On a dramatic evening in downtown Denver, Team Honda HRC continued its dream 2023 AMA Supercross season, collecting the 250SX West Region crown at the hands of Jett Lawrence (on the heels of Hunter Lawrence clinching the 250SX East crown last week). Meanwhile, Chase Sexton notched his second 450SX win in as many weekends and his third in four races. With title rival Eli Tomac suffering an injury, Sexton took over the points lead with one round remaining.
Following a poor start in the 250SX West main event, Lawrence was 10th on the first lap, but he knew he only needed a 10th-place finish in order to clinch the title. Riding safely to avoid jeopardizing the title, the young Australian was ninth after one lap, eighth a lap later, and he moved into seventh six laps in. At the halfway point of the 21-lap race, Lawrence sat in third place, and he held that position to the finish, celebrating his fourth AMA crown as he crossed the finish line.
In the 450SX main event, Sexton sat in sixth place after one lap, having been delayed in turn 1. He advanced to fourth by lap 3, and after Eli Tomac pulled off with an injury a lap later, the Illinois native found himself in second. He moved into the lead on lap 7 and rode smoothly to the finish, winning by over eight seconds. Meanwhile, Nichols rode extremely well early on, nabbing a strong start and running in the top five until suffering a scary crash. Fortunately, following a few scary moments, the Oklahoma native turned out to be relatively okay, and he looks forward to racing at the series finale.
“I think some of my crashes earlier in the season were caused by being negative and not having confidence in myself to win these races. In the middle of the season, I was definitely questioning whether I could lead and win an entire main event. I had some time to reset after Seattle and just clear my head. We got a little bit of testing done and I felt super solid on the bike. You have to try and stay positive when things like that are happening, and I knew I could dig myself out of it. It’s never over until it’s over. Obviously, we have another round, so we’ll just have to go there and do the best we can.”
“Denver was going pretty good until it wasn’t. I made really good progress all day. I’ve been feeling more like myself on the bike the past two weeks. I just got tangled with another rider going for third place; it was a weird racing incident. I felt like I had a good shot of getting on the podium tonight, but I’ve just got to keep pushing. I’m a little banged up but excited to go racing next weekend.”
“The heat race didn’t go as planned. One guy went left, I went left, and I just had nowhere to go. I was happy to at least qualify though. In the main event, the ruts after the gate were wrecked, and there were only a few good ones left. I found a decent one but just spun getting on the dirt, and there went my start! I knew I only needed 10th or better, so I could take my time and not push it. Once I got into third and saw where the other guys were, there wasn’t much traction left in the dirt, and I didn’t want to push it. We didn’t quite equal Hunter when he won his championship, but we’re still happy to walk away with the number 1 plate.”
Lars Lindstrom – Team Manager
“This will probably go down as one of the most difficult mixes of emotions for any race that I’ve ever been involved in. First and foremost, my hat goes off to Jett on winning his fourth consecutive 250 championship—simply incredible, and I’m so excited to see him join the 450 ranks! He was in a class of his own this season, and it’s perfect timing for him to move up. In the 450 class, it has been shocking how many riders have gotten injured in the last few weeks, and it was terrible to see what happened to Eli. He’s a true legend in our sport, and I wish him a speedy recovery. Chase got his fifth win of the season, showing again that he’s deserving of any success that’s coming to him. It’s a long, grueling season, and he’s been strong throughout. Next weekend will be very interesting, that’s for sure.”
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11. Anthony Rodriguez (Hon)
15. Michael Hicks (Hon)
21. Colt Nichols (Hon)
12. Colt Nichols: 141
20. Brandon Ray (Hon)
22. Luke Kalaitzian (Hon)
20. Anthony Rodriguez: 40
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Source: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.