News and stories from Powersports racing in the United States.
After capturing a big win at the previous round of the AMA Supercross Series in Denver, Colo., RJ Hampshire and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team came into the final round of the season looking for another strong finish. But per usual, the final round featured an East/West Showdown for the 250 class, which considerably boosted the challenge for everyone. Add in the arrival of an unexpected downpour, and things got substantially more challenging for the entire field.
After RJ Hampshire qualified second in the 250 West afternoon sessions, and he finished second in the heat race, he was set for the final main event of the ’23 Supercross season.
When the gate dropped for the main event, RJ put his FC250 out front, grabbing the holeshot against the entire 250 East/West Showdown field. He led the first seven laps, but the eventual winner nudged his way past at the end of the whoop section, moving RJ into the second spot where he stayed for the remainder of the race. While it wasn’t the win he was looking for, he was upbeat about the progress for both himself and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team.
“It was an awesome night and season. I gave myself a chance at it…that’s all I asked of myself for tonight. I got a really good start. I just kind of lost it in the whoops there,” said Hampshire. “But overall, it was really solid. Another podium, the seventh of the season. It should have been eight, but who’s counting New York? I’ll take this confidence and keep the ball rolling into the outdoors, and we’re going to have a really awesome season there, too.”
While the 450 squad is still on the mend, the exciting news this week was the contract extension for Malcolm Stewart, where he’ll continue with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team for another two years aboard an FC 450 Rockstar Edition.
Next Event (Round 1): May 27, 2023 – Fox Raceway in Pala, Calif.
Round 17 Results: Salt Lake City
250 SX East/West Showdown Results
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda) 2. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
3. Levi Kitchen (Yamaha)
450 SX Results
1. Chase Sexton (Honda) 2. Aaron Plessinger (KTM) 3. Justin Hill (KTM)
250 SX East Rider Point Standings 1. Hunter Lawrence – 241 points 2. Haiden Deegan – 183 points 3. Max Anstie – 182 points … 14. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 73 points
250 SX West Rider Point Standings 1. Jett Lawrence – 223 points 2. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 186 points 3. Levi Kitchen – 156 points
450 SX Rider Point Standings 1. Chase Sexton – 372 points 2. Eli Tomac – 339 points 3. Cooper Webb – 304 points … 12. Christian Craig – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 150 points 30. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 15 points 32. Malcolm Stewart – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 15 points
After getting off to a fast start, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong posted his first-ever NE Pro1 win at this weekend’s Dragon’s Back National Enduro in Arrington, Virginia.
Riding his FX 350, DeLong led the way early, winning the first three tests before settling into a steady and consistent approach that led to a 25-second win over Ricky Russell.
“I started off really well the first three tests,”said DeLong. “It was just really similar to how it is back home in Pennsylvania. Just kind of slick, red clay, a little rooty, and I those conditions. So, I just felt at home at the beginning of the day. I had a nice lead built up there, then after that, in test four I was trying to still push it and still be competitive, but I was just a little bit off of what I was early in the morning.”
DeLong nearly blew his lead in the final test when he got stuck on a log.
“I just got hung up and had a couple of tries at it,”said DeLong. “I was kicking myself in the butt for that one. But I pulled it through. It feels good to finally get a win. It feels like I’ve been at this a couple of years and I’m happy to finally get it done.”
DeLong returns to action in two weeks at the John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio, on May 21st.
Next Round (5): Greensboro, GA – June 11, 2023
Dragon’s Back Enduro – Results
NE Pro1 Class
1. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
2. Ricky Russell (YAM)
3. Ryder Lafferty (GAS)
4. Josh Toth (GAS)
5. Grant Baylor (KAW)
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Dalton Shirey has continued his run of form at Round 4 of the 2023 AMA National Hare & Hound Championship, with the defending champion taking the second step of the podium in Jericho, Utah, on Saturday.
Shirey started off with a great start, leading the field through for the opening lap of the race before engaging in a battle with eventual winner, Tyler Lynn. The defending champion posted a measured ride after an untimely flu made for a difficult outing physically, bringing his FX 450 home in P2 and extending his lead in the 2023 Pro Class series.
