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Motocross

Chase Sexton And Jett Lawrence Make It A Honda Sweep At Washougal

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Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider Chase Sexton
Chase Sexton took the win on count back so failed to gain any points on round runner-up and championship leader Eli Tomac. Photo: Align Media

The 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship made its return to the West Coast for Round 8 with its annual visit to the Pacific Northwest.

The scenic surroundings of Washougal MX Park featured perfect temperatures and mostly cloudy skies at the MotoSport.com Washougal National, presented by Peterson CAT, where the highly technical track layout resulted in an exciting battle for victory across both divisions.

In the 450 Class, the season’s two elite combatants went head-to-head throughout the afternoon as Chase Sexton edged out Eli Tomac via tiebreaker for his second victory of the season. The 250 Class saw an equally captivating battle in which Australian rider and championship point leader Jett Lawrence relied on consistency to secure his seventh win of the summer campaign.

The opening 450 Class moto began with Ryan Dungey and Sexton side-by-side exiting the first turn, where Dungey emerged with the Holeshot. Sexton was able to solidify a hold of the lead in the next turn and looked to sprint away as Dungey then battled with Tomac for second.

Dungey continued his pursuit of the lead but suddenly experienced an issue with his KTM that ultimately ended his moto. That misfortune allowed Tomac to assume second and give pursuit to Sexton, while Ken Roczen took over third, nearly 10 seconds behind the leaders.

As the moto passed the 10 minute mark the battle for the lead was on. Tomac appeared to have the faster pace but found difficulty in trying to complete a pass. The Yamaha rider continued to keep the pressure on his Honda rival and made his way by with a savvy move just before the halfway point. Once out front, Tomac quickly built a multi-second advantage over Sexton.

The closing 10 minutes saw Sexton claw his way back into the fight as he lowered the deficit to less than a second. Behind them, Jason Anderson closed in on Roczen for a battle for third. Back out front, Tomac and Sexton reignited their battle for the final five minutes.

Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider 450 Start
Chase Sexton (23) and Ryn Dungey (5) battle for the 450 class holeshot. Photo: Align Media

With three minutes to go Tomac’s front tire got stuck in a rut and caused him to tip over. Sexton’s close pursuit caused him to run into Tomac and also tip over. The two riders then raced to pick up their bike, restart it, and resume. Tomac got going first, with Sexton getting back underway moments later. As they returned to race pace, the distance between them remained the same, while their 30-second gap over the rest of the field dropped to just under 20 seconds.

Sexton made one more late push with two laps to go and was able to nearly get alongside Tomac, but the point leader fended him off and dug deep on the final lap to keep the Honda at bay. Tomac held on for his eighth straight moto win, 1.1 seconds ahead of Sexton. Anderson made the pass on Roczen for third, while Justin Barcia finished fifth.

The second and deciding moto began with Sexton and Tomac leading the way, with the Holeshot going to the Honda rider. As the lead duo began their fight for the top spot, Anderson and Aaron Plessinger engaged in a battle for third. A torrid pace on the opening laps allowed Sexton to inch away and open a lead of more than a second, while Anderson asserted his control of third and closed in to make it a three-rider breakaway.

Sexton continued to add to his lead and pulled out nearly two seconds clear of Tomac through the first 10 minutes of the moto. However, as soon as Sexton appeared to have the upper hand, Tomac responded and closed to within bike lengths of the lead. With their battle, Sexton and Tomac easily left Anderson behind in third.

Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider Eli Tomac
Eli Tomac maintained his championship point lead by leaving Washougal with the same points as his pursuer. Photo: Align Media

The excitement ramped up again at the halfway point of the moto. Tomac appeared to have the faster pace and started to look for a way around, but Sexton countered and inched away once more as they navigated lapped riders. The lead stabilized to more than a second for Sexton approaching the final 10 minutes but Tomac found the pace to get back within bike lengths.

