Ken Roczen made a welcome return to the 450 overall podium at Maryland’s Budds Creek round of the AMA Pro Motocross series, stringing together a pair of third-place moto finishes for the same position on the day.
Meanwhile, teammate Chase Sexton avoided a potentially disastrous day for his title chances, following up a crash-plagued first moto to top the second outing and finish just off the overall podium, and only one point down on rival Eli Tomac. Neither Lawrence brother had a memorable Budds Creek experience, but Jett ultimately managed his title defense well, taking third overall via 2-3 finishes, while Hunter was eighth overall.
Roczen started the first 450 moto with a holeshot and led for three laps before being overtaken by Tomac. Five laps from the end, the German lost one more spot but kept fighting for an eventual close third. Sexton had gone down on the first lap and then again shortly thereafter, leaving him buried in 29th place at the end of lap 1. The Illinois native set about reducing the damage, advancing to 15th one-third of the way in and then ninth at the two-thirds mark. By the end, he had climbed to seventh place. Roczen once again started strong in moto 2, running in the top two through the first five laps until being passed by Sexton, who secured the lead just before the halfway point. A crash then dropped Sexton to third, but he only needed two more laps to resecure the lead, which he held to the finish. Roczen pushed hard to the line to keep third.
The 250 action saw Jett racing in third for the first half of moto 1 before taking over second and holding it to the end, while Hunter was slowed by crashes and finished eighth. In moto 2, both brothers were back a ways after lap 1, but Jett managed to climb from 12th to eighth by the halfway mark. He took over third with two laps remaining and nearly caught second by the finish. Hunter ended up ninth, for eighth overall.
During the opening ceremonies, the AMA officially announced Team USA for the upcoming Motocross of Nations, where Team Honda HRC rider Chase Sexton will join Eli Tomac and Justin Cooper. This will be Sexton’s debut appearance in the international event, but the venue—Michigan’s RedBud MX—is his home race.
In addition to Sexton, Team Honda HRC will send Hunter and Jett Lawrence to the Motocross of Nations, as the brothers will join Mitch Evans on an all-Honda Team Australia. The event will serve as the 450 debut for Jett Lawrence.
To support the Team USA Motocross of Nations effort, a fundraiser golf tournament is being organized for September 4 at Redhawk Golf Club in Temecula, California. Sexton is taking part (as are Team Honda HRC manager Lars Lindstrom and 250 crew chief Grant Hutcheson), and Honda is sponsoring a hole. For info on how to take part or donate, visit raiseit4usa.com.
For the second week in a row, Team Honda HRC riders were the fastest qualifiers in both classes, with Ken Roczen topping the 450s and Jett Lawrence best in the 250s. Sexton was fourth-best in the premier class, and Hunter Lawrence was seventh in the quarter-liter ranks.
Whereas the season has been largely marked for unusually mild temperatures, Budds Creek was as hot as usual, with the mercury varying between 84 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit for the motos.
Jett Lawrence had the fastest lap time in the second 250 moto, and he posted it on the final lap of the race.
Sexton’s moto 2 victory was the eighth of his career in the 450 class.
For Budds Creek, Team Honda HRC presented the Yoshimura Award of Excellence to Jordan Troxell, Roczen’s mechanic.
With two rounds remaining, Jett Lawrence has a comfortable 37-point lead in the defense of his 250 championship, while Hunter Lawrence slipped one spot, to third. Sexton also slipped from first to second in the 450 title chase, but he’s only one point behind Eli Tomac.
Next up for Team Honda HRC is the penultimate AMA Pro Motocross round of the year, the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana.