- Hunter Lawrence takes points lead in 250 class
- Roczen fifth overall in 450 class despite sickness
Team Honda HRC had an up-and-down performance at RedBud MX, highlighted by second-overall finishes for Chase Sexton in the 450 class and Hunter Lawrence in the 250 division—both with 2-2 moto scores. Ken Roczen managed a fourth place in 450 moto 1 and led moto 2 before the lingering effects of sickness caused him to slip to seventh place and fifth overall. Jett Lawrence’s first 250 moto ended early with a mechanical issue, but he bounced back to win moto 2 for ninth overall.
Sexton completed lap 1 of the first 450 outing in fifth place, then moved up a spot at about the one-quarter mark. Lap 10 saw him get by his teammate (who had run in third for the first part of the race), and four laps later Sexton was by Joey Savatgy for second. He ended the moto six seconds behind Eli Tomac, with Roczen fourth. The German led the first 10 laps of moto 2 before his sickness caught up with him, and he slowly slipped to seventh. Sexton had started poorly, putting him sixth after lap 1, and he had a tip-over when he hit a fallen Jason Anderson. Nonetheless, he charged through the pack to second place by lap 11, again crossing the line just six seconds back.
Hunter Lawrence enjoyed a strong 250 moto 1 start and led the first five laps before being overtaken by his brother. When Jett experienced his issue, the older Lawrence once again assumed the lead, but Hunter was in conservation mode and was passed by Jo Shimoda with six laps remaining. Moto 2 again saw Hunter running up front early, while this time Jett was recovering from a bad start, completing lap 1 in eighth. By lap 5, the defending champ was up to second, and he displaced his brother at the front just past the halfway point. Jett and Hunter were 1-2 at the finish, but Shimoda’s third place gave him the overall win.
- All the Team Honda HRC machines wore special Throttle Jockey graphics at RedBud, celebrating Independence Day weekend with a throwback look from the 1996 Motocross des Nations, when Team USA (including Honda-mounted Steve Lamson and Jeremy McGrath) took the victory in Spain.
- RedBud MX is the home race for Throttle Jockey, and Friday night saw them throw a party in the Team Honda HRC pits, celebrating their 30th
- Jett’s mechanical issue cost him a probable 250 moto 1 win and ended his overall win streak at four, but his moto 2 performance boosted his career moto-win tally to 14.
- The RedBud national featured an amateur Scouting Moto Combine, with Team Honda HRC’s Chance Hymas taking part. Unfortunately, crashes affected the Idaho rider’s performance, and he went 11-4 for eighth overall.
- The week before RedBud, Team Honda HRC test rider Trey Canard and Hymas opted to take part in the Mammoth Motocross, a popular event in California’s Sierra Nevada range. Canard earned the overall wins in 450 Pro and Open Pro Sport, as well as second in 250 Pro. Hymas was second overall in Open Pro Sport.
- Along with the Ironman National, RedBud is a home race for Chase Sexton, who is originally from La Moille, Illinois (about three hours west). He had a number of guests on hand, including both his immediate family and members of his extended family.
- Weather conditions were perfect for RedBud, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.
- Fire Power Honda announced the signing of Max Anstie last week on a three-round deal that marks the team’s debut in AMA Pro Motocross (though it regularly competes in AMA Supercross).
- Chase Sexton and Ken Roczen were officially fourth and sixth in the combined 450 qualifying times, although Sexton’s second session was ruined by a transponder issue. (The team’s own data showed that Sexton had very fast times.) In 250 qualifying, Hunter and Jett Lawrence were second and third, respectively.
- While coming through the pack in the second 450 race, Sexton set the fastest lap of the moto, with Roczen second-fastest. Jett Lawrence had the fastest time in the first 250 moto, and Hunter Lawrence had the fastest moto 2 time.
- This week, there were co-winners of Team Honda HRC’s Award of Excellence, with truck drivers Mike Spraker and Scott Heltsley sharing the well-deserved honors.
- Jett’s moto 1 issue resulted in him losing the 250 class points lead to Hunter, who now has a seven-point margin and will go to the next round with the red plate on his CRF250R. Sexton still leads the 450 division, now with an edge of seven points, which would be eight were it not for a 1-point penalty at Thunder Valley for jumping under a wheels-on-ground flag.
- Next up for Team Honda HRC is this Saturday’s Southwick National in Massachusetts, which will mark the series’ midway point.
Ken Roczen 94“I tried to hang in there as long as I could, but I got sick this week and still had a lot of exhaustion in my bones. I had to drop the anchor in the second moto because I was empty. I’ve hardly been on the bike this whole last week, and I was laid up on the couch most of the time, so that combination just wasn’t ideal heading into this weekend. I’m working on getting healthy so I can attack next weekend.”
Chase Sexton 23“I’m really happy with my riding, especially in the sandy conditions. In past years I’ve struggled here and Southwick, but this year I feel like I’ve got some good sand riding in me. The starts weren’t great, and I had a little tip-over in the second moto, but I can’t really be too bummed. At the end of the day, if I get first or second in the motos, it puts me in a good spot. I think Eli [Tomac] and I are going to be battling, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Jett Lawrence 18“I was feeling good today. I love this track, and we ended up getting the bike handling pretty good for the first moto. I took some bad lines on the first lap and went back to fourth, but in a couple turns I went up to third. I made my way past Jo and Hunter, and then the bike started feeling funny and losing power. That’s part of this sport, and luckily, we had a bit of a points lead, which helps me a little bit. On the second-moto start, it was hard to tuck around since I was so far out wide, but I made my way through and got the race win. It sucks to lose the red plate, but at least I lost it to Hunter.”
Hunter Lawrence 96“The first moto I was sitting behind Jett, trying to leave my charge until the end of the moto, and then he kind of pulled off. I was like, ‘Is he letting me pass?’ but then I started feeling something and went into conservation mode. The second moto I struggled with my riding, but congrats to Jo [Shimoda]; he rode awesome today. The red plate doesn’t always come as fast as you want or how you want, but we’ll take it. It was a tough day, but we made the most of it.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager“It was a tougher day than we’ve been used to lately, but not every weekend is going to be smooth and a win. We’re really frustrated with what happened in the first 250 moto, as we never want to see one of our guys pushing his bike off the track. Thankfully, the team was able to diagnose the problem quickly, and Jett and Hunter were confident to go back out and go 1-2 in the last moto. Congratulations on Jo Shimoda being the first Japanese rider to win a national; he was a longtime Honda rider and is still a friend of the team. In the 450 class, we know that the main competitor is Eli [Tomac], and we’ve got to figure out how to beat him. Chase definitely had the speed to do that today but didn’t have the starts; that’s something we need to work on. Ken hasn’t been feeling great this week, so we need to try to get him better and improve what we can with him so we can get back in front again.”