450 Supercross champion Chase Sexton took back what he gave away


Pala, California – A championship can be won in all manners of way and for Chase Sexton in his quest for the 450 Supercross title, the 2023 season was a rollercoaster.

Sexton 450 Supercross championship
Now that Chase Sexton has the 450 SX championship, he is a favorite to win the MX title. – Feld Motor Sports

Simply looking at race results and statistics tell one story, but it’s not complete. The first eight rounds of the 2023 Monster Energy 450 Supercross championship went as well as Sexton could reasonably expect with seven podiums and a win in the Arlington Triple Crown. Unfortunately, Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb were logging an almost identical record in those opening races.

There was no room for error.

The Big 3 sat shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder in post-race news conferences in half of those rounds – and it was hard to tell who was strongest. Sexton arguably had the most speed in the opening rounds, but he was also in the unenviable position of having to beat the riders who combined for the last four Supercross 450 championships. Tomac and Webb knew how to keep the pressure on.

“[The season] started off good,” Sexton told NBC Sports. “I started off on the podium for the first several rounds, and then it took a turn for the worse I and started having a few mistakes. Went down a few times and then was able to rebound from that.”

Despite the strong opening, Sexton lost significant ground in the points with three disappointing rounds that almost derailed his season. As trouble often does, it came in one big wave. One of Sexton’s falls in the middle of the season happened at Indianapolis when he finished eighth. The following week, he won the Detroit round but was docked seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the track. The next week, he failed to podium in Seattle.

Sexton’s name was being mentioned less frequently with the title contenders.

And this is where Sexton’s story became most interesting. The mistakes he made in the middle of the season were self-inflicted. There were no overwhelmingly aggressive moves by Tomac or Webb and Sexton had to fight the questioning voice in his head.

“It took a lot,” Sexton said. “After Seattle, I was maybe a little bit defeated, honestly, I wasn’t super bummed out. I was more like, ‘man, this keeps happening. I don’t know what to do.’ I was pretty down on myself, but I kind of took that next week off – didn’t really ride much – just reset. And then went and tested the week after and that allowed me to push the bike a little bit farther.”

More: Jett Lawrence capped dream career with 250 West championship 

Chase Sexton didn’t need first-place points in Salt Lake City, but he needed the win. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton found the mental toughness needed to mount a challenge on Tomac and Webb.

After his disappointing Seattle performance, Sexton finished second in the Triple Crown format Glendale race and won one of the three features. He won the following week in Atlanta and then his momentum stalled slightly in New Jersey with a fourth-place finish in an extremely muddy race that was not representative in this stage of the season.

Still a dark horse at the time, he won in Nashville the week that Cooper Webb suffered a concussion in his heat race. Sexton passed him for second in the standings. The following week when Tomac ruptured his Achilles tendon, Sexton won again and took the points’ lead.

“Coming into this season, I was a contender and people were talking about it,” Sexton said. “But in the middle of the season when I was having those crashes, they kind of counted me out, even in the press conference they were saying ‘It’s over; what are your plans for outdoors.’ I responded It’s never over till it’s over.

“It was a good time to come on strong and obviously with Eli going out, it gave back some points I gave away earlier in the season.”

More: Hunter Lawrence fought doubt and injury to dominate, win 250 West title

Sexton recaptured those points with a vengeance by winning four of the final five rounds. Season ending injuries to Webb and Tomac decided the championship before the final round. Sexton did not need the points from Salt Lake City, but he needed the win to give him momentum heading into the Pro Motocross championship.

“I’m bummed for [Tomac] and wanted to race him in outdoors because that was one of the best seasons of my life last year racing him. I’m looking forward to taking what I learned last year and applying it to this year.”

The biggest difference heading into the Pro Motocross season in 2023 is perception, both his and that of the fans and experts. For the first time in his career at this level, Sexton is one of, if not the, favorite to win the championship. It is not what he would have expected in the dark moments following the Seattle round.

“It’s been a long road getting to this point,” Sexton said. “Being a favorite coming into a season isn’t something I’ve ever had, really ever. So I’m looking forward to that. It comes with pressure, but I put myself in this position for a reason, and this is where I want to be. If I can go out there and perform like I did last year and improve off last year, that’s the main goal.

“It’s what I said going into Supercross and it worked out.”

Motocross 2023: Results and points after season opener at Fox Raceway


It was not the first time it has been done, but a rider winning in his Motocross debut is rare as the results show Jett Lawrence swept the motos at Fox Raceway in Pala, California and took the early points lead.

Dylan Ferrandis may not be quite 100 percent yet, but he was good enough to finish on the podium at Fox Raceway – Align Media

Lawrence became the 16th rider to win in his Motocross debut and was the 10th rider to do so in the season opener, At 19, he wasn’t the youngest to perform the feat; Rick Johnson was 17 in 1982 when he won the lidlifter at Hangtown, the site of next week’s race, but Lawrence’s inaugural win bodes well. The last time a rider performed this feat, Dylan Ferrandis went on to win the 2021 Motocross championship as a rookie in 2021.

