RJ Hampshire suggests changes to the Supercross 250 class

After finishing second in the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross finale to clinch his first 250 championship, RJ Hampshire had a few changes in mind to help grow the division.

High among his list of priorities is an increase in the number of races of East / West Showdowns.

"The way I look at it, I would say you should run East four rounds, West four rounds, six combined," Hampshire said in the post-race news conference. "I feel that would be a legit championship, and no one could say anything bad about that. We have good racing. Both of our [2024] Showdowns were awesome, so more Showdowns."

The idea to separate the divisions dates back to the 1985 season, which is also the first year for the East / West Showdowns. Racing for Eastern pride in the 125 class, Eddie Warren won that first race at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

The idea remained as the support division changed from 125s to 250s, and the number of combination races varied from year to year.

Hampshire thinks it's time to expand the concept, not only because he benefitted from the Showdowns this year, but to legitimize the Eastern and Western championships.

Hampshire won his first Showdown this year in Nashville in a race that had enormous implications for both divisions.

"Our sponsors are getting so much from me racing a 250," Hampshire said. "That’s just how it is and it wouldn’t be that way if I was not still in the class. Business-wise, exposure-wise, everything, there’s no really ‘wrong’ to it. ... We’re still at the top of our game.”

Hampshire's Nashville win came after a Lap 1 crash eliminated two of his closest rivals when Cameron McAdoo and Levi Kitchen crashed. McAdoo could not continue and later announced he suffered an injury that kept him from completing the season. Kitchen finished 14th, the only time in 2024 that he failed to crack the top five.

In third, the 250 East champion Tom Vialle was the highest-finishing East Coast rider, with his closest competitor, Haiden Deegan, finishing sixth.

In two Showdowns last year, Hampshire finished 13th in East Rutherford, New Jersey, before settling into the runner-up position in Salt Lake City.

If Hampshire had his way, Supercross would continue to offer separate titles to Eastern and West champions, but "You’re giving the fans a lot more of a show."

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