Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger closed the curtains on his SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) Finals series with a well-earned fifth position in the 2023 standings, as 250SMX contenders Maximus Vohland and Tom Vialle claimed P7 and P8 overall for the season.
Plessinger opened race day in Los Angeles by powering his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION to the 10th-fastest time in qualifying, as the Supercross-type track layout provided unique elements of the sport to complete the inaugural SMX series at the LA Memorial Coliseum – including a high-speed section up through the iconic peristyle and outside of the stadium surroundings.
As the night program commenced, a difficult start to open the two-moto format saw Plessinger go down in the opening race after charging forward, and he would be credited with P20. A rebound in the second moto saw the number seven fight his way through the field, earning a solid P6 by race's end to turn around his night and finish the round in 12th place.
With his Los Angeles result, Plessinger ends the SuperMotocross World Championship with fifth position overall in the premier 450SMX category, combining his results from the AMA Supercross Championship and Pro Motocross Championship, contested prior to the SMX Finals series.
Aaron Plessinger: "The last round of the SMX series here in Los Angeles didn’t quite go as planned. I tucked the front-end after the restart there in moto one and ended up on the ground with a pretty hard hit. Second moto, I did what I could to salvage a finish, which was good enough for sixth place. A mediocre day here at this round – that one big mistake cost me bad. All in all, a few too many mistakes on my end during this series, so we’ll go back to the drawing board, and get testing underway to come out swinging for next season."
Two-time MX2 World Champion Vialle recorded the seventh-fastest qualifying lap during the afternoon, before edging to a top-three start in the opening 250SMX moto, and then quickly moving his way to the front of the pack. Managing the pace out front for the majority of the moto, Vialle finished with a third-place result after an inspiring battle among the leaders.
Circling the opening stages of moto two in P5, the French newcomer to U.S. competition was taken out of top-five contention by another rider, and went down in the process. A spirited ride from there saw him race to a P13 result, ending 10th overall for the round, and concluding his 250SMX campaign in eighth place overall.
Tom Vialle: "The night was pretty good until the second moto. I was leading the first moto and ended up third, so that was good and I felt great! I was also in good position in the second moto before another rider hit me pretty hard in the corner, so I was really unlucky there. I was pretty upset, because I could have fought for the podium and a good overall result, so it wasn't what I hoped for. We were a little bit unlucky there, but it's the way it is and now we look ahead to the Nations and focusing on 2024 to be back again and as strong as possible."
Meanwhile, 250SMX teammate Vohland charged to the fifth-quickest time in qualifying onboard his 250 SX-F on the technical LA circuit. A poor start in the opening moto saw the young Californian race to a ninth-place score, while seventh position in moto two saw him place ninth overall for the final round of SMX. That resulted in seventh for the championship.
Maximus Vohland: "It wasn't the worst result for me this weekend, being ninth overall and seventh in the final SMX points, but I didn't ride to my potential tonight across the two motos. Qualifying was positive earlier on though and I learned a lot this season that will help me keep building into the future."
Results 450SMX Class – SMX Final
1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 1-1
2. Ken Roczen (GER), Suzuki, 2-2
3. Cooper Webb (USA), Yamaha, 5-3
12. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, 20-6
Results 250SMX Class – SMX Final
1. Haiden Deegan (USA), Yamaha, 5-2
2. Jo Shimoda (JPN), Kawasaki, 4-4
3. RJ Hampshire (USA), Husqvarna, 2-6
9. Maximus Vohland (USA), KTM, 9-7
10. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM, 3-13
19. Derek Kelley (USA), KTM
Standings 450SMX Class 2023 after 3 of 3 finals
1. Jett Lawrence, 163 points
2. Ken Roczen, 146
3. Chase Sexton, 126
5. Aaron Plessinger, 104
Standings 250SMX Class 2023 after 3 of 3 finals
1. Haiden Deegan, 157 points
2. Jo Shimoda, 152
3. RJ Hampshire, 122
7. Maximus Vohland, 98
8. Tom Vialle, 90