Motocross

Jett Lawrence Extends Perfect Season While Haiden Deegan Takes First Sweep At Washougal

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The 2023 Pro Motocross Championship made its final appearance on the West Coast on Saturday with its annual visit to the Pacific Northwest and the scenic landscape of Washougal MX Park.

Abundant sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80s (F) provided ideal conditions for the MotoSport.com Washougal National, presented by Peterson CAT, as the perfect season by Jett Lawrence in his first 450 Class campaign continued with another assertive performance from the young Australian for his eighth straight overall win and 15th and 16th moto victories. In the 250 Class, rookie Haiden Deegan enjoyed the best outing of his young career with an impressive effort that saw him go 1-1 for the first time to tighten up the championship battle with his second win of the season.

450 Class

Moto 1
The opening moto of the premier class began with Dylan Ferrandis out front just ahead of Jett Lawrence while his Team Honda HRC teammate Chase Sexton battled his way into third. Ferrandis kept Lawrence at bay to lead the opening lap, which made him just the third different rider to do so this season and ended a 105 laps-led streak by Lawrence.

The Frenchman maintained his hold of the lead for another lap but Lawrence was able to make the pass and grab control of the moto. Ferrandis gave pursuit from second as Sexton looked to close in from third. As the moto continued the lead trio settled into their respective positions on the track while Jason Anderson kept them honest in fourth.

At the 15-minute mark, Sexton mounted his attack on Ferrandis and seized the moment to grab second. At that point, Sexton sat 6.5 seconds behind his teammate and looked to log his fastest laps of the moto to try and close the gap. However, Lawrence didn’t let up and extended the lead to 7.5 seconds.

Lawrence maintained his lead the rest of the way and extended his undefeated streak to 15 motos, crossing the finish line 7.9 seconds ahead of Sexton, who was never challenged in second. Ferrandis fended off a pair of challenges by Anderson to secure third, while Anderson settled for fourth and Adam Cianciarulo in fifth.

Motocross rider Jett Lawrence at the 2023 Washougal National
Jett Lawrence captured moto wins 15 and 16 to continue his perfect season with his eighth straight overall victory. Photo: Align Media

Moto 2
The second and final moto of the afternoon got underway with a gate malfunction, which necessitated a red flag and restart for the 40-rider field. On the restart, it was Aaron Plesssinger out front for the MotoSport.com Holeshot as Lawrence and Sexton duked it out for second, from which Lawrence grabbed control of the position. Anderson slotted into fourth with Ferrandis in fifth.

The clear track paid dividends for Plessinger as he was able to maintain his hold of the lead through the opening five minutes as Lawrence appeared to settle in and bide his time, maintaining his advantage over Sexton in third. With about 10 minutes down in the moto Lawrence closed in, looked for a way by and made a quick and decisive pass on Plessinger to take control of the moto. Plessinger then waged battle with Sexton for second, with the Honda rider able to make a quick pass to try and keep his teammate within reach.

About 2.5 seconds separated the Honda riders as the moto approached the halfway point, with both riders trading momentum. Sexton appeared to be the slightly faster rider and was able to cut the gap to under two seconds. The distance between the duo continued to tighten as the moto surpassed the 15-minute mark.

Motocross rider Chase Sexton at the 2023 Washougal National
Chase Sexton settled for his fourth straight runner-up finish (2-2). Photo: Align Media

The lead stabilised between 1.3 to 1.5 seconds through the heart of the moto as both riders continued to play the on-track chess match. As they approached lapped riders the battle shifted into Lawrence’s favor as the lead grew to two seconds. With three minutes to go the teammates were closer than they’d been all moto, separated by just over a second. Both riders waited for the moment to pick up the pace for one final push, but the potential battle ended when Sexton briefly tipped over.

The lead grew to nearly 10 seconds by the time Sexton resumed, which allowed Lawrence to keep the unbeaten streak intact. Lawrence wrapped up moto win 16 by three seconds over Sexton, while Plessinger parlayed his holeshot into a third-place effort, just ahead of Anderson.

