Much of the focus at Houston 1 for the 450SX class in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season-opener was on the lead battle between Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen, the two incidents for reigning series champion Eli Tomac and which rookie would perform better in their debut.
Adam Cianciarulo fell short of the podium but quietly held a strong run for the start of the 2021 season with a fourth place finish.
“P4 and a relatively quiet round 1 for me,” Cianciarulo shared online after the event.
The past year has been a struggle for the second-year 450SX rider. While he had an impressive start to his rookie year, his crash at Salt Lake City 1 resulted in a serious back injury for the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider. Further evaluations showed more damage than originally assumed, so the team elected to park for the rest of the season to allow Cianciarulo to heal up in time for the start of the summer’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship (outdoor competition).
“This is a tough pill to swallow as I was really excited to get back to racing here in Salt Lake City,” he said last year after his accident. “But I have to be smart with what my body is telling me.”
This year has been a unique start due to COVID, but to the surprise of many, Feld Entertainment has been hard at work trying to find a way to allow fans to attend races while following CDC guidelines. Cianciarulo notices that.
“The fans are such a huge part of our sport,” Cianciarulo said. “It doesn’t feel like a complete Supercross event without them there. I didn’t get to race all of the Salt Lake City rounds, but going from Anaheim – those first few California races of 2020 – and then being there at Salt Lake for the first race (without fans).
“From that to the outdoor season when there weren’t that many fans. It’s very welcome to have the fans in the stands.”
After winning two Lucas Pro Motocross main events last year, a Supercross victory is next on his to-do list.
“I’m going after a race win for sure, just to knock that off the list – to get that monkey off my back,” he said. “I kind of did. That little bit of pressure of getting that first win on a 450 is gone now that I’ve got some wins in the outdoor season.”
And while he didn’t take home any hardware in Sunday night’s Houston 1 450SX Main Event, a quiet fourth place result was the confidence booster he was looking for.