PALA, Calif. – Chance Hymas dominates in the 250 Pro Supercross Futures in the 2021 Cal Classic race at Fox Raceway, as 22 riders qualify for Anaheim 2 in January. With a 1-1 finish, Hymas leads the way for his class to be the first seed qualifying for the Supercross Futures early next year.
“It feels really good,” said Hymas after his stellar performance. “I can’t thank the boys (enough) over at Factory Connection for getting my bike dialed in, and of course HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) for making my bike dialed, my guy Tommy working his butt off to get that thing dialed in for me. Very appreciative of that.”
On paper, Hymas grabbed both holeshots and led all the laps while grabbing the win in both motos to secure the overall. It was a relief but a mental challenge for the young 16-year old. His aggressive riding style was on minimum display once his lead grew to over 10 seconds in the opening laps. From there, lapped traffic was already in effect and the Fly Racing competitor looked for smart moves by picking off riders one at a time to hold his lead and keep the rubber side down.
“I don’t let that affect me,” Hymas explained about the gate picks and lapped traffic. “We’re all starting on the gate, so it doesn’t really matter to me where I line up. All I know is that I got to nail my start to have the best chance at getting a good start.”
It’s moments like these that show off his veteran skills, and a good reason for Fly Racing to offer the Idaho native a four-year contract extension. Those smart choices paid off. With no issues, he secured both motos in dominating fashion, making him an early favorite to win again in January.
But the road to Utah is a bit more challenging. With narrower tracks and with a seating capacity of over 45,000, Angel Stadium of Anaheim brings the amateur class to the big stage. Smaller margins of error will expose every little mistake. Fans cheering – even for a situation on the other end of the track – can prove an unprecedented distraction. A completely man-made dirt track is a surface that some riders have yet to experience. And now, instead of the top-22 advancing, only the top four riders will advance to the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season finale in May.
“Definitely just need to spend some time on a Supercross track,” Hymas shared about the challenges ahead in the winter months. “We’re going to be racing in the night show – at least I think I am. I got to figure out how to hit some whoops, but at first, just need to get comfortable riding a Supercross track. A smaller margin of error and harder mentally, and it’s a different type of riding. You have to be alert all the time, and that’s just something I have to get used to.
“I have (Thor) Mini O’s in Florida over Thanksgiving, and then the weekend after that, there’s AZ Open and there’s also another Futures qualifier for Glendale there.”
The second to qualify was Ryder Difrancesco. After a bad draw for the random gate pick in Moto 1, the Kawasaki athlete was able to start alongside Hymas in Moto 2. Overall, he didn’t have the pace to keep up with his Honda competitor but held a solid gap ahead of third to solidify the second seed going into January.
“Good day,” Difrancesco said after the second moto. “I had a not-so-good jump, but managed to get out second behind Chance and tried to latch on. I think losing today is something good for me – to work harder, move forward and have a goal to reach. Not to be cocky or anything, but I’ve had one of the best mini-cycle careers that anyone could have, so coming off of winning so much is different now that I’m losing and have something to shoot for. It’s going to be good for me, so today I think losing is alright.”
A second place in the amateur division might be something to celebrate, but for Difrancesco, it left him scratching his head. In his pre- and early teens, he dominated the Mini Senior classes as he told Kickin’ the Tires.
- Won both Mini Senior divisions in the 2019 Road to Mammoth and swept all four entries in the 2019 Southern California championship season, including a victory at Milestone MX Park during its final year of operation.
- Class champion in the 2017 and 2018 Cal Classic in the 85cc class at Fox Raceway, winning all but one of his eight motos entered.
- Points leader for two separate local classes this year, including four overall wins.
After an encouraging talk with his crew, coach and mechanic, the 16-year old is keeping his learning hat on while planning to put on an aggressive performance in January.
“I think you always have to take it with a grain of salt.” Difrancesco stated after meeting with his mechanic under the Kawasaki tent. “You can’t keep your head down because that will always make it worse. I’m glad I get to ride a dirt bike for Kawasaki and very grateful. I’ll be working harder, go to the next race and see where we’re at. It’s always great winning, so we’re going to try to go win everywhere we can. Everyone works hard, but you always try to work harder than the guy that’s beating you, so it’s time to go home, regroup and try to come out on top.
“We’ll look at video and do some mid-week testing. I start Supercross here in the next week, so suspension and all is different since it’s a whole new animal. We get with the team in a big meeting.”
Brock Bennett finished on the final step of the podium with a 3-4 result, edging out Gavin Towers’ 7-3 motos and Brad West 4-15. West crashed, then suffered a flat tire for the remainder of the race, dropping him out of a potential top-five finish. For Bennett, it was a peaceful and solid day as he led the Husqvarna realm.
