Perfect weather conditions with balmy temperatures and partly cloudy skies set the tone for the East Coast debut of the 50th Anniversary of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
The sport’s own Father’s Day tradition headlined the fourth round of the 2022 season with the 45th running of the Lucas Oil Stabilizer High Point National from the legendary High Point Raceway. The battle for victory in the 450 Class saw Eli Tomac become the fourth different winner in as many races, prevailing via tiebreaker for the first win with his new team. In the 250 Class, the Lawrence brothers stole the show with a thrilling battle for the win, from which Jett Lawrence emerged via tiebreaker for his fourth straight victory.
As the 450 Class field stormed into the first turn it was Chase Sexton who emerged with the Holeshot, narrowly edging out Joey Savatgy and Justin Barcia. As Sexton sprinted away and established a lead of more than two seconds on the opening lap, Savatgy and Barcia engaged in a spirited battle for second, as fastest qualifier Jason Anderson and Tomac closed in from third and fourth, respectively.
The fight for a spot on the podium saw its first change when Anderson forced the issue and made an aggressive pass on Barcia for third. Tomac then went on the attack and made his way by Barcia for fourth. Anderson kept the momentum rolling and closed in on his teammate for second, where he made quick work of Savatgy to assume the runner-up spot. About two laps later Tomac dropped Savatgy off the podium with an impressive pass for third.
As the moto reached its halfway point Sexton enjoyed a significant lead of more than 10 seconds over Anderson, who in turn sat nearly five seconds ahead of Tomac. They settled into their respective positions until Anderson encountered misfortune and dropped from second to fourth, which allowed Tomac to assume second and Savatgy to claim third. Once Anderson was able to recompose himself he made the pass back on Savatgy to reclaim the final spot on the podium. Anderson’s recovery effort continued as he soon closed in on Tomac to initiate a late battle for second.
Sexton was in a class of his own out front and made it look easy with a wire-to-wire performance that brought him his third moto win of the season. He crossed the line 11.6 seconds ahead of Tomac, who held off Anderson in third. Barcia followed in fourth, while Savatgy finished fifth despite heavy pressure from Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen.
The final moto of the afternoon saw Dungey charge ahead to his Holeshot of the season as the Honda duo of Sexton and Roczen gave chase. Roczen was able to slip past his teammate to slot into second and carried that momentum into a pass for the lead. Dungey responded immediately and reclaimed the top spot to complete the opening lap, but Roczen got back around. Sexton then followed through into second, which put Dungey into the crosshairs of Anderson in fourth. The Kawasaki rider made the move to take control of third.
As Dungey gave chase to Anderson it was Tomac who surprised both riders with a two-for-one move that saw him surge from fifth to third. The Yamaha rider was on a charge and quickly closed in on Sexton for second. The pressure from third pushed Sexton to increase his pace and close in on Roczen. The top three were separated by just over a second as the moto neared the halfway point.
A patient Sexton bided his time and pulled the trigger on a pass that gave him the lead, but a bobble shortly thereafter allowed Roczen to reclaim the position. That allowed Tomac to attack Sexton for second, which forced the point leader into another bobble that the Yamaha rider took advantage of. Sexton then was forced to deal with pressure from Dungey for third.
Back up front, Tomac stormed into the lead with an emphatic pass on Roczen with just under 13 minutes remaining. Once out front, Tomac distanced himself from the field and quickly built a lead of nearly five seconds. Soon Roczen and Sexton battled for second, with Sexton able to get the upper hand with nearly eight minutes to go. Roczen later lost his hold of third to Dungey, who enjoyed his best effort of the season thus far.
Tomac maintained his advantage through the remainder of the moto and brought home his third moto win of the season by 3.5 seconds over Sexton. Roczen put on a late charge to make a last-lap pass on Dungey for third.
In trading moto wins, Tomac (2-1) and Sexton (1-2) finished in a tie atop the overall classification, but Tomac prevailed for the 28th win of his career by virtue of his victory in Moto 2, which awarded him the tiebreaker. As a result, Tomac now has sole possession of third on the all-time 450 Class wins list. Sexton continued his four-race podium streak with a runner-up effort, while Anderson finished third overall (3-5) following a fifth-place result in the final moto.
“It seems like I need to figure out my lines better in the first moto,” Tomac explained. “That’s what I did in Moto 2. We made a small bike change that helped a lot and we were able to make some good passes and ride our own race. It feels great to get the win and get on top of the box for the first time for Star Yamaha.”
Chase Sexton admitted the day was a bit of a struggle, saying, “I just struggled with how choppy the track was. I didn’t feel as good as I did in the first moto, but Eli (Tomac) was riding awesome. I just needed to put my head down. We rebounded well and I’m satisfied with the result today.”
Jason Anderson also admitted that he couldn’t get to grips with the track saying, “The second moto was a struggle for me. I couldn’t find the flow. We’ll take the positives, try to figure it out, and be better moving forward. I want to be back up front battling for wins, but these guys are riding really well right now.”
The opening 250 Class moto got underway with Pennsylvania native Seth Hammaker well in front of the field to capture the Holeshot, followed by teammate Jo Shimoda and Australian Hunter Lawrence. As the field worked through the opening portion of the track Lawrence made the pass for second, while Shimoda was forced to fend off Michael Mosiman. Behind them, Jett Lawrence, the championship leader, started just outside the top five.
As both Hammaker and Hunter Lawrence established themselves out front, the battle for third continued. After Mosiman made an outside pass on Shimoda stick for third, Mosiman kept charging and was able to close in on Lawrence to establish a battle for second. The two riders traded momentum before Mosiman was able to make the move and secure the position. Behind them, Jett Lawrence made multiple passes to climb up to fourth.
