Hunter Lawrence Grabs Western Regional 250SX Class Title with a Win in the Music City
Nashville, Tenn., (April 29, 2023) Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton took the Round 15 win in a rare daytime Monster Energy AMA Supercross race in Nashville, Tennessee.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac led early but earned second at the checkered flag at Nissan Stadium. Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen delivered another podium performance and earned third place points toward both the 17-round 2023 Supercross season as well as the inaugural 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship. In the penultimate round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class season, Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence was picture-perfect for the race win and the points needed to seal his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship.
Eli Tomac grabbed a clear Holeshot and sprinted early to establish some breathing room on the pack of Tank Masters Red Line Oil Next Level KTM’s Kevin Moranz, Team Honda HRC’s Colt Nichols, Chase Sexton, Twisted Tea Suzuki Progressive Insurance’s Kyle Chisholm and Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia. Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsport’s Justin Hill got an incredible drive down the first rhythm lane and was into third place before the second corner. Absent was Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb, second in the championship points; Webb had been taken out of the event earlier by a tough crash in his Heat Race.
Tomac distanced himself from the pack as Sexton moved past Justin Hill to take over second just three minutes into the race. Sexton sat over four seconds back but set his sights on Tomac. A minute later Tomac had a near-crash in the whoops. The challenging track had created a lot of crashes through qualifying and racing. Tomac’s scare convinced him to lower his aggression, as he reported on the podium after the race.
Just over five minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race Barcia moved forward into third place. Up front, Sexton steadily cut down the lead. The next few laps shook up the race as Sexton made it to Tomac’s rear fender just as Barcia crashed hard off the Dragon’s Back. Barcia was out just as Roczen nabbed third from Justin Hill. From there the race leaders held their spots on the slick, dry track. Sexton earned his fourth win of the season and moved into second in the championship standings. Tomac lost three points to Chase but extended his points lead to 18 due to Webb earning zero in Nashville.
When the gate dropped for the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Hunter Lawrence grabbed the Holeshot but Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Jordon Smith quickly charged up to him. In the third corner Smith bumped his way past and into the lead ahead of Lawrence and Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin. A minute and a half into the 15-minute plus one lap race Smith held first ahead of Lawrence, Smith, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda, and Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan. With a 49-point lead and only one Eastern Regional 250SX Class round remaining after Nashville, Lawrence could finish as low as 20th and still claim the title. But Lawrence looked like he wanted to go out with a win, and hounded Smith up front. Shimoda moved into third behind them and Deegan fought to get past Martin for fourth.
With 9:30 remaining on the race clock Smith overcooked a turn in the sand section and went off the track and into the Tuff Blox. He didn’t fall, but the mistake and correction to get back on the track cost him two positions. Lawrence took over the lead but suddenly Shimoda was on a tear and looking like he might soon fight for the front spot. Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie, the winner at the previous round, had made his way into sixth and reached Deegan’s rear wheel just before Deegan made his own move and passed Martin for fourth place.
Late in the race Lawrence had built a comfortable lead while Shimoda, Smith, and Deegan ran close enough that each of their positions were in jeopardy. The riders circled the final laps without major mistakes. Lawrence brought home the race win and with it his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross title. Shimoda earned his first podium of the season after missing most of it due to injury, and Smith took the final podium spot.
Only two rounds remain in the season. The 450SX Class racers line up again inside Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado next Saturday, May 6th before the 2023 Supercross Championship Final Presented by Utah Sports Commission at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 13th. Two champions remain to be crowned, one in the 450SX Class and one in the Western Regional 250SX Class.
The two rounds will also pay points toward the all-new SuperMotocross World Championship which encompasses the Supercross season, the AMA Pro Motocross season, two Playoff races and a Final to determine the sport’s first SuperMotocross World Champion in September.
All 31-rounds of the SuperMotocross World Championship are streamed live on Peacock and select rounds are broadcast on NBC, USA Network, and CNBC. The 450 class racers battle for a one million dollar payout to the winner, and the 250 class racers all battle in a single class for a $500,000 prize to the winner in that class.
Tickets are available now alongside video highlights, race results, the complete SMX schedule, and more at SupercrossLIVE.com.
450SX Class Results
1. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
3. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
4. Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
5. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM
6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
7. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Honda
8. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki
9. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Suzuki
10. Josh Hill, Huntersville, N.C., KTM
450SX Class Championship Standings
1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (338)
2. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (320)
3. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (304)
4. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (280)
5. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (267)
6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (242)
7. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (213)
8. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM (172)
9. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (170)
10. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Honda (165)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
2. Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha
4. Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha
5. Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda
6. Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha
7. Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
8. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki
9. Henry Miller, Rochester, Minn., Honda
10. Cullin Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1. Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (224)
2. Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (168)
3. Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda (166)
4. Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (141)
5. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (132)
6. Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (128)
7. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (120)
8. Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (111)
9. Cullin Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda (109)
10. Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda (89)
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Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting specialized arena and stadium-based motorsports entertainment. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and the SuperMotocross World Championship. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is a subsidiary of Feld Entertainment, Inc. Visit monsterjam.com, SupercrossLIVE.com, and feldentertainment.com for more information.
About Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship:
Monster Energy AMA Supercross is the most competitive and highest-profile off-road motorcycle racing championship on the planet. Founded in America and sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) since 1974. Over 17 weeks, Supercross attracts some of the largest and most impressive crowds inside the most recognizable and prestigious stadiums in North America to race in front of nearly one million live fans and broadcast to millions more worldwide. For more information, visit SupercrossLIVE.com.
