In the third AMA Supercross 250SX West race of the 2021 season, and just the fifth of his career, Team Honda HRC rider Hunter Lawrence notched his first podium result, charging to a runner-up finish in Arlington, Texas. Lawrence ran among the top riders for the entirety of the 250SX main event in what was an impressive performance by the Australian, who also took third in his heat race.
Meanwhile, in only his second race after recovering from a shoulder injury, Chase Sexton was strong throughout the 450SX program, riding to a solid fourth-place result in the main event. After a fifth-place start, Sexton made firm passes early on, quickly advancing to third before relinquishing one spot. His teammate Ken Roczen suffered a heat-race crash that resulted in the 13th gate selection for the main event. Consequently, he was slowed by a poor rut on the start and found himself in 11th after the first lap. The German worked his way through the pack to finish sixth.
With seven races remaining on the schedule, Roczen is now second in the title chase, seven points behind Webb. Next up is the middle race of the Arlington triple-header, on Tuesday.
- The 2021 Arlington 1 race marked the 41st consecutive season of supercross racing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, where Honda holds the most wins of any manufacturer, at 13. This is the first time that the area will host three rounds in one season.
- The Arlington 1 event’s Media Day riding session took place on Friday, with Team Honda HRC riders Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence all participating. Roczen was also invited to participate in a virtual interview for Race Day Live.
- After suffering a broken tooth and punctured lower lip at Daytona, Sexton underwent dental work and had stitches removed before traveling to Arlington.
- FanFest resumed at Arlington, giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the teams and riders as they worked in the pits. As was the case at the previous rounds, there were no autograph signings, however attendees were permitted to take photos, visit sponsor displays and take home pre-signed posters.
- Free practice saw Roczen finish on top in the 450SX class, while Sexton had the sixth-fastest time. During qualifying, Roczen was sixth-best in the combined times, with Sexton two spots behind. Spots 15 through 18 went to SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Benny Bloss, Muc-Off Honda’s Justin Brayton and MotoConcepts riders Vince Friese and Broc Tickle, respectively.
- In the 250SX West class, Lawrence posted the seventh-fastest lap in free practice and improved by two positions in qualifying. Muc-Off Honda’s Mitchell Harrison was seventh, Phoenix Racing Honda’s Kyle Peters was 12th, and FXR Chaparral Honda riders Coty Shock and Carson Mumford were 15th and 20th, respectively.
- Sexton and Roczen finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the second 450SX heat race, the latter slowed by a fall. Brayton placed sixth and Tickle posted an 11th-place result. Heat 1 had seen Friese finish seventh and Bloss eighth. Lawrence was third in 250SX heat 2, whereas Shock and Harrison were 11th and 12th. In heat 1, Peters and Mumford were fifth and 18th, respectively.
- As a podium finisher, Lawrence took part in the post-race virtual press conference, which took place Saturday evening after the race. Sexton was invited to participate in the 450SX roundtable on Sunday afternoon.
- With the first race of the Arlington triple-header in the books, the riders and teams won’t have much time to prepare for round 11, which happens on Tuesday, with round 12 set to take place at the same venue on Saturday. The mixed red clay/sand soil track will be modified between rounds.
Ken Roczen 94“My Saturday started off pretty good. We felt good in qualifying practices and went into the night show with a good start. I was on the outside of [Dean] Wilson, and with the 90 degree angle, got pushed wide a bit to fourth. I made a pass into third and tried to get by Dean a couple of times, but made a mistake trying to triple in. I didn't make it and ended up going down, dropping back to seventh, which unfortunately gave me a bad gate pick for the main event. The rut was really messed up, so that start wasn't good in the main at all. I wasn't moving forward at all in the main, struggled to make some passes and only ended up coming in sixth. It wasn’t the result that we wanted, but we come back on Tuesday; we’ll let go of this race and come back and try again. The good thing is that this wasn't the final round, by any means. We have a lot of racing left and plenty of time to redeem ourselves. For Tuesday, we want a bit of revenge and to try to start up front so I can ride with the front runners and see what position we can put ourselves in.”
Chase Sexton 23“The first round here in Arlington was a better night for me than Daytona. Practice didn’t go that great though; I felt good on the bike all day, but wasn't as fast as I wanted to be. In the heat race I didn't get a great start, but I made some good passes. In the main event, I got a good start, despite being a little too far outside from not having a great gate pick. I managed to make some really good passes early on and felt good on the bike compared to last weekend, when I first returned from injury. It’s a good race to build from. It obviously wasn’t a win, but for me it’s something really good to go off of and get better from here.”
Hunter Lawrence 41“It was an awesome weekend here in Dallas, to kick off the first three of three races. We ended up on the box in second, and we're very happy with that. We got an average start, made a few passes on that first lane, put ourselves in third and then picked off the next guy. To see the progress and how far I've come in the past few months is awesome, a huge confidence-booster and reassurance knowing where I belong. I’m stoked on the night and thank the team and everyone that's been supportive.”
Erik Kehoe - Team Manager“Hunter continues to get stronger each race and showed his determination with an amazing second-place finish! Chase continues to build confidence as well, with his hard earned fourth-place finish in the main event. Ken’s heat-race crash put him in a tough spot for a gate pick in the main event. He started mid-pack but put his head down and worked hard to finally end up sixth. We’ll regroup and get ready for round 11 on Tuesday.”