The Minneapolis Supercross was a weekend of highs and lows for Team Honda HRC, with Jett Lawrence taking a convincing win in the first AMA Supercross 250SX East race of the 2022 season, while teammates Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton suffered crashes in the 450SX main event.
When the 250SX East Region class main event kicked off, Lawrence and Austin Forkner battled for the lead. With less than a minute off the clock, Lawrence made an aggressive lap-two pass aboard his CRF250R, and the 18-year-old Australian dominated from there, turning in a seemingly effortless performance to earn the fourth 250SX win of his young career.
As the gate dropped in the 450SX class main event, Sexton found himself in second with his eyes set on the leading Cooper Webb. Just over five minutes in, the 22-year-old made an impressive pass in the turn after the finish. Sexton led 17 laps of the 20-minute-plus-one-lap race before he tucked his front wheel in a rut on a jump face. With only two laps remaining, Sexton was tossed into the following jump. The Illinois native struggled to get up, and he was escorted off the track to be evaluated at the Alpinestars Medical Unit. Although banged up, Sexton felt relatively well when he left the venue, but officials will have him undergo concussion protocol this week.
Meanwhile, Roczen contended for a podium position early on, but suffered a crash after landing from a triple. The German remounted and salvaged an eighth-place result. Sexton now sits sixth in the title chase, while Roczen remains in eighth.
The 250SX East Region made its debut in Minneapolis and kicked off on Friday with a media day predominantly attended by 250 riders, including Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence.
On Friday afternoon, Lawrence sat down with the broadcast team – including Ricky Carmichael, Daniel Blair and Will Christien – to discuss his off-season and his thoughts entering the 2022 250SX East series.
Minneapolis also marked the season’s first day race, with teams and riders arriving at the stadium in time for the 7 a.m. track walk.
On returning to competition following a five-and-a-half-month break since earning the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross 250 crown, Lawrence said, “I was just excited to be racing; I just couldn’t wait to get on the track. Each time coming off the track, I was like, ‘I want to go back out again and do more laps.’”
Temperatures ranged from sub-zero to single digits most of Saturday, though teams spent much of the time inside the stadium, as the pits were located in the lower hallway. Between qualifying and the races, Team Honda HRC crew and riders moved between the stadium and the team truck to eat and prepare for the afternoon program.
The Minneapolis track was technical, with peaky jumps and rough, rutted lines that were especially challenging throughout practice.
There were more Honda CRF250R race bikes in the 250SX East opener than any other machine, with 11 of the 24 racers who lined up for the main event being Red Riders.
In morning qualifying, Sexton turned the second-fastest 450SX time, with a 47.454” lap in the final session. Roczen was eighth-quickest, two ahead of SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda rider Justin Brayton. Brayton’s teammate Vince Friese (moonlighting during the 250SX West break) was 19th-best, with SGB Unlimited Honda’s Cade Clason next.
The first qualifying sessions of the 250SX East Region series saw Lawrence notch a 48.813” lap for the fourth-best time. Fire Power Honda’s Jordon Smith was seventh, SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Mitchell Oldenburg ninth, Phoenix Racing Honda’s Kyle Peters 12th, SGB Unlimited Honda’s Jeremy Hand 18th and Phoenix Racing Honda’s Josh Osby 20th.
Lawrence turned the fastest lap time in the 250SX East main event and was the only rider to dip into the 48-second range, with a best of 48.785”.
Team Honda HRC carried their qualifying speed into the 450SX night program, as Sexton took the heat-race 1 win, with Roczen finishing two spots behind. Brayton, Clason and Ray finished sixth, ninth and eleventh, respectively. Heat 2 saw Friese finish fifth.
Lawrence was second in 250SX heat-race 2, while Peters, Hand, Osby and Park finished fourth, ninth, 11th and 17th. Heat 2 saw Red Riders Smith, Coty Schock (Phoenix Racing), Grant Harlan (TiLube), Jarret Frye (Fire Power), AJ Catanzaro (Moto Academy) and Hunter Yoder (TiLube) finish second, 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th, respectively.
The top three finishers from each class, including Lawrence, participated in the post-race press conference in the stadium’s press room.
Next up, Team Honda HRC will visit Arlington, Texas, for the eighth round of the AMA Supercross series and the second of three Triple Crown events.
250SX West Standings
|1||Jett Lawrence||18||Team Honda HRC||Honda||26|
|2||Austin Forkner||33||Monster energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||23|
|3||Cameron Mcadoo||48||Monster energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||21|
|4||Jeremy Martin||6||Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||19|
|5||Rj Hampshire||24||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||18|
|6||Pierce Brown||44||Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing||GasGas||17|
|13||Jordon Smith||90||Fire Power Honda||Honda||10|
|15||Cullin Park||140||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||8|
|16||Jeremy Hand||63||SGB Unlimited Honda||Honda||7|
|17||Coty Schock||37||Phoenix Honda Racing||Honda||6|
|19||Kyle Peters||52||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||4|
|21||Jarrett Frye||39||Fire Power Honda||Honda||2|