gap on third place man Michael Mosiman. With just a couple of minutes left on the clock Jett was running out of time if he intended to make the podium. In order to make a pass happen the Australian employed an aggressive tactic.
A hard block pass after the whoops resulted in contact with Mosiman and saw the GasGas man hit the deck. Lawrence was given a warning for the move, but the position was his. By this time however the race leaders were well and truly out of touch.
Christian Craig and Colt Nichols were setting an incredible pace at the front of the field. In fact the Star Racing duo lapped everyone outside of the top six riders. For the first half of the race the points leader Christian Craig seemed firmly in control. But as the race wore on Nichols began to look more and more comfortable. Each rider had a section that they were faster in, Craig blitzed the whoops whereas Nichols excelled in the step-on-step-off rhythm section.
Nicholls looked hungry and was poised to make a pass whenever possible. He struck to take the lead away from his teammate but Craig was quick to retaliate and was able to regain the lead soon after. But Nichols’ attack was not over yet. Utilising his line through the step-on-step-off section Colt was able to make a second pass on Craig and this time the points leader wasn’t able to fight back.
After this pass Nichols immediately opened a comfortable cushion over his team-mate enabling him to bring home the race win. This was the first victory for the 26-year-old Star Yamaha man in two years, and with it he was able to come level with Craig in the points chase. Meaning that both riders will be sporting the red plate next week in Indianapolis.
Colt Nichols was pleased to be on the top step, ‘‘I was really just trying to be patient tonight. Our Star Racing Yamaha’s took off like rockets and we were one and two. It felt just like a normal day at the Yamaha test track with me and Christian trading laps.
“I was just trying to be patient; I knew where he was a little bit faster so I tried to pick up on a few lines. It was fun man. I haven’t won a race in a while, so that felt good.
“A few guys crashed out today so I wanted to put my self in a good position and I’m just really glad we did that.’’