Chase Sexton wins Motocross Round 8 at Washougal; Jett Lawrence takes 250s for the seventh time

Sexton Motocross Round 8
Align Media / ProMotocross.com
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Chase Sexton broke Eli Tomac’s four-round winning streak by taking top honors in Motocross Round 8, but he failed to make up any ground in the championship standings with a 2-1 finish.

For Sexton, it was important to show Tomac he would not roll over and simply hand the title to the defending Monster Energy Supercross champion. Sexton has ridden well, but since winning the opening round at Fox Raceway, he failed to stand on the top of the box. He held the points’ lead until last week because he finished on the podium in every race this year so far.

But Sexton has had an Achilles Heel. After leading several motos in the first seven rounds, minor mistakes had huge implications as he tipped over while leading races.

Tomac knew that as well as anyone in the field, and after winning Moto 1, he pressured Sexton for the entire 30 minutes plus two laps of the second race.

Tomac has been the strongest closer over the past few years – and when he pressures a rider like he did Sexton in Moto 2, he usually prevails. Tomac clung to Sexton’s back tire, revving his engine to try and force Sexton into a mistake. Sexton would not be rattled and in the final two laps, he was finally able to separate from Tomac and establish a gap of eight seconds for a confidence-building win as the series heads into a two-week break.

“That was a really good moto for me,” Sexton told MavTV’s Jason Thomas. “The hole shot was awesome. Eli was on me the whole time and the second-to-last lap, I just threw down as fast as I could go and finally got away, got a little gap and just cruised her in. It was a tough race.”

Sexton’s comment spoke to his maturity. Instead of pushing too hard too early, he managed the race and sent it when it mattered most.

Victorious in Race 2, Sexton snapped an eight-race moto win streak for Tomac.

Tomac’s second-place finish in Moto 2 gave Sexton the overall win, while maintaining his five-point lead.

“I was pushing it, but me and Chase were so close I was eating a lot of dirt,” Tomac said. “I made so many big pushes trying to get to his rear wheel. I just couldn’t find the spot that time like in Moto 1.”

Moto 1 was as exciting as the second race. Tomac took the lead from Sexton but could not gap the Honda rider. A mistake should have handed the lead to his rival when Tomac tipped over, but Sexton piled into him and fell also. Both riders struggled to restart their bikes with Tomac restarting a fraction of a second before Sexton. No harm, no foul as the two continued their battle. Tomac won Moto 1 by less than a second.

In both races, Jason Anderson was a distant third and finished third overall.

Ken Roczen rebounded after a disastrous Round 7 that saw him crash in both motos at Spring Creek. He hovered around the top five all afternoon and finished fourth overall with a 4-6.

Christian Craig rounded out the top five with a 6-5.

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-1)
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-2)
  3. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-3)
  4. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (4-6)
  5. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (6-5)
  6. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas, (5-8)
  7. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (7-7)
  8. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (9-9)
  9. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (8-13)
  10. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (10-12)

450 points standings

  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 364
  2. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 359
  3. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 285
  4. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 274
  5. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 251
  6. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM – 236
  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 219
  8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 198
  9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 166
  10. Shane McElrath, Cantaon, NC, Husqvarna – 157

For the first time since the third round and only the second time all season, Jett Lawrence failed to win a moto in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Round 8, but as with the 450 class leader Tomac, he held his points’ advantage. Jett added one point with his 2-2 effort because of the 25 earned by Hunter Lawrence for his Race 1 win. The pair of runner-up runs were enough to give Jett the overall win for the seventh time in eight rounds.

“I just got lucky on that one,” Jett said from the top of the box. “I didn’t quite have the pace to catch [Justin] Cooper. I found that limit and couldn’t quite close in on him, so I tried to see if I could flow a little more instead of hard charge everything.”

The news wasn’t all bad for Hunter. He was able to beat his brother in head-to-head competition in Moto 1 as Jett finished 2-2 in both races and if not for a lazy tip over in Moto 2, Hunter would have walked away with hist first Pro Motocross win of the season. Instead, he finished third overall after losing the tiebreaker to Cooper.

Hunter rode flawlessly in Moto 1. After Jo Shimoda earned the holeshot Hunter tracked him down and secured the lead. Jett was also able to get around Shimoda, setting up what should have been a dramatic second race.

It didn’t turn out that way.

The three podium finishers were beaten out of the gate by Justin Cooper, who earned the holeshot. Strong starts have not been Cooper’s problem this year, however, and in four previous races when he had the holeshot, he failed to win. Cooper held the advantage through the entire race at Washougal and scored his first moto win of 2022. With a 4-1, he scored the tiebreaker over Hunter’s 1-4 and was credited with second place.

“It’s great to be back,” Cooper said after scoring his first moto win since early in 2021. “I felt like after practice, I had the speed today, but I didn’t have the best start and didn’t get off quick enough. My intensity was off a little in Moto 1 and made a few changes for Moto 2. I felt like I went easier than in the first moto, but I was just in my flow and before I knew it, I had a good gap and just managed the race from there.”

Shimoda had his own reason to be encouraged by the round. With strong starts in both races, he factored into the playoffs standings and finished fourth overall with a 3-3 record.

In Moto 2, Hunter pressured Shimoda for second throughout the first half of the race, but as those two distracted one another, Jett stayed in touch. At the halfway point, Hunter had an easy tip over and dropped to fourth, where he remained until the checkers.  Hunter remounted and chased down Shimoda, providing the drama that failed to materialize between the Lawrence brothers.

Racing side by side, Hunter and Shimoda had a fierce battle on the final lap. Shimoda edged Hunter at the checkers.

It took too long for Jett to get around Shimoda in Moto 2, which allowed Cooper to stretch out to a six-second lead when Jett finally made the pass. The points’ leader was able to trim that to three seconds before fading at the end and finishing fourth.

Max Vohland (7-5) scored his second overall top-five of the season after finishing that well at Hangtown in Round 2.

Levi Kitchen was fifth in the points’ standings at the end of Round 7, but wasn’t able to ride at Washougal with a wrist injury. He’ll have two weeks to heal before the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series heads to Unadilla in New Berlin, N.Y. on August 8.

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2)
  2. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, Yamaha (4-1)
  3. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-4)
  4. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (3-3)
  5. Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (7-5)
  6. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki (5-8)
  7. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (8-6)
  8. Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GasGas (6-9)
  9. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (13-7)
  10. Josh Varize, Perris, Calif., KTM (10-10)

250 points standings

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 355
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 327
  3. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 306
  4. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY – 275
  5. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki – 207
  6. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 194
  7. Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 192
  8. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 180
  9. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas – 169
  10. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 169

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
Round 6, Southwick: Tomac’s domination continues with a second perfect round
Round 7, Spring Creek: Tomac takes points’ lead with another 1-1 day