News and stories from Powersports racing in the United States.
Jake Gagne cast a lonely shadow on the front row of the grid for the second part of the red-flag-interrupted Medallia Superbike race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday as the other two front-row starters were nowhere to be seen.
A scary crash on the exit of turn two on the opening lap of the first start had taken out pole sitter Cameron Beaubier and Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen. Prior to the restart, Richie Escalante – the third fastest qualifier – had a brake issue and missed the sighting lap and was put to the back of the grid. Thus, a lonely Gagne was the only rider on the front row while the second row also lacked Petersen who, like Beaubier, was unable to make the restart.
But first things first. The crash. With Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Petersen nabbing the holeshot from the second row, he led the field through turn two and then highsided on the exit. Beaubier and the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR had nowhere to go, and he slammed into Petersen’s crashed Yamaha YZF-R1 and also went down. At that point the race was stopped.
On the restart, Gagne wasn’t challenged, and he led every one of the 19 laps, eventually crossing the finish line 5.3 seconds clear of second place. The victory was the fifth of the year for the championship points leader and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha YZF-R1 and the 34th of his career.
A battered and bruised Josh Herrin finished second on the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R, besting a fast-closing PJ Jacobsen on the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR. The red flag cost Jacobsen any chance of a late-race attack on Herrin and he finished just .368 of a second behind the Ducati.
Considering he started from the back row of the grid, Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante continued to show that he’s a top-tier Superbike racer as he carved his way through the field to latch on to the back of the Jacobsen/Mathew Scholtz battle for third. When Scholtz crashed out of the race with two laps to go, Escalante inherited fourth place just hours after earning the first Superbike front-row starting spot of his career in the second qualifying session on Saturday morning. Scholtz’s crash in Rainey Curve brought out a second red flag and the race was called complete.
Escalante’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Brandon Paasch finished an impressive fifth in his debut on the factory Suzuki GSX-R1000R. It was also Paasch’s comeback ride after he suffered a broken back in an off-season motocross crash.
Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong ended up sixth with Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim seventh. Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Corey Alexander, Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders and Aftercare Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates completed the top 10.
“I had a feeling that it would be some carnage in today’s race, just because especially when Cam (Petersen) went down in the beginning I was shocked. Then both Cams (Petersen and Beaubier) are tumbling on the road. I kind of swerved, and I was just hoping nobody got… The worst thing to see is somebody sliding down the road in front of you. Obviously, I wasn’t surprised to get a red flag. I want to win races. I want to get points in the championship, but it sucks doing it like that. With Beaubier going out like that and Cam P., my teammate. So, I hope those guys are all right. Then after the restart. I just knew the wind is really chilly today. I knew from sitting on the grid before that crash even happened that the first couple laps, we had to be patient on those tires to get the heat in them. So, I was surprised, but I wasn’t surprised to see some of that carnage right in the beginning. We’re going to have to be patient on those tires with the cool breeze and sitting on the grid. So, I just tried to do that and build heat in these Dunlops. It seems like they get a little bit better after a couple laps. Just being patient. I was keeping an eye on my pit board. I knew Josh (Herrin) was behind me in the beginning. I could hear that Ducati roaring. I was just trying to be smooth. I think the big thing was trying to be easy on that front tire, because we’ve all been struggling with tearing a little bit on the front tire. It’s getting better throughout the weekend, but I tried to focus on just using different parts of the tire and I was happy with how that came in and happy with the team for helping me out and showing me what I need to do better, especially yesterday to today. So, good day and I’m looking forward to a good battle with those guys. Hopefully we can all keep it upright tomorrow and put in some good two races and put on a show for everyone.”
“I think I ended up fourth and I was trying to go on the outside of Jake (Gagne) in, I call it one, but two, and then cross over to the inside right there where they went down. As I was starting to get on the throttle coming out of two, I decided I’m going to sneak back behind Jake because I wasn’t going to make it. I didn’t really see. I saw some movement, but I was focused a little bit further ahead on the track. As I was driving out of two picking it up to lean right a little bit, Jake just peeled off really quick to the left. Those guys were sliding right in front of me. I had nowhere to go. I kind of just checked up and got really lucky that they slid out of the way when they did. But it was pretty spooky because it’s like when you’re out on the freeway and somebody just peels off in front of you because there’s trash in the road and you’ve got nowhere to go. It was a really scary moment. I had a feeling they were going to red flag it. I was surprised that they waited as long as they did, just because it looks like they were in the middle of the track. It was a scary moment, for sure.”
“It was a crazy race. It sucks for Cam P. and Cameron Beaubier, my teammate. Just that whole situation. Then after that it was weird. I was lining up on the grid and it was just so empty. So, it was kind of a strange race. I’m just a bit lucky to be up here. The other guys would have obviously been in this whole fight and stuff like that, but I guess at the end of the day it’s motorcycle racing. This morning, I completely totaled my bike. Destroyed it for the guys. So, I was really just disappointed in myself and for my side of the crew to put that back together. I was just going around not too happy this morning and it put me in a bad qualifying position for the race today. But the race was going pretty good. (Mathew) Scholtz passed me and at the end there I started to catch Josh (Herrin) and was trying to push with that two laps to go, or whatever. Unfortunately, the red flag came out because of Scholtz. I hope he’s okay. I’m just happy to be up here and be on the podium for the Tytlers Cycle Racing team.”