Second position at the Cherry Creek National sees Shirey stretch his advantage to points 48 in the Pro Class standings, as two rounds remain in this year’s championship series.
“Today was a good day with second place,” Shirey said. “I’m always out there to win, though I came into this race a little under the weather with the common cold which made breathing difficult, so I did the best that I could. Tyler and I had a good battle all through the event, we both got a little lost at one stage, but he took the lead, and I was pacing him right in his dust for half of the first loop and made the pass around desert mountain. He got me back on lap two, and that’s when I began to feel the fatigue, so I was stoked to sit back there and extend my points lead as that’s what matters.”
The 2023 AMA National Hare & Hound Championship now sees an extended break until September 9, where Round 5 of the series will take place in Nevada for the Silver State Trail Blazers Hare & Hound event, which marks the penultimate round of the series.
Round 5: September 9 – Panaca, Nevada
Pro Class Results – Round 4 1. Tyler Lynn (KAW) 2. Dalton Shirey – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing 3. Zane Roberts (BET)
Pro Class Championship Standings 1. Dalton Shirey, 115 points 2. Carter Klein, 67 3. Joseph Wasson, 66
The 50th season of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship concluded in Salt Lake City and stamped yet another landmark in the history of Dunlop’s Supercross racing program: For the 14th consecutive season, Dunlop riders swept all three championships and race podiums. This making a total of 176 SX and MX Championships, a number that no other company has ever come close to.
In the 450SX class, the deep talent pool of riders made for some great racing throughout the entire season! Monster Energy Star Yamaha Eli Tomac started the season off with a bang by winning the first two races in a row and then five others along the way, but fellow Team Dunlop Elite alumni Chase Sexton and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb kept the pressure on. Team Honda HRC rider Sexton had a few mishaps throughout the season, but he never gave up and always stayed close to or controlled the points lead. As the season progressed a hand-full of the top riders such as Justin Barcia, Cooper Webb and Aaron Plessinger bowed out due to injuries, but the racing prevailed. At the mind-blowing penultimate round in Tomac’s home state of Colorado, Tomac was forced to retire from the race due to a freak incident rupturing his Achilles tendon. This allowed Sexton to win the race, take over the points lead and win his first 450SX Championship with the final race remaining!
For the 2023 season, Dunlop increased their support by adding multiple teams to their Dunlop Family of support. Overall, in the premier 450SX class, Dunlop riders finished in the top 15 positions, once again proving their Dunlop Domination.
In the 250SX championships, HRC Honda riders Jett and Hunter Lawrence were the riders to beat. Older brother Hunter wrapped up the East coast in Nashville and younger brother Jett secured the West in Denver with one race to go. Going into the last race of the season with the championships secured, both Aussies could enjoy the East/West Coast Showdown and take their championships home safe and sound.
With Sexton winning his first supercross title, there are now 24 championships won by Team Dunlop Elite alumni, including Eli Tomac, Aaron Plessinger, Justin Hill, Justin Bogle, Justin Barcia, Colt Nichols, Blake Baggett and Ashley Fiolek.
“Winning championships are great and no other tire company can match our results there, but one of the most rewarding aspects of this season to me is the number of high quality programs like ClubMX, BarX and Firepower Honda to name a few, that not only asked for support from Dunlop, but put up record results for their programs in 2023.” said Mike Buckley, Dunlop Motorcycle’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This alone demonstrates the remarkable job done by our team and the performance advantages gained by using our world class products.”
“This season, we were faced with a wide variety of conditions and terrain. From rain and mud in New Jersey to hard-packed blue-groove out West, but Dunlop once again proved that we have a tire to perform and win in any condition.” said Broc Glover, Sr. Manager of Off-Road Motorcycles for Dunlop. “Not only is this the fourteenth consecutive year Dunlop riders won all three Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship titles, but Dunlop riders also swept each of the podium positions at all seventeen rounds! This is a testament to the brand, product and hard-working Dunlop staff that represent and support Dunlop day in and day out. In addition, we had development versions of our new Geomax MX34 tires show their true potential, racking up over 65 podium positions in varying conditions. Supercross riders have a choice in tires, and we want to thank all the teams and riders who chose to race on Dunlop.”
