Cooper Webb to miss last Triple Crown of 2022 Supercross

It is one-in, one-out at Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for this weekend’s St. Louis Supercross, round 13 of the 2022 season.

Cooper Webb, 2022 Seattle Supercross, shoulder pain.

Cooper Webb has been announced to be out of action for this weekend’s St. Louis Supercross. 

The 2021 AMA Supercross 450SX champion has suffered in 2021 with a new bike, an unsuccessful change in training programme, a mid-season change in training programme as a result, and more recently injury troubles. 

Webb was first hurt in Detroit, when he broke a metacarpal in a crash with Chase Sexton after the #1 KTM rider misjudged a rhythm lane, and the Honda rider had little choice but to land on Webb. 

Despite that, Webb was back out at the next race in Indianapolis, where he finished fifth. A week later, in Seattle, Webb was sixth. 
With a week off between Seattle and this weekend’s upcoming St. Louis round, it was thought that it could be a chance for Webb to recuperate, recover, and return stronger after the break. 

However, a practice crash this week has caused undisclosed injuries to Webb, with KTM simply saying the reigning champion is “pretty banged up,” after the mid-week get-off. 

KTM also said that Webb “did not sustain any serious injuries in the crash and he will use this next week to recover in hopes of lining up in Atlanta, Georgia on 16 April.”

With Webb’s injury, as well as the one earlier in the season for Aaron Plessinger, KTM will have only one 450SX rider this weekend on the factory team, as Marvin Musquin will carry the entirety of the team’s premier class hopes. 

It is not a situation too dissimilar from that of the factory KTM MXGP team, who have no 450 riders, and representation in the paddock from only MX2 rider Tom Vialle. KTM’s MXGP squad tried to replace their only MXGP rider for 2022, reigning World Champion Jeffrey Herlings, with Mathys Boisrame, but the Frenchman injured himself in practice at the first Grand Prix of the year in Matterley Basin. 

The positive news for KTM is that Max Vohland is returning this weekend in the 250SX East class. 

Vohland has been out injured since the opening race of the 250SX East season in Minneapolis, but finally looks as though he is coming back to action this weekend in St. Louis. 

Although Vohland is strictly speaking over halfway through his second Supercross season as a professional, he has only competed in five 250SX races in his career. Last year, in his rookie year in Supercross, Vohland crashed out of his fourth ever Main Event in Indianapolis, which ended up ruling him out for the rest of the season. And this year, as previously mentioned, he was out on the opening night of his year. 

But, now he is back, and he needs to keep a clean record in this final part of the season to finally build some momentum as a professional. 

However, he has arguably picked one of the worst races to come back to. Not that St. Louis is especially sketchy, or that it has a tendency to produce dangerous tracks; and it is not like Glendale where the start straight is always quite long. 

But, what is similar between St. Louis this year and Glendale, is that they are both Triple Crown races.

In fact, St. Louis is the final Triple Crown race of 2022, and while in 450SX Eli Tomac has won both Triple Crowns so far in relatively comfortable fashion, the 250SX class has been chaotic, to say the least.

The West Coast’s Triple Crown in Glendale saw Christian Craig involved in what turned out to be a more divisive incident than it perhaps first appeared when he went down at about 30mph on the entry to the sand turn with Vince Friese. Craig came back in that race to finish fourth, and winning the first and third races meant he was able to finish second overall on the night. 

But the incident proved the unpredictability of Triple Crown racing, and that that unpredictability extends beyond the first turn. 

That was proven again by Jett Lawrence when the 250SX East class had their shot at a Triple Crown in Arlington. 

The week before, Lawrence had dominated in Minneapolis, and indeed every week since Lawrence has dominated (actually, thinking about it, the last four 250SX Supercrosses, across both coasts, have been won by a Lawrence, since Hunter won in Seattle). 

But in Arlington, Lawrence faltered - three times. He crashed in the first moto in the second turn, and in the third moto he crashed in the first turn. He then charged through the field on both occasions, but in the third race that charge came at the cost of Austin Forkner’s season, as the Kawasaki rider went down when Lawrence misjudged the exit of the last corner before the finish, clipped a tough block and unintentionally cross-jumped Forkner. 

Lawrence still managed to finish third on the night, but he also gave up his points lead, and he and Cameron McAdoo went to Daytona the next weekend sharing the red plate between them. 

And that is what Vohland is coming back to: the potential for pure chaos, arguably three-times as much potential as on an ordinary Supercross night.

Not that there was much choice for this year’s #36, as after this weekend there are only three 250SX East rounds remaining, and of those only the race in Foxborough is not an East-West Showdown. 

And, with how strong Christian Craig has been this season on the West Coast, and how similarly strong Jett Lawrence has been on the East, those Showdowns - in Atlanta and Salt Lake City - should be spectacular.