Supercross

Eli Tomac Rebounds For Third Supercross Win As Hunter Lawrence Kicks Off Eastern Regional Class With A Win

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Photo of supercross rider Eli Tomac
Eli Tomac rebounded for his third win of the season out of four starts.

Eli Tomac returned to his winning ways, holding firm through a dramatic Round 5 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross in Houston, Texas, while Hunter Lawrence kicked off the Eastern Regional 250SX Class with a win.

Chase Sexton finished runner-up while heat winner Jason Anderson took the final podium position. In the opening round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Australian Hunter Lawrence earned the win with a performance that should have his competition worried.

When the gate dropped for the 450SX Class Main Event, defending champion Eli Tomac jumped out into the lead with Aaron Plessinger pressuring him from the start. But 3:25 into the 20-minute plus one lap race, Dylan Fernandes crashed hard necessitating a red flag and a temporary stop to the action. The rules called for a unique staggered re-start. The racers were lined up, one after the other according to their race order, then thrown back into battle with the wave of a green flag. The starting position order was Tomac, Plessinger, Anderson, Sexton, and Cooper Webb, but once back underway Anderson quickly took over second place. Sexton was around Plessinger shortly after and with 13:05 remaining on the race clock Sexton got into the second-place spot.

After Sexton had demonstrated his speed on the Houston track by qualifying first by over a full second, and also catching and beating Tomac in their Heat Race, it looked like the Texas crowd would see a fight for the lead. But Tomac found some extra speed; he put in laps fast enough to stave off Sexton’s early charge. The gap between the two was 1.6 seconds, but soon Sexton was putting in the fastest laps of any rider on the track. When the clock ticked past 6:30 remaining, Sexton had whittled the lead down to just half a second and appeared to be looking for a line around Tomac.

Photo of supercross rider Chase Sexton
Chase Sexton was on the pace winning his heat but had no answer for Tomac in the main and had to settle for second.

But Tomac held tough. The two-time and defending Supercross champion didn’t falter under the pressure. After about one lap with Sexton right on him, Tomac pulled back out enough breathing room to ride his own lines. Behind them, Anderson and Plessinger held steady while Justin Barcia found a way around Cooper Webb for fifth, yet Webb took the spot back before the checkered flag. Tomac scored his third win of 2023 and stretched out his points lead. Sexton nearly backed up his win from the previous round; he kept the bike on two wheels and earned second place points, securing second in the 17-round championship standings.

Photo of supercross rider Eli Tomac leading the staggered start
Premiere class riders staged for the staggered start after a red flag stopped the race due to a Dylan Fernandes suffering a hard crash Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc. 

“That was just a tough race and honestly I was pretty beaten down after that heat race and was searching a bit but losing speed everywhere,” Tomac explained on the podium after losing his heat race to Sexton. “I just rode straight up better in the main, I felt better. Obviously, it was a little wild there with the staggered start but I just kept my head down and just rode better,” Tomac concluded.

Photo of supercross rider Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence came out swinging in the opening round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class taking the win.

In Eastern Regional 250SX Class racing Hunter Lawrence grabbed the Holeshot but within a few turns Frenchman Tom Vialle slid from third into the lead. Vialle, the two-time and reigning MXGP MX2 class Motocross World Champion found himself leading not only his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross but his first race ever in America. Hunter fought back on the opening lap but misjudged his launch off a triple jump and sent his Honda off the track. Lawrence made an incredible high-speed save through the track-lining Tuff Blox and rejoined the race only losing one position.

Chance Hymas found himself in second place. The Rookie put immediate pressure on Vialle. But before two minutes had run off the clock in the 15-minute plus one lap Main Event Lawrence had re-taken second from Hymas. Shortly after that pass Hymas had trouble and Max Anstie took over the third place spot with Jeremy Martin, Jordon Smith, and rookie Haiden Deegan right behind. Deegan was in his first pro race after competing in the SX Futures class just one week prior.

Photo of supercross rider Hunter Lawrence and Tom Vialle
Hunter Lawrence (96), the favorite going into the opening Eastern Regional 250SX Class round, established himself as the racer to beat with a convincing win. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.   

Smith reeled in Anstie and pressured for the position until he crashed in the sand. With five minutes left on the race clock, the top three seemed comfortably in their spots. It was an Australian, Brit, and a Frenchman looking to make the opening Eastern Regional race an international podium. But in the final laps Smith put on a charge, getting around Martin right before Vialle crashed in one of the track’s bowl turns. Martin then crashed on the final lap, and the opening round of the Eastern Regional Series ended with Lawrence crossing the finish line in first, Anstie in second, Smith earning a hard-fought third place, and Haiden Deegan grabbing fourth in his first professional race.

The racers face off again next weekend at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida for Round 6 of the 450SX Class and the second round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class.

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

450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (95)
2 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (88)
3 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (83)
4 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (76)
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (73)
6 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (65)
7 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (64)
8 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (56)
9 Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (56)
10 Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., Kawasaki (53)

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

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (26)
2 Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda (23)
3 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (21)
4 Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (19)
5 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (18)
6 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS (17)
7 Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (16)
8 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda (15)
9 Cullin Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda (14)
10 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (13)

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