GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton is exceeding the form that led him to last year’s AMA Supercross 250 East Region Championship. After another strong showing Saturday night inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Sexton holds back-to-back wins for the first time in his professional career, and also leaves with sole possession of the championship lead in his division.
Sexton stalked race leader RJ Hampshire for several laps, before third-place Shane McElrath made a move to briefly take the runner-up spot away. Sexton responded immediately to pass McElrath back in the sand. A few laps later, Hampshire made a small mistake. Sexton saw an opening and made an aggressive pass to steal the lead. From there, he pulled away for the third 250SX win of his career.
The win was even more significant because Sexton didn’t consider the venue a favorite, due to an injury suffered in Atlanta a few years ago.
“I feel like for the whole night show, it [the track] was pretty dry,” said Sexton. “They put a good amount of water down, but not enough. It was definitely tough to get that rhythm section after the start on my bike. I managed to do it every lap, but it was definitely hard, I think that was make or break. There was one turn with ruts in it and everything else was dry and marbled. It was about being patient. I wasn’t really a fan of Atlanta, this was my first pro race and I broke my leg. So I just wanted to get through it and be safe—it was good to get a win.”
It was also good for Jo Shimoda, the rookie notching a career-best fifth in his third supercross start.
“Yeah I was feeling really good on my bike but in the time qualifying couldn’t really put good lap in,” said Shimoda. “But I had a good start in my heat and I was able to bump up to second, but then I hit a tough block after finish line which put me down to fifth. In the main event, bad start, but I was able to get to fifth from 13th. That’s a big improvement for me. Main thing I have learned after the first two races was to be more aggressive at the beginning of the race. I made more moves early and that helped me move up.”
Looked like Jeremy Martin was set for a strong run, too, as he hovered in fourth early, right in the mix with the lead trio of riders. Then Hampshire clipped a tough block and kicked it out on the track. Martin had nowhere to go and landed on it, suffering a hard crash that sent him to the back of the pack. He finished 19th.
“It wasn’t shaping up to be a pretty night of racing after practice in Atlanta but I definitely turned my day around by ripping a holeshot in the heat to race to bring it home for the win,” said Martin. “I felt better, and I was excited for the main event and got off to a good start. Was patiently sitting behind Shane [McElrath, running in third] waiting to put in a late charge. Track was tricky so I knew you had to pick your spots. Then RJ [Hampshire] landed on a tough block and I unfortunately didn’t see it and boom, race over. That was pretty disappointing but at least I’m okay. Looking forward to Daytona.”
The 50th Anniversary of the prestigious Daytona Supercross looms this weekend.
GEICO Honda Results
Atlanta Supercross - February 29, 2020