Jett Lawrence continued his rule over the 2022 AMA Supercross 250SX East Region during the Indianapolis round, where he put together his third win in a row and his fourth in five events.
This one was in some ways particularly special, as the young Australian had to overcome a stiff challenge from Cameron McAdoo, who overtook Lawrence on lap 5 and led for five laps, even building a slight margin. After regrouping and making some midrace adjustments to his lines and technique, the Team Honda HRC rider recovered the top position and competently managed lapped traffic through the remaining 11 laps, notching the victory with a margin of nearly six seconds. Fellow CRF250R-mounted riders Mitchell Oldenburg (SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda), Jordon Smith (Fire Power Honda) and Cullin Park (Phoenix Racing Honda) finished fifth, eighth and 10th, respectively.
After strong showings in premier-class qualifying and his heat race, Chase Sexton completed lap one of the main event in sixth place and latched on to the leading freight train. He capitalized on crashes by Jason Anderson on lap 11 and Malcolm Stewart on lap 23, then held off Cooper Webb to collect a solid fourth place, less than 10 seconds off the leader – not his objective but a nice recovery following a hard crash out of last week’s Detroit main event. Also collecting a top-10 result was MotoConcepts Honda rider Vince Friese, in ninth.
Chase Sexton considers the Indianapolis Supercross to be one of his home races, as his native La Moille, Illinois, is three and a half hours northwest. The same is true of Sexton’s mechanic Brandon Zimmerman, who originally hails from about three hours north in Michigan. Both had several family members and friends on hand for the race.
Also attending were brothers Matt and Robert Davis, owners of Team Honda HRC sponsor Throttle Jockey, which is about an hour north in Kokomo.
On Friday, Sexton sat down with Feld for an interview that included a status update following his crash in Detroit. The interview aired during RaceDayLive.
While warmer than the previous round in Detroit, race day was still chilly in Indianapolis, with a high of 56º Fahrenheit and intermittent rain. The temperature was 40º when the night program started. Indianapolis is often much colder in March. Team Honda HRC pitted outside, but they put up the awning walls and used heaters to warm the space. A good number of fans braved the chilly temperatures and precipitation to check out the pits during the FanFest.
For the second week in a row, a short track meant low lap times, with Jett Lawrence topping 250SX East morning qualifying thanks to a 43.826” lap in the final session (making him the only rider in the 43-second range). SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Mitchell Oldenburg was sixth-best, Fire Power Honda’s Jordon Smith was eighth, SGB Unlimited’s Luke Neese 13th, TiLube/Storm Lake Honda’s Grant Harlan 14th, SGB’s Jeremy Hand 16th, Moto Academy’s AJ Catanzaro 17th, Fire Power Honda’s Jarrett Frye 18th, Phoenix Racing Honda’s Cullin Park 24th, STR’s Lance Kobusch 27th, TiLube Honda’s Hunter Yoder 28th, and Jones Powersports’s John Short 33rd. Of the 40 riders to qualify for the night program, 12 were CRF250R-mounted.
In 450SX daytime qualifying, Sexton tallied the fourth-best time of 43.459”, with MotoConcepts’ Vince Friese 10th. SGB riders Cade Clason and Alex Ray were 15th and 17th, with STR Racing’s Cheyenne Harmon 38th.
MotoConcepts rider Justin Brayton was forced to sit out the evening program after suffering a qualifying crash and failing the concussion protocol.
Lawrence turned in what may well be the heat-race performance of the year after crashing in turn one of the second 250SX East heat, getting his arm run over and ending up separated from his bike, on the outside of the track. Lawrence ran to and leapt over his downed bike, remounted and rejoined the race in second-to-last place, then charged through the pack to a dramatic victory, eliciting roars from the crowd with each pass. Also advancing from the 250SX East heats were Red Riders Smith, Oldenburg, Park, Frye, Yoder, Kobusch and Neese.
In the first 450SX heat race, Sexton recovered from seventh place to finish a solid second, with Friese taking fifth. Heat 2 saw Clason finish ninth.
Lawrence’s Indianapolis win was particularly gratifying considering that he struggled during last year’s three-round residency at the same facility (he went 4-23-5). Asked if he had thought maybe the venue just wasn’t his stadium, Lawrence laughed, “No, it was probably more ‘I’m going to make this my stadium.’ As soon as you think it’s not your stadium, it kind of defeats you mentally. Last year sucked a lot here, but hey, you’ve got to have those lessons. They’re harsh, but it just shows that I wasn’t ready for a championship last year, where Colt [Nichols] and Christian [Craig] were. I was just a kid trying to go all-out each race, which wasn’t smart. I think this stadium is special, because it really showed that I’ve learned from last year.”
Lawrence participated in the post-race press conference on Saturday evening.
Indianapolis marked the seventh 250SX victory of Lawrence’s young career, and the 11th podium result.
Lawrence’s victory extended his lead in the 250SX East title chase to 11 points, while Sexton sits seventh in the 450SX rankings, two points out of sixth.
Next up for Team Honda HRC is the Seattle round on Saturday, when Hunter Lawrence will return to action in the 250SX West region, while brother Jett takes a one-race break from 250SX East.
During the week before Seattle, team manager Lars Lindstrom, 450 crew chief Shane Drew, Sexton mechanic Brandon Zimmerman and test rider Trey Canard will meet with Sexton in Florida for some testing.
250SX East Standings
|1||Jett Lawrence||18||Team Honda HRC||Honda||125|
|2||Cameron Mcadoo||48||Monster energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||114|
|3||Pierce Brown||44||Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing||GasGas||87|
|4||Rj Hampshire||24||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||81|
|5||Enzo Lopes||80||Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing||Yamaha||81|
|6||Jordon Smith||90||Fire Power Honda||Honda||78|
|7||Mitchell Oldenburg||54||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||68|
|16||Cullin Park||140||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||30|
|17||John Short||72||Volkswagen of Waco, Jones Powersports||Honda||30|
|21||Kyle Peters||52||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||20|
|23||Jarrett Frye||39||Fire Power Honda||Honda||15|
|24||Jeremy Hand||63||SGB Unlimited Honda||Honda||14|
|25||Lance Kobusch||194||STR, 100%, Dunlop, Canvas||Honda||12|
|27||Grant Harlan||65||Tilube Storm Lake Honda||Honda||8|
|29||Coty Schock||37||Phoenix Honda Racing||Honda||8|
|31||Hunter Yoder||508||TiLUBE Honda||Honda||4|
|32||Luke Neese||75||SGB Unlimited Honda||Honda||3|