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  • Writer's pictureChris Riesenberg

2022 Indianapolis Supercross - Versus Challenge Recap

Each week after the dust settles and all the bikes are loaded into their transport vehicles I take a look back at my Air Wheelies Only Versus Challenge Game answers and predictions to offer a unique post race breakdown.


Let's take a look at my picks for each matchup and see how I did. Below you'll find a breakdown of how I saw that action play out for these riders. Feel free to comment your "I told you so," or "You blew it," or even a "Nice job!" if you feel it necessary.


I would love to see Anderson send the 51 off a berm on a one way trip to the cotton candy stand above section 143 next weekend in Seattle.
The Troll Train isn't de-railed, but the lug nuts on the wheels are definitely loose.


Here are my Indianapolis AirWheeliesOnly.com Versus Challenge Picks. Read further for the CHEXplanation and my recap on the racing in Indy.




The Picks


Chase Sexton vs. Jason Anderson vs. Cooper Webb

Eli Tomac vs. Jett Lawrence (Better finish, tie breaker is margin of victory of least deficit behind leader)

Brandon Scharer vs. Dominique Thury

Jordan Smith vs. Mitchell Oldenburg

Freddie Noren vs. Alex Ray

Marshal Weltin vs. Josh Osby

Kyle Chisholm vs. Phil Nicoletti

Does Gared Steinke make the main event? YES

Josh Varize vs. Derek Drake

Henry Miller vs. Alex Martin (Better finish, tie breaker is least deficit behind leader)


The CHEXplanation


Chase Sexton vs. Jason Anderson vs. Cooper Webb

The results say Sexton 4, Webb 5, and Anderson 6, meaning Webb bounced back and got the best result. Those who watched the race know that Anderson looked 100% after his Detroit mishap and was the best guy of the three on the night. Unfortunately, we know Indy will be rutty, tuff blocks and lappers will always cause problems, and Justin Barcia will cut completely across a corner to meet you at the exit EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It makes for great entertainment and every sport needs a villain. Ironically, throughout a lot of his career Anderson has also been that villain; however, he's found himself on the ground from being taken out quite a few times this year.


As far as the "pass" from Barcia. I didn't like it because I like Jason Anderson and I'm not a fan of Barcia. (I get to be biased, that's the perks of not being real media) But honestly, nothing except a mental IOU from Anderson(and maybe a small monetary fine with a wink from the promoters) should be done. If the roles were reversed, I'd have been pumped. What I don't like is the reason I don't care for Barcia. He dishes it out, but he won't ever own it... and oh man watch out if he's on the receiving end because the tears will be flowing! Saying, "Anderson ran into me" is bullshit and typical Barcia acting like the fans are idiots. I would love to see Anderson send the 51 off a berm on a one way trip to the cotton candy stand above section 143 next weekend in Seattle.


Eli Tomac vs. Jett Lawrence (Better finish, tie breaker is margin of victory of least deficit behind leader)

Tomac and Lawrence are on another level right now and the challenging Indianapolis track just allowed that gap to grow even more. While a few mistakes on the last lap really shrunk Tomac's lead, he'd come through the field masterfully on his way to the win. The 1.3 second win margin doesn't accurately show Tomac's level of dominance. He excels in those tough conditions, is completely locked in and focused, and continues to rack up the wins even with nearly a 2 race lead in the championship standings.


Lawrence had a challenge from McAdoo and even got passed at one point. McAdoo would be walking away with this class if it wasn't for the teenage sensation. They beat the field by nearly 35 seconds, 10 seconds more and they'd have lapped third place. I was thinking the back and forth battle might be exactly what McAdoo needed to do to try and rattle Jett and push him into a mistake. All it seemed to do was wake up Lawrence to push a touch harder and be even more focused. Props to McAdoo as well though, you know he wants to win, but he didn't go over his comfort level and throw away the race.


While it looks like he's the class of the field, a nasty get off on the start of the heat race was a reminder that you can't hand him the #1 plate just yet. McAdoo only sits 11 points back with a weekend off, another Triple Crown and two East/West Showdowns coming down the stretch.


Brandon Scharer vs. Dominique Thury

While the trainer beat the racer as predicted, Scharer put on a display of what not to do in an LCQ last night. Tossing it away on the last lap, in a transfer spot, with 3 turns to go is a big no-no. Scharer is an awesome dude and it's cool to see him line up every now and again, even cooler is the fact that he's good enough to be putting the bike in 450 main events. Thury is a full-time racer and never really was a factor or threat to do what the part-timer almost did. I do think racing Indy was a good call and will benefit Thury in Seattle next weekend.



