The Detroit round of the 2022 AMA Supercross series saw Jett Lawrence continue his dominance of the 250SX East Region, riding his CRF250R to his third win in four events, and his second in a row.
After topping timed qualifying and the second heat race, Lawrence secured the lead on the first lap of the 250SX East main event and – apart from a bid by Pierce Brown when they hit lapped traffic about seven minutes in – was never challenged, winning by nearly six-and-a-half seconds. It was the sixth indoor 250 victory of the young Australian’s career, as well as the 10th podium. The win extended Lawrence’s lead in the title chase to nine, and Honda’s support-class win record in the Detroit-Pontiac area to 12. Also posting solid results in the class were Fire Power Honda’s Jordon Smith and SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Mitchell Oldenburg, in fifth and sixth, respectively.
By the time the gate dropped for the 450SX main event, the short track was quite treacherous and, over the course of 27 laps, it would claim a number of top riders – Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton unfortunately among them. The Illinois native completed the first lap in sixth place and, after dropping back to ninth a few laps in, he set about improving his situation. He dispatched a number of riders, and by lap 16 he sat fifth, pressuring Cooper Webb. When Webb made a mistake in a rhythm section, Sexton had nowhere to go and plowed into him, sending both riders down hard. Sexton was taken to the Alpinestars Medical Unit where he received stitches to a cut lip, but amazingly, further damage was limited to general soreness and friction burns to his back. MotoConcepts’ Justin Brayton and Vince Friese were the top-finishing Red Riders, in fifth and sixth, respectively, with SGB Unlimited Honda’s Cade Clason also making the top 10.
Detroit marked the first AMA Supercross round of the year without Ken Roczen on hand. As announced last week, the German is taking time off to focus on improving his health. In the meantime, Team Honda HRC has a two-rider team for most races, with the Detroit roster comprising Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence in 450SX and 250SX East, respectively, in Detroit. Of course, Hunter Lawrence will be back for 250SX West rounds.
Sexton was a last-minute addition to Media Activities on Friday, giving him a bit of time on the track. Jett Lawrence did not take part.
Temperatures were chilly for race day, with a high of 27º Fahrenheit and the evening program kicking off with the mercury touching 18º – a marked contrast from the warm weather at Daytona the previous week. With no Fan Fest in the pits, the squads didn’t set up their canopies, and Team Honda HRC’s mechanics wrenched on the bikes inside the technical truck.
Following last week’s visit to the sprawling Daytona circuit, the Detroit track was extremely tight, resulting in very low lap times. Sexton rode well in 450SX daytime practice, topping two of three sessions and notching a best time of 43.701” – second best and just over a tenth behind Malcolm Stewart. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Justin Brayton and Vince Friese were 10th and 12th, SGB Unlimited Honda’s Cade Clason and Alex Ray were 17th and 18th and STR Racing’s Cheyenne Harmon was 28th.
Daytime qualifying in the 250SX East class was ruled by Lawrence, despite an off showing in the first timed session. After making changes to this suspension setting, Lawrence notched a best of 43.856” and was the class’s only rider to drop below the 44” mark. Fire Power Honda’s Jordon Smith was just three spots back, MotoConcepts’ Mitchell Oldenburg was seventh, Moto Academy’s AJ Catanzaro was 14th, SGB’s Jeremy Hand 16th, STR’s Lance Kobusch 18th, Phoenix Racing Honda’s Cullin Park 20th, Luke Neese 21st, TiLube Honda’s Hunter Yoder 22th, Grant Harlan 23rd, Jones Powersports’ John Short 26th and Fire Power’s Jarrett Frye 28th. A total of 13 of the 40 riders to make the night program were CRF250R-mounted.
Phoenix Racing Honda’s Kyle Peters was forced to miss the Detroit round after injuring his hand and ribs in a crash at Daytona.
Lawrence ruled the second 250SX East heat race, taking the lead on lap one and staying in front until the end to win by over three seconds. Other Red Riders to transfer straight to the main in the class were Oldenburg, Park, Short and Hand. Smith topped the Last Chance Qualifier.
After taking the holeshot in 450SX heat 1 and leading most of the way, Sexton crashed in the whoops on the penultimate lap, but he was able to remount in time to finish second. Brayton and Friese were fourth and fifth, respectively, with Ray eighth. Heat 2 saw Clason finish ninth.
Lawrence participated in the post-race press conference on Saturday evening.
Lawrence now holds an eight-point advantage in the 250SX East title chase, while Sexton now sits sixth in the 450SX standings, nine points outside of the top five. Despite missing the Detroit round, Ken Roczen is still ninth in 450SX points.
Team Honda HRC will now travel to Indianapolis for round 11 of the premier class racing and round 5 of the 250SX East Region class.
250SX East Standings
|1||Jett Lawrence||18||Team Honda HRC||Honda||99|
|2||Cameron Mcadoo||48||Monster energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||91|
|3||Pierce Brown||44||Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing||GasGas||68|
|4||Stilez Robertson||50||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||67|
|5||Enzo Lopes||80||Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing||Yamaha||64|
|6||Jordon Smith||90||Fire Power Honda||Honda||63|
|9||Mitchell Oldenburg||54||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||50|
|16||John Short||72||Volkswagen of Waco, Jones Powersports||Honda||30|
|17||Kyle Peters||52||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||20|
|18||Cullin Park||140||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||17|
|21||Jeremy Hand||63||SGB Unlimited Honda||Honda||14|
|25||Jarrett Frye||39||Fire Power Honda||Honda||9|
|26||Grant Harlan||65||Tilube Storm Lake Honda||Honda||8|
|27||Coty Schock||37||Phoenix Honda Racing||Honda||8|
|28||Lance Kobusch||194||STR, 100%, Dunlop, Canvas||Honda||7|