Magnussen, Montoya win in Legends Trophy doubleheader at Lime Rock

Tourqe Esports

Four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jan Magnussen held off a hard-charging Jenson Button at virtual Lime Rock Park to become the first two-time winner in Torque Esports’ Legends Trophy racing series Saturday.

After winning in the previous weekend at virtual Sebring International Raceway, Button took the pole at Lime Rock Park but was beaten to the first corner by the hard-charging Magnussen.

“That was a fantastic race! Jenson was being very sportsmanlike about it because he had more speed than me,” Magnussen said. “He had a couple of attempts into turn one, and we hit and got sideways – but he did it in such a way that none of us went off. That was a tough race, I’m shaking all over after that – it was amazing.”

Although they were located halfway across the world from each other throughout the 11-lap battle, the Dane and the LA-based Englishman were separated on track by mere inches with Magnussen eventually crossing the line just three-hundredths of a second ahead of Button and notching a second victory after taking his first Legends Trophy win at NOLA Motorsports Park two weeks ago.

“What a fun race,” Button said. “Jan was awesome in terms of knowing where to put the car.” 

“I threw it on the inside once, and we tapped and we were drifting through (turn) 2 – it was a lot of fun. It’s a little bit more difficult to feel in the simulators, so for us to be able to race that close it was awesome.”

Twenty-three racing legends lined up on the grid as they raced virtual versions of the World Championship-winning McLaren M23. The weekend’s Legends Trophy field combined for four Formula 1 World Championships, 11 Indy 500 wins, 10 IndyCar titles, plus 16 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a World Rally Championship crown.

Race two of the doubleheader featured a reverse starting grid and was won by Juan Pablo Montoya

“I got a 10-second penalty so I didn’t qualify too well. Then I got tangled, and tangled, and tangled in the first race,” Montoya said. “It was nice to win the reverse grid race after that. These guys put on a hell of a show. It was great to complete a race without any major incidents.

“It’s a lot of fun, but it’s frustrating as hell because each of us are way too competitive. We all get moody. You should see my wife, she is not happy with me when I do not do well.”

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.