Sexton takes a one-point 450 class lead into the second half of the MX Nationals season; Monster Energy’s Shimoda & Cooper both make the 250 class podium
CORONA, CA – July 11, 2022- (Motor Sports NewsWire) – With two dominant come-from-behind moto victories on Saturday on arguably the most physically demanding track on the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship tour – Massachusetts’ Southwick MX – Monster Energy’s Eli Tomac (Star Racing/Yamaha) pulled to within one point of Monster Energy’s Chase Sexton (Honda) in the battle for 450 class supremacy. Sexton, who also had to pass some of the world’s top racers to score a runner-up 2nd place finish (2-2) at Southwick, leads Tomac 268-267 at the series’ midway point.
And in 250 class racing at Southwick Monster Energy was led by Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda who placed 2nd (2-3) and Justin Cooper (Star Racing/Yamaha) in 3rd (3-4).
“This is a gnarly point race and, obviously, neither of us has blinked,” said Tomac on him and Sexton.
Added Sexton: “I just gotta get better (race) lines like Eli (Tomac). He’s the racer to beat.”
450 class podium Monster Energy’s Eli Tomac
Here’s a look at what went down at Southwick MX, beginning with the 450 class.
450 Moto 1 – Monster Energy’s Christian Craig
Out of the opening gate drop on the MB Tractor Equipment Southwick MX National Christian Craig (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) was out in 3rd place, followed by Monster Energy racers Sexton (4th) and Tomac (9th). … The first turn wouldn’t be so kind to Jason Anderson as the Monster Energy/Kawasaki racer went down in the first turn of the opening moto for the second-straight week, re-mounting in dead last place (out of 40 racers). … Craig would quickly move past multi-time Outdoor National MX champ Ryan Dungey (KTM) and in to 2nd place. … By lap two Tomac had moved up to 7th place, behind 6th place Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy/Kawasaki). … Tomac would put on an early charge, getting past Aaron Plessinger (KTM) and fast local pro Chris Canning (Gas Gas). … Craig would then get past race leader Ken Roczen (Honda), and held the lead for five laps. … During Craig’s run up front, Sexton would also get past Roczen, with Tomac closing in fast. … Tomac would catch up to Sexton near the midway point of Moto 1 (15:03), making up a six-second differential in four laps prior to the pass for 2nd. … At the 12:12 mark Tomac would out-jump Craig on a downhill section, making the pass and taking the lead – going from 8th to 1st in the process. … Also flying was Anderson, who had made up some 32 spots to 8th place. … With Tomac checking out, Sexton caught up to Craig and pulled of a strong outside/inside cut-off pass to take 2nd, securing valuable points in the process. … Tomac’s gap on Sexton was 7.3 seconds at the checkers, with Craig placing an admirable 3rd.
Said Tomac: “I got a really bad start off the gate. My rear (tire) kind of kicked off the bar there and I had to go to war. That’s all there was to it. My main goal was to know where Chase (Sexton) was and to just charge forward. This place (Southwick) has so many options. One of the best tracks we have for coming through the pack.”
Added Sexton: “I just have to be a little more aggressive. I spent a lot of the time behind Kenny (Roczen) and Christian (Craig). They were riding good. I gotta get better and I think I can do it.”
450 Moto 2 – Monster Energy’s Chase Sexton
Monster Energy was led out of the starting gate by Craig (2nd), Tomac (5th), Sexton (7th), Anderson (9th) and Savatgy (10th). … Tomac would quickly move to 4th past Alex Martin (Yamaha), with Anderson following suit by passing Sexton for 7th. … Tomac and Craig’s battle for 3rd place would nearly turn costly as the two were thisclose to colliding in mid-air off one of the track’s larger jumps. … Tomac would then pin it on a downhill second and jump past Craig into 3rd. … Anderson would catch Dungey and blast past into the top 5, while Tomac moved onto Plessinger for 2nd. … At the moto’s halfway point Tomac got past Plessinger, then immediately tracked down Roczen, and got past with a powerful move to the inside of a corner to take the lead. … Sexton and Anderson battled for 4th and their quick lap times brought both of them quickly up onto Roczen. … Sexton would separate from Anderson, get past Roczen for 3rd, and put two seconds on the field’s next-best lap time in pursuit of Plessinger for 2nd. … Sexton would then bomb one of the rough downhill sections, rip past Plessinger to claim 2nd place – and the red leader’s # plate for at least another week. … Tomac’s second win was a statement, though, as he and Sexton are the racers to beat as the series now moves to Spring Creek MX in Millville, Minn.