Sexton’s continued defense of every one of Tomac’s advances turned the closing minutes into a chess match. The Yamaha rider continued to drop back and mount charges but was unable to find enough momentum to make a move. The lead was about as big as it had been to start the final two laps and continued to grow from there. Sexton put the finishing touches on his performance with his fastest lap of the moto on the second-to-last lap. He pulled away on the final lap and took his fourth moto win of the season by 8.4 seconds over Tomac, who saw his streak come to an end. Anderson finished in a distant third.

By virtue of their identical moto scores, Sexton (2-1) and Tomac (1-2) finished tied atop the overall classification, but the second-moto tiebreaker went to Sexton for his second victory of the season and the fourth of his career. He also successfully defended his Washougal victory from the 2021 season. The winning performance ended Tomac’s win streak at four but also extended Sexton’s perfect podium record this season. Anderson’s consistent 3-3 effort landed him third overall.

Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider Jason Anderson
Jason Anderson had a lonely day on his way to third on the 450 class. Photo: Align Media

With equal points, Tomac and Sexton remain separated by five points in the championship standings entering the final break of the 2022 season. Anderson strengthened his hold on third and now sits 79 points out of the lead.

“That was a really good moto for me,” Sexton said. “Eli [Tomac] was on me but I kept fending him off. I finally got away and brought it home. It means a lot to me to win like that and I’m really looking forward to these last four races. I couldn’t be more happy to battle [for the championship] with a guy like Eli.

Eli Tomac gave it his all but in the end had to accept second, “I was pushing [the entire moto]. I was so close and ate a lot of dirt. I made so many pushes but couldn’t find the spot that time. I did all I could, but second was all we got today,” Tomac said.

Jason Anderson admitted it was a bit of a lonely day. “I definitely was the third best guy out there. It’s tough when you’re out there riding alone, but I have to keep finding a way to try and keep up with those guys [Sexton and Tomac]. All in all it was a good day today and we’ll see if we can keep it going for the final four rounds,” Anderson said.

250 Class

Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider 250 Start
Jo Shimoda lead the 250 class into the Washougal woods. Photo Align Media

The first 250 Class moto of the afternoon got underway with Jo Shimoda at the head of the pack with the Holeshot, closely followed by Australian siblings of Hunter and Jett Lawrence. The lead trio soon settled into their respective positions through the opening five minutes of the moto.

Hunter Lawrence kept Shimoda honest throughout the early stages as the lead pair traded momentum, causing the gap between them to fluctuate. As the moto surpassed the 10 minute mark Hunter started to apply pressure and took advantage of his first pass attempt to seize the lead. Once out front, he quickly established a multi-second advantage. As Shimoda continued to lose more ground to the lead he was forced to fend off the pressure from Jett Lawrence in third.

The battle for second waged on through the middle portion of the moto and it allowed both Shimoda and Lawrence to inch back on the lead and drop the deficit to 1.5 seconds. With seven minutes to go the top three were separated by less than two seconds and continued to tighten. Shimoda continued to push the pace and moved within striking distance of Hunter, while Jett lurked from third. As the race approached its final minute Jett pulled the trigger on a pass to get by Shimoda and set his sights on his brother for the lead.

Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider Jett Lawrence
Jett Lawrence took the win in the 250 class via a pair of second-place finishes. Photo: Align Media

Hunter Lawrence dropped the hammer on the final two laps, which effectively ended any chances of a late-race battle for victory between the siblings. He took his third moto win of the season by 4.1 seconds over Jett, with Shimoda in third. Justin Cooper finished fourth, while Seth Hammaker rounded out the top five.

The second and final moto began with Cooper leading the way for the Holeshot as Shimoda, Hunter Lawrence, and Jett Lawrence all gave chase to establish the top four. A strong opening lap saw Cooper build a 1.4 second lead over Shimoda as the lead group settled in.

The running order remained status quo through the first half of the moto, as Cooper was able to maintain a multi-second lead. However, the battle behind him intensified between Shimoda and the Lawrences. Hunter Lawrence started to apply pressure to look for a way around, but in the process lost traction with his front tire and tipped over. That allowed Jett Lawrence to move into third as Hunter remounted in fourth.

