Team Honda HRC Sweeps Overall Wins at Washougal MX
- Chase Sexton wins 450 class, Jett Lawrence tops 250s
- Third win-sweep of the season for the team so far
For the third time this season, Team Honda HRC topped both classes at an AMA Pro Motocross National, this time in front of a large and enthusiastic Pacific Northwest crowd at Washougal MX Park, with Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence doing the honors in the 450 and 250 classes, respectively. The eighth round of the series also saw Ken Roczen and Hunter Lawrence turn in solid performances, the former fighting off a fever to notch fourth overall in the 450 class, and the latter winning a 250 moto and taking third overall.
The first 450 moto saw Sexton start second and quickly move into the lead. He was overtaken by title rival Eli Tomac on lap 6, but he kept it close throughout the race—so close that when Tomac dropped his bike with three minutes plus two laps remaining, Sexton ran into him and went down as well. Both were delayed in remounting, with no change in positions, and Sexton finished just over a second back. Meanwhile, Roczen climbed from fifth on lap 1 to third two laps later, and he ultimately finished fourth. Moto 2 was a statement ride from Sexton, who grabbed a huge holeshot and led all 16 laps aboard his CRF450R, withstanding 35 minutes of withering attacks from Tomac to win by over eight seconds. Roczen completed lap 1 in eighth and advanced to fourth before his health issues contributed to him slipping to sixth.
Hunter and Jett ran second and third in the early going of 250 moto 1, with Hunter moving into the lead on lap 5 and Jett advancing to second eight laps later. From there, the brothers rode to the finish, with Hunter enjoying an advantage of just over four seconds at the end. Hunter was second off the start of moto 2, with Jett back in sixth, and they were third and fourth after one lap. Hunter dropped his bike on lap 7, letting Jett by for third, and the defending champ was up to second two laps later. In the end, Jett’s steady 2-2 moto scores were good enough for the win, while Hunter’s 1-4 gave him third overall.
- Chase Sexton and Ken Roczen were second and fourth in 450 qualifying, both less than a second behind the leader. In the 250 ranks, Jett and Hunter Lawrence were second and third.
- As has been the case all season, weather was idyllic at Washougal, with temperatures ranging from 62 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit for the motos.
- To give an idea of how close Sexton and Eli Tomac are, the rivals both posted a best 450 moto 1 lap of 2’12.953”—tied down to the thousandth of a second! (Sexton’s came on the second-to-last lap, Tomac’s on the final lap.) Hunter and Jett Lawrence were the only riders to dip into the 2’14” range in 250 moto 1, and Jett was the only rider in the 2’15” range in moto 2.
- Sexton’s 2-1 performance ended Tomac’s moto- and overall win streak, and it marked Sexton’s second overall win of the year (fourth of his career in the 450 class), as well as his second 450 win at Washougal. Jett Lawrence lifted his 250 career overall-win tally to 12, and he has taken all but one overall win this season (with a technical DNF contributing to the single loss). Hunter Lawrence earned his seventh career 250 moto win.
- This week, the Team Honda HRC team member to earn the Award of Excellence was Showa technician Derek Atkinson, who was kept busy all week preparing suspension settings for the rough Washougal track.
- Sexton’s 2-1 win keeps him just five points behind Tomac in the 450 title chase (third is another 74 points back), while Jett Lawrence has a 28-point lead over Hunter in the 250 battle.
- With the series now three-quarters done, Team Honda HRC heads into a welcome two-weekend break, with the Unadilla, New York, round next up on August 13.
Ken Roczen 94
“I was ready to give it my all. Unfortunately, it seems like my immune system kind of let me down a little bit. I started feeling iffy on Thursday and especially Friday; I came down with a fever and massive headache through Friday night. I probably picked up some kind of illness, so that made my day a lot tougher. I got lucky that the weather wasn’t super-hot, and I guess I have to be happy with a 4-6 for fourth overall. I know I belong on the podium, but poor starts were definitely not helping me out. I’m pumped with the effort the team has given; they keep believing in me. We’re going into a couple of off-weekends, and first and foremost, I want to get my body back in check, then put in some good work and come out swinging. I really like Unadilla and have done well there in the past, so my spirits are high—looking forward to finishing up the season strong.”
Chase Sexton 23
“That was gnarly! I felt really good from the get-go. I didn’t qualify the fastest, but my feeling on the bike was good, which is all that matters. Then it was just an hour and 10 minutes of battling. The first moto was a battle, and we had a little scuffle: he fell down, and I ran right into the back of him. The second moto was mentally challenging, with him behind me and not making any mistakes. I’m stoked that I was able to persevere and just keep him behind me. That’s how I want to win. You don’t want to win by a guy getting a bad start; it’s obviously easier, but you want to win when the guy is on you. Today we stuck together both motos. That was cool for me, and something that I’ve been dreaming of. I’ve been wanting to have that battle at the end of races, and it’s come together to where I could push and have a little bit of a gap. These next races are good for me, so hopefully we can have a good finish.”
Jett Lawrence 18
“It was a weird day—different; I went second all day, but still got the overall win. I’m lucky I got it, and I would’ve liked to have gotten at least one moto win, but we’ll take it. The biggest thing here is always the shadows—I think I’ll come up here in the off-season and burn the trees! The second moto, I felt good, but I pushed and had a few sketchy moments in the shadow spots. I thought, ‘You know what, I already know I have an overall win unless Hunter passes Jo; I’m just going to stick with this and play it safe.’ The main thing is I just wanted to go back home safe. Now we get a bit of a break, and then we go to some tracks I really like, like Unadilla and Budds Creek. Hopefully we can keep that win streak going.”
Hunter Lawrence 96
“Ugh, third overall. Not gonna lie, on paper it should’ve been better for me, but that’s how she goes. I’m stoked with my bike and riding. I’m going to come out swinging for these last four rounds.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager
“Days like today are why we do this job. Winning both classes is something we’ve done a few times this season, but every time we do, we need to celebrate it. All our guys today were awesome. Kenny wasn’t feeling 100%, but he still gutted out a 4-6; Hunter killed it in the first moto and then riding great in the second moto until that tip-over, but he still came back to get on the overall podium; Jett was consistent enough to win yet again; and Chase’s win was super-special for everyone on the team. He had a knock-down, drag-out battle with Tomac, and he just really solidified himself as the next guy. Eli was on fire, and Chase was able to match him—having pressure in that entire second moto and still beating him. Everyone has worked so hard for this, no one more than Chase, so it feels really good.”