Cameron Beaubier (6) leads the way over Jake Gagne (1) and Cameron Petersen (45) off the start of Saturday’s Medallia Superbike race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The race was red-flagged when Petersen crashed and Beaubier struck his bike and also crashed. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Jake Gagne (1) won his fifth race of the season on Saturday, besting Josh Herrin (2) by some five seconds. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
PJ Jacobsen (99) finished third with Richie Escalante (54) inheriting fourth when Mathew Scholtz (11) crashed out in the closing laps. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
(Left to right) Josh Herrin, Jake Gagne, Mike Canfield and PJ Jacobsen celebrate on the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca podium. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Saturday photos available HERE
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier had about as good of a Sunday as a person can have as he stormed to two MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike victories at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca a day after what was for him, a miserable Saturday.
Beaubier had similar battles in both of the Medallia Superbike races but with different foes. In race one, he hounded Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne for 15 of the 20 laps before making a pass and pulling away to a 2.423-second win over the defending two-time champion. Three hours later, Beaubier did it again only this time it was Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin leading until the very last lap only to get passed by Beaubier, who won his second race on the day – this time by .620 of a second.
Beaubier’s two wins were his fourth and fifth of the season and the 58th and 59th of his AMA Superbike career. The two wins came a day after he crashed out of race one on the opening lap after Cameron Petersen crashed in front of him, leaving him nowhere to go.
Herrin, who is still nursing the injuries suffered in his Q2 crash at Ridge Motorsports Park two weeks ago, was third and second in the two races on Sunday.
Gagne, the championship points leader, was second in race one and crossed the line second in race two, as well. However, he was given a two-second penalty for exceeding track limits and that penalty dropped him to third behind Herrin.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante continues to prove that he’s now a Medallia Superbike front runner as he scored two fourth-place finishes on Sunday, beating Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Cameron Petersen in both races by 7.9 and 1.4 seconds, respectively.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz had a weekend to forget as he finished sixth and eighth in the two Sunday races.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen couldn’t match his podium finish from Saturday on Sunday as mechanical problems knocked him out of race two prior to him finishing sixth in race three.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch, meanwhile, had a weekend he will always remember as he concluded his factory Suzuki debut weekend with eighth- and seventh-place finishes a day after finishing fifth.
The third of the Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RRs was ridden to seventh and ninth in Sunday’s two races by Corey Alexander.
Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim had a busy day with two Superbike races and a Mission King Of The Baggers race and he was ninth and 10th in the two Superbike races.
After five rounds and 11 races, Gagne and Beaubier each have five wins, but Gagne has a 34-point lead on his former teammate, 217-183. Herrin, with one victory on the year, is third with 178 points. Escalante and his 127 points are eight better than Scholtz, who slips to fifth in the championship points chase.
“I woke up pretty sore this morning, for sure, but it wasn’t too bad once I got riding. After the first few laps it was okay. But we destroyed a bike pretty good yesterday. The boys were here until 10:30, 11:00 making sure the second bike was ready to go. To be honest, coming into today I didn’t really know what to expect just because we made some good strides on that new frame and the new bike that we’ve been riding the last round. Went back to the other one, but it honestly felt really good. I felt like it absorbs some of the bumps that I was struggling with earlier in the weekend. So, hats off. Thank you so much to the Tytlers guys. They’ve been working their butts off all year and especially this weekend. There at the beginning I felt like I had some places I was stronger than Jake (Gagne), and then vice versa. He had some good spots too. I felt like they really made a good step on the brakes. It was pretty tough to get around him. I was trying to just be patient. There with five or six, I was struggling a little bit off the last corner compared to him and I felt like I finally got out of there pretty good one lap and I was able to sneak up the inside with the BMW power up over one and just tried to put my head down from there and see what happens. Felt really good. It’s hard to be too excited because I know we’ve got another one of these coming up in a couple hours, but I’m super happy and move on to the third race.”
“The bike was about the same, but we made a couple little tweaks. I got off to a good start. Cam (Beaubier) threw it into one and it was a little wide, so I snuck it up in there. I knew especially Cam and Josh (Herrin), those guys have had incredible pace. All I could do was try to just not make mistakes and at least try to make it tough. I knew it was Cam behind me. I didn’t know if Josh was close exactly, but I could hear the Beemer behind me. Just tried to click off consistent laps and not leave the door open and hope that I could hold him off for a while. I can’t remember, five or six to go or something, he came by me on the front straight up over one and he just put his head down and I didn’t have anything to run that pace. Low 23s there at the end would have been really, really tricky for me. So, I think we learned a lot. We could see some areas where Cameron was really rolling and doing a good job. So, we’ll see. We got a couple hours here. We’ll see if we can maybe try a couple things. I think as we’ve seen it’s just going to be even tighter of a race this afternoon.”
“I wanted to try to catch those guys. I keep thinking about earlier in the year. I don’t know if it’s tires on the Ducati or fitness, or something comes into play middle of the race today where I’m able to kind of get a little bit on them. So, I didn’t want to give up. Obviously, normally you never want to give up, but especially this year I have felt good in the second half of the race. So, I just wanted to make sure I kept plugging away in case I was able to get them to come back. It seemed like for a little while I was a tenth here, two tenths here maybe catching up. So, just wanted to get as close as I could just in case I got an opportunity at the end. Also, then I saw Richie (Escalante) behind me, so that definitely scared me into going a little bit faster. I’m just starting to get really comfortable on this thing. It seems like every weekend I get a little bit stronger in the second race, so I’m glad we got three this time. I feel like I can capitalize on that. I’m just having fun on the bike and really enjoying spinning laps out there. The beginning of the weekend it wasn’t going so well for me. I wasn’t feeling comfortable. Today in the race I felt really good. Just having a lot of fun and trying to plug as many laps away as I can and get as much confidence as I can for race three.”
