The Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing team has three riders battling for the two 250SX titles heading into the final two rounds of the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. Colt Nichols and Christian Craig are 1-2 in 250SX East Region with two rounds to go and Justin Cooper has a 20-point advantage over second place (Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence) in the 250SX West Region with just the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown remaining. And although he sits sixth in the 250SX West Region standings following the eight round, Nate Thrasher has taken two wins, meaning the team has four different riders to claim at least two race wins this season:
250SX East Region
Colt Nichols | 3 main event wins
Christian Craig | 2 main event wins
*Through round 7 of 9 of the 2021 250SX East Region season.
250SX West Region
Justin Cooper | 3 main event wins
Nate Thrasher | 2 main event wins
*Through round 8 of 9 of the 2021 250SX West Region season.
With the season coming to a conclusion on May 2, Monster Energy put together a video highlighting their three title competitors, who are all three aiming their first respective professional title and their first AMA Supercross title. The thing is, only two of them can physically win the two titles. Cooper can claim the 250SX West Region title but only Nichols OR Craig can claim the 250SX East Region title. Here is what Nichols said about racing Craig to Eric Johnson in an interview we ran today.
Yeah, it has been an interesting dynamic with us just because we are teammates and in the championship hunt, but like you said, only one guy can win. There is a lot of respect there between us. I think we’re a little bit more mature being a little bit older and understanding what is at stake, but also we both don’t want to do anything stupid. We’re older and more mature and understand it and I think that definitely helps with both of us. I’ve raced him clean all year and he’s raced me clean all year. We never really have to look over our shoulders too crazy hard when we are racing each other. That’s been a big plus. It’s been fun, but we are getting down to the nitty gritty and hopefully it is me on the ither side of this thing smiling and holding up the number one plate when it’s all said and done. There’s a lot of respect there between us and it has been fun racing him so far.
This could get interesting...
In terms of titles, since 2014, the Star Yamaha Racing team has totaled five 250SX regional supercross titles and five 250 Class titles in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
Star Yamaha titles in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship:
2020 250SX West Region title (Dylan Ferrandis)
2019 250SX West Region title (Dylan Ferrandis)
2018 250SX West Region title (Aaron Plessinger)
2016 250SX West Region title (Cooper Webb)
2015 250SX West Region title (Cooper Webb)
Star Yamaha titles in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship:
2020 250 Class title (Dylan Ferrandis)
2018 250 Class title (Aaron Plessinger)
2016 250 Class title (Cooper Webb)
2015 250 Class title (Jeremy Martin)
2014 250 Class title (Jeremy Martin)
The team recently took over the 450 Yamaha effort from Factory Yamaha prior to the start of the 2021 racing season so the full Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha team now boasts a professional roster of nine total riders. Yes, NINE! In addition to the four race winners (Nichols, Craig, Cooper, and Thrasher), supercross rookie Jarrett Frye and Jeremy Martin are also on the active roster, as well as 450SX riders Aaron Plessinger, Dylan Ferrandis, and Malcolm Stewart. Oh the team also has a few amateur studs in Matt LeBlanc, Levi Kitchen, and Nick Romano, who you are going to want to keep your eye on over the next few months.
Team owner Bobby Regan has created one of the biggest rosters in the history of the sport. Why? “Jason, we’re not here to make money, we’re here to win,” he repeats several times to our Jason Weigandt during an interview in December 2020 ahead of the 2021 season. Well with title contender Jeremy Martin expected to make a full recovery ahead of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, he will join Justin Cooper as a pre-season title favorite after the #6 finished second to Dylan Ferrandis on a GEICO Honda CRF250R in 2020. So by the end of September when the AMA season is done, the Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing team could have three more #1 plates added to the truck doors.