Craig Matches Career-Best 450SX Finish in Salt Lake City

Courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation

  Salt Lake City Supercross

AMA Supercross 2018   Round 16

Team Honda HRC rider Christian Craig put in a solid performance at the penultimate round of the AMA Supercross series in Salt Lake City, Utah, riding smoothly and consistently to a fourth-place finish. The Californian completed lap one of 26 in third place and stayed there until slipping a position on lap 14. After briefly recapturing third two laps later when Eli Tomac fell, Craig was overtaken again with eight laps remaining. His fourth-place result matched his best in the 450SX division, posted in Daytona Beach, Florida, in March.

NOTES

  • Christian Craig was among the riders invited to take part in the Friday press day at Rice-Eccles Stadium. He took the opportunity to get two 10-minute sessions on the track (minus the whoop sections), after which he and wife Paige sat down with Juliana Daniell for a Race Day Live! interview about how they manage life on the race circuit as a family.
  • On Friday night, Team Honda HRC substitute rider Christian Craig joined GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton and MotoConcepts riders Justin Brayton, Vince Friese, and Jake Weimer, along with Adam Enticknap for a pre-race party at Honda World in South Jordan. A strong showing of enthusiastic fans showed up to meet their favorite riders and collect autographed posters, and for chances to win raffled prizes.
  • A daytime schedule was implemented for the third time this year and the second time in a row, which meant an early start for the teams and riders, with track walk at 7 a.m. and the program finishing by 6:30 p.m. “We love having two weeks in a row like this,” Craig said. “You get a decent dinner and get in bed by 8 or 8:30, and you don’t feel like a zombie on Sunday.”
  • A fall in the final timed qualifying session contributed to Craig having the 11th best lap overall, a 48.616” set in the first timed session. Brayton was 13th best, the Smartop/Bullfrog Spa/MotoConcepts rider posting a 49.055” in the final session.
  • In 450SX heat 2, Craig rode in fourth for most of the race before finishing in that position, whereas Brayton suffered a poor getaway in the same race and worked his way up to seventh by the checkered flag. (Brayton would go on to finish sixth in the main event.)
  • The 4,567 foot elevation of Rice-Eccles Stadium posed a challenge for some, but Craig wasn’t particularly concerned coming in. “I rode a 450 here last year too and thought the elevation would bother me, but it didn’t,” he said, “so I didn’t do anything to prepare for it at all. I approached it with a mindset of ‘I don’t feel the elevation,’ and maybe that helped.” On the bike, mechanic Rich Simmons went up a tooth on the rear sprocket and, after using the standard mapping on press day, made a change to provide a little more bottom end on Saturday.
  • The Salt Lake City track included what were arguably the toughest whoops of the entire series, and Craig—who is known for being strong in the whoops—used them to his benefit by making up time and executing passes through those sections. “After seeing how many 250 guys went down in the whoops, I was thinking it was going to be tough,” he admitted. “But I had committed to blitzing them all night and not jumping them no matter what. It worked out in my favor.”
  • With only one AMA Supercross round remaining, much of the teams’ and riders’ attention has turned to preparing for the upcoming AMA Pro Motocross series. “I’ve actually been riding more outdoors than supercross lately,” Craig said. “I do two days a week of outdoor and then one day of supercross before the race. After so many months of supercross, it feels good to switch it up, and I think it actually helps. Your first day outdoor, you kind of feel lost, but then you find your flow and feel better when you go back to supercross.”
  • The 250SX West class was back in action in Salt Lake City after two weekends off. GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton was seventh after one lap in the main event but quickly advanced through the ranks to fifth place by the end of lap three, and that’s where he would remain for the rest of the 19 lap race. The Floridian is fifth in the points chase.
  • The 2018 AMA Supercross series winds up this coming weekend at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. On Friday, Craig will take part in a pre-race party at RideNow Powersports.

Press contact:

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

 

Christian Craig  32

“I made some mistakes in practice and had to regroup in order to go out there and do a good heat. In the main I thought, ‘I’m just going to try to get a good start and stay up there with those guys,’ which is exactly what I did. I latched onto the top two and put in my laps. It was a long main, especially on this track. I stayed with [Blake] Baggett for as long as I could. Eli [Tomac] was just on a mission. He passed me but fell, and I thought I might get a podium if he stayed down long enough. He got by me again, but it was a fun race. I’ve had some bad races since Daytona, and you begin to wonder if the Daytona ride was a fluke. It feels good to back up that fourth place.”

