Supercross

Eli Tomac and Jett Lawrence Win 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Opener

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Photo of Eli Tomac at the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross opening round
Eli Tomac captured his first Anaheim 1 victory in one of the most dramatic races in the sport’s history. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.   

Eli Tomac and Jett Lawrence rode to victory at the opening round of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, an event that also paid points as the opening round of the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship series.

After a tough battle through the pack in the 450SX Class, Cooper Webb locked down second place inside a packed Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Southern California. After leading several laps late in the race, Chase Sexton took the third spot on the podium in this historical 50th year of Supercross racing. In the Western Regional 250SX Class, Australian Jett Lawrence nabbed the opening win with a wire-to-wire win.

Colt Nichols grabbed the holeshot of the 450SX Class Main Event but Justin Barcia took over the top spot just two corners into the race. Tomac and Ken Roczen were right behind, battling hard and flying side-by-side down three consecutive rhythm sections. Tomac broke free of Roczen, then took the lead over the bridge jump three and a half minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race.

Eli Tomac had the perfect title defense start, taking the win after taking his heat win and rebounding from a small crash.

Malcolm Stewart closed up to Roczen’s rear tire as Barcia got sideways in a rhythm lane and crashed off the track. Barcia’s crash moved Roczen to second, Stewart to third, and Chase Sexton up to fourth. Six and a half minutes in, Stewart drew alongside Roczen and battled his way past. The two riders nearly came together, forcing a mistake from Roczen that allowed Sexton to take over third place. Further back, Jason Anderson and Cooper Webb scrapped for fifth position.

Photo of Cooper Webb at the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross opening round
Cooper Webb made a return to form with second place in the 450 SX class.

Then Tomac crashed on the bridge jump he’d used to take the lead. Malcolm Stewart found himself out front. The crowd erupted as the Husqvarna rider saw his best shot at his first 450SX Class victory. At the halfway point Stewart led, Sexton pursued in second place, and Roczen sat third. Sexton challenged for the lead as Tomac started his charge back to the front.

Photo of Chase Sexton at the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross opening round
Mistakes proved costly for Chase Sexton but he still walked away with third place in the 450SX class.

With just under seven minutes left on the race clock, Sexton pushed past Stewart, forcing Stewart momentarily off the track. Shortly after, Tomac reached third place and set his sights on Stewart in second. As the clock ticked down past 3:30, Tomac pushed past Stewart while Webb got around Roczen and into fourth. One small bobble from Sexton put Tomac suddenly in a perfect position to take back the lead. Only 1.7 seconds separated the top three racers when Stewart went over the bars in a rhythm section and saw his shot at a first win disappear.

With two minutes to go, Tomac took back the front spot. As the clock ticked past one minute, Webb reached third position. Webb nabbed one more spot, taking second from Sexton just as they crossed the white flag. Tomac took the checkers a lap later, earning his first Anaheim 1 victory and starting his title defense with a win and a display of speed that separates him as the rider to beat this season.

250SX

Photo of Jett Lawrence at the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross opening round
Jett Lawrence overcame his bad luck at Anaheim with a win in the 250SX class.

The Western Regional 250SX Class delivered a dramatic crash nearly from the instant the gate dropped. Just halfway down the start straight of the 250SX Class Main Event, Austin Forkner crashed hard. Emerging from the first turn with the lead, Jett Lawrence fought off early attacks from Cameron McAdoo. Before the first lap was in the books Lawrence had pulled clear of McAdoo and the pack and was never challenged again for the spot.

Behind Lawrence, McAdoo pursued with Max Vohland, Phil Nicoletti, and RJ Hampshire close behind. Hampshire put down fast laps on the rutty track and moved into third place two and a half minutes into the 15-minute plus one lap race. With under two minutes left on the race clock Hampshire made the pass into second position and held the spot to the checkers.

Photo of RJ Hampshire at the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross opening round
With under two minutes left on the race clock RJ Hampshire made the pass into second position and held the spot to the checkers.

“Man, we had an awesome day,” Hampshire said. “From start to finish we were solid. I felt like my riding was really good. My starts were decent, and it was a solid start to the season with a P2. We’ll take it and lead into Oakland. Hopefully, we can do it again.”

The racers battle again on Saturday night, January 14th at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, California for round 2 of the Monster Energy Supercross season.

450SX Class Results
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
2 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
4 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
6 Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
7 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
8 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM
9 Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki
10 Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., Kawasaki

450SX Press Confrence

450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (26)
2 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (23)
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (21)
4 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (19)
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (18)
6 Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Honda (17)
7 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (16)
8 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (15)
9 Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (14)
10 Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., Kawasaki (13)

Western Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Jett Lawrence, Zephyrhills, Fla., Honda
2 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna
3 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki
4 Mitchell Oldenburg, Godley, Tex., Honda
5 Max Vohland, Granite Bay, Calif., KTM
6 Enzo Lopes, Chesterfield, S.C., Yamaha
7 Levi Kitchen, Havana, Fla., Yamaha
8 Phillip Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha
9 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Yamaha
10 Derek Kelley, Riverside, Calif., KTM

250SX Press Conference

Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Jett Lawrence, Zephyrhills, Fla., Honda (26)
2 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna (23)
3 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (21)
4 Mitchell Oldenburg, Godley, Tex., Honda (19)
5 Max Vohland, Granite Bay, Calif., KTM (18)
6 Enzo Lopes, Chesterfield, S.C., Yamaha (17)
7 Levi Kitchen, Havana, Fla., Yamaha (16)
8 Phillip Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha (15)
9 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Yamaha (14)
10 Derek Kelley, Riverside, Calif., KTM (13)

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