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  • Writer's pictureChris Riesenberg

2023 SUPER Supercross Survivor TAMPA RESULTS

It isn't called Survivor for no reason, it is an absolute battle to stay alive. While the Strike system makes this version a bit more forgiving, it has still proven to be extremely difficult to escape from a round with your team fully intact. Anytime you are trying to predict 250 class racing, it is very dangerous... especially if it involves Jordan Smith. Actually, there is one thing you can predict about him; he will go fast and he will crash. Let's take a dive into the picks, the game, and a bit of the racing action.



After causing the most Strikes of any rider just a week ago, only two Super Supercross Survivor (SSXS) team managers dared to rely on Nate Thrasher in Tampa. When the gate dropped for the 250SX Main Event Nate Thrasher sprinted out of the gate and for the first lap opening up over half a straight lead before they hit the finish line jump for the first time. After an opener he'd like to forget with multiple crashes, Thrasher looked true to form to what I expected to see this season. We've all seen him take off and win from a holeshot and with opening round winner Hunter Lawrence outside the top 10 heading down the 2nd straightaway; this was the perfect opportunity. Speaking of Lawrence, it is no surprise that the factory Honda pilot was the most picked rider for the second straight week. He's a pretty clear favorite in the 250 East and has created quite a solid record of podium finishes over the past couple of seasons. Team Managers may have started to get a bit nervous though as Hunter made his way through the pack up to the back of Michael Mosiman. These two have a history and 'Huntah' seemed to want to spend more time messing with the TLD GasGas rider Mosiman than chasing down Nate Thrasher. Even rookie Haiden Deegan got mixed up in the exchange for awhile. While Lawrence was able to eventually dispose of the rookie by carving infront of Deegan's front wheel off the finish face and then drop Mosiman to the soil, it might not be the best idea to create enemies and a target on your bike during a title fight that you're clearly favored in. It's tough to argue that it will take something major happening to upset Hunter, and riders knocking you down could surely help that to happen. Thrasher had over 8 seconds on Lawrence at the halfway point and Max Anstie was putting on another solid podium ride between them. Short laptimes and a menacing sand section meant the leader was going to get held up and Hunter was much faster in the whoops and was also jumping over the top of the dragonsback making up time. Lawrence used the same line up the inside off after the dragon to dispose of Anstie with 5 minutes to go and 6 seconds to make up. It looked like without a major mistake or too much lapper interference that Lawrence may get Thrasher in sight, but would run out of time. But the pace of Lawrence and difficulty making moves on the lappers brought Lawrence to Thrasher's back fender with only a few straights to go. When the sand quit flying and the two turns of bumper cars were completed, Hunter Lawrence beat Nate Thrasher by a knobby to make it two for two in 2023 250SX East competition. Thrasher's 2nd place finish was the first time he's ever stood on a SX podium when he wasn't the winner. Max Anstie was tied for the 2nd highest pick trend in SSXS and rewarded those team owners with a podium finish. Back to back exceptional performances ending up on the podium for Anstie is a really cool story building on the East. Tied with Anstie for the highest pick trend in the 250 class was opening round 3rd place finisher Jordan Smith. There are three things you can almost always count on at Supercross; whoops, triple jumps, and Jordan Smith hitting the ground. Smith stayed true to form and dumped his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing bike in the sand on the opening lap, picked it up and went extremely fast. He charged through the field to get in front of Mosiman for 7th; the last "safe" spot for SSXS when he ran into issues with a lap to go and fell back to a 15th place finish. Mosiman was gifted the 7th spot and the 4th most picked rider was able to give some peace to the stressed out managers. After two rounds of 250 East I'm left wondering what happened to Michael Mosiman's speed.


Speaking of WHAT HAPPENED? One team picked Levi Kitchen... yea, that one that races 250 West... for Tampa's 250 East Main Event. Another team picked Jordan Smith for the 2nd week in a row which means Smith was going to get them a Strike regardless, but they get a No Pick Strike instead. And then there is Mercer181 who was eliminated from SX Survivor earlier this year because he was busy banging bars at an Arenacross and forgot to submit a pick. There is a very high probability that he was once again escorting up-and-coming AX rookies to the cotton candy stand at the top of section 141 via block pass because he failed to submit his picks for SSXS this week. Zero points and a strike for Mercer, but the good news is his team will live to fight another day and those rookies will likely not try to pass on the outside in AX ever again.