Ferrandis did not sweep the motos that season while Lawrence’s performance on Saturday was perfect. He paced both practice sessions, earned the holeshot in each race and finished first in both motos after leading every lap to score maximum points. Lawrence started the weekend needing 85 points to climb into 20th in the combined SuperMotocross standings for the 450 class. Earning 50 with his perfect Motocross results at Fox Raceway, he is nearly 60 percent of the way to his goal.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Results; Click here for 250 Results

Chase Sexton was second across the board. He qualified in the second position and finished 2-2 in his motos. In the first race, he was a relatively distant runner-up behind Lawrence, crossing the finish line a little more than 10 seconds ahead. He got a great start in Moto 2 and pushed Lawrence for the entire race, never getting further back than three seconds. He tried to pressure Lawrence into making a mistake, but both riders hardly put a wheel wrong and they finished within a second of one another.

Returning from a concussion suffered in the Houston Supercross race earlier this season and exacerbated at Daytona, Ferrandis finished third in both motos to take third overall. His most important task at hand this week was to avoid trouble and start the Motocross season healthy at Fox Raceway so he can begin to accumulate strong results and move up in SuperMotocross points.

Ferrandis entered this round 25th in the standings and left Pala in 19th. With that position, he has an automatic invitation to the feature starting grid in the SuperMotocross World Championship as long as he does not fall back.

Click here for 450 Moto 1 [Lap Chart] | Moto 2 [Lap Chart] | Consolation Race

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb both ended the race with 34 points, but Plessinger had the tiebreaker with a better finish in the second race. Notably, both riders sustained injury sometime during the season, but Plessinger had an advantage by coming back a week sooner in Salt Lak City for the Supercross finale. He finished second in that race.

Webb was cleared late in the week by doctors after being on concussion protocol from a vicious strike to his helmet in a Nashville Supercross heat race late in the season. He made a beeline to the track to run the Motocross opener. After missing last year’s outdoor season, he wanted to make certain that did not happen again. He still has a solid opportunity to catch Sexton for the No. 1 overall seed in the SuperMotocross standings., but he will need to make up 78 points.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

For the first time in history, Pro Motocross results from Fox Raceway show brothers as winners on the same day.

Battling a rib injury suffered practicing earlier in the week, Hunter Lawrence got a poor start to Moto 1 and had to overcome his 10th-place standing at the end of Lap 1. He methodically worked his way toward the front but might have settled for a position off the podium if not for heavy traffic in the closing laps. Lawrence was able to get through the field quicker than Justin Cooper and Jo Shimoda to finish third.

Hunter Lawrence overcame sore ribs to score the overall 250 win at Fox Raceway – Align Media

Lawrence’s second moto was much stronger. He earned the holeshot and led all 15 laps of the race to win by a more than eight seconds.

Haiden Deegan didn’t feel any pressure heading into this round. No one expected much in his third Motocross National and he would have been happy with anything in the top five. At least that’s what he said in the post-race news conference. Deegan said similar things after finishing fourth in his first Supercross race this season. In a stacked field of 40 riders at Fox Raceway, “Danger Boy” finished sixth in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2 for the second-place finish overall.

Click here for 250 Moto 1 [Lap Chart] | Moto 2 [Lap Chart] | Consolation Race

In only his third Pro Motocross National, Haiden Deegan finished second overall. – Align Media

RJ Hampshire had an eventful weekend. He dominated Moto 1 and won by a healthy margin, making a statement about how he will race now that Jett Lawrence is no longer in the field. He was a victim of mayhem in Turn 2 of Moto 2, which forced him to the ground. Another crash on an uphill portion of the track later that same lap put him in 39th. Hampshire salvaged as many points as he could and finished 11th in the second race to stand on the final box of the podium.

Tom Vialle came within a lap of scoring his first career podium. He had the position based on a tiebreaker over Justin Cooper and Maximus Vohland until Hampshire passed two riders on the final lap and earned one point more than that threesome. Instead, Vialle settled for his first podium in an individual moto with a 7-3 in the two races. More accustomed to this style of racing, Vialle will be a factor in the coming rounds.

Click here for 250 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Cooper finished with a 5-4 in the two motos to sweep the top five and take fourth-place overall. Cooper started five rounds in the 450 class in Supercross this season and none on a 250, so he is starting with zero points in the SuperMotocross seeding, but with runs like this it won’t take long to make up the 89 he needs to climb to 20th.

One of the best performances of the weekend was put in by Vohland. He finished second in Moto 1 and had to withstand pressure from Lawrence in the closing lap. A poor start of 16th in the second race forced him to play catchup and he could only climb to ninth at the checkers.

2023 Supercross Results

Round 17: Chase Sexton, Jett Lawrence win
Round 16: Chase Sexton, RJ Hampshire win
Round 15: Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence win
Round 14: Justin Barcia, Max Anstie win
Round 13: Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence win
Round 12: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Eli Tomac, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 16: Chase Sexton takes SX title
Week 15: Eli Tomac is back on top
Week 14: Justin Barcia, most of top 20, hold steady
Week 13: Barcia leapfrogs the Big Three
Week 12: Eli Tomac gains momentum
Week 11: Cooper Webb, Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
Week 10: Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Sexton unseats Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s