Eli Tomac establishes domination with perfect Motocross Round 6 at Southwick, Jett Lawrence regains red plate

Motocross returns Unadilla
Align Media / ProMotocross.com

Eli Tomac won both motos of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Round 6 at The Wick 338 in Southwick, Mass., to score his third consecutive win. Tomac made it look easy, but as he climbed from his Yamaha at the end of the day, he was noticeably worn.

The first four rounds 2022 were won by four riders but once Tomac found the front, he has been almost perfect. He won Round 4 on a tiebreaker over Chase Sexton as the two riders earned the same number of points. The tiebreaker came in the form of the best finish in Moto 2 at High Point and to earn that, Tomac had to win. Tomac now has five consecutive moto wins.

Tomac left nothing to the imagination in the last two rounds with wins in all four motos.

In both races at in Motocross Round 6, Tomac had modest starts and was forced to ride through the field. It is not an unaccustomed position for last year’s runner-up finisher in MX points.

“We’re just doing what we can,” Tomac told Will Christien from the top of the box. “This is a gnarly, gnarly points’ race. Obviously neither one of us has made a mistake yet, or blinked, and we’re both pushing each other. That time I got a better start.

“This place is a lot of fun, but at the same time it brings a lot of pain. By the end of that moto, your legs are done.”

Despite his wins, Tomac has not been able to establish clear domination over Sexton, who finished second in all four of those races. Tomac has been able to make significant inroads in the points, however. Motocross scores each race individually and that means Tomac shaved six points off Sexton’s lead in the last two rounds.

Sexton also rode from the middle of the pack in his races. Once he knew Tomac had enough points to take the red plate away from him, Sexton threw caution to the wind, clipping the edge of the track and making bold moves on Roczen and Plessinger. His pass for second came with two laps remaining in the race.

“That was a tough race,” Sexton said. “I definitely didn’t get a good start and those guys were gone. I put my head down. This place has never been my favorite and today I had fun. I’m just happy to get out of here still with the red plate and the rest of these tracks I really like.

“I’m looking forward to battling with Eli. He’s been on a roll lately, which I’ve got to stop.”

As they have pushed one another, Sexton and Tomac have stretched their lead to 41 and 40 points respectively as the series hits the halfway point.

Aaron Plessinger had a bad first moto and finished only seventh. He challenged for the lead in Moto 2, running second to Ken Roczen for the first 15 minutes, but when he was passed by Tomac, he found another gear and followed him through. In the closing laps, Plessinger was not quite able to hold off the charging Sexton and was pushed back to third, but that was enough for third overall.

Ken Roczen continues to get great starts in Motocross, but in Round 6, he let them slip away. Roczen earned the holeshot in both races and led the first halves of those events. He faded to sixth in Moto 1 and fourth in the second race.

Christian Craig’s elevation to 450s after winning the 250 West Supercross title continues to go well. He stood on the podium in Moto 1 and finished eighth in the second race to round out the top five. Craig sits sixth in the points, one behind Ryan Dungey

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-1)
  2. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-2)
  3. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (7-3)
  4. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (6-4)
  5. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (3-8)
  6. Max Anstie, Newbury, England, Honda (5-5)
  7. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM (4-7)
  8. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (8-6)
  9. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (10-10)
  10. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas, (13-9)

450 points standings

  1. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 268
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 267
  3. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 227
  4. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 207
  5. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM – 185
  6. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 184
  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 159
  8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 149
  9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 125
  10. Shane McElrath, Cantaon, NC, Husqvarna – 118

One week after losing the points lead because of a mechanical failure in Moto 1 at RedBud MX Park, Jett Lawrence came back with a vengeance at The Wick 338 in Southwick, Mass., earning the holeshot in both motos and winning both races of Pro Motocross Round 6 in the 250 class. If not for that mechanical failure, Lawrence would most likely have a perfect record of overall wins this season instead of going five for six.

Jett’s problems last week cost him the points lead. He came into the race with a seven-point deficit and left 15 ahead of his brother Hunter Lawrence as it was the older brother’s time to experience trouble.

“I’ve got to be pumped,” Lawrence told Will Christien from the top of the podium. “Hunter had a pretty rough one today. He looks a little bit like [Lloyd] now from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ with his chipped tooth, but at least he joins me now with the chipped teeth now. I didn’t really want to take it away like that. I would have rather raced against him because I find that a little more fun.”

Hunter got a bad start in Moto 1 and his day got worse. Riding close to Stylez Robertson in the middle of that race, he clipped his back tire and went down hard. As he tried to rise, he was hit twice by the competition, but regained him mount and rejoined the fray in 16th.

Determined to get ahead of the rider he felt was responsible for his fall, Hunter rode back to sixth and completed an aggressive pass on Robertson at the end of the race. It didn’t end there. Hunter grabbed Robertson by the helmet and shook him in displeasure.

Banged up, Lawrence rode with a chipped tooth and sore muscles to a distant eighth in Moto 2 and finished seventh overall.