“I feel like I had a pretty solid day racing the 250 Pro Supercross Futures,” said the California native. “The track was difficult to find a good flow and there really were not a lot of places to rest but that being said I am very happy with the 3rd overall. This weekend is my first A class racing and I honestly feel it is a good start. I have been training hard. I’m looking forward to starting to ride some supercross and getting ready for the Anaheim future race.”
Towers and Luke Kalaitzian rounded out the top five. Cole Bailey, Dylan Cunha and Dawson Kaub placed sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Bailey was the highest KTM, and Kaub was the highest Yamaha rider. Brayden Lessler and Brandon Pederson completed the top 10. Montana Johnson, 15th, was the only Suzuki to qualify, and Dylan Simao, 19th, was the only GasGas competitor to make the top-22. One additional notable was Talon Hawkins, who raced in the 2021 Cal Classic with an injured hand and finger, finished 21st to squeeze his way into Anaheim 2. Lucas Lamborn finished 17th to be the only 125cc 2-stroke rider to qualify for January’s event.
Random Gate Draw Makes Exciting Battles Across Moto 1 Field
The field lined up on a pea-pick gate draw. Riders drew a number to determine gate pick order for the first moto. As the gate dropped, all riders were able to make their way through the opening jumps and turns, with Chance Hymas claiming the holeshot. Alex Gatt – the only Canadian in Saturday’s field – fell on the first lap, but was able to continue the race.
After the first completed lap, Hymas had gapped the field by six seconds, but with the random gate draw, it set up a wild 5-way battle for second between Difrancesco, Bennett, West and Kalaitzian. Kalaitzian held the spot for the opening two laps, but Difrancesco was able to get around on Lap 3, followed by West passing him the following lap. About this time, Hymas was already catching lapped traffic early in the race.
By Lap 5, Difrancesco and West gapped Bennett and Kalaitzian, creating two separate battles for the rest of the race for second and fourth. Bennett found a way around Kalaitzian on Lap 5.
Hymas stretched himself to over a 10-second lead by halfway. In the closing laps, Bennett was able to hunt down and pass West for the third position. Moto 1 checkered flag results showed Hymas as the winner with Difrancesco, Bennett, West and Kalaitzian in the top five.
Organized Gate Picks Create Exciting Start to Moto 2
Gate picks were organized by the results of Moto 1, creating a tight pack right at the drop. Hymas still grabbed the holeshot but not without a hungry Difrancesco right on his heels. West, Kalaitzian and Bennett were also up in the top-six, but Gavin Towers added his name to the mix as he crossed the holeshot line in fifth.
Kalaitzian crashed on Lap 3, dropping him down to sixth overall. He was able to battle back up to fifth at one point, but was eventually passed by Cameron Skaalerud, who finished 24th in Moto 1 making a strong comeback in Moto 2. Kalaitzian didn’t have the pace he originally had in Moto 1, falling back to finish eighth.
At Lap 5, West fell and found he had a flat tire. He gathered it back up to get into 10th, but fell down to 18th by the end of the moto, settling for an 11th overall. Lessler also took a fall, and dropped to 14th at the finish after a strong 6th place run in Moto 1.
Hymas started to catch lapped traffic by Lap 7, but it didn’t phase him one bit. He held on to win the second moto to finish off a perfect day by leading all laps, holeshotting both gate drops and winning both motos. Difrancesco finished second in Moto 2 also securing second overall. Towers battled up to third in Moto 2, but got beat on the overall behind Bennett. Cole Bailey rounded out the top five. Skaalerud topped off his rally from the first moto to a sixth place effort in Moto 2.
Official results of the 2021 Cal Classic at Fox Raceway are below. The next event for the top-22 unofficial qualifiers will be on Saturday, January 29, 2022 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, CA during the Monster Energy AMA Supercross race at Anaheim 2.
Cal Classic 250 Pro SX Futures Results
|wdt_ID||Overall||Number||Brand||Name||City, State||Moto 1||Moto 2|
|1||1*||21||HON||Chance Hymas†||Pocatello, ID||1||1|
|2||2*||23||KAW||Ryder Difrancesco||Bakersfield, CA||2||2|
|3||3*||211||HSK||Brock Bennett||Bakersfield, CA||3||4|
|4||4*||15||KAW||Gavin Towers||Venetia, PA||7||3|
|5||5*||636||HON||Luke Kalaitzian||Sun Valley, CA||5||8|
|6||6*||8||KTM||Cole Bailey||Paso Robles, CA||9||5|
|7||7*||55||KAW||Dylan Cunha||Riverbank, CA||10||7|
|8||8*||218||YAM||Dawson Kaub||Ottawa, KS||11||9|
|9||9*||901||KTM||Brayden Lessler||Ramona, CA||6||14|
|10||10*||672||KTM||Brandon Pederson||Los Fresnos, TX||12||10|
|Overall||Number||Brand||Name||City, State||Moto 1||Moto 2|
* Unofficially qualified for Supercross Futures race at Anaheim 2
† Won both holeshots, led all laps