Said Tomac, who made that five-straight moto wins with the Moto 2 victory at the ‘Wick: “I had to work hard to get to the front. This place is lot of fun, but at the same time it brings a lot of pain.”
Added Sexton: “Man that was a tough race. I definitely didn’t get a good start – and these guys were gone. I put my head down and I’m just happy to get out of here with the red plate.”
250 Moto 1 – Monster Energy’s Jo Shimoda
Cooper pulled a great start, getting out in 2nd place, followed closely by Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha teammate Nick Romano in 3rd. … Cooper and Romano quickly separated from 4th place RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna), while Shimoda battled Jalek Swoll (Husqvarna) for 5th. … Race leader Jett Lawrence (Honda) would go down in a corner, allowing Cooper to take the race lead on lap three. … Cooper’s lead would last for one lap before Lawrence was able to get back by. At the same time Shimoda, who got past Swoll, also moved past Romano for 4th. … Cooper and Hampshire would battle, and Shimoda would put up even faster laps (2:16) to catch the two podium position battlers. … Shimoda moved into 3rd when Hampshire briefly left the track, then caught and passed Cooper for 2nd at the race’s 10:49 mark. … Shimoda was 4.5 seconds behind Lawrence with 7:00 plus two laps to go, and continued to cut into Lawrence’s lead. … “There’s blood in the water,” race announcer Ricky Carmichael would say, alluding to Shimoda lurking like a shark behind Lawrence. … With three laps to go Cooper, who had lost 3rd place to Hampshire, gained the spot back and joined 2nd place Shimoda on the podium in 3rd.
250 Moto 2 – Monster Energy’s Justin Cooper
Cooper again ripped a 2nd place start, this time with Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha teammate Levi Kitchen in tow – racing for the very first time at Southwick. … Kitchen would keep the momentum off his great start going, getting past Cooper and charging after race leader Lawrence. … Onto Lawrence’s rear fender, bringing the Southwick faithful to their feet, Kitchen would hold onto 2nd place for the entire moto. … The battle brewing behind Kitchen and Lawrence saw Shimoda get past Stilez Robertson (Husqvarna) for 4th at the 16:40 mark, then onto Cooper near the race’s halfway mark. … Kitchen’s ten second gap on Shimoda was one the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki racer would be content not to try and close (as he’d already locked up 2nd place overall). … With two laps to go the crowd’s focus turned to a thrilling battle for 6th place between Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Nate Thrasher and Robertson – a battle Thrasher would win. … At the checkers it’d be Kitchen in 2nd and Shimoda in 3rd, giving Monster Energy four 250 class podium placers out of the six possible podium spots.
Said Shimoda: “The track was real difficult and I honestly never really practiced for a situation like this. (I) just have to keep improving.”
Added Cooper: “Of course it’s cool to be back on the podium. Always love coming here, but it always beats my butt. And we always come back for more. It was a good step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.”
Overall 2022 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, presented by Monster Energy, Points (Round 6 of 12)
1st – Sexton
2nd – Tomac
4th – Anderson
6th – Craig
9th – Savatgy
3rd – Shimoda
4th – Cooper
5th – Kitchen
8th – Hammaker
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, presented by Monster Energy, heads north to Minnesota for the annual running of the Frescados Spring Creek MX National, July 16th. For more information visit www.promotocross.com
About Monster Energy
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Source: Monster Energy Company