DENVER, CO – May 9, 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) –
- In Denver, Jett Lawrence takes 250SX West title–his fourth AMA crown
- Chase Sexton tops premier division, takes over points lead
- Colt Nichols okay after hard crash while running near the front
On a dramatic evening in downtown Denver, Team Honda HRC continued its dream 2023 AMA Supercross season, collecting the 250SX West Region crown at the hands of Jett Lawrence (on the heels of Hunter Lawrence clinching the 250SX East crown last week). Meanwhile, Chase Sexton notched his second 450SX win in as many weekends and his third in four races. With title rival Eli Tomac suffering an injury, Sexton took over the points lead with one round remaining.
Following a poor start in the 250SX West main event, Lawrence was 10th on the first lap, but he knew he only needed a 10th-place finish in order to clinch the title. Riding safely to avoid jeopardizing the title, the young Australian was ninth after one lap, eighth a lap later, and he moved into seventh six laps in. At the halfway point of the 21-lap race, Lawrence sat in third place, and he held that position to the finish, celebrating his fourth AMA crown as he crossed the finish line.
In the 450SX main event, Sexton sat in sixth place after one lap, having been delayed in turn 1. He advanced to fourth by lap 3, and after Eli Tomac pulled off with an injury a lap later, the Illinois native found himself in second. He moved into the lead on lap 7 and rode smoothly to the finish, winning by over eight seconds. Meanwhile, Nichols rode extremely well early on, nabbing a strong start and running in the top five until suffering a scary crash. Fortunately, following a few scary moments, the Oklahoma native turned out to be relatively okay, and he looks forward to racing at the series finale.
- Chase Sexton, Colt Nichols and Jett Lawrence all took part in Media Day Friday
- Many riders and team members were sporting special stickers honoring the late Wills Fedrick, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Paddock Manager who lost his life last week.
- A week after taking the 250SX East crown, Hunter Lawrence attended the Denver race to cheer his brother on to his championship. Hunter made a guest appearance in the booth for the broadcast during the 250SX West main event but left in time to congratulate Jett by the podium.
- Daytime qualifying saw Team Honda HRC top the combined times in both classes yet again, with Sexton best in 450SX and Lawrence quickest in 250SX West. Nichols was a solid seventh in the premier division.
- In 250SX West heat 2, Lawrence was caught up in a pile-up shortly after the start and remounted in around 15th place. He went into damage-control mode, riding fast but controlled until reaching fourth place on the penultimate lap, and holding that spot to the finish—two behind SmarTops/MotoConcepts Honda’s Mitchell Oldenburg. KBR-sponsored Red Rider Luke Kalaitzian transferred from ninth place, and TDMX-back Brandon Ray made it in from the last-chance qualifier.
- In the second 450SX heat race, Sexton and Nichols emerged from turn 1 in third and fourth places, respectively. After one lap, Sexton was up to second, and he took over the lead around the midway mark, then rode to a 1.5-second winning margin, with Nichols tallying a solid third-place finish. Also advancing from the heat was Fire Power Honda’s Dean Wilson, while SmarTop/MotoConcepts Honda’s Anthony Rodriguez and TiLube/Storm Lake Honda’s Michael Hicks made it through from heat 1.
- Sexton’s 450SX win is his fifth this year and the sixth of his career. Lawrence’s third-place finish is the 22nd 250SX podium result of his career.
- Sexton’s win moved Honda into a tie with Kawasaki for first on the Denver premier-class win list, with two.
- Sexton and Lawrence both participated in the post-race press conference.
- Team Honda HRC now heads west to Salt Lake City for the final AMA Supercross round of the year, with Sexton holding a seven-point lead in the 450SX title chase. Hunter and Jett Lawrence have already clinched the 250SX East and West titles, respectively, but they’ll have a chance to go head-to-head since the finale is also an East-West Showdown.