“They were both tough in their own way. I think this afternoon I was struggling more than I did earlier today. I felt like when I could put my head down earlier today my bike was working really good and I felt hooked up. Here this afternoon, I felt like every time I tried to put my head down, even when Josh (Herrin) would pull me in a little bit and I would try to get back to him in the next section, the rear end would come around on the entry. That’s not very confidence inspiring. Especially down Rainey, the rear end was coming around and I hadn’t really had that all weekend, other than when the track was really green. I’m not sure why. I think obviously that’s the hottest the track temp has been for us all week, so maybe that’s a little bit has to do with it. Anyway, Josh rode incredible. He was so good on the brakes. I was kind of like earlier today, I was sniffing here and there, but I couldn’t really commit to anything. I saw his tire starting to shred and I was able to get out of the second-to-last corner before the last corner a little bit better than him. So, I was trying to make that work where he passed me earlier in the race. After that, I just put my head down. I saw my gap just shrinking. I knew Jake (Gagne) was coming and I really didn’t want to be in second with Jake behind me going into the last lap. So, today was an amazing day. After a really tough day yesterday, and just shout out to the Tytlers guys. Good to wrap it up good here.”
“I knew he (Beaubier) had pace on me. Whenever he passed me earlier in the race, maybe four to go or something, I saw he had the pace. I knew if I wanted to win the race, I had to just get back by him and make a dogfight out of it. I kind of had a feeling that he didn’t want to risk Jake (Gagne) getting by both of us, if he had to keep battling. So, in my head I was thinking, ‘all right, he’s probably going to wait until the last lap and try to make a move.’ I was thinking in the three, four section, because I was pretty slow there. I could hear him every time coming up on me. With five to go, I was trying – like I talked about yesterday, trying third instead of second in four, but I just couldn’t make it work. Second was too slow mid-corner. He was getting me mid-corner. I just had nothing for him. So, I tried my hardest and made a huge mistake out of four. That’s when (Jake) Gagne got by me. I was worried that Richie (Escalante) was right there. I didn’t know how close anybody else was, so I just put my head down and tried my hardest to get back up to Jake, but I couldn’t do it. That was one of the funnest races that I’ve had in a long time. I was pumped to get to lead. I knew my pace wasn’t super good. I figured maybe they were battling behind me or something, but I was really happy. I’m happy with how the weekend turned out. Getting on the podium all three times, I’m stoked on that. Getting more and more comfortable on the V4. Hopefully Brainerd treats us well and we can keep fighting for the lead. We made a little bit up on Jake today, but not much, and we didn’t earn it the right way, but I’ll take it. I’ve won a championship like that before where (Josh) Hayes made a bunch of jump starts. Sometimes that’s what you got to do. I think (Ben) Bostrom won a championship in the early 2000s and he didn’t win one race. Just got to be consistent and keep trying.”
Cameron Beaubier (6) got the jump on the Medallia Superbike pack in the third of three races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday on the Monterey Peninsula. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Cameron Beaubier (6) was perfect on Sunday, winning both races. Josh Herrin (2) was third and second in the two races. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Richie Escalante (54) had a stellar weekend in Monterey, with two fourths and a fifth in the three races. Here he battles Cameron Petersen (45) in race three. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Cameron Beaubier (6) led Jake Gagne (1) across the finish line in race three, but Gagne was penalized two seconds for exceeding track limits and was dropped to third behind Josh Herrin (2). Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Sunday photos available HERE
A day after their synchronized crashing from the day before in the Mission King Of The Baggers on Saturday, the protagonists in the class were back at it on Sunday and this time H-D Screamin’ Eagle’s Kyle Wyman made amends by winning the second of the two races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on a sunny Sunday on the Monterey Peninsula.
Mission King Of The Baggers (KOTB) is a one make versus one make championship: Harley-Davidson versus Indian Motorcycles. But on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, “The Motor Company” as they colloquially refer to Harley-Davidson, swept the podium in KOTB race two.
H-D Screamin’ Eagle factory rider Kyle Wyman got the victory, and he was hounded by Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson’s James Rispoli, who got balked by a lapped rider on the final run to the checkers, and it thwarted his last-turn effort. Finishing third was Rispoli’s teammate Hayden Gillim, who won Saturday’s race one.
“Today, I tried to pull the trigger the last few laps,” Wyman said. “I thought I had a bit of a gap, but we caught a lapper in turn 11 on the last lap. It feels good to get a win today. We all want to win. We all have, maybe, a little bit different approach in trying to do it. Today, fortunately, I was able to do it my way, which is control the pace and try to manage and see if I can dig a little deeper in the end.”
REV’IT! Twins Cup race two was a tale of two teammates, and it was the best of times for one of them and the worst of times for the other. Race one winner Rocco Landers was at the front aboard his Robem Engineering Aprilia and looked to be headed for another victory, but he made a mistake and crashed out unhurt, which handed the lead to Gus Rodio who is sponsored by Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering but is technically on the same team as Landers.
For Rodio, who hadn’t won since Daytona, he gladly took the win and also took over the championship lead by just three points over defending class champ Blake Davis. Speaking of Davis, he finished third in Sunday’s REV’IT! Twins Cup race two aboard his N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto Yamaha YZF-R7.
“I got a really good start and then I ran wide in turn five,” Rodio said. “That corner seems to get me every time I come here. That’s where I threw the lead away last year in the Junior Cup. So, once I ran wide, I knew to just stand it up and try and get back on the track because that green, you keep the lean angle and that’s how I crashed last year. Got back on the track. Was surprised to only have fallen back to third. I knew I had to get around Blake and then just put the pressure on Rocco. He’s my teammate and I know his plan. I just tried to keep the pressure there. I don’t think that’s why he crashed. I think there was a lot going on in that corner with the yellow flag and a rider that had just gone down. So, there’s no telling what happened there. It definitely helped to be right on him and kind of like a cat and mouse. He would stretch it in a sector, and I’d close it in a sector. I’m really happy with the race. Disappointed that he went down. Hopefully he’s all right.
