- The Australian extends 250SX East points lead with fourth win in five rounds
- Chase Sexton falls while battling for premier-division win
Continuing his dominance of the 2023 AMA Supercross 250SX East Region series, Hunter Lawrence rode his Team Honda HRC CRF250R to yet another win in his first visit to the motorsports-crazy city of Indianapolis, whose soft soil invariably makes for a treacherous, rut-filled track. Through just five rounds, the Australian has already matched his four-win tally from 2022, with more than half of the races still to be run. Meanwhile, the 450SX division cleared its midway point, with Chase Sexton riding well all day. He topped qualifying and his heat race aboard his CRF450RWE before a hard crash in the main event limited him to a 10th-place result.
The 250SX East main event saw Lawrence nail the holeshot and open up a comfortable gap, enjoying a largely drama-free performance (apart from a close encounter with a lapped rider). In the end, Lawrence won by nearly eight seconds, stretching his points lead to nearly a full race.
Sexton exited turn 1 of the 450SX main in second place and was shuffled back to fourth before ending the first lap in third. He passed Cooper Webb through the whoops on lap 3 and set his sights on the leading Ken Roczen, only to suffer a nasty, rut-induced crash four laps later. Sexton shrugged off a sour ankle to remount in 12th, but crash damage to the bike limited progress. In the end, he finished 10th, but the results of his title rivals meant that he only lost three points in the championship hunt.
- After fielding a four-rider effort at the first four East Region rounds, Team Honda HRC was down to two riders in Indianapolis. Chance Hymas is following the squad’s original plan to sit out the latter part of AMA Supercross to prepare for AMA Pro Motocross, whereas Colt Nichols continued to recover from a crash at Daytona.
- On Friday morning, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence visited the Brownsburg office of Honda Performance Development, where they were able to see Wayne Taylor Racing driver Ricky Taylor in an advanced driving simulator, testing car settings for the upcoming IMSA Le Mans Prototype race at Sebring. From there, the supercross duo headed to the impressive Zionsville headquarters of the Honda-powered Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, where driver Christian Lundgaard showed them the incredible new facility and his IndyCar. A segment on the visit was included in the Saturday-night race broadcast. Sexton then headed back to the stadium for press day, where he tried out the track and took part in a number of media interviews.
- On Saturday morning, Sexton and Lawrence were visited in the Team Honda HRC pits by Marcus Ericsson of the Honda-powered Chip Ganassi Racing team. The Swedish driver, who had won the IndyCar opener the previous weekend and also attended the Anaheim 2 round, was interviewed by NBC for the race broadcast.
- Although Ericsson had to leave early to attend a charity event, Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing team drivers Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey were both on hand for the night program, which they watched from a suite. Lundgaard was interviewed on the big screen.
- Local dealership Tom Wood Powersports had a booth in the Team Honda HRC pits, kicking off Honda’s new dealer-activation program. Representatives from the dealer displayed a CRF450RWE and a CRF450R 50th Anniversary Edition, and they engaged with new and existing customers.
- Matt Davis of Team Honda HRC sponsor Throttle Jockey was a guest of the team at Indianapolis. Throttle Jockey’s headquarters are about an hour south, in Kokomo.
- Also attending the Indianapolis round were 150 guests from Honda’s Marysville, Ohio, R&D facility. The associates and their families made the three-hour drive to take in the racing.
- Indianapolis is something of a home race for Sexton, who is a native of La Moille, Illinois–about a four-hour drive northwest of the stadium.
- Though Indianapolis is an indoor race, the pits are outside, which can present challenges due to chilly weather. Team Honda HRC had full walls and windows on their canopies, and the bikes wore warmers on the tires and fork legs to prevent performance from being affected by the temperatures.
- To deal with the infamous Indianapolis track conditions, Sexton was one of several 450 riders running a narrower, 110 Dunlop rear tire, which has less of a tendency to climb out of the ruts.
- Once again, Team Honda HRC riders topped daytime qualifying in both classes, with Sexton best in 450SX and Lawrence quickest in 250SX East.
- The second 250SX East heat race saw Lawrence sitting in fourth off the start and moving up to third on lap 1 before securing the lead on lap 4. Following a red flag, Lawrence held the lead off the staggered restart and kept it to the finish. Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie was third, TiLube Honda’s Henry Miller was sixth, and Phoenix Racing Honda’s Coty Schock was seventh. Meanwhile, the first heat race saw Phoenix’s Cullin Park and Jace Owen finish fourth and fifth, with Valley Ford’s Jeremy Hand and TiLube’s Michael Hicks sixth and seventh. The Moto Academy’s AJ Catanzaro was ninth. Advancing through the last-chance qualifier were Phoenix’s Caden Braswell and Red Research Group’s Luke Neese. Half of the riders in the 250SX East main event–11 of 22–were CRF250R-mounted.
- Sexton started fourth in the second 450SX heat and finished lap 1 in second, then overtook Eli Tomac and pulled away to win by four-and-a-half seconds. Fire Power Honda’s Dean Wilson was seventh.
- Lawrence posted the fastest lap time in the 250SX East main event.
- Lawrence took part in the post-race press conference and media scrums.
- Lawrence now holds a commanding 23-point title-chase lead in 250SX East, with second place occupied by fellow Red Rider Max Anstie, of the Fire Power Honda squad. Despite suffering his worst result of the season, Sexton still sits third in 450SX points, just 13 behind leader Cooper Webb.
- Lawrence’s win this weekend was the ninth of his career, and it put him on the list of Red Rider Indianapolis support-class winners that includes Doug Henry, Michael Brandes, Davi Millsaps, Trey Canard, Jeremy Martin and Jett Lawrence. Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won seven of the nine 250SX rounds held thus far.
- Lawrence dedicated his win to Brayden Erbacher, a young Australian motocrosser who recently lost his life due to injuries sustained in a crash in the Australian ProMX MX2 series.
- Next weekend will find Team Honda HRC racing in Detroit.
Chase Sexton 23“The day started off great for me. We had figured some things out in testing earlier in the week, and I felt like I was riding well, even with the gnarly ruts. I topped qualifying and won my heat race, and I was feeling good in the main event. Unfortunately, I hit a rut that sent me to the ground, and the bike was bent up to where it was tough trying to make up time after that. It's a bummer, but I know I have the speed and I'm still in the championship hunt. There’s no quit in me, and I’m going to keep swinging. I look forward to Detroit.”
Colt Nichols 45N/A
Hunter Lawrence 96““The track was pretty wild. It’s my first race here at Indy, so it was a big eye-opener. I just kind of let it all come to me this morning in the first couple sessions, trying to figure out when and how the track was going to break down. The way things went is unreal! We work so hard for these races, so it’s great when it pays off.” ”
Chance Hymas 832N/A
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager“It was another bittersweet day for us. We’ve had a lot of these, and it never gets any easier trying to celebrate a win and then having another one slip away–especially when our competitors were having off nights. On the positive side, we didn’t lose as many points as we could have, and luckily, Chase wasn’t hurt too badly, and he’ll be able to race next weekend. Most of the day went great, qualifying first in both classes and winning both of our heat races. It was also really cool having the IndyCar guys here; we have a great relationship with HPD and our IndyCar teams, and we can learn from them and share information.”