With 11 minutes remaining in the moto, Jett Lawrence started to force the issue with Shimoda and applied heavy pressure on the Kawasaki rider. Shimoda kept his friend and rival at bay for multiple laps but Lawrence made the pass stick and took control of second. With approximately eight minutes to go Cooper and Lawrence were separated by 4.8 seconds, with Lawrence running the quickest laps on the track.

Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider Justin Cooper
Justin Cooper took a moto win on his way to second place. Photo: Align Media

In the closing minutes, Cooper picked up the pace to run his fastest laps of the moto, which fended off a late push from Lawrence. That turned the attention to Hunter Lawrence and his pursuit of Shimoda for third. With his chances for the overall win in the balance, Lawrence continued to make gains as both riders navigated through lapped traffic. Mere bike lengths separated the two riders as they took the white flag. Lawrence got close on multiple occasions, but couldn’t complete the pass.

Cooper went wire-to-wire for his first moto win of the season, 5.5 seconds ahead of Jett Lawrence, while Shimoda held on for third.

A consistent afternoon proved to be the difference maker in the overall classification, as Jett Lawrence’s pair of runner-ups was enough to earn his seventh victory of the season. Cooper (4-1) and Hunter Lawrence (1-4) finished tied for second, just a single point behind first, where Cooper earned the tiebreaker by virtue of his better second-moto result.

With the win, Jett Lawrence added another point to his championship lead, which now sits at 28 points over Hunter Lawrence. Shimoda remains third, 49 points out of the lead.

Jett Lawrence said he felt a bit lucky to get away with the round win, “I just got lucky on that one,” Jett mused. “I didn’t quite have that pace [today], so I just focused on trying to get a flow. I just kept an eye on Hunter [Lawrence] at that point. It’s nice to get another win, but I definitely wasn’t at my best today.”

Justin Cooper was happy to get another moto win under his belt on the way to second overall. “It’s great to be back [with a moto win],” Cooper said. “I felt like I had the speed today. My intensity was off in Moto 1, but I got a better start in Moto 2 and I just felt like I was in my groove and was able to ride my own race. We’re making our way back and it’s showing now. It’s starting to feel a bit more normal.”

Hunter Lawrence was happy with his riding, “I was pushing [to catch Shimoda]. There was a seven-second gap and I had to bridge that. I did all I could there. This track can be scary. I’m happy with my riding, but I need to clean up those little mistakes,” Hunter said.

The 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will observe the final break in action of the summer before returning for the stretch run of each title fight on Saturday, August 13, with the storied Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York.

Photo of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rider Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence was third for the second week in a row. Photo: Align Media

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)
1 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-1 // 47)
2 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-2 // 47)
3 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-3 // 40)
4 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (4-6 // 33)
5 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (6-5 // 31)
6 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (5-8 // 29)
7 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (7-7 // 28)
8 Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (9-9 // 24)
9 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (8-13 // 21)
10 Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (10-12 // 20)

450 Class Championship Standings (Round 8 of 12)
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 364 Points
2 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 359 Points
3 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 285 Points
4 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 274 Points
5 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 251 Points
6 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 236 Points
7 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 219 Points
8 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 198 Points
9 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 170 Points
10 Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 157 Points

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
1 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2 // 44)
2 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (4-1 // 43)
3 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-4 // 43)
4 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (3-3 // 40)
5 Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (7-5 // 30)
6 Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (5-8 // 29)
7 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (8-6 // 28)
8 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (6-9 // 27)
9 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (13-7 // 22)
10 Josh Varize, Rialto, Calif., KTM (10-10 // 22)

250 Class Championship Standings (Round 8 of 12)
1 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 355 Points
2 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 327 Points
3 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 306 Points
4 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 275 Points
5 Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki – 207 Points
6 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 194 Points
7 Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 192 Points
8 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 180 Points
9 Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS – 169 Points
10 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 169 Points

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