After strong starts to the first two Main Events of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, Adam Cianciarulo proves he still belongs among the best in racing.
An injury-ridden 2021 was a year the Kawasaki rider would like to soon forget. A hard crash in Orlando ended his Supercross season just before the halfway mark with a broken collarbone. Ongoing issues with his shoulder and arm made him decide to pull out after the Spring Creek National where he underwent surgery on an ulnar nerve. Then, rumors of a crash during off-season practice and training caused a Grade III AC separation, which he later confirmed on social media.
“I had a crash a few weeks ago,” he stated on Instagram. “I did hurt my shoulder: a grade III AC separation, my first time doing that. We have this thing in dirt bike racing where we don’t talk about injuries. I don’t really know if anybody knows why, maybe it’s some kind of masculinity thing. Obviously, not ideal. But had a great off-season up until that point.”
So far, he has still entered every race since, and ran up front in the opening laps. A great promise that the 25-year old holds is his early speed to keep pace with the front-runners during the opening laps. Last weekend, Cianciarulo was third at the line for the first eight laps, climbing to second on Lap 9 after Chase Sexton made a mistake attempting a pass on Ken Roczen. On Saturday, he led the first three laps at Oakland before Anderson found a way around.
His biggest weakness to overcome is the comeback from the shoulder injury, and having to ride conservatively while recovering is not a way Cianciarulo wants to ride. Despite running up front and leading laps, the Florida native is still looking for his first top-10 finish of the season after an 11th at Anaheim and a 12th in Oakland. However, riding smart is proving many positives while hanging tough.
“Not ideal with the shoulder,” said Cianciarulo after the season opener at Anaheim 1. “Probably the most pain I’ve ever ridden with in my life. The track didn’t help me with two pretty gnarly sets of whoops, especially the ones after the finish line. Felt like I was okay after the track was flat, but just about trying to keep my feet on the pegs. It was an 11th (at Anaheim), the best 11th of my life.
“Only up from here. Thanks to the team, as the bike is running great. I hope I never have to do that again.”
But what does a young rider with a serious injury look forward to in 2022? This is when we see the young guns become veterans of the sport.
“You control what you can control and do your best,” he shared with RacerX Magazine. “I think I succeed the most when I have this mindset and I think I have the most fun when I have that mindset. I find that the best and most self-serving mindset for me is just to put one foot in front of the other. I’ve been caught up in that, ‘I’ve got to win this championship!’ or, ‘I’ve got to win this race!’”
Once you have the two halves of learning the long-term mindset with the aggressiveness potential from leading laps and setting an early pace, then comes the struggle with the union of the two: faith. And confidence is one thing that has yet to leave him, granting him great promise through the 2022 Supercross season.
“I certainly haven’t lost any belief in myself,” he declared. “ There always are a lot of questions. Everything I went through in 2021 has made me stronger for this year. All of that put me in a good position for this year.
“I’m very confident and I believe in my ability.”