Next up for the Dunlop family of racers is the AMA Pro Motocross Championship which then combines with Supercross for the new SuperMotocross World Championship finals.
Dunlop is the largest supplier of original equipment and replacement motorcycle tires in the U.S.A. For more information, visit www.DunlopMotorcycleTires.com. Follow @ridedunlop on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the latest Dunlop news. Use #RideDunlop and/or #RaceDunlop to share your Dunlop moments.
To learn more about the Team Dunlop program, visit www.teamdunlop.com
Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) furthered his claim as the preeminent Mile rider currently competing in Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, with a pivotal victory in Saturday night’s 57th Legendary Mission Sacramento Mile powered by Law Tigers at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California.
Those bragging rights were brought into question after Mees was outscored 2-1 in Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Mile wins a year ago by then-rookie Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT). Their first Mile showdown of the season carried even greater significance than it otherwise would have with Daniels having arguably emerged the title favorite and leading reigning champion Mees in the points.
The race went to script with the two separating at the front and settling into a one-on-one fight to the flag. Just past mid-distance, Mees railed around the corners with his helmet down in an attempt to break Daniels’ challenge. While unable to sink Daniels’ hopes completely, the ploy granted Mees a few tenths which he successfully guarded all the way to the end.
The victory was the 24th Mile triumph of Mees’ illustrious career. That moves him ahead of Ricky Graham and into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time order and just one away from joining Bubba Shobert and Bryan Smith in a tie for third.
The result also drew Mees a bit closer to the championship lead. That said, Daniels is not doing him any favors in that regard, extending his season-long streak of top-two finishes. The gap is now 20 points (159-139) as the two continue to distance themselves from the remainder of a talented pack of contenders.
“I honestly was sweating coming into the Miles – last year I felt like we were a little down,” Mees admitted after earning his fifth-career Sacramento Mile win. “I didn’t know what to expect. But Kenny (Tolbert) worked really hard this winter to get us back some ponies, and Jimmy Wood really had that thing hooked up with the Öhlins suspension. I don’t think I’ve ever been that hooked up before. I could just go into the corner and mash the throttle. The Indian Motorcycle was phenomenal tonight.”
Daniels’ teammate, JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), solidified his hold on third in the championship order with his third podium of the season. It only came about following a final-lap duel with Kolby Carlile (No. 36 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07), however, when Beach poked ahead by 0.021 seconds at the line.
Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) each had a shot at the box on the final lap as well, ultimately finishing fractionally behind in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 790 Duke) earned a lonely seventh, although that description fails to adequately express the contour of his race. Bauman actually led more than once early in the contest before running wide on the powerful-yet-brutish KTM and dropping to fifth. He worked his way back up to third at one point before going off the groove again and fading out of podium contention.
Bauman was followed home by his brother, Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Fastrack Racing/2 Wheelz KTM 790 Duke), while Ben Lowe (No. 25 Rackley Racing/Mission Foods Indian FTR750) and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) completed the top ten.
Australian phenom Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) scored his maiden Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER victory in breathtaking fashion in Sacramento.
A huge early train of 450s connected to the front slowly whittled away as the race progressed. The battle for the win at last took its final shape with just over a minute remaining when three-time Sacramento Mile winner Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) fell away from the lead group and into the clutches of a second group bursting with big names and title contenders.
With Brunner out of the fight, the checkered flag was set to be decided between Drane, Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), and Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450).
Lowe stormed past Drane as they opened the final lap, but the diminutive Aussie stormed back by on the back straight, confident he could out-run any and all slingshot attempts in the decisive drag race to the line.
He was proven correct, albeit only by just 0.005 seconds over Lowe and 0.036 seconds over Saathoff. Meanwhile, Cose finished just another 0.065 seconds back yet found himself left off the podium altogether.