“I think some of my crashes earlier in the season were caused by being negative and not having confidence in myself to win these races. In the middle of the season, I was definitely questioning whether I could lead and win an entire main event. I had some time to reset after Seattle and just clear my head. We got a little bit of testing done and I felt super solid on the bike. You have to try and stay positive when things like that are happening, and I knew I could dig myself out of it. It’s never over until it’s over. Obviously, we have another round, so we’ll just have to go there and do the best we can.”
“Denver was going pretty good until it wasn’t. I made really good progress all day. I’ve been feeling more like myself on the bike the past two weeks. I just got tangled with another rider going for third place; it was a weird racing incident. I felt like I had a good shot of getting on the podium tonight, but I’ve just got to keep pushing. I’m a little banged up but excited to go racing next weekend.”
“The heat race didn’t go as planned. One guy went left, I went left, and I just had nowhere to go. I was happy to at least qualify though. In the main event, the ruts after the gate were wrecked, and there were only a few good ones left. I found a decent one but just spun getting on the dirt, and there went my start! I knew I only needed 10th or better, so I could take my time and not push it. Once I got into third and saw where the other guys were, there wasn’t much traction left in the dirt, and I didn’t want to push it. We didn’t quite equal Hunter when he won his championship, but we’re still happy to walk away with the number 1 plate.”
Lars Lindstrom – Team Manager
“This will probably go down as one of the most difficult mixes of emotions for any race that I’ve ever been involved in. First and foremost, my hat goes off to Jett on winning his fourth consecutive 250 championship—simply incredible, and I’m so excited to see him join the 450 ranks! He was in a class of his own this season, and it’s perfect timing for him to move up. In the 450 class, it has been shocking how many riders have gotten injured in the last few weeks, and it was terrible to see what happened to Eli. He’s a true legend in our sport, and I wish him a speedy recovery. Chase got his fifth win of the season, showing again that he’s deserving of any success that’s coming to him. It’s a long, grueling season, and he’s been strong throughout. Next weekend will be very interesting, that’s for sure.”
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- Chase Sexton (Hon)
- Ken Roczen (Suz)
- Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw)
- Justin Hill (KTM)
- Shane McElrath (Suz)
- Dean Wilson (Hon)
- Josh Hill (KTM)
- Kyle Chisholm (Suz)
- Grant Harlan (Yam)
- Justin Starling (Gas)
11. Anthony Rodriguez (Hon)
15. Michael Hicks (Hon)
21. Colt Nichols (Hon)
450SX Championship Points (after 16 of 17 rounds)
- Chase Sexton: 346
- Eli Tomac: 339
- Cooper Webb: 304
- Ken Roczen: 303
- Justin Barcia: 267
- Jason Anderson: 242
- Aaron Plessinger: 213
- Adam Cianciarulo: 191
- Justin Hill: 191
- Dean Wilson: 182
12. Colt Nichols: 141
250SX West Results
- RJ Hampshire (Hus)
- Levi Kitchen (Yam)
- Jett Lawrence (Hon)
- Enzo Lopes (Yam)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (Hon)
- Max Vohland (KTM)
- Derek Kelley (KTM)
- Carson Mumford (Kaw)
- Cole Thompson (Yam)
- Robbie Wageman (Suz)
20. Brandon Ray (Hon)
22. Luke Kalaitzian (Hon)
250SX West Region Championship Points (after 8 of 9 rounds)
- Jett Lawrence: 197
- RJ Hampshire: 163
- Enzo Lopes: 137
- Levi Kitchen: 135
- Max Vohland: 121
- Mitchell Oldenburg: 117
- Cameron Mcadoo: 101
- Pierce Brown: 98
- Cole Thompson: 87
- Derek Kelley: 86
20. Anthony Rodriguez: 40
About American Honda
American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides in the United States. American Honda’s Power Sports & Products Division conducts the sales, marketing and operational activities for these products through independent authorized Honda retail dealers. For more information on Honda products, go to powersports.honda.com.
Source: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.