In the second AMA Supercross 250SX West race of the 2022 season, Team Honda HRC rider Hunter Lawrence notched his second podium result, charging to a runner-up finish in Oakland, California.
Finding himself in fifth after the 250SX main-event start, the young Australian turned in an impressive performance, advancing to third by lap 4. With six minutes remaining, he and Seth Hammaker battled for second, with Hunter securing the position right before the finish.
After a strong opening-round performance, the team’s 450 riders experienced difficulties in Oakland, with bad starts affecting their results. Chase Sexton was strong early on, finishing fastest in free practice and first in his heat race. However, the main event saw him in seventh one lap in, and a stall on the wall jump pushed the Illinois native back to 10th; he eventually finished ninth. Meanwhile, Ken Roczen found himself in sixth one lap in, and a pass attempt resulted in a crash before the finish, dropping him to 16th. Roczen eventually finished in 13th.
With 15 races remaining, Roczen is fifth in the title chase, while Sexton is ninth. Lawrence is tied for second in the 10-round 250SX West Region, eight points behind leader Christian Craig. Next up is the third round, at Petco Park in San Diego on Saturday.
Ken Roczen’s Anaheim 1 premier-class AMA Supercross victory last week was the 20th of his career, moving him into a tie with Jeff Ward for 10th place on the all-time wins list.
Roczen arrived at Oakland in style, taking a chartered jet with fellow racers Adam Cianciarulo and Eli Tomac.
On Friday, SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda rider Justin Brayton posted on social media that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would therefore miss the Oakland round.
Hunter Lawrence is enjoying his best start to a Supercross series, with a pair of podium finishes putting him in a tie for second in the 250SX West points standings. In 2020 he only raced two indoors rounds, and last year saw him notch fifth- and sixth-place results at the first two 250SX West events, something that came back to haunt him as he only lost the title by 13 points. Lawrence now has five podiums in his first 13 career starts.
The Honda Racing Corporation is synonymous with elite motorcycle-racing technology, and for decades the familiar red-and-blue HRC logo has long been displayed proudly on Honda factory bikes. On Friday, HRC unveiled a new, italicized version of the logo, and at Oakland it adorned the CRF machines of Roczen, Sexton and Lawrence.
On Friday afternoon, Roczen participated in a Race Day Live interview with Kristen Beat.
The first same-day Supercross Futures main event took place at the Oakland event, and Honda-mounted Nicholas Nisbet, from Atascadero, California, rode well to post a second-place finish.
Top Honda amateur racer Chance Hymas was never scheduled to race Oakland, and although he was originally due to race at the Anaheim 2 Futures event in two weeks, the 16-year-old Idaho native will miss that event due to an injury he picked up before Anaheim 1 in a practice crash in Murrieta, California. Hymas broke his wrist and fractured a rotator plate in his shoulder but is scheduled to race in Arlington next month.
Sexton wore a Klay Thompson jersey during the opening ceremonies. Thompson is a player for the Golden State Warriors, the local NBA team that (appropriately enough) calls Chase Center their home arena.
In 450SX qualifying, Sexton was the eighth-best rider with a 1’00.102” lap after posting the second-best time in the first timed session, while Roczen was ninth at 1’00.224”. SGB Unlimited Honda riders Alex Ray and Cade Clason were 21st and 25th, respectively.
During the final timed 450SX qualifying session, Roczen went down hard in the whoops section; trailing closely, Sexton ran over his teammate before going down himself. Roczen was able to rejoin the session after taking a short break in the mechanics’ area, but Sexton made a mistake in the same section and went down again. Both riders suffered minor injuries but were healthy enough to participate in the evening program.
Lawrence was the fifth-fastest rider during 250SX West daytime practice, with a 1’0.913” lap in the last timed session. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Vince Friese was ninth-quickest, and STR Racing’s Cheyenne Harmon was 19th-best.
Sexton carried his qualifying speed into the 450SX night program, taking his second heat-race win of the young season after grabbing the holeshot and leading all the way. Heat 2 saw Roczen make some impressive passes to finish second. Lawrence easily finished second in 250SX heat race 2, with Friese two spots behind in fourth.
As a podium finisher, Lawrence took part in the post-race press conference for round 2. Due to COVID protocols, hybrid press conferences follow every race – athletes are live from the stadium press-conference room, but media attend virtually.
With two AMA Supercross rounds already in the books, the riders and teams head back to Southern California, as round 3 takes place Saturday at Petco Park in San Diego.
250SX West Standings
|1||Christian Craig||28||Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha||52|
|2||Hunter Lawrence||96||Team Honda HRC||Honda||44|
|3||Seth Hammaker||47||Monster energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||44|
|4||Michael Mosiman||29||Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing||GasGas||36|
|5||Vince Friese||62||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||35|
|6||Garrett Marchbanks||35||Muc-Off FXR ClubMX||Yamaha||34|