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Kitchen vs Hampshire: five significant moments in this year's title fight

Level on points heading into the final race, Levi Kitchen and RJ Hampshire look to capture the 2024 Monster Energy 250SX West championship

(Sam Donsig/Intermission Sports)


Supercross is a sport that takes everything out of a person's body both physically and mentally. Riders need stamina, focus and determination and you have to be consistent for 17 rounds. Levi Kitchen and RJ Hampshire are two riders who have shown these characteristics throughout the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX season.

A close championship battle between the Kitchen and Hampshire has seen them share the podium four times, with three wins each and 11 podiums total between the two riders. Now tied on points at 186 even heading into the final race this season, it's winner-take-all in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday night.

Before we get too hyper-focused on the finale, it's important to look back at the five key moments that have defined this year's title battle, going all the way back to the season opener in Anaheim, CA.

1. RJ Hampshire wins season opener

RJ Hampshire started the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross season with a bang, winning the season opener and taking the red plate into Rd. 2. Despite finishing second in his heat race, Hampshire was able to put it all together in the main event, leading 14 out of 15 laps.

He looked quite comfortable on the bike and didn't make any mistakes in that race. On the other side, Levi Kitchen had an up-and-down night but was able to get a good start off the hop and have a clean race, staying out of trouble. He finished third in the main event, after placing seventh in his heat race.

It was only the first race of the season, but from that moment onwards, it was obvious it was going to be a long-winded duel. Rd. 1 went to Hampshire, but Kitchen was hungry for much more.

Points after Rd. 1:

Hampshire - 25 (1st in Standings)

Kitchen - 20 (2nd in Standings)

2. Kitchen edges Hampshire at Triple Crown event

The fourth race of the season, Anaheim II, provided fans with some of the closest racing we've seen all season. Kitchen and Hampshire traded victories back and forth between the first two races of the night. Less than one second separated both riders at the finish line in both races.

Heading into the third and final race of the night level on points, it was a winner-take-all. Kitchen ultimately edged Hampshire in the final race, finishing third while Hampshire came home seventh. Kitchen would go on to win overall, while Hampshire was able to recoup and finish fifth.

It was close racing all night long, but ultimately Kitchen got the better of Hampshire and came out victorious in the end.

Points after Rd. 4:

Kitchen - 84 (tied for 1st in Standings)

Hampshire - 76 (3rd in standings)

3. Hampshire cuts lead to 5 points on Kitchen

Heading into the final race before the month-long break in the middle of the season, Hampshire and Kitchen were looking to gain an edge on each other. Kitchen sought to take sole possession of the red plate over Jordon Smith, while also wanting to extend his points lead on Hampshire.

On the other side, RJ wanted to do some damage control and reduce his deficit to Kitchen.

Both Levi and RJ had solid heat races, with Kitchen coming home first and Hampshire finishing third. The main event proved thrilling, as Kitchen earned the hole shot and led for two laps before Jordon Smith took 1st place.

However, it was Hampshire who made a strong push one-third through the race to then go on and lead for the remaining 11 laps and win the main event. His big comeback in that race kept him right on Kitchen's tail in the overall points.

Points after Rd. 6:

Kitchen - 106 (1st in Standings)

Hampshire - 101 (3rd in standings)

4. Kitchen wins two-in-a-row, extends lead to 15 points

Coming out of the break, Levi Kitchen did not miss a beat. Winning the next two rounds, including sweeping the Triple Crown event in St. Louis, he was in prime championship form and was looking strong heading into the final three rounds. Kitchen was able to get into a smooth rhythm and it helped him build a strong cushion.

Meanwhile, Hampshire had two solid performances, but it wasn't good enough to beat Kitchen. He finished second in Seattle and fourth overall in St. Louis in the Triple Crown event.

The 15-point difference between the two riders made the championship look like Kitchen's to lose, but Hampshire would prove up to the task.

Points after Rd. 12:

Kitchen - 156 (1st in Standings)

Hampshire - 141 (2nd in standings)

5. Hampshire retakes red plate and lead over Kitchen

Heading into Rd. 14 of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship, Hampshire was in desperate need to score major points on Kitchen. That is exactly what happened at Nashville, as the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider had a very strong night, winning his heat race as well as the main event.

Meanwhile, it was a rough night for the points leader, Kitchen. It started during his heat race, which saw him finish sixth and 5.2s off the pace of Hampshire. That result meant Hampshire had taken a slight advantage over Kitchen heading into the final two rounds.


Looking ahead to the season finale this weekend, with both riders all level on points, there is no question Hampshire and Kitchen will be laying it all out on the line to win. Nothing is out of the question and it will all come down to whoever is more willing to push their mind and body to the max from the heats through to the main event.

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