Drane came into the season with serious hype and had endured something of a quiet start to the year when judged based on those lofty expectations. However, tonight’s victory put everything back in its proper perspective. Ultimately, the Estenson Racing Yamaha prodigy earned his first win just a month after turning 17 and competing in what was just his eighth Progressive AFT Main Event. Perhaps even more remarkably, it was the first Main Event at a Mile in Drane’s career.
He said, “I just can’t thank the team enough for all the work they do, all the hours. It’s amazing. This has boosted my confidence heaps, showing I can do it. I’m so happy.”
Fifth went to Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F), who clawed his way up from outside the top ten after earning his slot on the grid via the LCQ.
He placed Brunner between himself and his primary title rivals in the process. Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) crossed the stripe in seventh, followed by Sacramento Mile legend Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 450 SX-F) and the impressive Travis Petton IV (No. 82 ECG Racing/3 Bros KTM 450 SX-F).
The final position in the top ten went to defending class champ Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F). Despite the uncharacteristic result, Kopp continues to lead in the standings with 137 points. Gauthier closed to within 14 points at 123, while Whale and Saathoff are now tied for third at 115.
Progressive American Flat Track will continue its run of spectacular Mile action with the Red Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle of Lexington at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 27. Visit https://www.tixr.com/groups/americanflattrack/events/red-mile-59131 to secure your tickets today.
For those that can’t catch the live action from the circuit, FansChoice.tv is the live streaming home of Progressive AFT. Sign up now and catch every second of on-track action starting with Practice & Qualifying and ending with the Victory Podium at the end of the night at https://www.fanschoice.tv.
FOX Sports coverage of the Legendary Sacramento Mile, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, May 27, at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT).
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Kody Kopp and Max Whale endured a tough night of competition at Round 7 of the 2023 American Flat Track Championship, with Whale finishing in seventh position and Kopp 10th in the AFT Singles Main Event. Defending champion Kopp continues to lead the point standings following the Sacramento Mile.
After qualifying in seventh, defending champion Kopp made inroads between qualifying and the opening Heat of the event, powering his #1 KTM 450 SX-F to third position, setting himself up well for the Main Event. A more difficult 18-lap affair saw Kopp eventually cross the line in 10th position, retaining his lead in the AFT Singles series.
Kody Kopp:“Honestly, a little frustrated with how the weekend went, and a lot of things added up to the 10th-place finish here at the Sacramento Mile. We’re a team though, we’ll go back to work, we’ve got a two-week break and we’ll come back swinging in Kentucky.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Whale was 10th in qualifying at the Northern Californian venue, before crossing the finish line in fourth place for the second Heat of the event, just 0.213 off the race winner. The Australian fought hard during the Main Event, landing P7 and still sitting third in the championship overall.
Max Whale: “Definitely a tough day here in Sacramento. I feel as though I rode well, but just a few mistakes today – the team worked great, but I ended the night in P7, which isn’t great. It could’ve been much worse from where I was at one stage, we fought hard, and we’ll move on to the next one.”
Next Race: The Red Mile – Lexington, Kentucky – May 27, 2023
Round 7 Results
AFT Singles Main Event 1. Tom Drane, Yamaha 2. Trent Lowe, Honda 3. Chase Saathoff, Honda OTHER KTM 5. Dalton Gauthier, KTM 7. Max Whale, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 8. Shayna Texter-Bauman, KTM 9. Travis Petton IV, KTM 10. Kody Kopp, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 12. Declan Bender, KTM 16. Landen Smith, KTM 19. Justin Jones, KTM
2023 AFT Singles Point Standings 1. Kody Kopp, 137 points 2. Dalton Gauthier, 123 3. Max Whale, 115 OTHER KTM 11. Justin Jones, 52 13. Travis Petton IV, 35 14. Shayna Texter-Bauman, 34 16. Logan Eisenhard, 27 22. Hunter Bauer, 16 23. Hayden Gillim, 14 24. Clarke Morian V, 10 25. Tanner Dean, 9 28. Declan Bender, 8 31. Landen Smith, 4 32. Olin Kissler, 4
After suffering a devastating injury at the opening round of the AMA National Enduro Series in February, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley is slowly riding himself back into shape. His eighth-place finish at this weekend’s Dragon’s Back Enduro in Arrington, Virginia, was a notable improvement over the 10th he scored at the previous round.
