Chase Sexton wins Motocross Round 1 at Fox Raceway; Jett Lawrence backs up 2021 championship

Sexton Motocross Round 1
Align Media
0 Comments

With wins in both motos, Chase Sexton won Motocross Round 1 of the Lucas Oil Motocross season at Fox Raceway in Pala, Calif. as 250 rider Jett Lawrence put in an equally impressive show in his division.

Strong starts in both motos contributed to Sexton’s overall win.

He launched third behind Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen but quickly made his way to the front and rode uncontested for the remainder of the race. In Moto 2, Sexton got the holeshot and rode away from the field.

“Man, it was a dream day for me,” said Sexton. “All during supercross, I wanted to be fastest qualifier, win the heat, and win the main, but I never did it.

“I think outdoors is even harder to go 1-1. Two starts, two full motos, it’s tough. I felt perfect out there today. Kenny and I were on another level, and it was awesome. The Honda team has put a lot of hard work in this offseason and this whole year to get us comfortable and I feel like we’re in a good point right now.”

Roczen proved to be his main competition throughout the motos, finishing 2-2 and easily securing second overall. It was an emotional comeback for a rider who left Supercross nine rounds into their season so that he could concentrate on his health after a variety of issues suffered over the past few seasons. Last year, Roczen also finished second in the season opener before taking the win in Round 2 at Thunder Valley.

Making his move up to the 450 bike after securing the 250 West championship in SX, Christian Craig rode with confidence to third-place overall after finishing 3-3. His ride was even more gratifying as it was his first podium in 13 years.

“I’ve been robbed so many times for the overall (podium), so to finally get that one is incredible,” Craig said. “It was even better to battle my teammate for it as well. To get my first podium at my home race is something special.”

Craig’s teammate Eli Tomac finished fourth overall with results of 7-4 in his motos. Tomac wrapped up the SX championship one week early and skipped the finale so he could rehabilitate his knee, so the seventh-place finish in Moto 1 was a slight concern since he fell back from a strong start. Moto 2 saw him get a worse start, as is often the case with Tomac, and he was forced to ride forward to get his fourth-place finish.

In his return to racing, Ryan Dungey showed there was no rust on him by finishing 5-5 and rounding out the top five in the overall results.

“It was definitely a surprise to myself,” said Dungey. “I almost thought I was crazy for coming back, but you know, I wanted the challenge. I’m excited to be here. The team did an awesome job today. This track was nasty. I was a little bit off the pace, of course, but that’s okay. We’ve got to start somewhere, and we’ll build from here.”

Making his American Motocross debut, Antonio Cairoli finished 10-6 for seventh overall.

Defending 2021 champion Dylan Ferrandis was unable to ride in the opening round after announcing he had a torn ligament in his thumb immediately before the round began.

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (1-1)
  2. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (2-2)
  3. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (3-3)
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (7-4)
  5. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM (5-5)
  6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (4-8)
  7. Antonio Cairolli, Italy, KTM (10-6)
  8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (6-10)
  9. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas, (8-9)
  10. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna, (11-7)

450 points standings

  1. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 50
  2. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 44
  3. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 40
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 32
  5. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM – 32
  6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 31
  7. Antonio Cairolli, Italy, KTM – 26
  8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 26
  9. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 25
  10. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 24

In the 250 class, Jett Lawrence picked up where he left off, defending his 2021 Motocross championship with an opening round win. Like Sexton, he won the overall in style with a pair of moto wins.

Lawrence also won the 250 East championship in Supercross this year and is looking to take three consecutive titles.

He failed to lead the opening lap of either moto, but it didn’t take long to get the top spot. Lawrence had the lead of Moto 1 by Lap 4 and Moto 2 by Lap 2 as he rode away from the field. Lawrence also won the opening round last year in his title quest.

It was a great day for the family as Jett was followed across the line in both motos by his brother, Hunter Lawrence. For Hunter, it was a much better start than he experienced last year when he was sixth in this race in route to a third in the overall standings at the season’s end.

Jo Shimoda took the final podium spot with a 4-3 finish in the motos.

Shimoda’s bid to sweep the podiums in both races was denied by RJ Hampshire, who overcame a ninth-place start in Moto 1 to finish third. The second moto would prove to be his undoing as he finished ninth there, but that was enough for fourth overall.

Rounding out the top five was Michael Mosiman with a 9-4.

After returning from injury and immediately winning in Supercross, Austin Forkner narrowly missed the top five with 6-6 finishes,

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-1)
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2)
  3. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawsaki (4-3)
  4. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (3-9)
  5. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif. GasGas (9-4)
  6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (6-6)
  7. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki (8-5)
  8. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (5-8)
  9. Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GasGas (7-7)
  10. Stilez Rovberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (10-11)

250 points standings

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 50
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 44
  3. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawsaki – 38
  4. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 32
  5. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas – 30
  6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 30
  7. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki – 29
  8. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 29
  9. Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GasGas – 28
  10. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 21

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

DETAILS FOR THE 61ST ROLEX 24How to watch, entry lists, schedules for the IMSA season opener

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN GTPRolex 24 at Daytona kicks off new golden era for sports cars

But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds