Supercross

Cooper Webb and Nate Thrasher Take Home Triple Crown Victories At Arlington Supercross

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Photo of Cooper Webb at  round seven of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
A second victory of the season at Arlington Triple Crown round of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship has moved Cooper Webb to within two points of the red plate. Photo: Align Media

Cooper Webb and Nate Thrasher earned dramatic wins at round seven of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season inside AT&T Stadium.

The race was the second Triple Crown-format event of the 2023 season that combines three Main Event race results to determine the overall finishing order for the night.

Chase Sexton took the second place spot with a night of big highs and some frustrating lows. Championship leader Eli Tomac went home with third place points at the event directly following his announcement that he will postpone his retirement and compete in the entire 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship series. In the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Nate Thrasher took the victory with plenty of action and drama en route to 2-2-3 race finishes.

Race 1 of the 450SX Class held enough thrills to be its own event. Eli Tomac grabbed the Holeshot with Ken Roczen, Justin Barcia, and Colt Nichols right behind. Jason Anderson crashed in the first corner and Sexton was caught up in it. The incident put Sexton well back in the field, showing in 11th position after the first lap.

Up front, Roczen was keeping Tomac honest. By the midpoint of the race, Roczen was alternately gaining and losing ground on Tomac while Sexton had worked up to fifth and Webb was moving forward and up to seventh. With under two minutes left on the race clock, Sexton forced his way past Barcia to take third while further up the track Roczen was only .7 seconds behind Tomac. Webb reached Barcia in the final laps, but Barcia was able to hold him off.

Photo of Eli Tomac at  round seven of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Cooper Webb (2), Championship leader Eli Tomac (1) and Chase Sexton (23) battled up front all night and ultimately all ended up on the podium at the completion fo the three motos.

At the checkered flag, Roczen had proven he had the speed to run up front in Texas, but the most impressive ride came from Sexton, who had been rapidly closing on the leaders when he ran out of time in the short 12-minute plus one lap race.

Jason Anderson got off to a much better start in Race 2 with a Holeshot and a clear track ahead. Webb was in second at the Holeshot stripe and Roczen held third ahead of Sexton, Aaron Plessinger, and Tomac. On the opening lap, Sexton put his Honda into third but then one turn later slid out before the whoops and gave up the spot to Tomac.

Just over four minutes into the race Sexton was on Tomac, who had two close calls while blitzing the whoops. It took a couple of laps for Sexton to take back third. Anderson was out to a comfortable lead four seconds ahead of Webb. Sexton was less than two seconds behind Webb and if the first race were any indication Sexton looked poised to reel in both riders.

Photo of Chase Sexton at  round seven of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Chase Sexton finished second with a 3-3-2 result for the night and now sits third in the championship but is still only five points off the top spot.

But both Anderson and Webb were flying, and Sexton was never able to get within striking distance. At the checkered flag, Anderson won comfortably, Webb took second, Sexton finished third, and Tomac held fourth. Going into the final race Tomac was in the lead for the overall event win with five points, Sexton held six points, Webb was at seven, Roczen had eight, and Anderson sat with nine.

The 450SX Class delivered a dramatic Race 3. Tomac got the Holeshot, Sexton was second at the Holeshot stripe with Justin Cooper third, Barcia fourth, and Webb fifth. Soon Tomac, Sexton, and Barcia held the top three spots and distanced themselves from the pack. As the race clock ticked down toward eight minutes Barcia got out of shape in the whoops and overshot the berm of the following corner.

At nearly the same time Sexton washed out his front end and crashed just one turn further up the track. Sexton got going in time to stay in second but then had Anderson and Webb right on his rear fender. Tomac then crashed in the flat turn after the bridge jump. He remounted in fourth while Sexton took over the race lead and was poised to win the overall for the event.

Then Anderson got wild in the whoops and Webb tucked under him to take over second, but Webb was 2.2 seconds behind. Then with 1:34 left on the race clock, a lapper unintentionally pushed Sexton wide, and Webb capitalised. Webb seized the lead and rode perfectly to the end. Webb took the race win and the Triple Crown overall.

