Eli Tomac took the win at Round 12 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season in Arizona and with it broke clear of the championship points tie.
Chase Sexton earned second place points inside State Farm Stadium in Glendale Arizona with 4, 1, 3 race scores and with it earned the 2023 Triple Crown Championship – a secondary championship held within the Supercross season. Justin Barcia finished third. In Round 6 of the Western Regional 250SX Class, Australian Jett Lawrence earned his first Triple Crown win and extended his points lead in that regional series.
In race one of the 450SX Class Eli Tomac grabbed the Holeshot with Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen, Colt Nichols, and Cooper Webb right behind. Webb moved up into second place before the first lap was completed. Roczen quickly took over third place but Justin Barcia was the rider on the move early in the race. Two and a half minutes into the 12-minute plus one lap race, Barcia took over third while Webb worked to close the 1.3 second gap to Tomac. After a bad start, Chase Sexton passed Anderson to take over fifth spot with just under seven minutes left on the race clock. The tension grew as Webb inched closer to Tomac on the high-speed Arizona track. Sexton pulled up to Roczen’s rear fender at the white flag then made the pass for fourth in final corner. The race ended with Tomac, Webb, and Barcia on the podium.
Chase Sexton jumped into the lead off the start of Race 2. He was followed by Tomac, Roczen, Anderson, Aaron Plessinger, Webb, and Barcia. Sexton looked to have the field covered but stalled the engine in the early laps. Tomac grabbed the lead position but only held it down one rhythm lane; Sexton blitzed back past in the whoops and began steadily inching away. With just under four minutes left Webb bumped past Anderson for fourth. Anderson charged back, took Webb high in the next bowl turn, and got back the spot. The move clipped Webb’s momentum and Barcia also got around Webb. Sexton was clear of the group but spots two through five tightened again on the final lap. Webb took fifth from Barcia. Then, late in the lap, Anderson made a big move in the whoops in an attempt to take third from Roczen, but Roczen battled back into the final corner and held the spot. Sexton got the race win ahead of Tomac, and Roczen. Going into the final race Tomac held three points, Sexton had five, Webb carried seven, Roczen sat with eight, Barcia had nine, and Anderson had ten.
Colt Nichols was the first racer across the Holeshot stripe in Race 3. Tomac blitzed into the lead on the first pass through the whoops with Barcia following along to secure second place. Sexton was ninth at the Holeshot stripe but moved up to fourth in the first minute of racing. In another lap Sexton reached third. As the race neared the halfway point, Jason Anderson, running fourth, had a big crash in the whoops. Webb took over the spot with Roczen right behind. Barcia made a push for the lead but never got within true striking distance of Tomac. Sexton held steady in third. In the final laps Roczen applied heavy pressure on Webb for fourth and what would mean fourth place between the two riders in the overall. Tomac grabbed the race win and his 51st career 450SX Class win. Barcia took second in the race for a third place overall on the night. Sexton’s third in the race gave him the runner-up spot overall in Glendale. The finish also earned Sexton the 2023 three-race Triple Crown Championship. Webb held strong in fourth to earn that same position in the night’s overall.
“It was a fantastic triple crown for us,” Tomac said. “This year I had two crashes in the first two triple crowns, so my goal for the day was to be mistake-free. We did that, and we gained some very important championship points as well. It was a very slick and dry, hard-packed Phoenix track, one of the drier ones that we’ve had in a long time. For me, it was kind of fun because it’s a surface that we don’t get all the time. It was just a new challenge. The bike worked great on that surface, and we got really great starts. You can’t beat first overall.”
The victory broke Tomac from his tie with James Stewart for most career Supercross overall wins. Tomac now solely holds the spot for second-most career wins with 51; he sits 21 behind Jeremy McGrath with 72. The overall results earned Tomac seven points over Webb in the 2023 title chase. And Tomac’s win delivered two more designations. Tomac extended his Triple Crown career-most win record with seven overall wins. He is also now the winningest rider in Phoenix-area Supercross races with a total of five, breaking the previous tie with both James Stewart and Ricky Carmichael.
Chase Sexton admitted to being a little off.
“My riding was solid tonight, but my starts were a little bit off. It’s tough to push in the main events when you’re starting behind. I’m starting to feel better on the bike again. We made some good progress testing during the off-weekend, and I hope it shows during the next few rounds. I’m excited to head back East for the home stretch.”
Justin Barcia was relieved to make his first triple crown podium.
“I felt good in qualifying today and felt really comfortable on the bike. The team did a great job, and made great adjustments. The last main event was my best one. This is my first Triple Crown podium overall, so I’m stoked on that. I’m just super-stoked on my riding and the team, and I’m really looking forward to Atlanta. Keep going for that win.” Barcia said.
