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  • Writer's pictureChris Riesenberg

2022 Seattle Supercross - Versus Challenge

Take a traditional sports style "versus" approach to this weekend's racing action and liven up your watch party, group text, or forum rivalry. Play with your buddies, place wagers, and have fun!

Let's take a look at this week's AirWheeliesOnly Versus Challenge matchups. Below you will find a brief explanation why I picked each of these match ups and my predicitions. Feel free to comment on what matchups you look forward to, what matchups you would have created, or why on the of the matchups will be a landslide victory.

Perhaps it is because he is already used to zig-zagging all over the track, crossing ruts, and not giving a crap about anything or anyone around him...

Here are the 2022 Seattle Supercross Versus Challenge Matchups

The Match-ups

  1. Eli Tomac vs. Christian Craig (Better finish, tie breaker is margin of victory or least deficit behind leader)

  2. Jason Anderson vs. Justin Barcia

  3. Marvin Musquin vs. Cooper Webb

  4. Malcolm Stewart vs. Chase Sexton

  5. HEP Suzuki vs. The Privateers (Clason, Starling, Breece)

  6. Michael Mosiman vs. Hunter Lawrence

  7. Garrett Marchbanks vs. Nate Thrasher

  8. Carson Brown vs. Jalek Swoll

  9. Chris Blose vs. Robbie Wageman

  10. Jo Shimoda vs. Vince Friese

Chex Picks

Eli Tomac vs. Christian Craig (Better finish, tie breaker is margin of victory or least deficit behind leader)

We return to as similar match-up to last week where Tomac was taken down by Jett Lawrence; although, that was partially from huge mistakes on the last lap from Eli with lappers. I have been so wrong about Tomac's 2022 season that I can't pick against him again. Especially on what is likely to be a challenging, beat-up, rutted track in Seattle. Eli is at an elite level right now, and those are the conditions he thrives in.

Craig has shown to be head and shoulders over his competition, but he's also coming into the stretch run of his first ever championship with a massive points lead. Even as great of a technical rider Craig is, he's a SoCal native who hasn't always excelled in soft rutty conditions. Remember the time they decided to have him ride East Coast SX? It didn't go well. I'll take Eli, but I won't be surprised if Craig mops the floor with his competition.

Jason Anderson vs. Justin Barcia

The bash brothers! I have never seen someone so good at riding aggressively hit the ground so many times in a season. Anderson has Barcia covered in speed, has had better starts, has 3 wins to Barcia's 0; but they sit tied in points. Anderson has given up a lot from being involved in altercations and will now have to embrace an inner Mike Tyson to bite off second place in the championship.

Anderson is good when the tracks are beat as he uses his legs to let the bike wiggle under him and maximize traction, but if he gets to being muddy; Barcia it's one of the best. Perhaps it is because he is already used to zig-zagging all over the track, crossing ruts, and not giving a crap about anything or anyone around him... sorry, I had to. It pains me, but the chances of rain and motivation of 2nd in the series makes me pick Barcia.

PS. I hope I'm wrong and I also hope Anderson punts Barcia straight to the cotton candy stand above row F... and no, there was nothing 'wrong' with his pass last weekend... That also pains me to say.

Marvin Musquin vs. Cooper Webb

If you are Cooper Webb; you're banged up, out of the title fight, and outdoors isn't that far away. You've never won the outdoor title either and honestly, last year was pretty pathetic outdoors. Back to Aldon you go, so the question is... do you start early on outdoors and try to make a run for a #1 there; or do you buckle down and fight through your injury hoping to get 2nd in the SX series that is still only 13 points out of reach. I can't be the only one thinking it!

Marvin Musquin on the other hand is done after SX. Well, at least for this season as far as we know! Looking at the results, it looks like he found comfort on the new bike as soon as the series headed East. He's shown he can finish strong, rides the ruts very well, and doesn't have a summer of racing to look ahead to. I actually thought he might win Indy the way he was riding mid-race even. I think Musquin battles for a podium in Seattle.

Malcolm Stewart vs. Chase Sexton

I put these two together because Malcolm reminds me of a bit more veteran version of Chase Sexton a year ago. Blazing fast, many times the fastest guy, and possessing all the pieces to win races. But it didn't happen for Chase last year; though I think it would have if he didn't hit the ground so hard and get hurt. Actually, other than the fact he did notch a win, it's kinda like Chase Sexton this year. The difference is, Malcolm has still been able to be a top 10 guy and finish races. He's still out there, he's still building experience and giving himself a chance to win. Time is running low, but I still think Malcolm gets a win before the season is over. Maybe not in Seattle, but what better place to steal a victory than the hood of St. Louis...

I figure Sexton is looking outdoors already and just trying to stay in one piece the rest of SX. He will be good, but not great; so I'm on Malcolm Stewart on this.

Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki vs. The Privateers (Clason, Starling, Breece) (Average finish of the riders)

Remember that time Suzuki ran the adds for the most wins out of anyone in the last 10 years? It wasn't more than 10 years ago... How times have changed as their elite 450 squad is being squared up against three privateers who started the season battling to make it into main events? I even did HEP a favor and left off their former rider and privateer standout Kyle Chishom from this matchup. (Wait, Breece actually filled in for them a bit too.)