It was Webb’s third Triple Crown win, his last coming in 2019. Sexton garnered second for the night and Tomac took third overall even though he’d fallen back to sixth in the final race. The night’s points tightened up the battle for the title. Tomac leaves Texas with the red plate, but Webb is back only two points and Sexton is back only five.

“I’m extremely happy to get another win here in the season! Dallas is always a good one for me, so to come here and do well in the Triple Crown is super cool,” Webb said. “The first Race wasn’t my best one, we improved for the second one, and then, in the last Race, obviously some mistakes of other riders helped me out, but overall I’m stoked to execute and get another win! I knew I had to get to the front in that final one in the end to get the overall, so that was what I was going for and I felt good, had a great pace going, and was comfortable, so it was a good round for us. We’ll see where this carries us for the rest of the season, but I’m feeling confident and know what I can get better at – we’re all riding well and it’s definitely a dog-fight at the moment.”

Chase Sexton actually improved his situation in the title chase. Sexton entered the round seven points behind Eli Tomac in the premier class and reduced the gap to five 

“I felt like I elevated my speed all day. I didn’t qualify the fastest in practice, so that gave me some motivation in the night show,” Sexton explained. “In the last race, I washed the front in a corner, but with my pace, I still felt like Eli was within reach. I just put my head down until he made that mistake. Unfortunately, I ran into some lappers but I just need to be able to read them better. Overall, I felt really solid in every main event–it was some of the best riding I’ve had. Obviously, I didn’t get the win, but everyone has to face the same thing. Lots of positives to take into next weekend.”

Third overall in the challenging conditions with a 1-4-6 score and leaves Eli Tomac with a two-point lead as the series approaches the halfway point.

“It was a mixed day. We went out there with a really good start in the first main and basically just rode a good race and led the whole thing. That was a perfect start for us. In the second main, I didn’t get the best start and struggled a little bit, and ended up fourth. In the third one, once again, I put myself in a great position and just made a small mistake on the back side of the tunnel jump and lost traction. It was a tricky track that way. It was a track that looked like it had good traction but, at the same time, could be slick. So I’m bummed to make that mistake but also happy to end up on the podium and still be in the points lead,” Tomac said.

Photo of Nate Thrasher at round seven of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
With a 2-2-3 scorecard, Nate Thrasher didn’t get a win in the Eastern Regional 250SX Class but it was enough to take home the overall win.

The Eastern Regional 250SX Class kicked off the night’s racing with Max Anstie grabbing the Holeshot in 250SX Race 1. Australian Hunter Lawrence was quickly into the lead with Frenchman Tom Vialle following, pushing Anstie back to third. A few corners later Nate Thrasher dove into second while Anstie passed Vialle back to reclaim third.

Lawrence and Thrasher slowly inched away from the pack as Thrasher edged closer to Lawrence’s rear tire in the opening laps. After whittling the gap down to just .7 second a mistake by Thrasher gave Lawrence some breathing room. Anstie held third until the end of the 10-minute plus one lap race. Behind him, Jordon Smith was the rider on the move, reaching fourth place with just under two minutes left on the race clock. At the finish, it was Lawrence, Thrasher, Anstie, Smith, and Vialle.

In the second 250SX Class race Jordon Smith nailed the Holeshot ahead of Hunter Lawrence, Rookie Haiden Deegan, and Chance Hymas. Nate Thrasher was sixth at the start stripe but on the opening lap he moved up and made an aggressive contact pass on Lawrence in the corner after the whoops. Lawrence lost two positions while the Yamaha teammates ran first and second.

Lawrence got into third place before the race’s midpoint and steadily reeled in the Yamaha riders. Soon the top three were within one second of each other, but a mistake from Thrasher sent him sideways over the bridge jump and Lawrence ran into him and went down.

With just over a minute left on the race clock the incident put Thrasher out of striking distance for the win. Lawrence picked up his bike and salvaged third. Heading into the final race, Lawrence looked to have the advantage with track speed, but the points were tied between Lawrence and Thrasher with Smith only one point out.