“When I hopped on the Aprilia at Daytona, I just really felt like one with the bike. It reminds me a lot of my supermoto, and I love that thing a lot. The last couple rounds, I just didn’t feel very connected with the bike. I came here and right off the bat it feels like my bike again and I feel like I’m one with the machine. I just had a lot of fun this weekend and it seems the results come with that. So, I’m just going to keep having fun and keep chipping away.”
The Mission Super Hooligan National Championship had two feature races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and venerable Ulsterman Jeremy McWilliams did the double by winning both races. On Sunday, he battled again with his Indian Motorcycle/Progressive/Mission Foods teammate and defending class champ Tyler O’Hara, taking the checkered flag by just a little more than one-and-a-half seconds over O’Hara.
Thus far in the championship, O’Hara has won three races and McWilliams has won two, but the pair are now in a deadlock for the title with 106 points apiece. Meanwhile, DiBrino Racing KTM rider Andy DiBrino, who finished third in Sunday’s race to round out the podium, is just 16 points behind in the point standings.
“We’ve been fastest in every session (this weekend),” McWilliams said. “I think maybe that was a lap record on the last lap. I could just see plus zero, plus zero. I could see the back markers were approaching. The problem is here that you get a trip-up with the back markers, as I believe happened to him maybe going onto the last lap. It’s so tight at the Corkscrew that you get tripped up and unfortunately your lap just goes away. So, I did need to be at the front so I could try to control the back markers. That was the plan. Even if I got passed, whether it was Andy or my teammate, I had to be able to get back past again as soon as possible. I wasn’t fast everywhere. I wasn’t as strong in some parts of the track as Tyler, and I kind of knew that. Which would make it very difficult to make a pass again because I think Tyler could have gapped me quite easily. Then I would have had to fight really hard to get back at him. But I needed the points and I needed to do this for our guys that are working so hard. They didn’t get back last night until 12:00 or something yesterday evening, and they’re up at 5:00 every morning. They’re not getting any time to relax and it’s hard on them, so we’ve got to repay that with the best results we can give them. We’ve got the hardest-working team and we’ve got a factory behind us.”
Kyle Wyman (33) bounced back from his crash on Saturday to win Sunday’s Mission King Of The Baggers race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Gus Rodio won the REV’IT! Twins Cup race on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Jeremy McWilliams (99) and Stefano Mesa (137) lead the Mission Super Hooligan National Championship race over turn one. McWilliams would go on to take his second straight class victory on Sunday. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Sunday photos available HERE
SOUTHWICK, Mass. – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle raced his way to the top step of the 250MX podium at Round 6 of the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship in the sands of Southwick today, with teammate Maximus Vohland finishing seventh overall. 450MX front-runner Aaron Plessinger claimed consistent fourth-place moto finishes for P4 overall.
Two-time MX2 World Champion Vialle posted the sixth fastest time in the morning’s combined qualifying sessions, quickly coming to grips with the iconic sands of The Wick 338 circuit. A strong start in the first moto saw the Frenchman sit in P2, putting pressure on the leader and taking charge by the halfway mark. From there, Vialle would post a calculated ride to take a maiden Pro Motocross race win.
Moto two saw Vialle power his KTM 250 SX-F to the all-important holeshot, putting himself in a great position from the outset. Engaged in a race-long battle, the 22-year-old newcomer to U.S. competition would fight hard for third, which is where he finished, and that was enough to land his first-career Pro Motocross round victory. He's currently seventh in the 250MX Championship as the series enters its second half.
Tom Vialle: "It means a lot to get my first national win! I’ve had a few tough races, so to get on the podium with an overall win is nice, as it’s been challenging to get a good feeling at all of these new circuits. I feel like we are making great progress and we’re in a good position for the rest of the season. The track here was nice, way different to Lommel and places like that, but it felt good to be back in sandy conditions, and I’m looking forward now to next weekend in Millville."
Meanwhile, Vohland shadowed Vialle in qualifying with the seventh quickest lap-time, before posting a consistent 8-6 moto scorecard for seventh overall. That continued his string of top 10 finishes and he has managed to maintain eighth place in the standings with five rounds to go.
Maximus Vohland: "To finish inside the top 10 in qualifying and both motos showed we were consistent and the final moto result was an improvement. Myself and the team will keep putting in the work together in these middle stages of the season and I'm looking forward to getting to Millville now!"
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450MX entry Plessinger entered the Southwick National nursing a tweaked back, with the Ohio native showing heart as he worked his way to ninth position in qualifying. From there, he rode his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION to a pair of fourth-place finishes, which landed him P4 overall and he's now third in the championship standings.
Aaron Plessinger: "Yeah, man! 4-4 on the day for Southwick – it’s alright, can’t be mad at it. I felt solid all day, the first moto I struggled with comfort a little bit, and then for the second moto we made really good changes, but I just struggled a little bit with my body in that one. Super-rough track today – it was a hot one out here – but my back is slowly improving, so the aim is to land on the podium again at Spring Creek next weekend."