Mosiman’s speed made him the fastest rider on the track and it allowed him to make big gains on Hammaker’s advantage. Once he got within striking distance of the lead, Mosiman made quick work of Hammaker and easily seized control of the top spot 12 minutes into the moto. With the lead in hand, Mosiman quickly opened a multi-second advantage over the field, which left Hammaker and Hunter Lawrence to fight it out for second. Lawrence found a smoother line around the outside of one of the track’s downhills and surged by Hammaker to move into the runner-up spot.
Just past the halfway point of the moto, Mosiman got stuck in a rut and tipped over. The misfortune allowed Lawrence to assume control of the lead and Hammaker to take over second, while Mosiman remounted in third. The clear track worked in Lawrence’s favor, as he built a lead of nearly three seconds over Hammaker. Mosiman continued to lose ground in third, which allowed Jett Lawrence to move into podium position. The defending champion didn’t stop there and methodically closed in on Hammaker to make the pass for second in the closing stages of the moto.
Hunter Lawrence cruised to his second moto win of the season by 4.4 seconds over his brother, who moved forward from a seventh-place start. Shimoda made a last-lap pass for third around Hammaker, who finished just ahead of Mosiman to complete the top five.
The second moto kicked off with a sweep of the Holeshot for Hammaker, where he was sandwiched between the Lawrence brothers. Hammaker was able to nose his way to the head of the pack, while Hunter and Jett settled into second and third, respectively. Unfortunately for Hammaker, a tip-over on the opening lap dropped him deep in the top 10 and set up a showdown between the Lawrences. Behind them, Justin Cooper gave chase from third.
Just over five minutes into the moto Cooper started to run the fastest laps on the track, which allowed him to make the move on Jett Lawrence for second. The point leader battled back, which pushed both riders onto Hunter Lawrence’s rear fender for a three-rider battle for the lead. As Cooper started to look for alternate lines to apply pressure on first, it opened the door for Jett Lawrence to reclaim second, all while Hunter Lawrence held on to an advantage of less than a second.
Jett then set the pace on track and started to put heavy pressure on Hunter. Just before the halfway point of the moto Jett was able to take advantage of a slight bobble by his brother and made the pass for the lead. Together, the Lawrences easily distanced themselves from Cooper to make it a two-rider affair in the battle for victory.
The Australian siblings were separated by mere bike lengths from one another for several laps and stayed in touch with one another as they navigated lapped traffic. With less than 10 minutes to go Hunter made an impressive pass for the lead on a downhill section and looked to inch away. However, Jett responded and went back on the attack. As the final five minutes passed Jett made his move and was able to make the pass stick to reclaim the lead for a third lead change between the pair. Lapped riders then created some separation between the Lawrences and allowed Jett to open up a gap of more than two seconds in the final stages.
Jett extended his lead to more than four seconds, which paid off on the final lap as Hunter put on a late push. They took the checkered flag separated by a half second, as Jett prevailed with his fourth moto win of the season. Cooper finished in a distant third.
After trading victories, the Lawrence brothers finished tied atop the overall classification for the first time with identical moto scores, but the tiebreaker was awarded to Jett (2-1) by virtue of his second moto win. It’s the ninth overall victory of his career. Hunter settled for second (1-2), while Shimoda rounded out the overall podium in third (3-5) after a fifth-place finish in the final moto.
Jett Lawrence maintained his 12-point lead in the 250 Class standings over Hunter, while Shimoda strengthened his hold of third, 49 points out of first.
“I had to get him (Hunter Lawrence),” Jett said. “If not, he would have gained points on me. At least we tied (for the overall). I relaxed for a little bit (in Moto 2) and it allowed Hunter to get me back, but I was able to get by him again. We didn’t lose any points today so it’s good.”
“It’s ok (to finish second). I’ll get him (Jett Lawrence) back another day, for sure,” Hunter said. “We traded motos today. It’s Father’s Day, so hopefully, we gave our dad the best Father’s Day he could have.”
Jo Shimoda was happy to have had a better day with third place, “Today was a much better day for starts. That’s what I was looking for. I’m not feeling the best, but i kept pushing and pushing and got third overall. I’m happy with that.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will observe its first break of the 2022 season before returning to action with its Independence Day tradition from Michigan’s celebrated RedBud MX for the fifth round of the 50th anniversary season. The RedBud National will commence on Saturday, July 2
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes / Points)
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (2-1 / 47)
2 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (1-2 / 47)
3 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-5 / 36)
4 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (7-3 / 34)
5 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (6-4 / 33)
6 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (4-7 / 32)
7 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (5-8 / 29)
8 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (8-6 / 28)
9 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (10-10 / 22)
10 Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna (13-9 / 20)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 4 of 12)
1 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 181 Points
2 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 167 Points
3 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 163 Points
4 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 147 Points
5 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 122 Points
6 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 120 Points
7 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 106 Points
8 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 90 Points
9 Antonio Cairoli, Italy, KTM – 89 Points
10 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 86 Points
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes / Points)
1 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-1 / 47)
2 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-2 / 47)
3 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (3-5 / 36)
4 Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS (5-4 / 34)
5 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (8-3 / 33)
6 Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (4-6 / 33)
7 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (7-7 / 28)
8 Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (6-9 / 27 )
9 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (10-10 / 22)
10 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (9-11 / 22)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 3 of 12)
1 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 139 Points
2 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 127 Points
3 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 101 Points
4 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 100 Points
5 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 100 Points
6 Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS – 81 Points
7 Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki – 77 Points
8 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 74 Points
9 Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 63 Points
10 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS – 58 Points