Case Sexton wins Motocross Round 8, ending Tomac’s streak

Chase Sexton ended Eli Tomac’s four-game winning streak by taking top honors at Motocross Round 8, but was unable to make up ground in the championship standings with a 2-1 finish.

It was important for Sexton to show Tomac that he wasn’t going to roll over and just hand the title to the defending Monster Energy Supercross champion. Sexton has been riding well, but since winning the first round at Fox Raceway, he hasn’t been able to stand on top of the box. He held the points lead until last week, having finished on the podium in every race so far this year.

But Sexton has an Achilles heel. After leading several motos in the first seven laps, minor mistakes had huge consequences as he rolled while leading races.

Tomac knew this as well as anyone in the field, and after winning Moto 1, he pinned Sexton for the entire 30-minute-plus two laps of the second race.

Tomac has been the strongest player for the last few years – and when he pressures a rider like Sexton did in Moto 2, he usually prevails. Tomac latched onto Sexton’s rear tire, revving his engine to try and force Sexton into a mistake. Sexton was not to be alarmed and in the final two laps he was finally able to break away from Tomac and establish an eight-second gap for a confidence-building victory as the series enters a two-week break.

“That was a really good motto for me,” Sexton told MavTV’s Jason Thomas. “The hole shot was great. Ellie was on me the whole time and on the penultimate lap, I just went as fast as I could and finally got away, got a small gap and just pushed her. It was a tough race.”

Sexton’s comment spoke to his maturity. Instead of pushing too early, he runs the race and sends it when it matters most.

By winning Race 2, Sexton snapped Tomac’s eight moto race win streak.

Tomac’s second-place finish in Moto 2 gave Sexton the overall win while maintaining his five-point lead.

“I was pushing him, but me and Chase were so close that I was eating a lot of dirt,” Tomac said. “I made such big pushes trying to get to his back wheel. I just couldn’t find the place that time like in Moto 1.”

Moto 1 was as exciting as the second race. Tomac took the lead from Sexton but was unable to get past the Honda rider. A mistake should have handed the lead to his rival when Tomac leaned over, but Sexton crashed into him and went down as well. Both riders struggled to restart their bikes, with Tomac restarting a fraction of a second ahead of Sexton. No harm, no foul as the two continued their battle. Tomac won Moto 1 by less than a second.

In both races, Jason Anderson was a distant third and finished third overall.

Ken Roczen recovered from a disastrous Round 7 in which he crashed both bikes at Spring Creek. He hovered around the top five all afternoon and finished fourth overall with a 4-6 record.

Christian Craig rounds out the top five at 6-5.

450 results (moto final)

  1. Chase Sexton, La Moille, IL, Honda (2-1)
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colorado, Yamaha (1-2)
  3. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, NM, Kawasaki (3-3)
  4. Ken Rotzen, Germany, Honda (4-6)
  5. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (6-5)
  6. Justin Barcia, Monroe, NY, GasGas, (5-8)
  7. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (7-7)
  8. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (9-9)
  9. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (8-13)
  10. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (10-12)

Ranking with 450 points

  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colorado, Yamaha – 364
  2. Chase Sexton, La Moille, IL, Honda – 359
  3. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, NM, Kawasaki – 285
  4. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 274
  5. Christian Craig, Temecula, California, Yamaha – 251
  6. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM – 236
  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, NY, GasGas – 219
  8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 198
  9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, GA, Kawasaki – 166
  10. Shane McElrath, Canton, NC, Husqvarna – 157

For the first time since round three and just the second time all season, Jett Lawrence failed to win a moto in Round 8 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, but as with 450 class leader Tomac, he maintained his points advantage. Jett added a point with his 2-2 effort thanks to the 25 earned by Hunter Lawrence for his win in Race 1. The pair of runners-up finishes were enough to give Jett the overall win for the seventh time in eight rounds.

“I just got lucky with that,” Jett said from the top of the box. “I didn’t have enough speed to catch [Justin] Cooper. I found that limit and I couldn’t get close to it, so I tried to see if I could flow a little bit more instead of loading it all up.”