Race 1 for the Western Regional 250SX Class started with two passes in the opening laps as Jett Lawrence and Levi Kitchen traded the lead with RJ Hampshire right behind. A red flag stopped the race for a full-reset. The racers lined up again and the race clock went back to its full 10-minutes. Kitchen grabbed the holeshot with Lawrence right behind and Hampshire in third. Lawrence waited nearly until the race’s midpoint before he made his move for the lead exiting the whoops. The lead change spurred Hampshire, who immediately attacked Kitchen. Hampshire took over the second place spot as the race clock ticked to five minutes remaining. Lawrence never let Hampshire shave off much of his 2.4 second lead and the top three held their positions to the checkered flag.
Levi Kitchen holeshot Race 2 of the 250SX Class with RJ Hampshire, Jett Lawrence, Carson Mumford, and Max Vohland on his tail. Hampshire took over the lead and Vohland moved into second. Kitchen reclaimed second place and Lawrence was settled into fourth before one minute had expired off the race clock. Lawrence was soon around Vohland for third while Hampshire put down fast laps out front. The white flag came out and Lawrence put in a sprint to catch Kitchen; he made it close but didn’t better his spot. Hampshire took the win ahead of Kitchen and Lawrence, setting the three riders up with 3 points for Hampshire, 4 points for Lawrence, and 5 points for Kitchen.
Levi Kitchen was three-for-three on starts with the Holeshot in Race 3. Lawrence, Hunter Yoder, Mitchell Harrison, and Hampshire were right behind. In less than a lap Hampshire was up to third. Early in the race Hampshire pushed too hard in the whoops; what normally would have been a crash turned into a miraculous save. Just a few seconds later, further up the track, Lawrence took over the lead from Kitchen. From there Lawrence rode smoothly and maintained a comfortable gap. With Lawrence moving up to the 450SX Class next season it was his final opportunity to win a 250SX Class Triple Crown overall. The win also extended his points lead to 26 with only three races remaining in the Western Regional 250SX Class.
“I’m super pumped to finally get one of these [Triple Crown overall win], and it makes it even better that Hunter won this one last year!” Lawrence said. “I felt like my starts were on point all day, and I was just happy not to have to battle through too much. I focused on the lines I had down and hitting my marks. Next race for us is the East-West Showdown in New Jersey, so I can’t wait to mix it up with those lads. Obviously, I’m hoping Hunter and I are 1-2, but I’m excited to battle there.”
RJ Hampshire was satisfied with his night but is still focused on winning.
“I felt really good today, I just came up a little short tonight. In the first and second mains I rode well and felt good on the bike. I just didn’t execute in that third main,” Hampshire said. “I’m really happy with my FC250, this whole team, and I’ll just keep on grinding and keep on moving forward and try and knock one of these wins off here soon.”
The racers line up again at Atlanta Motor Speedway on April 15th for a daytime race, then battle each Saturday after that for the following four consecutive weekends. The five remaining Monster Energy Supercross rounds will take place inside open-air stadiums and raceways, adding weather as an additional variable in one of the tightest Supercross title battle in the sport’s history.
450SX Class Results
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-2-1)
2 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill Honda (4-1-3)
3 Justin Barcia, Monroe, NY, GASGAS (3-6-2)
4 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (2-5-4)
5 Ken Roczen, Mattstedt, Ger., Suzuki (5-3-5)
6 Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (7-7-7)
7 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (9-9-6)
8 Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Oak., Honda (8-8-8)
9 Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Honda (10-10-9)
10 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (6-4-21)
450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (274)
2 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (267)
3 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (249)
4 Ken Roczen, Mattstedt, Ger., Suzuki (217)
5 Justin Barcia, Monroe, NY, GASGAS (216)
6 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (212)
7 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (196)
8 Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (150)
9 Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (139)
10 Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM (127)
Western Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Australia., Honda (1-3-1)
2 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna (2-1-3)
3 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (3-2-2)
4 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (4-4-5)
5 Enzo Lopes, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Yamaha (7-5-4)
6 Derek Kelley, Riverside, Calif., KTM (5-8-7)
7 Mitchell Oldenburg, Godley, Tex., Honda (6-7-12)
8 Max Vohland, Granite Bay, Calif., KTM (18-6-6)
9 Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Suzuki (9-15-8)
10 Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Kawasaki (13-9-10)
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Australia, Honda (153)
2 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna (127)
3 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (101)
4 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (101)
5 Enzo Lopes, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Yamaha (100)
6 Mitchell Oldenburg, Godley, Tex., Honda (99)
7 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (86)
8 Max Vohland, Granite Bay, Calif., KTM (85)
9 Cole Thompson, Brigden, Ont., Yamaha (71)
10 Derek Kelley, Riverside, Calif., KTM (70)