Erik Kehoe

Team Manager

“I think Christian learned a lot today. In practice he had had a pretty hard crash, made some mistakes, and had a few issues, but he learned from that and turned his day around. He got a good start in the main and rode solid. Now we need to carry that momentum into next week and finish out this series strong to carry some confidence into the outdoors.”

Rich Simmons

Mechanic (Christian Craig)

“It was a good day. It got off to a rough start with a couple of crashes in practice and some repairs, and it would’ve been easy for Christian to roll over. Instead, he gathered himself up and had a decent heat race and a good main. He got a good start and looked like he was going to make a pass for the lead through the whoops in the first couple laps. Justin Barcia made a push at the end, but with three laps to go, Christian dropped his lap times by almost a second and showed a lot of fight. I think it’s the best ride I’ve seen out of him on a 450, and maybe even a 250. I’m proud of him for how he rode and proud of the team for helping me to get everything done.”

450SX Main Event Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
1 Musquin Marvin 25 FRA 26 Red Bull KTM
2 Tomac Eli 3 USA 23 Monster Energy Kawasaki
3 Baggett Blake 4 USA 21 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS
4 Craig Christian 32 USA 19 Team Honda HRC
5 Barcia Justin 51 USA 18 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
6 Brayton Justin 10 USA 17 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
7 Peick Weston 23 USA 16 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
8 Blose Benny 934 USA 15 Bloss Racing
9 Friese Vince 45 USA 14 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
10 Bowers Tyler 69 USA 13 Bowers Racing
11 Reed Chad 22 AUS 12 CR22
12 Cunningham Kyle 39 USA 11 H.E.P Motorsports
13 Wilson Dean 15 GBR 10 Rockstar Husqvarna
14 Stewart Malcolm USA 9 Ride365.com/Stewart Racing
15 Soubeyras Cedric 201 FRA 8 None
16 Hill Joshua 75 USA 7 Valley Motorsports
17 Anderson Jason 21 USA 6 Rockstar Husqvarna
18 Politelli Austin 981 USA 5 Old Town Construction/ TripTagger/ Yamaha
19 Vanbuskirk Cody 570 USA 4 None
20 Champion Scott 76 USA 3 Pasha Racing Yamaha
21 Tedder Dakota 90 USA 2 Team Tedder
22 Ray Alex USA 1 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 Anderson Jason 21 USA 338 Rockstar Husqvarna
2 Musquin Marvin 25 FRA 324 Red Bull KTM
3 Tomac Eli 3 USA 292 Monster Energy Kawasaki
4 Brayton Justin 10 USA 264 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
5 Baggett Blake 4 USA 264 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS
6 Peick Weston 23 USA 235 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
7 Wilson Dean 15 GBR 193 Rockstar Husqvarna
8 Tickle Broc 20 USA 184 Red Bull KTM
9 Webb Cooper 2 USA 181 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
10 Barcia Justin 51 USA 163 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
11 Stewart Malcolm USA 159 Ride365.com/Stewart Racing
12 Friese Vince 45 USA 155 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing
13 Reed Chad 22 AUS 147 CR22
14 Bowers Tyler 69 USA 146 Bowers Racing
15 Seely Cole 14 USA 124 Team Honda HRC
16 Blose Benny 934 USA 123 Bloss Racing
17 Craig Christian 32 USA 115 Team Honda HRC
18 Roczen Ken 94 GER 102 Team Honda HRC
19 Cunningham Kyle 39 USA 98 H.E.P Motorsports
20 Grant Joshua 33 USA 83 Monster Energy Kawasaki
21 Lamay Ben 907 USA 71 TPJ.com/Fly Racing
22 Soubeyras Cedric 201 FRA 56 None
23 Chisholm Kyle 11 USA 48 Chisholm Racing
24 Martin Jeremy 6 USA 36 GEICO Honda
25 Ray Alex USA 28 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
26 Miller Henry 81 USA 22 Trigger Racing
27 Martinez Cole 68 USA 20 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
28 Tedder Dakota 90 USA 20 Team Tedder
29 Enticknap Adam 722 USA 19 The Privateer Journey
30 Hill Justin 46 USA 18 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing

 

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