About the SuperMotocross World Championship:
The SuperMotocross World Championship™ is the premier off-road motorcycle racing series that combines the technical precision of stadium racing with the all-out speed and endurance of outdoor racing. Created in 2022, the SuperMotocross World Championship combines the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and the AMA Pro Motocross Championship into a 31-event series that culminates in a season-ending two round playoff and SuperMotocross World Championship Final. Visit SuperMotocross.comfor more information.
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Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit americanmotorcyclist.com.
AARON PLESSINGER SIDELINED FOR NASHVILLE SUPERCROSS
2023 Motorsport news
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing has confirmed that 450SX rider Aaron Plessinger will sit out Round 15 of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship this weekend in Nashville, as he continues to recover from the effects of a crash during practice last Saturday in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Immediately following his fall, Plessinger received on-site care from the Alpinestars medical team, revealing no signs of damage through an X-Ray. The fan favorite returned to his home base in Florida to undergo further evaluation and an MRI on his hips this week and he was again cleared of any major injury.
Despite dealing with heavy bruising, swelling, and soreness, Plessinger and the team have since made the tough decision to forego lining up in Nashville, with intentions of healing up to be ready to race the penultimate round of the season in Denver on May 6.
With a season-high finish of third at Round 6 in Tampa, Plessinger has recorded a total of four top-five finishes this season aboard the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION, where he sits seventh overall in the highly-competitive 450SX Championship series.
TOM VIALLE SEVENTH IN TOUGH NASHVILLE FOR RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Round 15 of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship in Nashville proved to be a difficult day that unfolded for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, with Tom Vialle racing to seventh in the 250SX East Main Event, and two-time 450SX title-winner Cooper Webb crashing out of Heat 1.
After qualifying in P8, Vialle powered his KTM 250 SX-F to a sixth-place result in the opening Heat race of the event, which transferred the French rookie directly into the Main Event. The Tennessee circuit further deteriorated with each gate-drop, making for an added challenge come Main Event time, where Vialle went on to secure seventh place. He currently sits eighth in the standings.
Tom Vialle: “I crashed in practice, so the beginning of the day wasn’t as expected, but recovered well in the Heat race with a fourth, before I was docked two positions because I didn’t see the red cross flag. That gave me a tough gate pick for the main, and I came around the first corner in eighth or ninth. I was close to sixth, although ended the race in seventh. The track was very sketchy and I lost a bit of time in the dragon’s back section, but overall, an average result here and one more chance to race Supercross for the season in two weeks’ time.”
Title challenger Webb stormed out of the gates and led the opening 450SX Heat race of the day, before going down soon afterward on lap one. The 27-year-old was then transferred from the stadium to the hospital for further evaluation, unfortunately, ruled out for the remainder of the round, and he is now positioned third in points. An additional update once he has seen his doctor will follow.
The KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION of Aaron Plessinger was a non-starter in Nashville, recovering from his incident last weekend in East Rutherford, and he is intending to return to action next Saturday in Denver, Colorado.
Next Race: May 6 – Denver, Colorado.
450SX TITLE BID OF RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING’S COOPER WEBB ENDS FOLLOWING NASHVILLE EXIT
MURRIETA, Calif. – Two-time 450SX champion Cooper Webb’s 2023 AMA Supercross Championship title challenge has come to an early ending following his crash at Nashville on Saturday, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider now taking the time to recover from a concussion sustained in the incident.
Webb has thankfully been cleared of any additional major injuries following his exit in the opening Heat race of the night, however, the 27-year-old who won the premier class title with Red Bull KTM both in 2019 and 2021 will be absent from the upcoming final two rounds of the 2023 season.
Cooper Webb: “As many of you saw, I suffered a concussion last night in Nashville. I am thankful everything else has checked out okay. This will unfortunately put an end to my SX season. It hurts to have it end like this, but I can hold my head high knowing that I gave it my all.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager, Ian Harrison, echoed Webb’s sentiments, acknowledging that safety is paramount for the team’s riders, despite the disappointment of being ruled out of contention this late in the 17-round Supercross season.
Ian Harrison: “It’s definitely not the end to the 2023 Supercross Championship season that the team had hoped for, but we are very relieved that Cooper is okay after what had the potential to be a very nasty accident, as he was really going for it when he went down in a racing incident. Our riders’ health and safety are very important to the team, so knowing he is going to be okay is a huge weight off everyone’s shoulders. Obviously, we were really looking forward to taking the championship hunt all the way down to the final Supercross race in Salt Lake City, but unfortunately, that won’t be the case this year. It’s disappointing, but we will turn our focus towards our 250 riders’ final Supercross races of the season, as well as supporting Aaron Plessinger as he heals from his crash at the previous round in New Jersey, and get a jump start on preparing for the upcoming Pro Motocross Championship season.”
This season has marked a spectacular return to form for Webb riding the 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION, securing nine podium finishes over the course of the opening 14 rounds, which included two 450SX Main Event victories in Tampa and Arlington, respectively. He entered Nashville ranked second in the standings, 11 points outside of the red plate prior to his fall.
The 2023 AMA Supercross Championship now heads to Denver, Colorado, for the penultimate round of the series this weekend, before the final round in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday, May 13, will draw the curtains on this year’s championship.
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