- Sexton recovers from subpar first 450 moto to win second outing
- Jett Lawrence 37 points up in 250 class with two rounds remaining
Ken Roczen made a welcome return to the 450 overall podium at Maryland’s Budds Creek round of the AMA Pro Motocross series, stringing together a pair of third-place moto finishes for the same position on the day. Meanwhile, teammate Chase Sexton avoided a potentially disastrous day for his title chances, following up a crash-plagued first moto to top the second outing and finish just off the overall podium, and only one point down on rival Eli Tomac. Neither Lawrence brother had a memorable Budds Creek experience, but Jett ultimately managed his title defense well, taking third overall via 2-3 finishes, while Hunter was eighth overall.
Roczen started the first 450 moto with a holeshot and led for three laps before being overtaken by Tomac. Five laps from the end, the German lost one more spot but kept fighting for an eventual close third. Sexton had gone down on the first lap and then again shortly thereafter, leaving him buried in 29th place at the end of lap 1. The Illinois native set about reducing the damage, advancing to 15th one-third of the way in and then ninth at the two-thirds mark. By the end, he had climbed to seventh place. Roczen once again started strong in moto 2, running in the top two through the first five laps until being passed by Sexton, who secured the lead just before the halfway point. A crash then dropped Sexton to third, but he only needed two more laps to re-secure the lead, which he held to the finish. Roczen pushed hard to the line to keep third.
The 250 action saw Jett racing in third for the first half of moto 1 before taking over second and holding it to the end, while Hunter was slowed by crashes and finished eighth. In moto 2, both brothers were back a ways after lap 1, but Jett managed to climb from 12th to eighth by the halfway mark. He took over third with two laps remaining and nearly caught second by the finish. Hunter ended up ninth, for eighth overall.
- During the opening ceremonies, the AMA officially announced Team USA for the upcoming Motocross of Nations, where Team Honda HRC rider Chase Sexton will join Eli Tomac and Justin Cooper. This will be Sexton’s debut appearance in the international event, but the venue—Michigan’s RedBud MX—is his home race.
- In addition to Sexton, Team Honda HRC will send Hunter and Jett Lawrence to the Motocross of Nations, as the brothers will join Mitch Evans on an all-Honda Team Australia. The event will serve as the 450 debut for Jett Lawrence.
- To support the Team USA Motocross of Nations effort, a fundraiser golf tournament is being organized for September 4 at Redhawk Golf Club in Temecula, California. Sexton is taking part (as are Team Honda HRC manager Lars Lindstrom and 250 crew chief Grant Hutcheson), and Honda is sponsoring a hole. For info on how to take part or donate, visit raiseit4usa.com.
- For the second week in a row, Team Honda HRC riders were the fastest qualifiers in both classes, with Ken Roczen topping the 450s and Jett Lawrence best in the 250s. Sexton was fourth-best in the premier class, and Hunter Lawrence was seventh in the quarter-liter ranks.
- Whereas the season has been largely marked for unusually mild temperatures, Budds Creek was as hot as usual, with the mercury varying between 84 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit for the motos.
- Jett Lawrence had the fastest lap time in the second 250 moto, and he posted it on the final lap of the race.
- Sexton’s moto 2 victory was the eighth of his career in the 450 class.
- For Budds Creek, Team Honda HRC presented the Yoshimura Award of Excellence to Jordan Troxell, Roczen’s mechanic.
- With two rounds remaining, Jett Lawrence has a comfortable 37-point lead in the defense of his 250 championship, while Hunter Lawrence slipped one spot, to third. Sexton also slipped from first to second in the 450 title chase, but he’s only one point behind Eli Tomac.
- Next up for Team Honda HRC is the penultimate AMA Pro Motocross round of the year, the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Ken Roczen 94“We’re trying! We seem to take these for granted, but I’m super-excited to be back on the podium! It was a hard battle the whole second moto, and I was excited I stayed in it. I’m pumped for my team too; it was a little bit of a drought, but we’re back on the box. That’s a step in the right direction, so we’re going to continue and hopefully finish out these last couple rounds strong.”
Chase Sexton 23“Man, today was not my day. Even from practice, I never felt that good—just too many mistakes. In the first moto, I hit neutral and went over the bars, and then I ran into another rider and had my work cut out for me. I had a big effort and knew I had to bounce back and amass points in the second moto. I got it done—fell over but still knew I could win and just kept fighting. You don’t win championships on your good days; it’s your bad days you win them, so if we can manage the points and come back strong next weekend and ride a lot better, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Jett Lawrence 18“It could’ve been better, obviously, but it wasn’t a terrible day—honestly, it was better than last weekend. Qualifying went well, but my starts weren’t the greatest today, especially the second one; I just got closed out. I definitely need to work on those because my starts have gone downhill since Washougal. My riding was really good, and the second moto I felt really good; I had some good lap times and felt really strong. It was the first time in a while that I had to push all the way to the end. The goalpost was RJ [Hampshire], but I wasn’t close enough to make any moves on the last lap. It’s good to be back on the podium.”
Hunter Lawrence 96“Really tough day. I felt like the riding was really good, but if there’s anything that prevented me from having a good result, I probably could point at the four crashes. [laughs] I think that may have had something to do with it. We’ll go back, keep training, keep pushing, and we’ve got to come back next weekend and the following weekend to finish out strong.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager“Today wasn’t our best day, but we definitely salvaged from what could’ve been a very bad day. With the 250 guys not really getting the starts that they needed, and Hunter having some falls, they still rode well. Jett extended his points lead—unfortunately, it’s over his own brother, so that doesn’t help us as much as we’d like. Ken had a great day and really helped us out by getting on the podium. That second moto, with Chase winning and Ken getting third, was really cool—sort of how we were in the beginning of the season. I’m really excited for Ken to have had a good race; it seems like he’s found something that’s helping. I’m really pumped that we were able to minimize the damage from the first moto, with Chase riding incredible in the second moto. On to next week—we’ve got to get the job done there.”