For the third time this season, Team Honda HRC topped both classes at an AMA Pro Motocross National, this time in front of a large and enthusiastic Pacific Northwest crowd at Washougal MX Park, with Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence doing the honors in the 450 and 250 classes, respectively.
The eighth round of the series also saw Ken Roczen and Hunter Lawrence turn in solid performances, the former fighting off a fever to notch fourth overall in the 450 class, and the latter winning a 250 moto and taking third overall.
The first 450 moto saw Sexton start second and quickly move into the lead. He was overtaken by title rival Eli Tomac on lap 6, but he kept it close throughout the race—so close that when Tomac dropped his bike with three minutes plus two laps remaining, Sexton ran into him and went down as well. Both were delayed in remounting, with no change in positions, and Sexton finished just over a second back. Meanwhile, Roczen climbed from fifth on lap 1 to third two laps later, and he ultimately finished fourth. Moto 2 was a statement ride from Sexton, who grabbed a huge holeshot and led all 16 laps aboard his CRF450R, withstanding 35 minutes of withering attacks from Tomac to win by over eight seconds. Roczen completed lap 1 in eighth and advanced to fourth before his health issues contributed to him slipping to sixth.
Hunter and Jett ran second and third in the early going of 250 moto 1, with Hunter moving into the lead on lap 5 and Jett advancing to second eight laps later. From there, the brothers rode to the finish, with Hunter enjoying an advantage of just over four seconds at the end. Hunter was second off the start of moto 2, with Jett back in sixth, and they were third and fourth after one lap. Hunter dropped his bike on lap 7, letting Jett by for third, and the defending champ was up to second two laps later. In the end, Jett’s steady 2-2 moto scores were good enough for the win, while Hunter’s 1-4 gave him third overall.
Chase Sexton and Ken Roczen were second and fourth in 450 qualifying, both less than a second behind the leader. In the 250 ranks, Jett and Hunter Lawrence were second and third.
As has been the case all season, weather was idyllic at Washougal, with temperatures ranging from 62 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit for the motos.
To give an idea of how close Sexton and Eli Tomac are, the rivals both posted a best 450 moto 1 lap of 2’12.953”—tied down to the thousandth of a second! (Sexton’s came on the second-to-last lap, Tomac’s on the final lap.) Hunter and Jett Lawrence were the only riders to dip into the 2’14” range in 250 moto 1, and Jett was the only rider in the 2’15” range in moto 2.
Sexton’s 2-1 performance ended Tomac’s moto- and overall win streak, and it marked Sexton’s second overall win of the year (fourth of his career in the 450 class), as well as his second 450 win at Washougal. Jett Lawrence lifted his 250 career overall-win tally to 12, and he has taken all but one overall win this season (with a technical DNF contributing to the single loss). Hunter Lawrence earned his seventh career 250 moto win.
This week, the Team Honda HRC team member to earn the Award of Excellence was Showa technician Derek Atkinson, who was kept busy all week preparing suspension settings for the rough Washougal track.
Sexton’s 2-1 win keeps him just five points behind Tomac in the 450 title chase (third is another 74 points back), while Jett Lawrence has a 28-point lead over Hunter in the 250 battle.
With the series now three-quarters done, Team Honda HRC heads into a welcome two-weekend break, with the Unadilla, New York, round next up on August 13.