On Saturday evening at the San Diego round of the AMA Supercross series, Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton notched a 450SX victory for the first time in his career.
The Illinois native was dominant aboard his CRF450R, grabbing the main-event holeshot and leading 23 of 26 laps. In the 250SX West class, Hunter Lawrence overcame a crash to secure a solid second-place result for the second week in a row.
When the gate dropped for the 450SX main event, Sexton was the first rider to turn 1 but was quickly passed by Marvin Musquin. Three minutes into the 20-minute-plus-one lap race, Sexton reclaimed the lead and never looked back. It was an impressive performance by the 22-year-old, who finished with a winning margin of over six seconds. Meanwhile, Round 1-winner Ken Roczen had a decent start, completing lap 1 in fifth, and he executed firm passes to advance to third on lap six. At that point, he and Jason Anderson made contact, with Roczen going down. The German was quick to remount and ended the night in seventh.
In the 250SX West main event, Lawrence ran second for the entire 20-lap race, dogging leader Michael Mosiman. The Australian, who had topped his heat race, made a late bid for the lead, but with less than two minutes remaining, he became entangled with lappers in the whoop section, made contact with Mosiman, and went down. Lawrence remounted without losing a position and made a final pass attempt, ultimately coming up just 1.361 seconds short.
With 14 races remaining on the schedule, Sexton is now tied for second in the title chase, a single point behind Eli Tomac, with teammate Roczen seventh, only seven points back. Lawrence remains second in the 250SX title chase. Next up is the second Anaheim race, on Saturday.
Chase Sexton’s San Diego victory was his career-first AMA Supercross 450SX class win, and it extended Honda’s premier-class win record in the city to 16, the most of any manufacturer. The most recent Honda win in San Diego had been Ken Roczen’s 2017 success. Other Red Riders to win in the city include Trey Canard, Chad Reed, Davi Milsaps, Ezra Lusk, Jeremy McGrath, Jean-Michel Bayle, Jeff Stanton, Rick Johnson and Johnny O’Mara.
This was also Team Honda HRC’s second win in three races this season, with Roczen having topped round 1. It marked the third different winner in as many rounds, and Sexton was the fifth different San Diego winner in the last five races at the venue.
The AMA Supercross series returned to San Diego this year following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
The Media Day riding session took place at the stadium on Friday, with Team Honda HRC riders Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence all participating.
As was the case at the last two rounds, there were no autograph signings during FanFest, but attendees were permitted to take photos, visit sponsor displays and take home pre-signed posters.
As is the tradition at the San Diego round, the event featured a military-appreciation theme, with teams and riders sporting military-inspired graphics and gear. Team Honda HRC and graphics partner Throttle Jockey paid tribute to Big Beautiful Doll, with CRF graphics mimicking the iconic P-51 Mustang piloted in World War II by Colonel John Landers. Sexton wore gear that honored the Blue Angels, the flight-demonstration squadron of the United States Navy. Formed in 1946, the unit is the second-oldest formal aerobatic team in the world.
Once again, Honda celebrated its success in last November’s Baja 1000, with a display of the winning entries from Pro Moto Unlimited (SLR Honda’s CRF450X) and Pro UTV NA (Proctor Racing’s Talon 1000R).
Free practice saw Sexton and Roczen finish second and sixth, respectively, while Hunter finished with the second-fastest lap time in the 250SX West class.
During daytime qualifying, Sexton was the third-best 450SX rider with a 48.141” lap, while Roczen was sixth at 48.382”. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MCR Honda riders Justin Brayton and Mitchell Oldenburg were eighth and 19th, respectively, and SGB Unlimited’s Cade Clason was 22nd.
In 250SX West qualifying, Lawrence’s 48.592” lap was the second-best time. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MCR Honda’s Vince Friese was ninth-quickest at 50.220” and STR Racing’s Cheyenne Harmon was 23rd-best.
Roczen and Sexton both participated in the opening ceremonies. It was Sexton’s second time participating this season.
Roczen finished third in the first 450SX heat race, with Brayton one spot behind and Clason 12th. Heat 2 saw Sexton finish fourth and Oldenburg eighth.
Lawrence finished on top in the first 250SX heat race after leading seven of the nine laps, while Friese and Harmon were third and 12th in Heat 2.
As the 450SX winner and 250SX runner-up, Sexton and Lawrence participated in the post-race press conference, live from the stadium press-conference room on Saturday evening.
Sexton now shares second with Cooper Webb in the 450SX title chase, only one point behind leader Eli Tomac. Roczen is in a tie for seventh with Malcolm Stewart but is only seven points back. Three rounds into the 2022 season, only 14 points separate the top 10 riders, making this the closest start to a title chase in the sport’s history.
Previously tied for second in the 250SX West standings, Lawrence now has sole ownership of the spot, only six points behind leader Christian Craig.
At Round 3, the Legends & Heroes Tour honored the late Marty Smith, a San Diego native and Team Honda champion who lost his life in a 2020 dune-buggy accident.
250SX West Standings
|1||Christian Craig||28||Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha||73|
|2||Hunter Lawrence||96||Team Honda HRC||Honda||67|
|3||Michael Mosiman||29||Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing||GasGas||62|
|4||Vince Friese||62||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||54|
|5||Jo Shimoda||30||Monster Energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||50|
|6||Seth Hammaker||47||Monster Energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||44|