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  • Writer's pictureChris Riesenberg

2022 Detroit SX - 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.

Since I'm wrong just under 50% of the time (use my 6/10 on these picks as reference), I will toot my horn when I call it 100% on the money.

Here are my Detroit Supercross Air Wheelies Only Versus Challenge Picks

450 Class

  1. Malcolm Stewart vs. Jason Anderson *INCORRECT*

  2. Justin Barcia vs. Dylan Ferrandis *INCORRECT*

  3. Dean Wilson vs. Justin Brayton vs. Shane McElrath *CORRECT*

  4. Cade Clason vs. Ryan Breece vs. Justin Starling *CORRECT*

  5. Cooper Webb vs. Eli Tomac *INCORRECT*

250 Class

  1. Jett Lawrence vs. The Field *CORRECT*

  2. Pierce Brown vs. Jordan Smith *CORRECT*

  3. Enzo Lopes vs. RJ Hampshire *CORRECT*

  4. Does Kyle Chisholm finish Top 10? YES *INCORRECT*

  5. Does Stilez Robertson holeshot? NO *CORRECT*

The CHEXplanation

Malcolm Stewart vs. Jason Anderson *INCORRECT*

I really thought that Jason Anderson was going to come in spitting fire like Eminem in 8 Mile and grab the win. Unfortunately, he puked mom's spaghetti all over his shirt after Tomac ran him down and passed him. With that said, Anderson was riding extremely well and upped his game after the Tomac Train ripped past before he bumped his slipped the front end and bumped his head. A loss would have definitely been tough to swallow, but the aftermath and DNF nearly eliminates him from championship contention. Bummer for the 21 who has been riding exceptionally.

Malcolm capitalized on the mistakes while riding well once again to snag another podium. He continues to show he has what it takes to win a race, and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets it done in Indy this weekend.

Justin Barcia vs. Dylan Ferrandis *INCORRECT*

Besides not having a win, I feel like this season has been might be one of Barcia's best in his career! He has four podiums (all thirds) and hasn't been out of the top 10 through 10 rounds. Barcia sits 4th in the standings, only 3 points out of 2nd. I have to think being in the top 5 battle every week and snagging podiums while being a mentor to the younger 250 riders has to make the TLD team happy.

As for Ferrandis, this SX seasons has been a mess. He has a single podium and a couple of fourth place finishes. A case job in Detroit caused a DNF and he will miss some time. When it comes to wrists it seems time off is the only healer out there, and as poor as SX has gone, I'd take as long as is needed to let that thing heal up and prepare to defend the #1 plate outdoors. It appears Eli is on his way to delivering the Supercross title to that team, so they don't really need him on the track too badly indoors.

Dean Wilson vs. Justin Brayton vs. Shane McElrath *CORRECT*

These picks were looking ugly, but leave it to the new 38 year old (as of Monday after the race) veteran to save the day. A season best was definitely helped by four guys in front of him DNF'ing the race, but Brayton will take it. Justin candidly said this week he's honestly surprised he's beating some of these young guys, but I don't think he realizes how good he is and the base of experience he's built up. He's continuing to enjoy his final season in the US and is also looking forward to the World Supercross Series (no shocker there).

McElrath was able to take advantage of the chaos and log a career best 7th. While some of the team infrastructure has been around, it is basically a new program this year and basically Shane's rookie season on a 450. I think if he can keep up the steady results and race all 17 races, it's been a good season for Shane. Hopefully he can stay with the program and build for next year.

Wilson has been better than both Brayton and McElrath this season, the points say that too, but he didn't take advantage on the night like they did. Instead he fell over. Trust me, more than a few SX Survivor players felt his pain.

Cade Clason vs. Ryan Breece vs. Justin Starling *CORRECT*

Career best results for all 3, but there is just something extra special about saying, "I got a top 10!" It was an awesome night overall for Clason's SGB Unlimited/Storm Lake Honda team, as for the first time in the team's history they had 3 riders make the main events in the same evening with Alex Ray (450) and Jeremy Hand (250) also getting the job done. It might have been a gift with 4 guys going out, but even a 14th would've been a big deal for Clason.

Remember when Brayton won Daytona and Mike Genova wasn't there? Well, Jason the team owner at SGB is the one who set the 3 guys in the main goal and wasn't at the race... With Cade getting a top 10 on top of that, I hope they aren't allowing him anywhere near Indy either.

Cade is one of my favorite guys in the pits and to see how he has finally climbed his way back from his WADA suspension to being better than ever is remarkable. He's really made massive improvements and should be in every main event from here on out.

Cooper Webb vs. Eli Tomac *INCORRECT*

Tomac did the exact opposite of being distracted and backing it down. He was ultra-focused and was in a league of his own. He passed most the top guys and had the race in hand well before the chaos began. It was a statement championship ride and the cherry on top was his competition gifting him a ton of points on top of it giving him the biggest points gap after 10 rounds in 20 years (thanks PulpMX for the research).

Jett Lawrence vs. The Field *CORRECT*

The good news is, I was worried about McAdoo's knee from Daytona and that doesn't seem to be an issue. The bad news is, Jett not only continues to prove he's the best 250 SX rider in the World right now, but he's getting holeshots to do it. McAdoo is going to have to get Jett off his rhythm if he wants a shot at winning a race, let alone the title... unless Jett beats himself which I don't see happening with his controlled riding he's been showing.

Pierce Brown vs. Jordan Smith *CORRECT*

Neither rider the main event! They got that out of the way in the heats this time I guess. Brown looked like he'd do anything to get to the front and go after Lawrence early, and I think that might've caused him to use a bit too much energy allowing McAdoo to track him down and snag 2nd. Jordan Smith got passed by Hampshire late, but had a solid ride. If he had more of those, he could stay off the ground and the injured list more often.

Enzo Lopes vs. RJ Hampshire *CORRECT*

RJ Hampshire beat Lopes, but that even being a question coming into the season would be a shocker. Hampshire hasn't been as good as I expected and Lopes has been way better than predicted.

Speaking of Lopes and since the three week swing of Amateur "spring nationals" is just wrapping up, it had me thinking... Lopes was a good amateur, but just behind the fully supported factory kids. He's just barely found his way onto some B level programs (in my opinion) in the pro ranks and is now battling with and beating the factory guys without factory equipment. He's definitely out-performed a ton of guys who had way more support than him as amateurs and their first pro years. So where is Enzo's ceiling? It wasn't that many years ago (well, actually it was probably about 10... I'm old) that Mitch Payton would snag a guy like Enzo and turn him into a race winner and championship contender. In recent years, Pro Circuit has gone away from that model until they took a shot with McAdoo and then Shimoda. Both have worked out quite well. Could Lopes be the next guy for them?

Does Kyle Chisholm finish Top 10? YES *INCORRECT*

A week on the bike in a completely different class and grabbing a 12th isn't too bad, but after a strong heat race and nearly holeshotting the main, a 12th has to be a bummer. Chisholm will only get better, and watch him shine late in the race at Indianapolis when the track is destroyed. He also was one of the first guys to pull out the rhythm section quad... just shows you how gnarly that Star bike really is!

Does Stilez Robertson holeshot? NO *CORRECT*

Since I'm wrong just under 50% of the time (use my 6/10 on these picks as reference), I will toot my horn when I call it 100% on the money. In my column before the race, I said, "Simply because Jett Lawrence also has his starts figured out, and I look for Detroit to be gate to checkers, pure domination from the 18." It doesn't get more accurate than that... MIC DROP!

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