Challenging Night for Team Honda HRC at Anaheim 3 Supercross
- Sexton, Roczen salvage 7th-, 11th-place finishes
- Lawrence’s night ends early after 250SX main-event crash
Round 6 of the AMA Supercross series at Angel Stadium of Anaheim was rather forgettable for Team Honda HRC, as the 450SX main event saw Chase Sexton finish seventh and teammate Ken Roczen 11th. Sexton completed lap one in eighth and began working his way forward, advancing to sixth at the midway point. He lost the spot with seven laps remaining and was seventh at the finish. Meanwhile, Roczen was pushed wide in the first corner and, after tangling with a Tuffblox cushion, he resumed the race in last place. The German made his way through the pack on the slick track but was only able to climb as high as 11th place by the finish. Sexton now sits third in the title chase, 18 points behind leader Eli Tomac, while Roczen is eighth.
Hunter Lawrence took a second-place start in the 250SX West main event and battled with Christian Craig for the lead before suffering a hard crash in the whoops section on lap 7. The Australian struggled to get up and was eventually escorted off the track to be evaluated at the Alpinestars Medical Unit. Lawrence sits third in title chase, with a five-week break ahead and four rounds remaining in the regional championship.
- Team Honda HRC riders Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence all participated in Friday’s Media Day riding session. Sexton also took part in a sit-down interview for the American Athlete syndicated television show, and Roczen participated in a phone interview with the Southern California News Group.
- In the pits, Honda celebrated Bailey Cole’s recent King of the Hammers UTV Stock NA class victory, with a display of the winning Honda Off-Road Factory Racing Talon 1000R side-by-side.
- The Redondo Beach Police Department displayed their specially equipped Honda Africa Twins in the pits and rode them on the field during the opening ceremonies at Anaheim 3. Led by Chief Keith Kauffman, the RBPD has pioneered development of the adventure-bike patrol-unit concept.
- Team Honda HRC was pleased to host President of American Honda Noriya Kaihara at Anaheim 3. Other VIP guests included Yu Hosokawa, Kevin Mills, Yasutaka Uda, Noriya Kaihara, Akito Watase, Jun Ishiwatari, Miguel Moreno, Naoki Terada, Ryan Kelly, Kazuhiro Miyano, Hisashi Kadomasu, Reo Kawai and Zuniga. All three team riders participated in a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with Kaihara-san’s group before the guests watched the racing from a private suite.
- Lawrence’s mechanic Cameron Camera was unable to work on Saturday due to a back injury and was substituted by 250 Crew Chief Grant Hutcheson.
- Sexton and Roczen both participated in the opening ceremonies, the latter joined by son Griffin with a Fox Racing jersey matching his dad’s.
- In 450SX qualifying, Sexton was the third-best rider with a 57.213” lap, despite a crashin the first session. Roczen was 13th at 59.241”. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MCR Honda riders Justin Brayton and Mitchell Oldenburg were 10th and 17th, respectively, and SGB Unlimited rider Cade Clason was 22nd.
- Lawrence was the fifth-fastest rider during 250SX West daytime practice, with a 58.386” lap in the last timed session. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Vince Friese was seventh-quickest, and STR Racing’s Cheyenne Harmon was 33rd-best.
- Sexton went into the 450SX night program finishing third in heat 2, with Roczen sixth and Oldenburg eighth. Heat 1 had seen Brayton and Clason finish fourth and ninth. Lawrence was second in 250SX heat race 2, and Friese was fourth.
- Friese was impressive in the Anaheim 3 250SX main, notching a second-place result – the best finish of his career.
- Lawrence’s DNF dropped him a position in the 250SX West title chase to third and put him 29 points behind points leader Christian Craig. In the 450SX class, Sexton also dropped a position to third, 18 points behind Eli Tomac. Roczen is eighth in the same class.
- AMA Supercross will now leave the West Region and head to Minneapolis for the kick off of the East Regional 250SX championship. Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence will begin his campaign in that class aboard his CRF250R.
Ken Roczen 94
“Our weekend at Anaheim 3 was honestly a disaster. I was really uncomfortable all day. It doesn’t help that they’ve been building the track gnarlier than maybe even any other year, so It’s just a bunch of stuff collapsing and it’s just not good right now. Nonetheless, I'm going to continue working on myself and try to improve every weekend. We have to find a bike setup that works for me. It’s definitely not enough right now in order to compete with those guys out there. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we’re not giving up.”
Chase Sexton 23
“Anaheim 3 was a challenge all day. I didn't feel that great with the whoops section or the track itself; it wasn’t a good combination for me. I felt decent halfway through the main event and then made some mistakes, got squirrely a few times and lost ground. It was a frustrating night for me; I lost a good amount of points. I’m going to have to turn it back up when we go East. I’m going back to Florida this week, so I'm happy to go home and get back to a normal schedule. Hopefully we can crank out some wins. Overall, I’m proud to get out of here healthy with how treacherous the track was, and I look forward to Minneapolis.”
Jett Lawrence 18
Did Not Attend Race
Hunter Lawrence 96
“It was obviously a bit of a scare, with what could’ve been something pretty bad, but it checked out to be all okay as far as my body is concerned. We were really going for the win, so we were laying it out there. Second place seemed like the easy option, as we had extended a pretty good gap on third, but I was pushing for the win – I felt like that was a pretty defining race in the championship, and I wanted to go for it. The whoops were super-gnarly, and going at full speed and pushing as fast as you can every lap, it’s how the sport can be sometimes. I’m thankful to the team for supporting me.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager
“Tonight was rough for us. Hunter was riding amazing, and it looked to be his night to have a great battle with Christian for the win. He was doing everything he needed to do to keep Christian [Craig] honest in the main event, including get the good start with him, until the whoops ended up biting him. The track was tough tonight, especially the whoops; everybody was struggling in them, even the winners. It seems like when they’re built that way, the whoops only last for a certain amount of time and can’t handle the amount of riders during the day without getting completely destroyed. The 450 guys had the worst end of it, because the whoops were really bad at the end of the main event. Luckily, we survived the track, but the result was not what we were hoping for. Both riders had a tough time making it through the pack after bad starts. It was a hectic day, and I think we’re all glad to be heading East. We’ll keep working, and we’ll fight back at the next race in Minneapolis. We’re all excited to have Jett back in the truck and racing as well. Onward and upward.”