Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Aaron Plessinger made a welcome return to racing and the podium at the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship finals in Salt Lake City, charging to a season-best second-place result to cap off what has been a convincing 450SX season for the fan-favorite.
Plessinger put down the seventh-fastest qualifying time aboard his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION this afternoon, before leading almost the entirety of the second 450cc Heat race of the night. A costly mistake through the whoops on a slick surface saw him fall, before quickly remounting and earning the final transfer position into the Main Event.
A solid start in the Main Event saw Plessinger thrive in the conditions as he weaved his way through the field with precision, racing into second position by the midway point. From there, the Ohio native posted a calculated effort and finished off this year’s Supercross season with a runner-up finish.
Aaron Plessinger: "It feels good to cap the season off with a podium. I went down a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back, but made good progress through the week and decided I could race. I’m still a little sore, though today was a crazy day! The clouds were all over the place – it was hot and cold, and then the rain came down. This track is like concrete, so the rain made it tough, but it was fun. The whoops were tough, as I showed in the Heat, but we remounted well and came back with second in the Main, so I’m pumped to finish the Supercross season off like this."
The 250SX regions were combined at the Salt Lake City finale, as the coveted 250SX East/West Showdown rounded out the series. As the times were compiled from the day's qualifying sessions, Red Bull KTM duo Maximus Vohland and Tom Vialle concluded the timesheets in sixth and eighth places, respectively.
Beginning with the 250SX East Heat race, Vialle battled the tricky track conditions and would finish just shy of a transfer position in 11th. It was a similar story for Vohland in the 250SX West Heat, who finished one spot out of contention in 10th, and would join Vialle in the LCQ.
Conditions would worsen after the skies opened, with both Vialle and Vohland presented with an added challenge as the gates dropped. French rookie Vialle launched to the holeshot and would earn a third-place ride and a place in the Main Event, whilst Vohland’s sixth would mark the conclusion of his night.
In the 250SX East/West Showdown Main Event, Vialle powered his KTM 250 SX-F to a top-five start, avoiding the opening lap carnage as he battled toward the front of the pack. A small mistake soon saw the number 128 on the ground momentarily, before salvaging a 14th-place finish by the race's end.
Tom Vialle: "The day didn’t begin so well here in Salt Lake City as I had to go through the LCQ. Happy to finish third there and transfer through to the Main Event, though had almost the last gate pick. Thankfully, I got a great start, I was third, but a couple of mistakes put me in P5 for two laps, then had a small crash. I was up the back, although happy to charge to where I did, and happy to finish the Supercross season healthy in eighth overall and learn a lot for next year."
Maximus Vohland: "Tough night for me in Salt Lake. I got a bad start in the Heat and struggled to make up positions. Ended up missing qualifying for the Main by one spot and had to go to the LCQ, where I got a better start, but struggled with the mud and just didn’t find my groove, which meant I missed out on the Main Event. Not the way I wanted to end my 2023 SX season, but I’m healthy and looking forward to outdoors in a couple of weeks."
The 2023 AMA Supercross Championship season marked an impressive return to form for two-time 450SX champion Cooper Webb before being injured, who had secured two race wins, nine podiums, and also third-place overall aboard his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION in the final championship standings.
Premier class teammate Plessinger finished the 450SX season in seventh position, while Vohland was sixth overall in the 250SX West standings, and double MX2 World Champion Vialle took eighth position in the final 250SX East standings to complete his first Supercross campaign.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will now shift its attention outdoors to the upcoming Pro Motocross Championship, which commences in Pala, California, on May 27, marking the second portion of the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) season.
Next Race: May 27 – Pala, California
Results 450SX Class – Salt Lake City
1. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, 25 laps
2. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, +18.266
3. Justin Hill (USA), KTM, +21.400
6. Josh Hill (USA), KTM
11. Kevin Moranz (USA), KTM
Standings 450SX Class 2023 after 17 of 17 rounds
1. Chase Sexton, 372 points
2. Eli Tomac, 339
3. Cooper Webb, 304
7. Aaron Plessinger, 236
8. Justin Hill, 212
13. Josh Hill, 149
16. Kevin Moranz, 96
34. Marvin Musquin, 11
Results 250SX East/West Showdown – Salt Lake City
1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 19 laps
2. RJ Hampshire (USA), Husqvarna, +4.760
3. Levi Kitchen (USA), Yamaha, +7.223
14. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM
22. Derek Kelley (USA), KTM
Standings 250SX West Class 2023 after 9 of 9 rounds
1. Jett Lawrence, 223 points
2. RJ Hampshire, 186
3. Levi Kitchen, 156
6. Maximus Vohland, 121
9. Derek Kelley, 87
Standings 250SX East Class 2023 after 10 of 10 rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence, 241 points
2. Haiden Deegan, 183
3. Max Anstie, 182
8. Tom Vialle, 120