Supercross

Eli Tomac Wins Seventh Daytona Supercross While Hunter Lawrence Takes Second 250SX Class Win

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Photo of Eli Tomac at  round eight of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Eli Tomac won the event for the seventh time, extending his record as the King of Daytona Supercross.

Eli Tomac took a hard-earned Monster Energy AMA Supercross victory at the 53rd running of the Daytona Supercross, stretching his record number of wins at the venue to seven while Hunter Lawrence also made history with 250SX Class Win.

Cooper Webb was close but had to settle for second place at Round 8 on the unique track built into the trioval of the Daytona International Speedway. Chase Sexton had some close calls but no crashes to finish third on the high-speed Supercross track. In the fourth round of the 10-round Eastern Regional 250SX Class series, Australian Hunter Lawrence took the Daytona win in convincing style.

When the gate dropped for the 450SX Class Main Event, Tomac grabbed the Holeshot but Webb took an outside line in the second corner and snatched the lead. Sexton held third place with Justin Barcia applying pressure to take over the spot. After one lap Jason Anderson had made his way into fifth, and RJ Hampshire sat sixth in his first 450SX Class Main Event after winning his Heat race.

With the rain coming down Webb held command of the race. Then approximately seven minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race Webb and Tomac had a fierce exchange. The two racers traded the lead four times in one section, with Webb retaining the front spot after the two riders bumped entering a rutted, elevated corner. Tomac was sent wide, but not off the track. The incident allowed Sexton to close the gap and suddenly the top three in the points all had a shot at the Daytona win.

Nine minutes in, Webb hit neutral entering the high-speed rhythm just after the finish line. Tomac jumped past and locked down the lead. The front four, Tomac, Webb, Sexton, and Barcia were still close, with less than four seconds separating the four riders.

Photo of Cooper Webb at round eight of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Cooper Webb has maintained pressure in the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship 450SX title race, scoring his fourth-consecutive podium finish with second place at Daytona. Photo: Align Media

Then Sexton made a big mistake in one of the rutted rhythm sections. Barcia tried to capitalize, Sexton blocked, and the riders came together right before a triple jump. The contact sent Barcia off the track but not down. Less than a lap later Sexton stalled his bike braking for the tight, elevated corner. Barcia tried to jump past on the corner’s exit and the riders came together again. The second incident went worse for Barcia and he found himself down on the Florida soil. Barcia was able to remount in time to stay in front of Anderson in fifth.

Photo of Eli Tomac at round eight of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Eli Tomac celebrates win No 7

In the late laps, Webb made a push to get back to Tomac. The KTM rider closed the gap down to 1.4 seconds as the racers reached the white flag. But Tomac laid down a mistake-free final lap and kept his Yamaha up front. When Tomac crossed the checkers he stretched his all-time Daytona win record to seven and took sole possession of third in all-time 450SX Class wins, just one behind James Stewart who was in the broadcast booth calling the race alongside Ricky Carmichael and Daniel Blair.

“It was an excellent night of racing for us. Daytona literally just feels like home to me.,” Tomac said. “Every time the lights come on here, I just basically become one with the track. We went to battle again with Cooper (Webb) there in the main event.  A lot of lines were changing throughout the race. Then at one point, we even made contact and then I finally got into the lead and just felt really good on the motorcycle. This was one of the best times that I’ve felt on a motorcycle racing here, so that was awesome. It’s pretty crazy to be tied with the NASCAR Champion, Richard Petty, with seven wins here. That’s a cool thing, and I’m just thankful for everything.”

Photo of Chase Sexton at  round eight of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Chase Sexton finished third and is now 10 points adrift of championship leader Eli Tomac.

Cooper Webb was happy to have another good result at the famed circuit with second.

“Daytona has always been good to me, I’ve been on the podium here every time I have raced and been close [to the win] twice now,” Webb said. “It’s been good competition for sure, we [Webb, Eli Tomac, and Chase Sexton] each have our strengths and I think we are elevating Supercross at the moment. I am sure we will all look back in 10 years and relish it, but right now, it’s every man for themselves. Moving forward, I really like Indy, Detroit, Seattle, and Salt Lake, so a lot of good rounds coming up.”

Chase Sexton admitted that he still has to limit his mistakes.

“Speedways are cool to come to. You have to be very precise, but you can also gain a lot of speed and push the rhythm at the speed you’re comfortable with. Daytona is just a different animal though. My speed’s good; I’ve just got to limit the mistakes. I’ve got to keep pushing and get to these guys at the front. It’s good to be on the podium, but we all want to win,” Sexton said.

Photo of Hunter Lawrence at round eight of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Hunter Lawrence (96) was back to his winning ways with a strong victory at Daytona. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.   

In the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Max Anstie jumped out in first with the Holeshot but down the first straight Nate Thrasher took over the lead. One turn later Frenchman Tom Vialle took the top spot from Thrasher. Lawrence was up near the front and as the racers went through the sand section for the first time he collided with Thrasher. Lawrence got the position and Thrasher went down and fell back to last place. Lawrence sped forward, blitzing past Vialle and into the lead on the first pass through the whoops.

Jeremy Martin held third with Chris Blose behind and Haiden Deegan in fifth. Then Vialle crashed hard in the short rhythm after the whoops, giving up his second place spot. Four and a half minutes into the 15-minute plus one lap race, with light rain coming down, Deegan moved confidently past Martin to take over third place. With 8:22 left on the race clock Thrasher reached tenth and looked to have the speed to reach the top five. Half a lap later Thrasher landed on a Tuff Blox, crashed hard, and looked out of the race; but Thrasher re-joined and worked his way back up to tenth by the finish.

The win by Lawrence matched his brother’s victory in 2022, making the Lawrence brothers the first in the sport’s history to each have a Daytona Supercross win. This augments their other ‘first’ this season as being the only brother duo to simultaneously lead both the Eastern and the Western Regional 250SX Class points. Anstie earned his second runner-up finish of 2023 and rookie Haiden Deegan earned his career-first podium finish in only his fourth professional Supercross race.

“The bike was great; we didn’t really change anything all day. It’s cool when you can just trust in your setup and not try to reinvent the wheel,” Lawrence said. “Early in the main, I just kept getting roosted in the sand and had to race hard to get to the front. I just didn’t look back after that. This was where I got my first heat-race win too [in 2021], so it’s pretty cool to capture a main-event win here.”

For runnerup Max Anstie it was a result he had dreamed about.

“I am proud of my team today!” Anstie enthused. “We made sure that we were in a good spot when the gates dropped for the main event. Finishing second at Daytona is a dream come true, but I felt like I had a little more in the tank. Let’s keep this ball rolling in Indianapolis.”

The series heads to Indianapolis next weekend where Lucas Oil Stadium will host Round 9.

Photo of Max Anstie at  round eight of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Runnerup Max Anstie is only 14 points behind Lawrence in the championship chase.

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

450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (186)
2 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (181)
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (176)
4 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (148)
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (138)
6 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (135)
7 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (132)
8 Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (103)
9 Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., Kawasaki (85)
10 Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Honda (84)

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
2 Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda
3 Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha
4 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha
5 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha
6 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda
7 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki
8 Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda
9 Cullin Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda
10 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (99)
2 Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda (85)
3 Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (74)
4 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (71)
5 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (71)
6 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (70)
7 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda (60)
8 Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (53)
9 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (53)
10 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS (51)

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