Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia captured lightning in a bottle and took the win at Round 14 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season in front of die-hard fans who braved rain and a thunderstorm delay.
Fireworks and dry ground gave way to thunderclouds and thick mud at a thrilling mudder inside MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac finished second on the rain-drenched and deep-rutted track inside MetLife Stadium. Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen found enough track through the standing puddles to take home third place in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The riders earned points for both the Supercross season and also the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship. In the season’s first of two East/West Showdowns, Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie took his career-first win over the top racers from both regional divisions.
Justin Barcia was brilliant in the mud and earned his first win of the 2023 season. Photo Credit:
Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
In an unprecedented weather delay, thunderclouds approaching MetLife Stadium required the racers on the starting line of the 250SX Class East/West Showdown to evacuate the starting area. The riders, along with every spectator in the stadium, retreated to cover for what turned out to be a 1.5 hour delay to the racing as the clouds dumped rain on the track.
When the gate finally dropped for the 450SX Class Main Event, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson officially took the holeshot but it was Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton who immediately established himself as the race leader. The deep mud and chaotic first lap shuffle saw Barcia jump into the lead for a moment before Ken Roczen took it over. Barcia dropped back to third, but before the first pass through the whoops Barcia cut under Sexton. The two bikes made light contact and Sexton went down as half the pack raced past him.
Roczen stretched out his lead; just two and a half minutes into the race he held a three second gap over Barcia in the abbreviated 17-minute plus one lap race. Points leader Eli Tomac quickly established himself in third place ahead of Yamaha Truck Central LLC’s Benny Bloss, Fire Power Honda’s Dean Wilson, and Next Level Racing KTM’s Kevin Moranz. Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb was fighting his way up from seventh place and Sexton had recovered from his tip over and ran eighth.
Less than four minutes in, the top three, Roczen, Barcia, and Tomac, had separated from the field while Sexton and Webb scrapped for fifth. Sexton quickly moved past Webb and set his sights on Bloss in fourth place.
Barcia’s wide-open riding style agreed with the brutal conditions, and six minutes into the race he was on Roczen. Barcia made the identical move on Roczen that he used on Sexton, but when Barcia took over the top spot Roczen stayed upright. From there Barcia pulled steadily away while Tomac inched closer to Roczen. Sexton was into fourth, but 23 seconds back from Tomac, with Webb in fifth 24 seconds back from Sexton.
The race action was with Tomac. The Yamaha rider got to Roczen’s rear fender with just over three minutes left on the race clock. After an exciting battle, Roczen tipped over in the whoops and Tomac took over the spot. Roczen was quickly back up without being in danger of losing the podium-place position.
From there the riders individually fought the track and did their best to preserve their motorcycles in the mud. Barcia took the win, his first since Houston 2021. Tomac earned second place, and stretched his points lead to 11 over Cooper Webb. Roczen carded his fourth podium finish of the season with a third.
Max Anstie brought back his early-season speed and turned it into an exciting East/West Showdown win inside MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
The East/West Showdown was a thrilling race that was worth the wait of the weather delay. Max Anstie grabbed the holeshot on the rain-drenched track. Red Bull KTM’s Max Vohland was in second with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire right behind. The Lawrence brothers were up front and after one muddy lap Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence ran in fourth and Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence held fifth. The race made history as the first showdown of brothers who each led their division, but those brothers sat outside the top three at the start of the race.
Almost three minutes into the race, which was shortened to 12-minutes plus one lap, Jett Lawrence took advantage of a Hampshire mistake and took over third place. Three minutes later Jett Lawrence was pressuring Vohland for second as Anstie stretched out his lead to over six seconds. Hampshire applied pressure to take over third, but Jett Lawrence broke free from him again and got around Vohland for second place. Four and a half minutes remained on the race clock.
Hampshire was quickly around Vohland and chasing after Jett Lawrence. Hunter Lawrence soon pressured Vohland for the spot as Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan closed on them both. With just over two minutes left, Anstie held a nine second lead while Deegan crashed trying to cut under Hunter Lawrence.
In the closing minutes Jett Lawrence put in an amazing drive. He erased Anstie’s lead down to .9 seconds as they headed out on the final lap. Jett lost touch tossing his goggles but with a final surge pulled alongside Anstie in their last pass through the whoops. Anstie had the inside line in the next corner and accelerated back into the lead heading into the final corner.
Hampshire was still close to Jett Lawrence and charged hard to that last corner. Hampshire tried to scrub speed and duck underneath but slid out in a dramatic splash. The crash tripped Jett and his bike over onto Hampshire’s bike. Jett was quick to pull his bike free and accelerate away just as his brother entered the corner.
At the end Anstie took his first-ever Supercross win, Jett Lawrence got going in time to hold onto second place, and Hunter Lawrence crossed just behind his brother in third.
Round 15 delivers a rare day-race inside Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, April 29. The race will pay points to both the 17-round Monster Energy AMA Supercross season as well as the all-new 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship. Every race is streamed live on Peacock, with NBC, USA Network, and CNBC broadcasting select rounds.
Tickets are on sale for the final three Supercross rounds, scheduled for the next three weekends and culminating inside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 13. For ticket sales, the full schedule, race results, video highlights, and more please visit SupercrossLIVE.com.
450SX Class podium (racers left to right) Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia, and Ken Roczen.
Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
250SX Class podium (racers left to right) Jett Lawrence, Max Anstie, and Hunter Lawrence.
Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.