Next Race: July 15 – Millville, Minnesota
Results 450MX Class – Southwick National 1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 1-1 2. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, 2-2 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA), Yamaha, 3-3 4. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, 4-4 OTHER KTM 20. Karel Kutsar (EST), KTM 25. Kevin Moranz (USA), KTM 26. Jeffrey Walker (USA), KTM 30. Trevor Schmidt (USA), KTM 31. Dawson Draycott (USA), KTM 32. Max Miller (USA), KTM 36. Brandon Scarer (USA), KTM 38. Kristopher Corey (USA), KTM 43. Christopher Prebula (USA), KTM
Results 250MX Class – Southwick National 1. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM, 1-3 2. Justin Cooper (USA), Yamaha, 2-2 3. Jo Shimoda (JPN), Kawasaki, 6-1 OTHER KTM 7. Maximus Vohland (USA), KTM, 8-6 15. Jimmy Decotis (USA), KTM 17. Slade Smith (RSA), KTM 20. Matti Jorgensen (DEN), KTM 21. Lux Turner (USA), KTM 23. Derek Kelley (USA), KTM 25. Cody Williams (USA), KTM 26. Kyle Murdoch (USA), KTM 27. Marcus Phelps (USA), KTM 29. Jack Zarse (USA), KTM 30. Lawrence Fortin III (USA), KTM 32. Hunter Cross (USA), KTM 37. Andrew Rossi (USA), KTM
Standings 450MX Class 2023 after 6 of 11 rounds 1. Jett Lawrence, 300 points 2. Dylan Ferrandis, 233 3. Aaron Plessinger, 210 OTHER KTM 5. Cooper Webb, 147 31. Dante Oliveira, 15 33. Max Miller, 13 34. Christopher Prebula, 12 35. Tyler Stepek, 11 36. Brandon Scharer, 7 38. Trevor Schmidt, 4 52. Jeffrey Walker, 1
Standings 250MX Class 2023 after 6 of 11 rounds 1. Haiden Deegan, 218 points 2. Hunter Lawrence, 213 3. RJ Hampshire, 205 OTHER KTM 7. Tom Vialle, 179 8. Maximus Vohland, 165 21. Derek Kelley, 29 22. Slade Smith, 28 29. Jimmy Decotis, 13 32. Lux Turner, 7 34. Matti Jorgensen, 7 38. Josh Varize, 4 41. Marcus Phelps, 2
MIDDLETOWN, N. Y. – It was a dominant performance from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Kody Kopp at Round 12 of the 2023 American Flat Track Championship, topping all sessions and securing a sixth AFT Singles Main Event victory this season at the Orange County Half-Mile.
Defending AFT Singles class champion Kopp was fast as soon as the wheels hit the dirt in New York, with the number one plate-holder setting the fastest combined time in qualifying. Carrying that momentum into the opening Heat race of the event, Kopp pieced together a strong ride that saw him cross the line with a four-second margin over second place.
An entry into the Dash-For-Cash was the award by after that Heat race win, where Kopp was again the first to greet the checkered flag. In the Main Event, the 18-year-old would charge from a three-second deficit at one point to wrap up a stellar day of racing and secure his third win in succession. He now has a commanding 47-point lead in the standings.
Kody Kopp: "Notched pretty much the perfect day of racing here in New York – managed to top qualifying, won the heat race, won the Dash, and then was able to get the win in the Main Event. The win didn’t come easy this weekend though, we had to fight from being way back and, I think at one point I was three seconds down, but dug deep for that one. The goal was to keep the winning streak going and show we’re here to fight for this championship. That’s win number six for me this year, so we’ll go back to work and be back for New Jersey, hungry for more."
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Whale posted the fifth-fastest time in qualifying, before racing to a fourth-place finish in the second Heat race of the night. The Australian would then experience a first turn fall in the Main Event, and struggle to completely come to grips with the track surface as the laps clicked off, restarting to finish in 18th place.
Max Whale: "The day started off decent for me, felt good in practice and qualifying, even though this was a very challenging circuit to ride. I struggled as the day went on with the track drying out, and then rode average in the Heat race. That meant I had a second row start for the main, but then went down by myself in the first turn, and just struggled here in a big way. We’ll need to regroup and come back for the next one.”
Next Race: Bridgeport Half-Mile – Swedesboro, NJ – July 22, 2023
Round 12 Results
AFT Singles Main Event 1. Kody Kopp, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2. Chase Saathoff, Honda 3. Tom Drane, Yamaha OTHER KTM 7. Dalton Gauthier, KTM 10. Travis Petton IV, KTM 12. Shayna Texter-Bauman, KTM 16. Logan Eisenhard, KTM 17. Declan Bender, KTM 18. Max Whale, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2023 AFT Singles Point Standings 1. Kody Kopp, 241 points 2. Chase Saathoff, 194 3. Trevor Brunner, 187 OTHER KTM 6. Dalton Gauthier, 179 7. Max Whale, 178 11. Travis Petton IV, 69 12. Shayna Texter-Bauman, 59 18. Hunter Bauer, 49 19. Logan Eisenhard, 40 23. Declan Bender, 21 24. Hayden Gillim, 14 25. Landen Smith, 13 27. Clarke Morian V, 12 29. Tanner Dean, 9 33. Olin Kissler, 4
The 2023 Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, reached its halfway point on Saturday with its annual foray to the motocross hotbed of New England. The 42nd running of the Crestview Construction Southwick National presented the most challenging test of the season thus far, where high temperatures and humidity combined with the demanding sand track of legendary The Wick 338 resulted in a grueling afternoon of racing. The perfect season by 450 Class rookie Jett Lawrence continued with another dominant outing by the Team Honda HRC rider, who went 1-1 yet again for his sixth straight victory, while two-time MX2 World Champion Tom Vialle emerged with his first win in U.S. competition in the 250 Class.
It was the Team Honda HRC duo of Chase Sexton and Lawrence leading the field into the first turn to start Moto 1, as Sexton stormed to the MotoSport.com Holeshot only to be passed by Lawrence by the time they reached the second turn. Both riders dropped the hammer to open a gap on the field while Lawrence moved out nearly two seconds ahead of his teammate. Behind them, Sport Clips/Beachview Treatment/HBI Racing Kawasaki’s Ty Masterpool settled into third ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger and Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis.