Motocross rider Jason Anderson at the 2023 Washougal National
Jason Anderson earned his first podium finish of the season (4-4) in his fourth start since returning from injury. Photo: Align Media

Overall
Lawrence’s latest 1-1 performance signified his first ever moto wins at Washougal as his quest for a perfect season has surpassed eight rounds, with three remaining. His eighth career win breaks the Aussie into the top 20 on the all-time wins list. Sexton settled for his fourth straight runner-up effort (2-2), while Anderson became the newest rider this season to finish on the overall podium in third (4-4).

Lawrence’s massive lead in the 450 Class standings has grown to 95 points over Ferrandis, who finished fourth overall (3-5), while Plessinger’s fifth-place finish (7-3) allowed him to maintain his hold of third, 120 points behind Lawrence.

“There’s a first time for everything [winning at Washougal]. I was pumped to make my way around Chase [Sexton] on the start. I was a little down on myself [in the final moto] and I was hoping [Sexton] was feeling as [tired] as I was. Then he went down, so that’s a bummer. This has been a surreal season so far,” Lawrence said.

Motocross rider Haiden Deegan at the 2023 Washougal National
Haiden Deegan enjoyed the best outing of his young career, going 1-1 to capture the second victory of his rookie season. Photo: Align Media

250 Class

Moto 1
The first 250 Class moto began with Deegan leading the field through the first turns and to the MotoSport.com Holeshot aboard his Yamaha, followed closely by Justin Cooper and Max Vohland. Further back, championship leader Hunter Lawrence looked to move forward from a start deep inside the top 10.

A clear track serves as a major advantage at Washougal, and it allowed Deegan to quickly establish a multi-second lead over Cooper, who soon settled into second. As the moto surpassed its first 10 minutes Deegan extended his lead even further, to more than five seconds on the field. Cooper continued to maintain control of second, while Vohland gave chase from third. Not far behind Lawrence was on a march to the front, picking off riders to break into the top five.

Just past the halfway point of the moto Lawrence made the pass on Seth Hammaker for fourth and quickly closed in on Vohland to apply pressure on third. Lawrence was patient and made the pass to take control of third and then looked to close in on Cooper. As they entered the final five minutes of the moto Lawrence’s pursuit of Cooper allowed both riders to erase some of the deficit to Deegan.

A determined Lawrence made a savvy pass on Cooper to move into second and had just over two minutes and two laps to try and catch Deegan as the leaders started to navigate heavy lapped traffic. Deegan’s lead stabilized at around four seconds during the final two laps, and he carried on to capture his second career moto win. He crossed the finish line 2.7 seconds ahead of Lawrence, with Cooper in third. RJ Hampshire followed in fourth, while Vohland held on for fifth.

Moto 2
The second and deciding moto kicked off with a trio of Monster Energy Yamahas at the head of the pack as Cooper secured the MotoSport.com Holeshot just ahead of Washougal native Levi Kitchen and Deegan, who gave up third to Hammaker. Lawrence started just outside the top five in sixth behind Hampshire.

After Deegan made the pass on Hammaker for third the field settled in through the opening five minutes of the moto until Hampshire tucked his front end and tipped over, which allowed Lawrence to assume fifth. The battle back up front intensified as Kitchen looked to put pressure on Cooper, which allowed Deegan to close in from third. Behind the leaders, Lawrence made the pass on Hammaker for fourth and quickly closed in on Deegan’s rear fender to establish a four-rider battle out front, separated by less than four seconds.

In his pursuit of Deegan, a miscue by Deegan put Lawrence on the ground. He remounted quickly but dropped to fifth as Hammaker re-assumed fourth. Back up front, Deegan refocused his attention on his teammates and looked to mount an attack on Kitchen for second. The rookie showed patience and took advantage of an alternate line to cut under Kitchen and take over the runner-up spot for a pass that was significant in the overall classification.

Just past the halfway point of the moto, 4.9 seconds separated Cooper and Deegan. A few positions behind Lawrence was able to track down Hammaker and reclaim fourth. As Kitchen and Lawrence engaged in a battle for third, Deegan started to chip away at his deficit to Cooper.