Riding his KTM 350 XC-F, Kelley started slow but finished strong, posting the seventh-fastest time in the NE Pro1 division in the final two tests. Kelley admittedly was unable to get comfortable with the slippery Virginia clay, making for a long day at the office.
Ben Kelley: “It was an okay day. Just off the pace, not really feeling it – it is what it is. I just struggled to get comfortable and it turned out to be a long day.”
Kelley returns to action in two weeks at the John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio, on May 21st.
Round 5: June 11 – Greensboro, Georgia
NE Pro1 Results 1. Craig DeLong, HQV, 1:21:50.708 2. Ricky Russell, YAM, +25.387 3. Ryder Lafferty, GAS, +3.220 OTHER KTM 7. Steward Baylor Jr, KTM 8. Ben Kelley, KTM
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Aaron Plessinger made a welcome return to racing and the podium at the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship finals in Salt Lake City, charging to a season-best second-place result to cap off what has been a convincing 450SX season for the fan-favorite.
Plessinger put down the seventh-fastest qualifying time aboard his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION this afternoon, before leading almost the entirety of the second 450cc Heat race of the night. A costly mistake through the whoops on a slick surface saw him fall, before quickly remounting and earning the final transfer position into the Main Event.
A solid start in the Main Event saw Plessinger thrive in the conditions as he weaved his way through the field with precision, racing into second position by the midway point. From there, the Ohio native posted a calculated effort and finished off this year’s Supercross season with a runner-up finish.
Aaron Plessinger:“It feels good to cap the season off with a podium. I went down a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back, but made good progress through the week and decided I could race. I’m still a little sore, though today was a crazy day! The clouds were all over the place – it was hot and cold, and then the rain came down. This track is like concrete, so the rain made it tough, but it was fun. The whoops were tough, as I showed in the Heat, but we remounted well and came back with second in the Main, so I’m pumped to finish the Supercross season off like this.”
The 250SX regions were combined at the Salt Lake City finale, as the coveted 250SX East/West Showdown rounded out the series. As the times were compiled from the day’s qualifying sessions, Red Bull KTM duo Maximus Vohland and Tom Vialle concluded the timesheets in sixth and eighth places, respectively.
Beginning with the 250SX East Heat race, Vialle battled the tricky track conditions and would finish just shy of a transfer position in 11th. It was a similar story for Vohland in the 250SX West Heat, who finished one spot out of contention in 10th, and would join Vialle in the LCQ.
Conditions would worsen after the skies opened, with both Vialle and Vohland presented with an added challenge as the gates dropped. French rookie Vialle launched to the holeshot and would earn a third-place ride and a place in the Main Event, whilst Vohland’s sixth would mark the conclusion of his night.
In the 250SX East/West Showdown Main Event, Vialle powered his KTM 250 SX-F to a top-five start, avoiding the opening lap carnage as he battled toward the front of the pack. A small mistake soon saw the number 128 on the ground momentarily, before salvaging a 14th-place finish by the race’s end.
Tom Vialle: “The day didn’t begin so well here in Salt Lake City as I had to go through the LCQ. Happy to finish third there and transfer through to the Main Event, though had almost the last gate pick. Thankfully, I got a great start, I was third, but a couple of mistakes put me in P5 for two laps, then had a small crash. I was up the back, although happy to charge to where I did, and happy to finish the Supercross season healthy in eighth overall and learn a lot for next year.”
Maximus Vohland:“Tough night for me in Salt Lake. I got a bad start in the Heat and struggled to make up positions. Ended up missing qualifying for the Main by one spot and had to go to the LCQ, where I got a better start, but struggled with the mud and just didn’t find my groove, which meant I missed out on the Main Event. Not the way I wanted to end my 2023 SX season, but I’m healthy and looking forward to outdoors in a couple of weeks.”