As the lead pair checked out on the field an exciting battle for third unfolded amongst Masterpool, Plessinger and Ferrandis. The Yamaha-mounted Frenchman found himself in an opportunistic position and was able to slip past Plessinger as he pressured Masterpool. Ferrandis then set his sights on Masterpool for third. The privateer racer didn’t flinch and made the former series champion go to work. After a persistent attack Ferrandis finally got the upper hand and took control of third, leaving Masterpool and Plessinger to battle it out for fourth.
Near the halfway point of the moto Sexton had chipped away at the deficit to Lawrence and moved within striking distance of his teammate. However, Lawrence picked up the pace again and built the lead back out to more than four seconds.
Lawrence continued to add to his lead through the remainder of the moto and rode to his 11th straight moto win with ease, crossing the finish line seven seconds ahead of Sexton, who was never pressured en route to second, while Ferrandis finished a distant third. Plessinger was fourth, while Masterpool rounded out the top five.
Jett Lawrence remains perfect halfway through the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship. Photo: Align Media
The final moto got underway with the Yamaha of Ferrandis leading the field out of the first turn for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, but he was quickly overcome by Lawrence who proceeded to sprint out to an early lead. Plessinger slotted into third, with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo and Sexton in tow.
While Lawrence took advantage of the clear track it was Sexton who was making moves as he got around Cianciarulo for fourth and then made quick work of Plessinger to take over third. It didn’t take long for him to close in on Ferrandis for second as the lead trio checked out on the rest of the field. Ten minutes into the moto less than 3.5 seconds separated the top three and that’s when Sexton made his move on Ferrandis to grab second.
Sexton was able to gain a few tenths on Lawrence initially, but the Aussie’s advantage grew over the second half of the moto. The lead surpassed double digits in the closing minutes and grew to nearly 20 seconds before he backed down the pace. As has been the case for much of the season, Lawrence led every lap of action across both motos and wrapped up another perfect afternoon 14.7 seconds ahead of Sexton, with Ferrandis well back in third.
Chase Sexton earned his second runner-up finish of the season (2-2). Photo: Align Media
Another 1-1 effort gave Lawrence his sixth consecutive overall win and further extended the record start to his 450 Class career. He now sits tied with both Sexton and Ferrandis as the winningest active riders in the division and has led every lap in five of six rounds this season. Sexton earned an assertive runner-up effort (2-2) for his third podium result in three starts, while Ferrandis rounded out the top three overall in third (3-3) with his fourth podium of the summer.
Lawrence’s lead in the championship standings now sits at 67 points over Ferrandis, while Plessinger, who finished fourth (4-4), is third, 90 points out of the lead.
Dylan Ferrandis landed on the overall podium for the fourth time (3-3). Photo: Align Media
Jett Lawrence, Team Honda HRC “I didn’t enjoy that one bit. That was a brutal track, the most brutal track I’ve ridden. It was just survival out there. My legs are shaking right now and I’m really tired, but that’s 12 wins in a row now which is awesome.”
Chase Sexton, Team Honda HRC “Speed is not a problem. I just wasn’t flowing halfway through the [second] moto. I need to keep working on getting back to [the level] where I was last year. Just gotta keep climbing the ladder.”
Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing “We’ve been pushing really hard in practice and training [during the week] and it’s paying off. Today was just tough. I did all I could to keep up with Jett [Lawrence] but it was a long moto. We’ll keep working and try to be better next week.”
The opening moto started with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Justin Cooper leading the way for the MotoSport.com Holeshot just ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jalek Swoll and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Seth Hammaker. Cooper withstood an early pass attempt by Swoll to hold onto the lead the sprint away, while both Swoll and Hammaker were bypassed by a hard-charging Vialle aboard his KTM. Behind the leaders, the top two riders in the championship, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan and Team Honda HRC mounted point leader Hunter Lawrence, started in eighth and ninth, respectively.
Cooper and Vialle were able to open a gap on the rest of the field and assert themselves at the front of the pack. Cooper comfortably maintained his hold of the top spot, but the Frenchman kept him honest. Meanwhile, Hammaker moved around Swoll into third. Further back, Lawrence made the pass on Deegan and soon broke into the top five while Deegan remained mired in ninth.
At the turn of the moto’s halfway point a three-rider battle emerged for third between Hammaker, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire, and Lawrence. With pressure from behind, Hampshire was aggressive and hounded Hammaker. He successfully squeezed under his Kawasaki rival to take the position, which led to another battle between Hammaker and Lawrence, from which Lawrence prevailed in fourth as Hammaker endured a quick tip over.
The gap between the lead pair was slowly shrinking as the final five minutes of the moto approached but things changed dramatically when Cooper tipped over and gave up the lead to Vialle. The Yamaha rider remounted and continued on without any additional positions lost but faced a near seven-second gap to Vialle when he resumed. Further back, the battle in the championship got more interesting as Deegan was able to claw his way into the top five and started to close in on Lawrence. The Honda rider responded and opened the gap back up until his bike appeared to expire with two laps to go and forced Lawrence to retire.
Back up front Vialle cruised to his first career moto win on U.S. soil and took the checkered flag 17.4 seconds ahead of Cooper, who soldiered home in second, while Hampshire followed in third. Deegan finished fourth following Lawrence’s misfortune as Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Levi Kitchen grabbed fifth.
Two-time World Champion Tom Vialle is now a winner in American motocross competition. Photo: Align Media
Vialle picked up where he left off with a stellar start in the final moto for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed closely by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda and his teammate Hammaker. Cooper started fifth, with Deegan ninth and Lawrence just inside the top 15.
