- Chase Sexton fifth after a dramatic night of racing in premier class
- Colt Nichols finishes 12th in 450SX division
Following an unexpected week off, AMA Supercross returned to action at a new venue—San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium—where Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence was once again flawless in the 250SX West class, dominating all 19 laps and taking the win aboard his CRF250R. After scoring the holeshot, the Australian managed his lead, riding within himself but turning up the pace whenever the gap started to shrink. In the end, his winning margin was 3.6 seconds, capping off a perfect day on which he had also been the top qualifier and a heat-race winner.
The 450 class was more about damage control for the squad, as Chase Sexton suffered a heat-race crash and was forced to advance to the main event via the last-chance qualifier. Colt Nichols took the main-event holeshot on his CRF450R, and Sexton—despite being saddled with a poor start position—was fifth out of turn 1. Lap 2 saw Sexton get knocked to the ground by another rider and complete the next lap in ninth place. He advanced to sixth by lap 9, then took another position on lap 15, and that’s where he stayed for the final 10 laps. Meanwhile, Nichols struggled following his stellar start and ended the day in 12th.
- Rain has been an issue in Southern California for much of the new year, so in an effort to find good dirt for testing during the week leading up to race day, Team Honda HRC spent time at a pair of private tracks—Carson Mumford’s on Tuesday and Derek Kelley’s on Wednesday. Press day was canceled on Friday in order to give Dirt Wurx more time to prepare the track, which was good for Saturday.
- Race day itself featured dry weather, though evening temperatures were chilly—50º Fahrenheit and 77% humidity for both main events.
- Jett Lawrence was perfect in 250SX West daytime qualifying, topping both timed sessions and turning a best lap that was .262 seconds better than the next-best rider. Chase Sexton was second-best in 450 qualifying, with Colt Nichols eighth.
- Lawrence also topped his 250SX West heat race, finishing over five seconds ahead of second place. Other Red Riders to advance from the heats included SmarTops/MotoConcepts Racing’s Mitchell Oldenburg and Anthony Rodriguez, as well as Fire Power Honda’s Wilson Todd.
- Sexton’s 450 heat race didn’t go as planned, as he went down at the end of the whoop section, then had his bike run into and damaged. He dominated the last-chance qualifier, but was stuck with a poor gate pick. Nichols finished fourth in heat 1, and Fire Power Honda’s Dean Wilson was eighth in heat 2.
- Both main-event holeshots went to Red Riders—Lawrence and Nichols in 250SX West and 450SX, respectively.
- Lawrence’s San Diego success marked the ninth 250SX main-event win of his career, and the 16th podium.
- Following the race, Lawrence took part in the official press conference.
- Through two rounds, Lawrence has a maximum 52 points—six ahead of his closest competitor in the 250SX West title chase. Sexton is third in the 450SX points battle, 13 behind the leader. Nichols sits 10th in the premier division.
- Next, Team Honda HRC returns to Anaheim for the year’s third AMA Supercross round, on January 28. It will be the season’s second stop at Angel Stadium, and its first Triple Crown.
Chase Sexton 23“San Diego was a little bit eventful for me. I qualified second but had a big crash in the heat race and had to DNF. I went to my first LCQ ever but was able to get through there. I made the main event and was riding good but got taken down by another rider and fell back to 10th. I made my way back to fifth, but it was definitely a mediocre night. At least we’re healthy and we can try to come out swinging for A2.”
Colt Nichols 45“The night was difficult, to say the least. Once again, I got off the gate really well. I have a lot of confidence with this bike getting off the gate, which is reassuring, and something good I’ll take from tonight. After that, there weren't a whole lot of positives. I just didn’t really have much intensity. I felt like I was just riding around, not really racing the track. I just need to be a little smarter, get some time under our belt. Overall, we live to fight another day—on to Anaheim."
Jett Lawrence 18“This track was much more predictable compared to Anaheim; it was more racing this week compared to the last race, where we were more trail riding, and I had a blast being back at normal speed. My biggest thing is putting myself in a good position to podium or win every round—just going the smarter route, trying to make it through the night.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager“It was nice to have a dry race even after all the rain. Jett rode awesome all day, being fastest in both qualifiers and winning both the heat and the main; he was in total control. The 450 heat race was pretty scary, with Chase having a good get-off and a DNF. Luckily, he was okay and was able to win the LCQ. In the main event, both riders got good starts. Colt wasn’t aggressive enough in the first couple of laps, which he’s working on. Another rider took Chase out, and we can’t be in a position to let that happen. It’s a decent result for the night for what it could’ve been, but we need to be better.”