The news wasn’t bad for Hunter. He was able to beat his brother in a back-to-back race in Moto 1 as Jett went 2-2 in both races and if not for a lazy roll in Moto 2, Hunter would have walked away with his first Pro Motocross win of the season . Instead, he finished third overall after losing the tiebreaker to Cooper.

Hunter rode flawlessly in Moto 1. After Jo Shimoda won the holeshot, Hunter tracked him down and secured the lead. Jet also managed to get around Shimoda, setting up what was to be a dramatic second race.

It didn’t turn out that way.

The three podium finishers were beaten by the door of Justin Cooper who won the holeshot. Strong starts haven’t been Cooper’s problem this year, though, and in four previous races where he had the hole shot, he failed to win. Cooper held the advantage throughout the race at Washougal and scored his first moto win of 2022. At 4-1, he scored the tiebreaker over Hunter’s 1-4 and was credited with second place.

“It’s great to be back,” Cooper said after scoring his first moto win since the start of 2021. “I felt like after practice, I had the speed today but I didn’t have the best start and I didn’t go out fast enough. My intensity was a bit off in Moto 1 and I made a few changes for Moto 2. I felt like I was going easier than in the first moto but I was just in my flow and before I knew it I had a good gap and just ruled the race from there.’

Shimoda had his own reason to be encouraged by the round. With strong starts in both races, he charged into the playoff standings and finished fourth overall with a 3-3 record.

In Moto 2, Hunter was pushing Shimoda for second for the first half of the race, but as these two distracted each other, Jett stayed in touch. At the halfway mark, Hunter easily rolled over and fell to fourth, where he stayed by the checkers. Hunter remounted and went after Shimoda, providing the drama that failed to materialize between the Lawrence brothers.

Racing side by side, Hunter and Shimoda had a fierce battle on the final lap. Shimoda edged Hunter at the checkers.

Jett took too long to get around Shimoda in Moto 2, allowing Cooper to build a six-second lead when Jett finally made a pass. The points leader managed to cut that down to three seconds before fading at the end to finish fourth.

Max Woland (7-5) achieved his second top-5 finish of the season after finishing so well at Hangtown in Round 2.

Levi Kitchen was fifth in the points standings at the end of Round 7, but was unable to drive at Washougal due to a wrist injury. He will have two weeks to heal before the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series heads to Unadilla in New Berlin, New York on August 8.

250 results (moto final)

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2)
  2. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, Yamaha (4-1)
  3. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-4)
  4. Joe Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (3-3)
  5. Max Woland, Sacramento, CA, KTM (7-5)
  6. Seth Hamaker, Bainbridge, Pa. Kawasaki (5-8)
  7. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, FL, Husqvarna (8-6)
  8. Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GazGas (6-9)
  9. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, TN, Yamaha (13-7)
  10. Josh Varese, Perris, CA, KTM (10-10)

Ranking with 250 points

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 355
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 327
  3. Joe Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 306
  4. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY – 275
  5. Seth Haymaker, Bainbridge, Pa. Kawasaki – 207
  6. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, FL, Husqvarna – 194
  7. Max Woland, Sacramento, CA, KTM – 192
  8. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Washington, Yamaha – 180
  9. Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, CA, GasGas – 169
  10. Steelez Roberston, Bakersfield, CA, Husqvarna – 169

Round 1, Fox Raceway: Chase Sexton takes an early lead in the title race
Round 2, Hangtown: After 12 years of trying, Jason Anderson wins a motocross race
Round 3, Thunder Valley: Three races, three winners as Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Round 4, high point: Now four on four, Eli Tomac takes the trophy
Round 5, RedBud: Tomac becomes first in 2022 with two wins; Hunter Lawrence takes a red plate for the 250s
Round 6, Southwick: Tomac’s dominance continues with a second perfect round
Round 7, Spring Creek: Tomac takes the points lead with 1-1 on the day

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