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.

NOTES

  • 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.

QUOTES

Christian Craig
"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."

Erik Kehoe: Team Manager
"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."

Rich Simmons: Mechanic (Christian Craig)
"I think ending the season with another fourth is great. Today's fourth was a lot easier than last week's—at least for me. Last week he struggled throughout the day, crashing almost each time he was on the track, so I had a lot of extra work. This week was good. He rode solid, putting in good laps during qualifying, finishing solid in his heat, and putting together an impressive main event. His lap times started to taper off toward the end, but he did a good job regrouping and lowering them back down, especially in the last five laps. The conditions were tough out there. I think to back it up from last week is good for us, but really good for him heading to outdoors, giving him some momentum and confidence. In terms of the bike, he was really happy. We mellowed out the power because the conditions were so slick, then dialed in the balance for him. We raised the rear to get the traction he wanted, but we didn't adjust must more than that."

Press contact:
Mandie Fonteyn // Jonnum Media // mandie@jonnummedia.com // +1 (951) 537-0454 

450SX Main Event Overall Results
1.         Eli Tomac
2.         Marvin Musquin 
3.         Blake Baggett
4.         Christian Craig
5.         Jason Anderson
6.         Benny Bloss
7.         Weston Peick
8.         Dean Wilson
9.         Justin Barcia
10.       Vince Freise
12.       Justin Brayton

450SX Championship Points (after 17 of 17 rounds)
1.         Jason Anderson 356
2.         Marvin Musquin 347 
3.         Eli Tomac 318
4.         Blake Baggett 285 
5.         Justin Brayton 275
6.         Weston Peick 251 
7.         Dean Wilson 208
8.         Broc Tickle 184
9.         Cooper Webb 181
10.       Justin Barcia 177
17.       Christian Craig 134

 

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