Just when it appeared Eli Tomac might run away with the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Chase Sexton mounted a streak of four moto wins and two overall to retake the points’ lead in Round 9 at Unadilla MX in New Berlin, N.Y. He leads Tomac by one point with tree rounds remaining.
More impressively, he had to pass Tomac in both races to do so. He got off to a slow start in Moto 1 and watched Tomac earn the hole shot in Moto 2. Sexton roared past Tomac at the 10-minute mark of the second race and stretched his lead to more than 17 seconds by the end.
“I felt awesome out there today,” told MavTV’s Jason Thomas. “These rutty conditions really suit my style. I knew that coming here; that I had to capitalize today and I feel like we did that.
“The second moto at Washougal was huge for me. I knew I needed to stop Eli and finally got that. Now I’m riding with a lot of confidence”
In Moto 1, Sexton got a poor start and dropped to the high side of the top 10 as Tomac grabbed the lead early from Ken Roczen.
But Sexton was relentless on a track that has not been one of Tomac’s favorites.
“I did what I could,” Tomac said. “Chase was just strong today – really strong. But you know what? This is an improvement for me here. That last few year haven’t been great, so I felt like it was okay to hang onto the 2-2.”
No second-place rider has had this many points at this stage of the season and with three rounds remaining and an 83-point gap from Tomac to Jason Anderson, this is coming down to a two-man show. Sexton and Tomac have now finished first or second in the last 12 motos.
Anderson kept as much pressure on as possible, finishing 3-3 to finish third overall. It is his third straight third-place finish and fifth podium of the season. He was an early contender for the championship after winning Round 2 at Hangtown.
Aaron Plessinger finished fourth overall with a 7-4 as Ryan Dungey rounded out the top five with a 6-6.
In what was originally announced as a two-race schedule to test the waters, Dungey now sits sixth in the standings.
In his first race back from injury, Dylan Ferrandis narrowly missed the podium in the first moto and finished seventh overall with a 10th in Race 2.
Malcolm Stewart and Dean Wilson also returned from injury, but did not fare as well. Stewart was 15th overall with a 14-16; Wilson was 16th with a 19-13.
450 results (moto finish)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (1-1)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (2-2)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-3)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (7-4)
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (6-6)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (5-7)
- Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (4-10)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas, (10-5)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (9-8)
- Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (11-9)
450 points standings
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 409
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 408
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 325
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 304
- Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 283
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM – 266
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 246
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 230
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 191
- Shane McElrath, Cantaon, NC, Husqvarna – 165
Jo Shimoda remains the only 250 rider other than Jett Lawrence to win an overall in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Round 9, and along with Chase Sexton as the 450 winner, he made a statement about the season not being over.
The pair of motos at Unadilla featured ride away wins, but there was plenty of drama surrounding both winners. Justin Cooper grabbed the hole shot in Moto 1 until he slid on a slick spot and hit the dirt. That handed the lead to Shimoda who easily claimed the victory over Hunter Lawrence and RJ Hampshire.
The key to that race was a strong start by Shimoda. He’s struggled with this part of his game, which forced him to work even harder. Shimoda tipped over in Moto 2 and was riding seventh at the end of Lap 1, but he maniacally made his way into third by the end. It must not have sunk in that fourth was good enough, because he attacked each corner as he tried to pass teammate Cameron McAdoo in the closinglaps, who was returning from injury.
“I was in the overall position already, but I just kept going and going to try and get on the box again,” Shimoda told MavTV’s Jason Thomas. “I had a tipover and made it tough on myself again.”
Cooper’s fall in the first moto dropped him to fifth for that race and made the overall an uphill battle. Winning Moto 2 was enough to give him a second consecutive overall finish and his third of the season.
“I can’t be too disappointed,” Cooper said. “I wanted to go 1-1 today. I really want to win here; I haven’t won here yet. It didn’t pan out. I had that mistake in the first moto and went down with the lead. My bike was pretty bent up from that, so I did what I could and got back to fifth.”
Finishing second in Race 1, Hunter Lawrence had a shot at the overall, but was denied once more. For the eighth time in nine rounds, he finished on the overall podium but cannot get on the top spot.
Jett Lawrence’s three-race winning streak ended with three crashes in the two motos at Unadilla. Race 1 was disastrous with him hitting the ground twice. Lawrence also crashed in Moto 2, but was able to rebound to finish second. This is his worst round since RedBud when he lost an engine in Moto 1.
“Today just wasn’t my day,” Lawrence said. “I hope I put on a good show with the crashes today.”
250 results (moto finish)
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (1-3)
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, Yamaha (5-1)
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-5)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (7-2)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (3-8)
- Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (6-6)
- Nick Romano, Bayside, N.Y., Yamaha (4-9)
- Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (11-4)
- Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (10-7)
- Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GasGas (9-10)
250 points standings
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 391
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 365
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 351
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY – 316
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 227
- Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 222
- Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki – 207
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 180
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas – 169
- 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
Round 8, Washougal: Sexton brackets the first eight weeks with second win