And it was not all clear sailing for Jett. He hit the dirt midway through Moto 1 and gave the lead over to Justin Cooper, but when that rider stalled on an uphill segment, Jett regained the top spot and stayed there until the checkers.

Jo Shimoda kept Jett honest in Moto 1. Coupled with a third-place finish in Moto 2, he finished second overall.

“The track is really difficult,” Shimoda said. “Honestly, I never practiced for conditions like this, so I’m grabbing my bike so hard your muscles just can’t take it sometimes. I have to keep improving.”

Cooper finished third in Moto 1 and a solid fourth in Moto 2 gave him the final spot on the podium.

In Moto 2, it was Levi Kitchen’s turn to keep Jett honest. He rode in the winner’s rooster tail of sand for the first half of the race before fading at the checkers. With an 8-2, he finished fourth overall.

RJ Hampshire rounded out the overall top five with a 4-5.

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-1)
  2. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (2-3)
  3. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, Yamaha (3-4)
  4. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (8-2)
  5. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (4-5)
  6. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (7-7)
  7. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (6-8)
  8. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas (5-9)
  9. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (15-6)
  10. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (8-8)

250 points standings

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 261
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 246
  3. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 224
  4. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY – 197
  5. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 180
  6. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas – 169
  7. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 158
  8. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki – 151
  9. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 132
  10. Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 129

Round 1, Fox Raceway: Chase Sexton takes early lead in the championship hunt
Round 2, Hangtown: After 12 years of trying, Jason Anderson wins a Motocross race
Round 3, Thunder Valley: Three races, three winners as Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Round 4, High Point: Now four-for-four, Eli Tomac takes the trophy
Round 5, RedBud: Tomac becomes first in 2022 with two wins; Hunter Lawrence takes red plate in 250s

250 Supercross championship midseason recap: It’s a brotherly affair

Supercross championship
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

With six rounds remaining and 11 in the books, the Monster Energy 250 Supercross championship has been a brotherly affair with Jett Lawrence holding a commanding lead in the West division and Hunter Lawrence dominating the East.

The 2023 Supercross season began with Jett Lawrence winning Anaheim 1. – Feld Motor Sports

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but two races. Each rider has failed to claim the overall victory in a Triple Crown format although they both scored a win in one of the features.

Jett and Hunter both have a perfect record of podium finishes, but with four races remaining for each, the Supercross championship battle is far from over. Jett’s worst finish of the season was second in Anaheim 2; Hunter finished third in Arlington. Every other result for each rider was a victory and many of those came in weekends when they scored a heat win.

Both 250 divisions have two standalone races remaining. The West runs next on April 8 with a Triple Crown format in Glendale, Arizona and again in Denver on May 6. The East runs their next standalone race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on April 15 with another race on April 29 in Nashville.

With Jett and Hunter dominating their divisions and showing no sign of slowing, the big question will be how they ride head-to-head in the first of two East/West Showdowns in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22. The season winds down on May 13 in Salt Lake City, Utah with the second Showdown.

Race 1 | West 1 | Anaheim 1
Jett picked up where he left off in 2022. After scoring the 250 Supercross championship in the East last year, He put together a solid performance by finishing second in his heat and leading every lap of the main on his way to his first Anaheim 1 win and the eighth of his career. RJ Hampshire finished second with Cameron McAdoo rounding out the podium in what would set the tone for most of the championship to date. Meanwhile, it was a short season for Austin Forkner, who was expected to be one of Jett’s main rivals in the West. A hard crash early in the main event injured his knee and forced him out of the series.

Race 2 | West 2 | San Diego
Round 2 of the 2023 Supercross championship was supposed to take place in Oakland, but persistent rain and flooding canceled the weekend and made San Diego the second race instead. That didn’t matter to Jett, who once again led flag-to-flag to score his ninth career victory. This was the first time a rider led every lap of the first two rounds since Forkner did so in 2019. Hampshire finished second to Lawrence for the second straight week with McAdoo in third. “[Podiums are not enough] right now,” McAdoo told NBC’s Jason Thomas afterward. “I was just pretty bummed on a couple things that happened towards the end that I just need to execute better.”

Race 3 | West 3 | Anaheim 2
Out of the gate, it appeared Hampshire would have something for Jett in the second Anaheim race. He won the first feature as the points’ leader slipped into third, but a hard crash for Hampshire in the second feature of the Triple Crown format sealed his fate for the night. Hampshire would go on to finish 11th overall and lose significant ground to Jett. The Triple Crown format would not be kind to Jett either as he finished sixth in Race 1 before finally winning the final event. Jett was second overall in this race behind Levi Kitchen who took the overall with a 4-2-2. This was Kitchen’s fifth 250 start. Stilez Robertson slotted into third with a 6-1-3.

