- Sexton recovers from crash for impressive podium in 450SX
- Chance Hymas dominates Supercross Futures class
In the 2022 AMA Supercross series’ first of two 250SX East-West Showdowns, the Lawrence brothers put in an impressive and emotional performance, with Hunter topping the main event and Jett recovering from an early crash to finish third. Shortly thereafter, CRF450R-mounted Chase Sexton finished a strong third in the premier division despite a time-robbing fall.
Both Lawrence brothers enjoyed strong starts, and they had their CRF250Rs running near the front on the first lap. Jett then lost his front end after a whoop section and went down, remounting in 15th. Hunter dogged the leading Jo Shimoda until passing him in the sand section on lap 4. Christian Craig also moved by Shimoda and pursued Hunter for much of the race, but the Australian held off his West Region title rival to notch an emotional win. Meanwhile, Jett had mounted an incredible charge through the pack that landed him in a third position with two laps remaining, and the brothers celebrated their shared podium finishes with nose-to-nose burnouts on the Atlanta Motor Speedway asphalt.
Sexton emerged second from turn 1 in the 450SX main event, then got by the leading Justin Barcia in a rhythm section on lap 2. Unfortunately, the subsequent lap saw him fall in a turn after the sand whoops, and he had dropped to sixth place by the time he rejoined the race. Turning the fastest lap times of anyone, the 22-year-old worked his way forward, moving into a podium position with two laps remaining and staying there to the end.
- All three active Team Honda HRC riders – Chase Sexton, along with Hunter and Jett Lawrence – participated in Friday’s Media Day activities, getting the opportunity to try out the long circuit. Hunter suffered a hard crash over a long triple but avoided serious injury.
- The Atlanta round featured a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital theme, and the Team Honda HRC bikes wore special graphics that included artwork from Tayde, a St. Jude patient. In addition, the bikes’ Renthal handlebars and sprockets were purple. Following the race, autographed bike parts and other memorabilia were donated to be auctioned to benefit the charity. The auction opens April 25, when fans will be able to bid, and runs through May 9.
- American Honda has a large number of Powersports Division staff based in Alpharetta, Georgia, many of whom were on hand for the Atlanta round.
- Ken Roczen made the drive from Florida with his family to cheer on Team Honda HRC. The German, who has been focusing on his health since the Daytona round, is planning to return to action for the AMA Pro Motocross series.
- After a long period of being grounded by Covid-related Japanese travel restrictions, HRC had two staff on hand for the Atlanta Supercross – off-road chief Taichi Honda and technical support representative Toru Yukawa.
- Atlanta was a Supercross Futures round, so Honda’s Chance Hymas was in action. The Idahoan dominated, topping all three of his qualifying sessions and then leading every lap of the main event aboard his CRF250R.
- With rain Saturday morning, the schedule was shortened to just one qualifier for each class (450SX, 250SX East and 250SX West). Sexton was fastest of the premier division, with SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Justin Brayton ninth and SGB Unlimited Honda riders Jeremy Hand and Cade Clason 15th and 20th, respectively.
- Jett Lawrence was also fastest in his qualifying session (250SX East), with a margin of over a second. Red Riders took three of the top four positions, with MCR’s Mitchell Oldenburg and Fire Power Honda’s Jordon Smith third and fourth, respectively. Fire Power’s Jarrett Frye was 10th, and Phoenix Racing Honda’s Cullin Park was 14th. In 250SX West, Hunter Lawrence was third, with MCR’s Vince Friese ninth and Concrete Plants’ Maxwell Sanford 17th.
- Sexton was untouchable in the second 450SX heat race, assuming the lead on the second full lap and winning by nearly 10 seconds. The Lawrence brothers were challenged, with Jett going down early in the 250SX East heat and finishing fifth, whereas Hunter notched a runner-up result in the West Region heat.
- Hunter’s victory moved Honda into a tie with Yamaha for most support-class Supercross wins in Atlanta, with 11. It was also two wins in a row for Hunter, his third 250SX win of the season, and the fourth of his career.
- This marked the second time that the brothers had both finished on a 250SX podium, although the positions were swapped from the 2021 Salt Lake City East-West Showdown, where Jett won and Hunter was third.
- All three Team Honda HRC riders took part in the post-race press conference Saturday afternoon.
- As the top-finishing 250SX East rider, Jett Lawrence extended his points lead to 47. With just two rounds remaining, the Australian could clinch the title next week in Foxborough. Hunter Lawrence is second in 250SX West, 23 points back with two races left. Sexton is tied for sixth in 450SX points.
Ken Roczen 94Did Not Attend Race - Recovery Break
Chase Sexton 23“It was a really good day for me, riding-wise. I felt good here last year, and I was excited to be coming back. I felt good with the track again, and I probably haven’t had this much fun riding my dirt bike, ever. The rain made it pretty technical – still pretty fast, but I think it slowed down a tad. I knew Jason [Anderson] was going to be good, and Eli [Tomac] obviously. I put myself in a good position, and then I came into that corner and couldn’t really save it; it was just gone so fast. I had to gather my thoughts and just go for it; I knew I could probably make it back to the podium if I rode like I know how, and that was my goal after my fall. I’m thankful to be back up there, but obviously I want to be where Jason is sitting. I’m glad the team and I have made this much progress. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way, and you’ve got to keep digging. I know that sunrise is coming.”
Jett Lawrence 18“The biggest thing today was the traction, because it was obviously pretty muddy in the qualifiers. It was kind of just seeing what the traction was going to be like – when it was going to be tacky and grippy – and I found out those spots where it wasn’t tacky at all. It is what it is, and you can’t really throw your hands up; you have to get back on your bike, put your head down, your bum up and keep charging. I feel like days like today are a good test of my mental side, to see how I’m building from previous races, and it’s a well-deserved podium. I was definitely cheering inside my helmet when I seen Hunter was P1, and I was just thinking, ‘Be smart Hunter, and bring it on home.’ It’s nice that we got 1 and 3.”
Hunter Lawrence 96“Any time you win is cool, so East-West is really good. Everyone has been hearing about the East-West deal – who’s going to win, this and that – but it’s not really anything new that you have to change your approach for; you just have to race. I did my best in qualifying, but I live for the night show. I got a good start and took it from there. Jett’s on the box as well, which is so awesome for our family – we’re in the best place we’ve ever been. Our work ethic is second to none, and the team we have around us now is unbelievable – every one of our guys that we work with. It’s cool, and we’re having fun. This is what we train for, and I’m so stoked to pull it off.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager“It was a really good showing for us, overall. It was special because it was kind of a home race since we had a lot of people here from Honda in Alpharetta, as well as some of our HRC representatives from Japan. We were super-fast in practice, with Chase and Jett being fastest. The heat races didn’t go so well for the 250 boys, but Chase absolutely dominated his with what may be the best ride I’ve ever seen him ride. For the 250 main event, unfortunately Jett had that tip-over, but they both had good starts. Hunter had Christian [Craig] giving him pressure and was still able to win, and Jett made it all the way back to the podium from a crash. In the 450 class, Chase started great and was pulling away, and although he had a tip-over, it was really cool to see him come back to the podium. It would’ve been really nice to get that win for Chase, but everyone’s really happy to come from where we were a few weeks ago.”