The final casualty of the 250 East Main Event was from my buddy Brad and team BigMX Radio. Clearly he listened to me when we Pre-Gamed for Tampa on the BigMX Radio podcast with Dbo (Denny Stephenson) and myself that we do weekly (shameless plug, you should tune in if you haven't been already; live on the BigMX YouTube every Thursday evening at 8pm CST). I said that I knew Blose had had very limited time on the bike and after last weekend they did some more testing where he was able to find a setting that made him feel at home so he should be better in Tampa. A crash didn't help, but Blose wasn't anywhere near the top 7 when the flag flew.


There was no way the 450 Class could come close to the action that the 250s provided, right? Well, the rider with the highest pick trend in the class Chase Sexton sure hoped it would be a boring race after he jumped out to an early lead. Sexton's pick trend was double any other rider and he earned by dominating timed qualifying and his heat race for the 2nd straight week. With Tomac not getting a great start, Chase Sexton looked in good shape to finish the job this week. Unfortunately for the red rider Sexton, Cooper Webb was looking to bounce back after an off night in Houston and the former champion latched a tow-rope onto Chase. The two yo-yoed most of the race and even after Webb had a huge moment in the whoops the gap continued to stay close and fluctuate based on mistakes and lappers. Then as we've seen so many times before, Sexton tossed the lead away late in the race when a slippery edge in the whoops caught him off balance.


Cooper Webb was only hired by one team in SSXS this week. After two less than stellar races in a row, the back to back 2nd place finishes at the opener were starting to fade from the rear view mirror. Webb needed to bounce back and that is exactly what he did in a big way. His first win since 2021 puts him right back in the championship race and gives him major momentum as we roll into the stadium in Oakland where he landed his first ever 450 SX podium. As for Sexton, he'd remount for 2nd helping him gain points on Tomac in the title fight.


For the first time in 2023 we aren't talking about Eli Tomac in the battle for the win. Tomac didn't seem comfortable all day on the slippery Florida track, so salvaging a very quiet 5th and keeping the red plate instead of crashing maybe wasn't such a bad night. Tomac was tied for the 2nd highest pick trend in SSXS with Aaron Plessinger.


When the rain was in the forecast Plessinger's name was immediately on everyone's mind. AP is a master of the mud and he was also really competitive just a week ago in Houston. Plessinger was dialed in again at Raymond James Stadium and awarded his team managers with a strong podium finish in third. Justin Cooper was tied for the 4th highest pick trend in the game after he had a strong rookie debut coming through the pack at Houston. With Cooper riding a limited schedule it was wise for team managers to select him while he was for sure lining up and he rewarded them with another very strong ride finishing 7th. Justin Cooper is doing fantastic on the 450 and why the rider who could potentially be the future of the Star Racing team's 450 program is only getting select races in ridiculous to me. As long as Justin Cooper keeps putting in good results I sure hope the team keeps the 32 on the track getting valuable 450 Supercross experience.


Staying on the race track is also what Adam Cianciarulo needs. Coming into 2023 Adam had the equivalent of one season of races in the 450 SX class. AC has been managing the races, keeping it upright, and logging top 10 finishes each weekend, so it wasn't a surprise to see him tied with JCoop for the 4th highest pick trend. The streak of staying up and staying in the top 10 ended and team managers in SSXS were dealt a blow with Adam's 12th place finish. Luckily Adam will be able to line up in Oakland and so will the team managers. One team picked Jason Anderson and Jason Anderson picked a fight with Justin Barcia early in the main event putting them both on the ground. Anderson was absolutely ripping through the pack and came back to 6th.


The last pick went to Christian Craig who FINALLY found the top 10 in 2023. Unfortunately for Brad at BigMX Radio who selected Craig he's still getting a Strike... Wait, didn't Craig get 10th? Yep, he sure did, but Brad also picked Craig to get top 10 in SSXS last week, so he's getting a "No Pick" Strike and no points for the event from Craig. It'll be okay Brad, we all know how my week went last week too.


As only the 2nd week of SSXS ends, nearly two-thirds of the teams have already received at least 1 strike. Over a quarter of the total strikes available have been used up and four teams are already risking elimination next weekend with two strikes in as many weeks. This game is proving to be both challenging and brutal! We'll start with a fresh list of 250 West riders next weekend in Oakland and see if perhaps that will add a bit of stability to the game.



SUPER SX Survivor Resources:



FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON, this will be the link to your SUPER SX Survivor Entries! Bookmark it, screenshot it, save it, etc. HOWEVER, ENSURE YOU ARE SELECTING THE CORRECT ROUND FROM THE DROP DOWN!


Also, Oakland has an early start time to avoid all the fans getting mugged (kidding...maybe?), so the lockout is at 5pm CST on Saturday.






































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