The 2023 AMA Supercross Championship season marked an impressive return to form for two-time 450SX champion Cooper Webb before being injured, who had secured two race wins, nine podiums, and also third-place overall aboard his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION in the final championship standings.
Premier class teammate Plessinger finished the 450SX season in seventh position, while Vohland was sixth overall in the 250SX West standings, and double MX2 World Champion Vialle took eighth position in the final 250SX East standings to complete his first Supercross campaign.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will now shift its attention outdoors to the upcoming Pro Motocross Championship, which commences in Pala, California, on May 27, marking the second portion of the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) season.
Next Race: May 27 – Pala, California
Results 450SX Class – Salt Lake City 1. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, 25 laps 2. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, +18.266 3. Justin Hill (USA), KTM, +21.400 OTHER KTM 6. Josh Hill (USA), KTM 11. Kevin Moranz (USA), KTM
Standings 450SX Class 2023 after 17 of 17 rounds 1. Chase Sexton, 372 points 2. Eli Tomac, 339 3. Cooper Webb, 304 OTHER KTM 7. Aaron Plessinger, 236 8. Justin Hill, 212 13. Josh Hill, 149 16. Kevin Moranz, 96 34. Marvin Musquin, 11
Results 250SX East/West Showdown – Salt Lake City 1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 19 laps 2. RJ Hampshire (USA), Husqvarna, +4.760 3. Levi Kitchen (USA), Yamaha, +7.223 OTHER KTM 14. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM 22. Derek Kelley (USA), KTM
Standings 250SX West Class 2023 after 9 of 9 rounds 1. Jett Lawrence, 223 points 2. RJ Hampshire, 186 3. Levi Kitchen, 156 OTHER KTM 6. Maximus Vohland, 121 9. Derek Kelley, 87
Standings 250SX East Class 2023 after 10 of 10 rounds 1. Hunter Lawrence, 241 points 2. Haiden Deegan, 183 3. Max Anstie, 182 OTHER KTM 8. Tom Vialle, 120
Salt Lake City, Utah, (May 14, 2023) Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton nabbed the final win of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross indoor stadium season to cap his first 450SX Class championship with a victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 49,871 fans inside Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Red Bull KTM’s Aaron Plessinger took the race’s runner-up spot at the Supercross Championship Final Presented by Utah Sports Commission. And Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsport’s Justin Hill took third place and his career-first 450SX Class podium to conclude the Supercross season and also earn points toward the inaugural 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship. In the 250SX Class season finale, Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence earned his sixth victory of the season in the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown that pit both regions against each other for the second time in 2023.
On the podium, the AMA awarded Chase Sexton the Monster Energy Supercross Champion title. He entered the race with the championship mathematically won but received the official #1 plate after the race. With Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence and Jett Lawrence wrapping the two 250SX Class championships at previous rounds, 2023 marked only the third time ever, and second time for Honda, that a manufacturer has captured all three Supercross championships in the same season. The 2023 season marks the 50th Anniversary of Supercross racing in America.
When the gate dropped Chase Sexton grabbed the holeshot ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, FXR General Grind & Machine’s Justin Starling, Twisted Tea Suzuki Progressive Insurance’s Kyle Chisholm and Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen. Roczen was on the move early but just a few turns in he injured his knee in a rutted corner. Roczen’s injury took him out of the race and he lost a chance to earn the two points needed to secure third overall in the championship.
Cianciarulo was into second place just a few laps into the race with Chisholm right behind. Just over three minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race Aaron Plessinger took over third and set his sights on Cianciarulo while Justin Hill was into fourth place and on the charge. As the race clock ticked past 12 minutes Plessinger moved past Cianciarulo to take over second, and a lap and a half later Justin Hill was around Cianciarulo and into third place.
As Sexton stretched out his lead up front, Cianciarulo mounted a charge to take back third. But with five minutes left on the race clock the final positions appeared settled. Chase Sexton took his sixth win of the season and brought Honda its first Supercross title since 2003. Sexton’s late-season surge was one of the sport’s great title comebacks, with parallels to David Bailey’s 1983 season that also included a third-to-first drive in the final five races of the season.