Jordan Smith vs. Mitchell Oldenburg

Oldenburg just keeps looking better and better. He was damn good all day yesterday. The experiment from the MCR team to have their riders race the 250 classes and 450 on opposite coasts is looking brilliant. Wonder if we'll see more teams try something like this. I sure miss when guys like McGrath, Reed, and Windham would jump up to the big class on the opposite coast.


Freddie Noren vs. Alex Ray

Noren's SX skills have improved so much for this season, and it's awesome to see. I was starting to think we might be nearing the end of his career; as it has to be hard to financially survive off only outdoor motocross skills. Now, I think we can see at least 4 or 5 more years of Noren making SX main events.


Being comfortable being sketchy definitely didn't work out in ARay's favor as I thought it might. In fact, it caused him to get jumped into by Deven Raper, then nearly castrated by Bubba Pauli, and finally end up in a headlock from the 447 after he gave Raper a shove when he was about to rejoin the race. The scuffle resulted in a ton of TV time, likely a highlight reel for a couple years, and a DQ for the night for both riders.


I'm not a fan of the DQ. Fact is, it's entertainment. They have gear on, it isn't likely anyone is going to actually get injured, and the crowd went wild. People go to hockey games just waiting for fights to break out. I'd rather see them get put in a penalty box (loss of gate pick for the LCQ for instance) versus completely disqualified. Drama sells tickets and more tickets equals a healthy sport of supercross.


PS. No one dared to fight Raper when I was his body guard (mechanic) at Minneapolis. Next time I'm showing up to the track rocking my ARay merch to see how Deven reacts.




Marshal Weltin vs. Josh Osby

Osby is definitely qualified enough to be in the 250 B practice group, but I'm guessing he requested to be in group C knowing the track would be way better with the soft soil. Even though I knew this, I thought he was still much improved than what we saw earlier this year. i also made the mistake in thinking he'd ride inspired. Instead, he barely put it in the main event, and it was likely one of the worst main events of his career. Instead of being able to give his former team, Phoenix Honda, the finger by doing better on a borrowed bike; he made it look like they made the right decision.


Weltin's good year continued. He won't need to repo his practice bike to help his results as he earned a career best 13th in Indy. Karma was on his side!



Kyle Chisholm vs. Phil Nicoletti

I'm just going to copy what I predicted before the race... "Grueling, demanding, sketchy... dare I say deathcross? That is going to be the Indy track in the main events and no one takes advantage of the chaos in those situations more than Kyle Chisholm. Nicoletti has been very good this season, but in these conditions he's no match for Chiz."


Nearly a heat win for Chiz after the only other 2 factory guys (Lawrence and Brown) in the race crashed, but Hunter's brother ruined his moment and passed him on the last lap. Chisholm went on to finish 7th, right about where you'd expect.


Nicoletti on the other hand has to hate Indianapolis and had to be reminded why he hates Supercross. A first turn crash in the heat sent him to the LCQ where he worked up to a transfer position. Phil was struggling big time in the ruts and he made the big mistake of leaving the door open for a final transfer position on the last lap of an LCQ... especially with Hardy Munoz around. He's going to go for it 100% of the time, especially in that situation. A DNQ for Nicoletti will definitely stand out as a sore spot in his excellent SX season he's been having.


Does Gared Steinke make the main event? YES

I think I must've gotten a contact buzz lingering from hanging out with the fan favorite in Daytona because Stank Dog wasn't ever even in the mix to make a main event in Indy. I still think he gets the job done at one of these races, and when he does, the crowd will lose their minds.


Josh Varize vs. Derek Drake

I always get stoked when I pick these matchups and the guys end up next to eachother in the results. I try to make them evenly matched, and that's somewhat of a validation that I nailed it. I also predicted Drake would get a top 10, but he got 11th for the second weekend in a row and sits 11th in the standings. It's still been a good season for Drake I think.


Henry Miller vs. Alex Martin (Better finish, tie breaker is least deficit behind leader)

Miller is a solid main event guy, but just a tick off of the pace of the top 10 right now. He's a full privateer, so I'd say that isn't a bad spot to be. I'm sure he wants to be battling up inside the top 10 a bit more, but I also think he has to be happy just being healthy and at the races every weekend after a couple injury riddled seasons.


What is going on with Alex Martin? He looked un-inspired in Detroit rolling around for a lot of the main event. It says 13th on paper, but it wasn't a good ride. For the third weekend in a row he was beat by the Clason, Breece, and Starling trio who are fighting for 20th in points. The payout cuts off at 20th and these guys all know that. AMart has more support and a stronger resume than that trio, he's expected to be beating them. If this trend continues, he might find himself getting passed up by all three of these guys. The Troll Train isn't de-railed, but the lug nuts on the wheels are definitely loose.


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