Las Vegas 250 Supercross: Ferrandis upsets Cianciarulo in West; Sexton wins the East

Dylan Ferrandis knew he needed a little help to win the 250 West championship. He was more than prepared to do what was needed by earning the holeshot and dominating the Main. It was not going to be enough, however, with Adam Cianciarulo riding fourth.

With two minutes left on the clock, points leader Adam Cianciarulo handed him the championship when he crashed hard and bent his handlebar.

In the 250 East division, Chase Sexton had an easier night of it, bringing a nine-point advantage into the race. He watched his principal rival Justin Cooper fade outside the top 10 and knew that all he needed was to run a clean, steady race.

Ferrandis’ race win was never in question. He led flag to flag, while drama played out behind him. On the opening lap, he was in a points tie with his rival Cianciarulo. Comfortable in the knowledge that he had the tiebreaker, Cianciarulo rode calmly through Lap 1. The East division points leader Sexton rode one position ahead of him, but Sexton’s main rival Cooper was well back in the pack.

After Cianciarulo went down, “I just tried to stay focused but emotion was difficult to control,” Ferrandis said after being awarded the Number 1 plate signifying his championship. “It’s unbelievable. Wow.”

“It’s more than a dream come true.”

Ferrandis achieved the championship with a determined charge at the end of the season. He won back to back races in Seattle and Houston, finished second in the 250 Showdown in Atlanta and again in Denver.

“I got just a little too close to the tough block there and crashed – and would have been fine I think, but I got up and the bike was super mangled and unrideable,” a gutted Cianciarulo said outside of his hauler. “It’s unfortunate; that’s all I’ve got to say.”

“Unfortunately I made a mistake that cost me the chance to be a champion. I’ve been in this situation before and I’ve felt what the bottom feels like. I have some perspective. The sun’s going to come out tomorrow. … We put everything into this. You put your self-worth into it. I feel like a failure right now, but tomorrow I’m going to wake up. I’m going to put the boots on and go to work.”

Sexton could not afford to make a mistake so he rode a nice, safe race and finished fourth in the feature.

“That was the longest Main event I ever had in my life,” Sexton said on USA Network after the race. “To do it here in Vegas feels so good. I’ve been wanting this for so long and to get it my second year at only 19 years old is awesome.”

RJ Hampshire scored his second podium finish of the season with a third-place finish.

Cameron McAdoo saved his best for last. He finished third, which was not only his first podium of the season, but also his first top-five. McAdoo finished sixth four times, including in the most recent West race at Denver.

Alex Martin rounded out the top five.

Complete Results
West Points Standings
East Points Standings

250 West Heat: The West division set the tone for their championship with a head’s up heat. RJ Hampshire got the hole shot and held the lead till the finish. … Michael Mosiman finished a little more than a second behind with points leader Adam Cianciarulo, who was less than half a second back. … Dylan Ferrandis was outside the top nine on Lap 1, but he charged through the field to finish fourth, and transfer to the Main.

250 East Heat: Chase Sexton served notice he would be the rider to beat with the holeshot. He held the lead till the checkers. … Martin Davalos crossed under the checkers second with Kyle Peters third. … Justin Cooper struggled throughout the heat and never challenged for a top five. He was elevated to sixth at the checkers after Mitchell Oldenburg took a hard tumble with time running off the clock. He was running sixth at the time, but after getting pinned under his bike, he fell to 12th.

250 Last Chance Qualifier: In an East / West Showdown, the LCQ is almost as packed with talent as the Main in either division’s standalone races. Lorenzo Locurcio grabbed the lead just before the white flag waved and advanced to the Main. … He took the lead from Mitchell Falk, who inherited it after Mitchell Oldenburg crashed for the second time Saturday night. … Justin Starling and Chase Marquier also advanced. … When it’s not your night – it’s not your night. Oldenburg went down in exactly the same spot as he did in his heat race and once again got pinned beneath his bike. He ended the night three laps off the pace in 18th.

Points Leaders

250SX West
Dylan Ferrandis (226) (3 wins)
Adam Cianciarulo (211 points) (5 wins)
Colt Nichols (180) (1 win)
RJ Hampshire (168)
Cameron McAdoo (149)

250SX East
Chase Sexton (193) (1 win)
Justin Cooper (180)
Austin Forkner (152 points) (5 wins)
Martin Davalos (148) (1 win)
Alex Martin (139)

Top 5s

250SX West
Adam Cianciarulo: 9
Dylan Ferrandis: 8
Colt Nichols: 6
RJ Hampshire: 6
Shane McElrath: 5
James Decotis: 4
Jacob Hayes: 1
Garrett Marchbanks: 1
Jess Pettis: 1
Michael Mosiman: 1
Chris Blose: 1
Michael Mosiman: 1
Cameron McAdoo: 1

250SX East
Chase Sexton: 9
Justin Cooper: 8
Austin Forkner: 6
Martin Davalos: 5
Jordon Smith: 3
Mitchell Oldenburg: 3
Alex Martin: 3
Brandon Hartranft: 2
Kyle Peters: 1

Next race: Lucas Oil Motocross Championship, May 18, Hangtown, Rancho Cordova, Calif.

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Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”