With the Motocross Esports Championship wrapping up on 1st September 2022, a champion in the 450 class was finally crowned at Fox Raceway 2 National.
Just strictly looking at qualification times, Payson Johnson was sitting pretty in first place with a near 2-second advantage over Alexis Leclair. Behind Leclair was fellow Frenchman Pablo Vial, who despite the quick quali timing, wasn’t quite in the running for the championship.
In fact, unlike Logan Leitzel (who clinched his first AMA Motocross Esports Championship in the 250 class two races before the end of the season), Johnson had a shred of competition to ensure his inevitable win at Pala 2.
He entered the race with 471 points and the top position, meaning a victory in Moto 1 would result in Johnson’s championship.
Both Leclair (445 points) and Tyler Lang (443 points), respectively, were the only other riders who could sneak in and snag the 450 title from #51, given their point-differential heading into the final showdown.
The three put up a masterclass, but it was Leclair who finished first in Moto 1, with Johnson and Lang trailing behind in second and third, in that order.
It would all come down to Moto 2, where despite an incredible fight and triumph from Lang, Johnson’s consistent domination in previous motos ultimately led to his first AMA Esports Championship in his rookie year of the 450 class.
In a tribute to his friend and former pro racer in MX Simulator Jonathan Alexander, who had passed away last season, Johnson wore #148 on his back.
“I pretty much had it wrapped, but choked really bad at Ironman,” Johnson said during the post-race interview with Start Your Systems’ Kellen Brauer.
When asked if he’ll be back in 2023, Johnson proudly confirmed.
Huge congrats to Payson Johnson on taking home the 2022 AMA Esports Motocross # 1 plate.