A clear track allowed Vialle to settle into the lead and Shimoda into second, maintaining an advantage of just over a second. Hammaker did the same in third, but Cooper lurked in fourth. A little deeper in the running order Lawrence broke into the top 10 while Deegan went in the opposite direction and fell back behind Lawrence. Back up front, Shimoda appeared to be faster than Vialle but showed patience and waited for his opportunity to arise. Once it did, he pulled the trigger and made the pass stick to take control of the moto with 18 minutes to go.
Behind the leaders Cooper made his move for third after spending half the moto behind Hammaker, moving into a podium spot with relative ease. As the moto wound down Cooper’s forward progression continued. He started to chip away at the deficit to Vialle and soon found himself within striking distance. With just over five minutes to go Cooper was able to make the pass for second and then looked to erase the 3.7 second gap to Shimoda out front. Meanwhile, Vialle was forced to contend with Hampshire from fourth, a battle that put the overall win in the balance.
As time was about to run out on the moto Cooper had closed in on Shimoda to challenge for the lead, but he tucked the front end and went down. That allowed Shimoda to slip away and while he remounted quickly, Cooper resumed right in front of Vialle, with Hampshire right behind.
Shimoda prevailed with his first moto win of the season, finishing four seconds ahead of Cooper, while Vialle kept Hampshire at bay for third. Further back, Lawrence rebounded from his Moto 1 heartbreak to finish eighth, while Deegan settled for 10th after a late tip over.
Justin Cooper overcame a pair of tip overs to finish in the runner-up spot (2-2). Photo: Align Media
Vialle’s consistent 1-3 moto finishes were enough to land him atop the overall podium for the first time here in the States in just his sixth Pro Motocross start and makes it back-to-back first-time winners this season. He’s the latest World Champion to make the full-time move to America and achieve success, following in the footsteps of the likes of fellow Frenchman Marvin Musquin and German Ken Roczen. Vialle is the 91st different winner in 250 Class history.
Cooper narrowly missed out on his first win of the year in second (2-2), while Shimoda’s second moto victory vaulted him to his first overall podium result of the season in third (6-1).
With the mixed fortunes of Lawrence and Deegan the championship standings saw a dramatic shakeup with five rounds remaining. Deegan’s sixth-place finish (4-10) was enough to put him atop the 250 Class standings for the first time, where he now holds a five-point lead over Lawrence, who finished 13th (26-8). Hampshire’s fourth place finish (3-4) moved him to within 13 points of the lead in third.
Jo Shimoda earned his first overall podium result of the season in third (6-1). Photo: Align Media
Tom Vialle, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing “It was a tough one today. I’ve been trying so hard [all season]. I felt really comfortable today and we were able to get the win. It took some time to get here [on top of the podium] but I’m just so happy we were able to achieve this. It’s been so much fun.”
Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing “I’m pretty wasted right now. I’m very tired. I gave it everything. I had to. I was riding a bit over my head [in Moto 2] and pushed it a little too hard [to catch Shimoda]. The way this track is, it’ll bite you quick. We’ll keep pushing and got good points, so an awesome day for us.”
Jo Shimoda, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki “I’m not really sure what was different today. For sure a better start [in Moto 2]. All year I’ve been struggling but today it finally worked out. I’m just so happy to finally get on the podium.”
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 6 of 11)
he second half of the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship will begin next weekend with a visit to the Land of 10,000 Lakes in Minnesota for another challenge at Millville’s famed Spring Creek MX Park. The FXR Spring Creek National, presented by Frescados Tortillas, will take place on Saturday, July 15, for the seventh round of the summer campaign. A total of 4.5 hours of uninterrupted moto coverage from Spring Creek will be streamed live on Peacock and will kick off with Race Day Live, presented by MotoSport.com, at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET, followed by race coverage beginning at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET. An encore presentation will air on USA Network on Sunday, July 16, at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET.
As the 2023 AMA Pro Motocross series cleared its midway point in the grueling heat and challenging sand of Southwick, Massachusetts, Jett Lawrence’s incredible year continued unabated, with the 19-year-old Australian once again leading every lap of both motos aboard his Team Honda HRC CRF450RWE. Lawrence’s rookie success is unprecedented, as he has won all 12 motos run thus far. In his second race back from a three-race absence due to a concussion, Chase Sexton improved his performance by one position compared to last week, notching 2-2 moto finishes for second overall, good enough to advance him three positions in the title chase, to seventh. The 250 class proceedings proved more challenging for the team, as Hunter Lawrence suffered a technical issue that brought a premature end to his first moto. A poor moto 2 start left him battling through the pack to eventually finish eighth, for 13th overall.
In the first 450 moto, Sexton led the pack out of turn 1, but Jett moved by in the next corner. The teammates stayed in those positions from then on, with Sexton pulling a 25-second advantage over third place 18 minutes in. At the finish, Jett was seven seconds ahead of his teammate, who in turn was 46 seconds up on the other podium finisher. Jett and Sexton were second and fifth after the moto 2 start, and they were first and fourth after completing lap 1. Sexton was up to third a lap later, and he dispatched the second-place rider on lap 5. At the finish, Jett won with a 14-second advantage, and Sexton was a further 38 seconds up on third place.