As the moto clock entered its final three minutes Deegan had closed in to within just over two seconds of Cooper. He continued to inch closer as his late charge got the rookie within a second of Cooper. Once there Deegan posted the single-fastest lap of the entire event to storm past Cooper and seize the lead with less than a minute remaining.

Deegan closed out the moto emphatically, with lap times multiple seconds faster than anyone else on the track. His lead surged to nearly double digits as he took the white flag. Deegan cruised home to wrap up his first career moto sweep, taking the checkered flag 7.9 seconds ahead of Cooper, while Kitchen completed the Yamaha sweep of the moto podium in third, just ahead of Lawrence.

Motocross rider Justin Cooper at the 2023 Washougal National
Justin Cooper captured his fourth straight runner-up finish (3-2). Photo: Align Media

Overall
The first ever 1-1 effort by Deegan was also the first in the division for the 2023 season. The rookie’s second career victory came on a day in which Yamaha kicked off the global 50th anniversary celebration of its YZ motocross model, Deegan’s YZ250F adorned in white, purple, and pink plastics that harkened back to the vibrant aesthetic of the 90’s era of the sport. Cooper earned his fifth runner-up finish of the season (3-2), while Lawrence held on for third (2-4).

Deegan’s dominant afternoon allowed him to gain 10 points on Lawrence in the 250 Class standings, as now just three points sit between the two most successful riders in the division this summer with three rounds and six motos remaining. Cooper’s second-place finish vaulted him up to third, 19 points out of the lead.

“Those last few laps I put my heart into this thing. It’s nerve wracking [for me] and I’m sure it is for Hunter [Lawrence] as well [as we battle for the championship]. I’m glad to put America back on top of the podium,” Deegan said.

The Pro Motocross Championship will observe its final break in action for the 2023 season before returning for its three-round stretch run, which will begin on Saturday, August 12, from one of American motocross’ most storied venues. The iconic rolling plains of Central New York’s Unadilla MX, in New Berlin, will welcome riders at the Honda Unadilla National for Round 9 of the summer campaign

Motocross rider Hunter Lawrence at the 2023 Washougal National
Hunter Lawrence settled for third overall (2-4) to retain the points lead. Photo: Align Media

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)
1 Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda (1-1 // 50)
2 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-2, 44)
3 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (4-4 // 36)
4 Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha (3-5 // 36)
5 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (7-3 // 34)
6 Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (5-7 // 30)
7 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (8-6 // 28)
8 Ty Masterpool, Fallon, Nev., Kawasaki (6-8 // 28)
9 Phil Nicoletti, Cochecton, N.Y., Yamaha (11-9 // 22)
10 Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Kawasaki (10-10 // 22)

450 Class Championship Standings (Round 8 of 11)
1 Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda – 400 Points
2 Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha – 305 Points
3 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 280 Points
4 Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 236 Points
5 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 218 Points
6 Ty Masterpool, Fallon, Nev., Kawasaki – 190 Points
7 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 174 Points
8 Fredrik Noren, Lidköping, Sweden, Suzuki – 169 Points
9 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 147 Points
10 Jose Butron, Cadiz, Spain, GASGAS – 132 Points

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
1 Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (1-1 // 50)
2 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (3-2 // 42)
3 Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda (2-4 // 40)
4 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (4-5 // 34)
5 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (8-3 // 33)
6 Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (7-6 // 29)
7 Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Kawasaki (6-7 // 29)
8 Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (5-8 // 29)
9 Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Kawasaki (9-9 // 24)
10 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (12-11 // 19)

250 Class Championship Standings (Round 8 of 11)
1 Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda – 300 Points
2 Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 297 Points
3 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 281 Points
4 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 274 Points
5 Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Kawasaki – 269 Points
6 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 247 Points
7 Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 219 Points
8 Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM – 210 Points
9 Ryder DiFrancesco, Bakersfield, Calif., Kawasaki – 146 Points
10 Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 144 Points

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