During a busy AMA Supercross series finale in Salt Lake City, CRF450R-mounted Chase Sexton and CRF250R rider Hunter Lawrence both ended the series with strong performances, the Team Honda HRC riders taking second place in their respective main events.
Sexton was fifth out of turn 1 in the 450SX main, but he was already up to second by the end of lap 1. The Illinois native made an early run at the leader but couldn’t quite match Jason Anderson’s pace and ultimately crossed the line just over two seconds back. The 250SX East-West Showdown final saw Lawrence take the holeshot from a poor gate position, and he led for two laps before relinquishing the spot to Nate Thrasher. Lawrence took the middle part of the race to regroup but closed back in on the leader as the three-minute mark approached. The two battled hard for the final laps, with the Australian ultimately coming up less than half a second short. Unfortunately, Hunter’s brother Jett had to sit out the race after a crash in qualifying.
Also of note was Honda wrapping up the Manufacturers’ Championship, and Red Rider Chance Hymas taking the 250SX Futures title.
Chase Sexton spent the week between the Denver and Salt Lake City AMA Supercross rounds in California, in order to get in some track time in dry, hardpack conditions.
Hunter Lawrence was second-quickest in the combined 250SX West qualifying times, just over two-10ths behind Christian Craig. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda rider Vince Friese (eighth) and Concrete Plants’ Maxwell Sanford (16th) were other West Region Red Riders who qualified for the main program.
MotoConcepts rider Mitchell Oldenburg was impressive in East Region qualifying, nabbing the top spot in combined times, two ahead of Jett Lawrence. Other East Region CRF250R-mounted racers to qualify were Fire Power Honda’s Jordon Smith (eighth), TiLube Honda’s Hunter Yoder (11th), Phoenix Racing Honda’s Cullin Park (15th) and Fire Power’s Jarrett Frye (16th).
Jett Lawrence jammed his right foot in a qualifying crash and opted to sit out the remainder of the day with a sprained right ankle. The newly crowned 250SX East Region Champion will focus on healing up ahead of the opening AMA Pro Motocross round.
In the 250SX West heat race, Hunter Lawrence suffered a poor start and was in sixth place at the end of lap 1. He made early progress, but mistakes – including a crash – resulted in a seventh-place finish, one spot in front of Friese. In the 250SX East heat, Oldenburg picked up where he left off in qualifying, leading the first half of the race before finishing second, two spots in front of Smith. Frye was ninth, and Park made it through with a third-place ride in the LCQ.
Sexton was third-quickest in 450SX qualifying, five-10ths off the top time. MotoConcepts rider Justin Brayton was eighth-best, while SGB Unlimited’s Cade Clason, HRT Racing’s Austin Politelli and SGB’s Jeremy Hand were 14th through 16th, respectively. SGB’s Alex Ray was 20th.
Despite hitting the gate in the second 450SX heat race, Sexton got a third-place start, and that’s where he stayed to the finish. Politelli notched a solid eighth-place result. Brayton was the top-finishing CRF450R rider in the first 450SX heat, with Clason and BWR Engines’ Bryson Gardner eighth and ninth, respectively. Hand made it through the LCQ with a runner-up result.
Honda’s Chance Hymas extended his Futures class win streak at Salt Lake City, topping qualifying and coming out on top of an exciting main-event battle with rival Ryder DiFrancesco. Hymas exited turn 1 in third place and dogged DiFrancesco for two laps before making his move and pulling away to win by over 8 seconds. Afterward, Hymas was awarded the Futures number-one plate.
Sexton’s 450SX result brought his season podium tally to eight and his career total to 11, and he finished sixth in the final points standings. Meanwhile, Hunter Lawrence increased his season and career 250SX podium collections to nine and 13, respectively, and he finished second in the final 250SX West points for the second year in a row.
The Salt Lake City round served as the retirement race for Justin Brayton, and everyone at Honda congratulates the longtime Red Rider on a great career. The Iowan rode two stints with the factory team, and most recently with the MotoConcepts squad. His career highlight was unquestionably winning the 2018 Daytona Supercross, but he was also known for his consistency, which this year saw him take ninth in 450SX points despite missing several rounds due to injury.
Phoenix Racing Honda rider Cullin Park was named AMA 250SX Rookie of the Year. Racing in the 250SX East Region, Park had a best finish of ninth (at Foxborough) and ended the season 15th in the final standings.
Honda congratulates Christian Craig and his team for winning the 250SX West title. Many at Honda worked with Craig during his time as a Factory Connection rider, and as a fill-in racer on the factory team.
Sexton, Hunter Lawrence and Hymas all took part in the post-race press conference Saturday evening.
The finale saw Honda sew up the Manufacturers’ Championship, which compiles the points earned from the top finisher in each class at every round.
With the AMA Supercross series complete, Team Honda HRC now turns its attention to the AMA Pro Motocross series, which kicks off May 28 at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
250SX West Standings
|1||Christian Craig||28||Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha||230|
|2||Hunter Lawrence||96||Team Honda HRC||Honda||220|
|3||Michael Mosiman||29||Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing||GasGas||197|
|4||Jo Shimoda||30||Monster Energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||162|
|5||Nate Thrasher||49||Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha||152|
|6||Vince Friese||62||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||150|
|28||Mcclellan Hile||503||Team BWR, HD Supply, L-Tec, SSI Decals, Fly Racing||Honda||13|
|32||Maxwell Sanford||162||Concrete Plants Inc||Honda||7|
250SX East Standings
|1||Jett Lawrence||18||Team Honda HRC||Honda||192|
|2||Rj Hampshire||24||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||158|
|3||Pierce Brown||44||Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing||GASGAS||149|
|4||Mitchell Oldenburg||54||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||132|
|5||Enzo Lopes||80||Muc-Off FXR ClubMX, IAMACOMEBACK, Yamaha||Yamaha||117|
|6||Jordon Smith||90||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||116|
|16||John Short||72||Volkswagen of Waco, Jones Powersports||Honda||54|
|20||Jarrett Frye||39||Fire Power Honda||Honda||35|
|21||Kyle Peters||52||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||25|
|26||Jeremy Hand||63||SGB Unlimited Honda||Honda||16|
|29||Lance Kobusch||194||STR, 100%, Dunlop, Canvas||Honda||15|
|41||Aj Catanzaro||330||Moto Academy||Honda||1|