Race 3 was wild from start to finish. Nate Thrasher took the holeshot and early lead while Hunter Lawrence crashed in the first turn. Anstie then hit Lawrence and the Hondas pinned Lawrence down adding extra delay as the pack roared away.

Up front, Thrasher led Michael Mosiman, Jordon Smith, Tom Vialle, and Jace Owen. Lawrence and Anstie started slicing through the pack while up front Smith pressured Mosiman for second.

Photo of Jordon Smith at round seven of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Jordon Smith finished second overall in the 250 class and moved up to sixth in the championship standings.

With under four minutes left on the race clock Mosiman crashed under the tunnel and Smith ran into him giving second place to Jeremy Martin. Thrasher was gone out front with more than a nine second lead. But Thrasher had been racing with an injured ACL in his knee and that possibly contributed to a big crash in the whoops.

Thrasher remounted in third, a position that would give him the overall event victory. On the final lap Smith crashed hard in the whoops but remounted to finish fifth and earn second overall. Lawrence crossed the line in sixth to take third place overall for the night.

“It was a good night,” Thrasher said. “I started off with a second in the first main, and I felt really good with my speed. In the second main event, I didn’t ride my best. I tightened up a little bit and was in a sandwich between Jordon and Hunter (Lawrence). I made a couple of runs on Jordon but couldn’t quite get by, and then I had to protect my position because Hunter was behind me. So it was tricky, but I was happy to get another second. We went into the last one in a good position, I was kind of in the lead, but we were all pretty even. I just had to go out there and win and execute it perfectly at the start. I got out front, and I had a 10-second lead, and I just kind of backed it down a little bit. Then I got tangled with a lapper, but it is what it is. I just need to be a little better.”

Smith was happy to return to form and make it a memorable 1-2 for his team.

“It was a good bounce back from Tampa,” Smith said. “I didn’t get a good start in the first main. I had a pretty good jump but got hit in that first turn. The first turn tonight was gnarly with how fast you were coming in – the outside guys could sweep and the inside guys were coming straight – so you had to be careful in the first turn. We made some adjustments for the second and third main, which worked out pretty well. It was a pretty hectic night, especially that third main event. Everything else wasn’t too bad, but that third main was crazy! It felt really good to get a race win, and being second on the podium was good as well. It’s always nice getting a 1-2 for the team.” 

For round one winner Hunter Lawrence it was a case of damage control with a podium being a good result in the end

“I was sitting in a good spot coming into the third race. Unfortunately, on that start I just ran out of real estate on the inside and got pinched; it’s never a good thing when you end up under your bike in the first turn. I just focused on damage control and not making a bonehead mistake or being worse off. There’s still a lot of racing to go; I’ve just got to go back and be better next weekend. That’s the beauty of it–you get to go again,” Lawrence said.

The series returns to Florida next weekend for one of the most physically demanding races of the year, the DAYTONA Supercross. Round 8 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series.

Round one winner Hunter Lawrence took one win in the three races but ultimately had to settle for third overall after he found drama in the remaining two motos.

450SX Class Results
1 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (5-2-1)
2 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (3-3-2)
3 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-4-6)
4 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (8-1-3)
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (2-6-4)
6 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (6-5-5)
7 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (4-7-7)
8 Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (7-8-8)
9 Justin Cooper, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (11-9-9)
10 Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM (10-11-10)

450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (160)
2 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (158)
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (155)
4 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (130)
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (122)
6 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (121)
7 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (113)
8 Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (90)
9 Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., Kawasaki (85)
10 Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Honda (84)

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (2-2-3)
2 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (4-1-5)
3 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (1-3-6)
4 Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (5-9-2)
5 Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda (3-4-9)
6 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (6-12-1)
7 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS (7-6-7)
8 Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (15-5-4)
9 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (8-8-8)
10 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda (9-7-16)

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (73)
2 Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda (62)
3 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (57)
4 Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (53)
5 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (53)
6 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (52)
7 Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (52)
8 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS (49)
9 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda (43)
10 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (37)

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