In the final 250SX Class race of the season, Phoenix Racing Honda’s Coty Schock grabbed the holeshot but Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire was quickly into the lead ahead of Red Bull KTM’s Tom Vialle, Jett Lawrence, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Levi Kitchen, and Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie as heavy rain came down in the stadium. Hunter Lawrence found himself with a mid-pack start and then got tangled up when Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha’s Enzo Lopes crashed. As Hampshire, Jett Lawrence and Kitchen slotted into the top three spots, Hunter Lawrence and Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan worked their way up from outside the top ten.
Three minutes into the 15-minute plus one lap race Jett Lawrence began applying pressure on Hampshire for the lead. At the same time, back on the track, Deegan broke into the top ten. Two minutes later Jett Lawrence was in striking distance of the front spot as his brother Hunter Lawrence climbed into the top ten. As the race clock ticked down to eight and a half minutes Jett Lawrence charged through the whoops and cut under Hampshire in the following corner. The riders made contact; Lawrence accelerated away clean but the disturbance led to a Hampshire mistake down the next rhythm lane.
From there Jett Lawrence was unchallenged for the lead. The win gives the Australian racer the distinction of being the winningest Honda rider in the 250SX Class, surpassing racing legends Eli Tomac, Jeremy McGrath and Hunter Lawrence. Hampshire held second to the checkered, and Kitchen took the final 250SX Class podium of the season.
With the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross indoor stadium season wrapped up, the racers have a two week break before the start of the 11-round AMA Pro Motocross outdoor season. Points earned from the Supercross season will combine with points earned in the motocross season to determine the top 20 riders who will gain entry into the all-new SuperMotocross World Championship. Riders in spots 21-30 in overall points, as well as single event winners not in the top 20, will get a spot on the line in the Last Chance Qualifier to battle for the final two spots on the 22-rider starting gate. In September two Playoff races and one Final, with increasing points payouts, will determine the first SuperMotocross World Champion and deliver a $1,000,000 win bonus to that rider. The 250 class racers will battle for a $500,000 win bonus. It’s the first ever playoff season for the sport and delivers a three-race post season that will be all-new for the fans, teams, and racers.
Before the Monster Energy Supercross season closes its books, one great event is yet to conclude: the 2023 St. Jude Love Moto Stop Cancer Supercross Auction. The online auction offers unique, autographed, one-of-a-kind memorabilia donated by the teams, partners, and athletes. The auction runs until Monday, May 15th at 8:00 PM ET. All money raised goes directly to the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the St. Jude mission of Finding Cures. Saving Children. To bid on the auction items please go to: St. Jude Love Moto Stop Cancer Supercross Auction.
All rounds of the 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship will be streamed live on Peacock; rounds 29 and 31 will also be broadcast live on USA Network. Both Playoffs and the Final will be re-broadcast on CNBC. For the full race schedule and ticket sales, as well as 2023 Supercross highlight videos, recap race reports, and post-race press conferences, please go to SupercrossLIVE.com.
450SX Class Results
450SX Class Championship Final Standings
East/West Showdown Results
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Final Standings
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Final Standings
Team Honda HRC put an exclamation mark on the 2023 AMA Supercross season at the series finale in Salt Lake City’s Rice-Eccles Stadium. Not only did Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence capture the wins in the 450SX main event and 250SX East-West Showdown, but Sexton wrapped up the premier-class championship, completing a historic Honda title sweep of the three divisions.
The 450SX main saw Sexton lead all 25 laps aboard his CRF450RWE. The new champ scored the holeshot and never faltered, stretching out his advantage to over 18 seconds by the finish, where his team greeted him with a long-awaited celebration.
In the 250SX main event, Jett Lawrence exited turn 1 second behind RJ Hampshire, while Hunter Lawrence suffered a poor getaway and was mired back in about 13th place, only to be further delayed when another rider fell. At the eight-lap mark, Jett made a strong pass on RJ Hampshire to assume the lead. Meanwhile, Hunter patiently worked his way forward, ultimately crossing the finish line in sixth place.