The first 250 moto saw Hunter exit turn 1 in ninth place, but he advanced to the top five by lap 4. He was up to fourth three laps later, but with two laps left, he pulled off the track with a mechanical issue. Hampered by a poor gate pick for the second outing, Hunter was mired in 17th place after the first corner. He was up to 11th after the first lap, and to eighth by the midway point. With his vision affected by roost and rain, that’s as high as the Australian would climb, and he settled for 13th overall, determined to reverse the momentum next week in Minnesota.
|July 8, 2023 | Southwick MX Park | Southwick, Massachusetts Foothill Ranch, Calif. (July 9, 2023) - Round 6 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship was held at the world famous The Wick 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts. MonsterEnergy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda brought home his first moto win of the season and finished third overall (6-1). Seth Hammaker and Ryder DiFrancesco battled hard in the brutal conditions to finish fifth (7-5) and 12th (13-13), while Jett Reynolds unfortunately had to miss this race due to illness. In the 450 class, Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo faced challenges prior to the weekend, feeling a bit unwell, yet managed to secure an eighth place finish (7-8) overall. Teammate Jason Anderson demonstrated remarkable perseverance on the most challenging track of the season, ultimately achieving a 10th place finish (6-14) overall. The Wick 338 is one of the oldest tracks on the AMA Pro Motocross Championship circuit. Since 1976, The Wick has been renowned for its deep sand surface, which presents a unique and demanding riding experience for motocross racers. The track’s difficult terrain and challenging layout have earned it the nickname “The Sandbox.” During the crisp and humid early morning qualifying sessions, the MonsterEnergy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders and their KX(™)250 race bikes faced the conditions head on. Hammaker, determined to prove his pace, found his rhythm and secured an eighth place qualifying time. DiFrancesco would take the 11th spot, Shimoda in 12th and Jett Reynolds in 15th - who shortly after would fall ill and not be able to compete. In Moto 1 of the 250 Class, Hammaker and DiFrancesco launched off the start, aiming for the first corner and emerging in the fourth and fifth positions. Shimoda found himself buried within the pack, starting from the 13th position. By the second lap, the No. 35 of Hammaker was already challenging for a podium spot. Unfortunately, the No. 75 of DiFrancesco encountered a costly mistake, briefly leaving the track before swiftly rejoining, relinquishing a few positions in the process. On the other hand, Shimoda faced a formidable challenge, but remained focused and steadily worked his way into the Top 10, engaging in a battle with his Kawasaki teammate, DiFrancesco. Hammaker's mid moto error allowed several riders to overtake him, bringing Shimoda closer. With only a handful of laps remaining, Shimoda executed a successful pass on Hammaker, ultimately securing a sixth place finish. Meanwhile, Hammaker concluded the race in seventh place, with DiFrancesco behind in 13th position. At the start of Moto 2 in the 250 class, all of the Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders established their presence in the top six. Shimoda swiftly crossed the hole shot line, securing the second position, while Hammaker trailed closely in third. DiFrancesco initially started in sixth but swiftly advanced to fifth place. As the laps progressed, the No. 30 Kawasaki engaged in an intense battle for the lead with the winner of Moto 1. As rain started to fall, Shimoda seized the opportunity and executed a daring pass over the finish line jump, claiming the lead. Remaining focused, Shimoda maintained consistency throughout the race, ultimately clinching his first moto victory of the season. Despite a valiant effort, Hammaker's pace began to decrease, resulting in a fifth place finish. DiFrancesco's mistakes further compounded his challenges, relegating him to 13th position by the end of the race.
|“I am stoked on Moto 2 win. We made good improvements and were able to finish third overall. I think it is good for confidence in upcoming rounds, but we have to keep moving forward.”- Jo Shimoda
|“Overall a solid day for me. Fifth overall is my best overall for outdoors and after a long time off from my broken wrist I was happy with my riding. Southwick is the most physically demanding track, but I pushed all day and left it all out there. Time to recover and get ready for Millville next weekend.”- Seth Hammaker
|“Tough day fighting some fast guys on a challenging track. I know my speed is there, but I have to execute on race day. Looking forward to more racing.”- Ryder DiFrancesco
|In 450 Class qualifying Cianciarulo and Anderson would make the most of the tricky morning conditions, placing their KX™450SR race machines into the Top 10. Cianciarulo adapted to secure the fourth place position in qualifying with a 2:08.957 while the No. 21 qualified eighth, less than a second behind his teammate with a 2:09.722. In the first 450 Class Moto, Anderson and Cianciarulo charged into the opening corner with remarkable speed, closely positioned in seventh and eighth place. With each passing lap on the challenging track, Anderson’s No. 21 swiftly executed impressive maneuvers, rapidly climbing to fifth place. As the race neared its conclusion, tension mounted when Kawasaki rider Ty Masterpool executed a late pass on Anderson, forcing him to settle for a sixth place finish and Masterpool taking fifth place. Meanwhile, Cianciarulo fearlessly battled the scorching sun and difficult track conditions, maintaining consistency and ultimately crossing the finish line in seventh place.At the start of Moto 2, distant thunderstorms echoed in the background, while Cianciarulo remained determined in his pursuit of another remarkable start. When the gate dropped, the No. 9 swiftly maneuvered towards the inside line, successfully crossing the holeshot line in fourth place. Anderson found himself squeezed amidst the pack during the first turn, commencing the race from the eighth position. The track's challenging and ever-changing rutted sections, scattered throughout, posed a formidable obstacle to maintaining consistent laps. Despite their determined efforts, both Cianciarulo and Anderson encountered a series of minor errors, causing them to gradually slip back within the pack as the moto progressed. In the final laps, the No. 9 felt the effects of being sick all week and brought it home for an eighth-place finish Anderson fought against the demanding conditions and concluded the race in 14th place.
|“Unfortunately, I came into this race a little sick and I was digging deep, but ended up getting heat stroke. It was a tough day, but it’ll make the good ones ahead all that much sweeter.”- Adam Cianciarulo
|“The entire day was a challenge for me with the conditions. Not stoked on the finish, but we are healthy and excited to battle again next weekend.”- Jason Anderson