The 250 West season starts in Anaheim and ends at Salt Lake City. – Feld Motor Sports

250 West Championship Standings

Race 4 | East 1 | Houston
Following in Jett’s footsteps, Hunter also set the mark with a win in the 250 East opener. The night was almost disastrous for the Supercross championship leader when Hunter was forced off track trying to pass Tom Vialle for the lead when that rider jumped wide in a rhythm section. Vialle was one of several rookies debuting that weekend and three of them scored top-10 finishes. Haiden Deegan finished fourth in his first 250 race, Vialle was seventh and Chance Hymas eighth. Talon Hawkins narrowly missed that mark and finished 11th. It wasn’t the first 250 race for Max Anstie, but it was his first in more than a decade and he finished second, later telling NBC Sports that “you can’t skip steps”. Jordon Smith rounded out the podium.

Race 5 | East 2 | Tampa
Hunter opened the season with two wins, making this the seventh of his career. Now firmly established with the 250 East Supercross championship lead as Jett dominated the West, the Lawrence brothers are the first to hold the red plate simultaneously. As with the first race, this one did not come easy for Hunter. He had trouble on the opening lap and was forced to charge through the pack. It took all 19 laps to make up the deficit, but he caught Nate Thrasher on the final turn and edged him by 0.134 seconds. Anstie scored his second podium of the Supercross championship season.

Race 6 | West 4 | Oakland
The rescheduled Round 2 saw Jett pick up where he left off. Scoring his 10th win, Jett set the largest margin of victory in his career with a 16.160 second advantage over Hampshire. His previous best was a 14.005-second advantage on a much larger track in the 2022 Daytona Supercross race. For the first time in 2023, Jett had to show patience. He stalked Hampshire and completed the pass when that rider made a mistake. “It was kind of like a chess game to see who was sending it and to try and pick the lines, so I just stayed back there,” Jett told NBC Sports afterward.

Haiden Deegan finished fourth in his first 250 Supercross race and has only gotten better.

250 East Championship Standings

Race 7 | East 3 | Arlington
It’s almost as if the Lawrences have the season choreographed. In the third 250 East race, Hunter suffered his first loss and as with Jett it came in a Triple Format race when he struggled in two features and won the other. A 1-3-6 put Lawrence third in the overall behind Thrasher (2-2-3) and Smith (4-1-5). Jeremy Martin (6-12-1) was the other rider with a feature win that night. Prior to 2023, three different feature winners and a separate overall winner happened only once: Austin Forkner took the top spot in Atlanta 2018 with a 4-2-3. The feature winners were Zach Osborne (1), Martin Davalos (2) and Martin (3).

Race 8 | East 4 | Daytona
The granddaddy of Supercross linked the Lawrence brothers again as they became back-to-back winners in the 250 class on the famed track in Daytona International Speedway’s frontstretch. Jett was victorious in this race last year. That made them the only brothers to win during the history of the race. It was a vindication for Hunter, who struggled badly the week before. With his eighth career win, Hunter was rapidly closing in on Jett. Anstie was back on the podium in second to keep a perfect streak of top-fives alive. But it was Deegan who stole the show, earning his first podium in his fourth start with his famous father Bryan Deegan watching admiringly in the Daytona media center during postrace interviews.

Race 9 | East 5 | Indianapolis
It was a perfect day for Hunter. He won his fourth main of the season and ninth of his career after being the fastest qualifier, holeshot winner and after leading the most laps. In fact, it has almost been a perfect season to this point with each Lawrence failing to win only one race through five rounds. It is now Hunter’s Supercross championship to lose with a 22-point advantage over Anstie and 31 above third-place Thrasher.

Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the only siblings to win the Daytona Supercross race. – Feld Motor Sports

250 Combined Championship Standings

Race 10 | East 6 | Detroit
In a season where the Lawrence’s paralleled one another so closely, it was inevitable that Hunter would catch and tie his brother on the all-time wins list at 10. Through this race, both had 27 starts in their career, so the playing field is equal and both earned nearly the same number of podium finishes and led the same number of races. Hunter continued to widen his lead over the competition as Anstie had an uncharacteristically bad race in which he crashed and finished last. Thrasher finished second and took over second in the standings, but he is now 35 points out of first. Deegan scored his second career podium after riding aggressively in his heat and that led to a series of events that saw his teammate Smith fail to make the main. Afterwards, Hunter defended Deegan’s aggressive block pass.

Race 11 | West 5 | Seattle
Hunter didn’t get to celebrate his tie with Jett for long as the younger sibling scored his 11th career win. Jett is now almost one full race ahead of Hampshire with a 23-point advantage, but Hampshire refuses to fade into the background. Hampshire finished second in Seattle, which was the fourth time in five rounds that he did so. If not for the crash in Anaheim 2, this would be a nailbiter. Hampshire knows he still has a shot, however, because the next round in Arizona is another Triple Crown race. When Jett was reminded of that from the podium, he was visibly disappointed and replied “oof”.

With four podiums each, Thrasher (E), McAdoo (W), and Hampshire (W) are currently running for best in class and are looking over their shoulders at Smith (E) and Anstie (E) with top-three finishes in three races.

More: Jett and Hunter Lawrence walk a delicate balance with the fans

Jett Lawrence celebrated his fourth win of the season and 11th of his career in Seattle. – Feld Motor Sports