The privateer trio is super motivated as they chase a top 20 points fund bonus at the end of the series, along with career best results of course. Both Clason and Breece captured their first career top 10 main event finishes the past 2 weeks. With Brayton, McElrath, and Ferrandis added to the IR for another week; it's feasting time for privateer results.

But don't jump too soon. Hartranft has been quietly solid this year, and it'd be tough to argue he hasn't been a step ahead of all the privateers. Bogle on the other hand has the best single finish out of all of them with an 8th just 2 weeks ago. He's an opportunist.

It might seem like I'm crapping on the HEP squad, but honestly it's great what they are doing while doing it on yellow. I actually expect to be smashing Twisted Teas in celebration after both riders average a top 10 finish in Seattle.

Michael Mosiman vs. Hunter Lawrence

It'd be tough to find two riders more evenly matched than these two. In my opinion, Mosiman has a bit more raw speed, but he's a bit more prone to mistakes. Lawrence on the other hand doesn't quite have the raw speed of the TLD rider, but he's a bit more solid. It's almost like they are the same, but one has a +1 on the "Send Meter" that sometimes results in crashes.

On a track where "sending it" is likely to result in sending the bike back to the truck in pieces, I'll go with Huntahhhh Efffiiinnn LAWWWREEENCCEEE!

Garrett Marchbanks vs. Nate Thrasher

A classic factory versus factory support battle. Two former race winners mounted aboard their YZ250f machines fighting for Supercross glory. Some of the bike problems you get when not on factory equipment worry me a bit with Marchbanks if it's a wet one, but it's tough to argue he isn't the better rider with more experience... unless you factor in that he only has 1 SX win and Thrasher has two. Interestingly enough, all three of their combined wins come at Speedways (2 at ATL for Thrasher and 1 at Daytona for Marchbanks).

I'm going to go against my brain and go with my heart and pick Thrasher. I'm hoping he found something over the break. What's the worst that can happen, I can be wrong?

Carson Brown vs. Jalek Swoll

Not counting A1 when Brown didn't qualify he has an 8th place average finish. Swoll missed the first two rounds and has a 21st from the last round they raced at A3. The 3 races he finished, average finish 6th place. Brown had 1 bad one, Swoll has had 3.

If it's muddy, Brown prolly gets a top 10 on a pit bike... top 5 if it snows. Swoll is a cool personality and really good until he sees a whoop section. They should be rutted and beat down if he can survive until main event time.

I like Brown to do well, but numbers say if he doesn't grenade that Swoll is the better pick. I never want someone to grenade...not even my ex-wife.

Chris Blose vs. Robbie Wageman

I hate myself for even making this match-up. Easily two of my favorite riders to grace the SX starting gate. It's no coincidence that I see Wageman as a younger up-and-coming version of Blose. The guys that don't quite get the shot on the factory stuff, but are always good, and give those guys headaches all the time. In fact, I'll go as far to say that they DESERVE a chance with the factory support (yes, Blose got one early on with TLD before he was ready...and that was the secondary Honda support team). Before you mince my words, I'm talking the support, not the equipment. I think the programs they are on are both underrated, but I'm biased on that.

So who do I pick? On break, Robbie showed up to a 450 race and I think he would've done better on his 250. Blose opened a Race Tech Suspension Center (see that plug?) and I just keep seeing pictures of his bike on the stand at tracks and shocks getting serviced. Neither are that inspiring for results.

Blose from AZ, Robbie from Cali... The wet Seattle conditions don't suit either either I guess.

For some reason, and I could be wrong, I believe Blose amazed me by being a great mud rider from Arizona once. Probably his off-road riding with SX suspension he's known for, so I will give him the nod, but Robbie will throw the sickest whips by far.

Jo Shimoda vs. Vince Friese

Coming into the season, the media pegged Shimoda as a title contender. Some maybe even as a favorite or at least the closest challenger to the favorite. Hype was big... like Mike Alessi pro-debut big...

If you've been asleep or didn't follow the West Coast 250 guys as a Jo fan, I hate to break it to you, but he looked more like a Jordan Smith crash reel (or just most Jordan Smith races) than a title contender... (without the few times Jordan Smith actually did win even)!

Vince on the other hand was likely pegged as a 5-10 guy most nights. Not counting his 19th (but counting the triple crown disaster in PHX), he's actually managed a 4th place average, sits 4th in the standings, 12 ahead of Shimoda... even with that 19th. Friese is good, he's faster than ever, and he is earning his results even if the 250 class has been injury riddled as can be this year. (Rant some other time about training facilities, amateur programs, and more...)

So Shimoda is under-performing and just getting back on the horse after some time away hurt while Friese has been cracking top 10's on the 450... yet, I am taking Shimoda. PC likely only needs him out there to fullfill sponsor obligations, they'd likely rather him stick to outdoors and retain another year of SX eligibility (if they were other 250 teams at least...); but I'm still taking Shimoda. You see, the lack of pressure is probably exactly what he'll need to get podiums again.

Although, if it rains, Shimoda did prove he's the first Japanese rider ever that can't ride mud and if it's a full on mud-fest, I reserve the right to have Friese.

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