Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence was flawless at the penultimate round of the 2022 AMA Supercross season in the Mile High City, topping both sessions of 250SX West qualifying and leading start-to-finish in his heat race and the main event.
The performance stretched his win streak to three races and keeps his title hopes alive heading into the finale. Lawrence’s teammate Chase Sexton nearly did likewise in the premier class, also topping his qualifying sessions and winning his heat race before a crash out of the main-event lead limited him to fourth place.
The 250SX West main saw Lawrence grab the holeshot and hold off the advances of his title rival Christian Craig until the latter rider went down on lap 6. The remaining 14 laps were relatively drama-free for the Australian, with his eventual winning margin being over four seconds. In the premier-class main event, Sexton started from the same spot as his teammate and exited turn 1 with the lead, then fought off Eli Tomac before the dry, hardpack conditions got the better of him early on. Undaunted, the 22-year-old remounted back in the pack and began a charge that carried him to the top five just after the midway point. He moved into fourth with four laps remaining, and that’s where he would stay to the finish, just over six seconds short of extending his podium streak.
Much of the Team Honda HRC crew spent the week between the Foxborough and Denver testing in Florida, ahead of the upcoming AMA Pro Motocross series.
Friday’s track activity was called off due to high winds, prompting Team Honda HRC to elect to not put the awnings on its trucks. Saturday’s weather was much nicer, with 55º Fahrenheit temperatures when the main program kicked off.
During the broadcast, an NBC Sports feature was aired on Chase Sexton, covering his home life with his family.
Team Honda HRC was perfect in qualifying, with Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence each topping both of their respective sessions. Sexton was five-hundredths better than his closest 450SX competitor, with SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Justin Brayton sixth-best and his teammate Mitchell Oldenburg 13th. Other notable Red Riders included SGB Unlimited’s Cade Clason in 17th and HRT Racing’s Austin Politelli in 20th. In 250SX West, Lawrence was .153 seconds better than the next rider, with MotoConcepts’ Vince Friese sixth and Concrete Plants’ Maxwell Sanford 18th.
In the second 250SX West heat race, Lawrence picked up where he had left off in qualifying, taking the holeshot and leading start to finish to win by just under a second. Qualifying straight to the main from the first heat were Friese and Team BWR’s Mcclellan Hile (third and ninth, respectively).
Similar to Lawrence, Sexton led from the gate drop to the finish line in the second 450SX heat race, holding off pressure from Jason Anderson to win by .371 seconds. Advancing from the same heat was Oldenburg (seventh), whereas Brayton and Jones Powersports’ John Short finished third and sixth, respectively, in heat 1. Politelli finished second in the LCQ.
Lawrence’s win was his fourth of the year, his third in a row, his fourth in five races and the fifth of his career. In addition, it was the eighth this year by a Lawrence brother (half of the 250SX races run), with Jett having topped four thus far in the East Region.
Lawrence took part in the post-race press conference Saturday afternoon.
Honda congratulates Eli Tomac and his entire team on his second 450SX championship.
One round remains of the 2022 AMA Supercross series, and Team Honda HRC will have Chase Sexton in 450SX, plus Hunter and Jett Lawrence in 250SX (the finale is the year’s second East-West Showdown). Although Hunter’s 18-point West Region deficit to Christian Craig means the West Region title is a longshot, he has the advantages of momentum and the fact that East riders could mix things up.