|The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its return to the West Coast for Round 8 of the 50th anniversary season with its annual visit to the Pacific Northwest. The scenic surroundings of Washougal MX Park featured perfect temperatures and mostly cloudy skies at the MotoSport.com Washougal National, presented by Peterson CAT, where the highly technical track layout resulted in an exciting battle for victory across both divisions. In the 450 Class the season’s two elite combatants went head-to-head throughout the afternoon as Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton edged out Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Eli Tomac via tiebreaker for his second victory of the season. The 250 Class saw an equally captivating battle in which Team Honda HRC rider and championship point leader Jett Lawrence relied on consistency to secure his seventh win of the summer campaign.|
|Moto 1The opening 450 Class moto began with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ryan Dungey and Sexton side-by-side exiting the first turn, where Dungey emerged with the MotoSport.com Holeshot. Sexton was able to solidify a hold of the lead in the next turn and looked to sprint away as Dungey then battled with Tomac for second.|
Dungey continued his pursuit of the lead but suddenly experienced an issue with his KTM that ultimately ended his moto. That misfortune allowed Tomac to assume second and give pursuit to Sexton, while Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen took over third, nearly 10 seconds behind the leaders.
As the moto passed the 10 minute mark the battle for the lead was on. Tomac appeared to have the faster pace, but found difficulty in trying to complete a pass. The Yamaha rider continued to keep the pressure on his Honda rival and made his way by with a savvy move just before the halfway point. Once out front, Tomac quickly built a multi-second advantage over Sexton.
The closing 10 minutes saw Sexton claw his way back into the fight as he lowered the deficit to less than a second. Behind them, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson closed in on Roczen for a battle for third. Back out front, Tomac and Sexton reignited their battle for the final five minutes.
With three minutes to go Tomac’s front tire got stuck in a rut and caused him to tip over. Sexton’s close pursuit caused him to run into Tomac and also tip over. The two riders then raced to pick up their bike, restart it, and resume. Tomac got going first, with Sexton getting back underway moments later. As they returned to race pace, the distance between them remained the same, while their 30-second gap over the rest of the field dropped to just under 20 seconds.
Sexton made one more late push with two laps to go and was able to nearly get alongside Tomac, but the point leader fended him off and dug deep on the final lap to keep the Honda at bay. Tomac held on for his eighth straight moto win, 1.1 seconds ahead of Sexton. Anderson made the pass on Roczen for third, while Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia finished fifth.
|Moto 2The second and deciding moto began with Sexton and Tomac leading the way, with the MotoSport.com Holeshot going to the Honda rider. As the lead duo began their fight for the top spot, Anderson and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger engaged in a battle for third. A torrid pace on the opening laps allowed Sexton to inch away and open a lead of more than a second, while Anderson asserted his control of third and closed in to make it a three-rider breakaway.|
Sexton continued to add to his lead and pulled out nearly two seconds clear of Tomac through the first 10 minutes of the moto. However, as soon as Sexton appeared to have the upper hand, Tomac responded and closed to within bike lengths of the lead. With their battle, Sexton and Tomac easily left Anderson behind in third.
The excitement ramped up again at the halfway point of the moto. Tomac appeared to have the faster pace and started to look for a way around, but Sexton countered and inched away once more as they navigated lapped riders. The lead stabilized to more than a second for Sexton approaching the final 10 minutes but Tomac found the pace to get back within bike lengths.
Sexton’s continued defense of every one of Tomac’s advances turned the closing minutes into a chess match. The Yamaha rider continued to drop back and mount charges, but was unable to find enough momentum to make a move. The lead was about as big as it had been to start the final two laps and continued to grow from there. Sexton put the finishing touches on his performance with his fastest lap of the moto on the second-to-last lap. He pulled away on the final lap and took his fourth moto win of the season by 8.4 seconds over Tomac, who saw his streak come to an end. Anderson finished in a distant third.
|OverallBy virtue of their identical moto scores Sexton (2-1) and Tomac (1-2) finished tied atop the overall classification, but the second-moto tiebreaker went to Sexton for his second victory of the season and the fourth of his career. He also successfully defended his Washougal victory from the 2021 season. The winning performance ended Tomac’s win streak at four, but also extended Sexton’s perfect podium record this season. Anderson’s consistent 3-3 effort landed him third overall.|
With equal points, Tomac and Sexton remain separated by five points in the championship standings entering the final break of the 2022 season. Anderson strengthened his hold on third and now sits 79 points out of the lead.
Chase Sexton, Team Honda HRC
“That was a really good moto for me. Eli [Tomac] was on me but I kept fending him off. I finally got away and brought it home. It means a lot to me to win like that and I’m really looking forward to these last four races. I couldn’t be more happy to battle [for the championship] with a guy like Eli.”
Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“I was pushing [the entire moto]. I was so close and ate a lot of dirt. I made so many pushes but couldn’t find the spot that time. I did all I could, but second was all we got today.”
Jason Anderson, Monster Energy Kawasaki
“I definitely was the third best guy out there. It’s tough when you’re out there riding alone, but I have to keep finding a way to try and keep up with those guys [Sexton and Tomac]. All in all it was a good day today and we’ll see if we can keep it going for the final four rounds.”
|Photos: Align Media|
|450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-1 // 47)Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-2 // 47)Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-3 // 40)Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (4-6 // 33)Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (6-5 // 31)Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (5-8 // 29)Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (7-7 // 28)Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (9-9 // 24)Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (8-13 // 21)Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (10-12 // 20)450 Class Championship Standings (Round 8 of 12)Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 364Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 359Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 285Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 274Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 251Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 236Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 219Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 198Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 170Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 157|
|Moto 1Moto 1|
The first 250 Class moto of the afternoon got underway with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda at the head of the pack with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, closely followed by the Team Honda HRC siblings of Hunter and Jett Lawrence. The lead trio soon settled into their respective positions through the opening five minutes of the moto.
Hunter Lawrence kept Shimoda honest throughout the early stages as the lead pair traded momentum, causing the gap between them to fluctuate. As the moto surpassed the 10 minute mark Hunter started to apply pressure and took advantage of his first pass attempt to seize the lead. Once out front, he quickly established a multi-second advantage. As Shimoda continued to lose more ground to the lead he was forced to fend off the pressure from Jett Lawrence in third.
The battle for second waged on through the middle portion of the moto and it allowed both Shimoda and Lawrence to inch back on the lead and drop the deficit to 1.5 seconds. With seven minutes to go the top three were separated by less than two seconds and continued to tighten. Shimoda continued to push the pace and moved within striking distance of Hunter, while Jett lurked from third. As the race approached its final minute Jett pulled the trigger on a pass to get by Shimoda and set his sights on his brother for the lead.
Hunter Lawrence dropped the hammer on the final two laps, which effectively ended any chances of a late-race battle for victory between the siblings. He took his third moto win of the season by 4.1 seconds over Jett, with Shimoda in third. Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper finished fourth, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Seth Hammaker rounded out the top five.
|Moto 2The second and final moto began with Cooper leading the way for the MotoSport.com Holeshot as Shimoda, Hunter Lawrence, and Jett Lawrence all gave chase to establish the top four. A strong opening lap saw Cooper build a 1.4 second lead over Shimoda as the lead group settled in.|
The running order remained status quo through the first half of the moto, as Cooper was able to maintain a multi-second lead. However, the battle behind him intensified between Shimoda and the Lawrences. Hunter Lawrence started to apply pressure to look for a way around, but in the process lost traction with his front tire and tipped over. That allowed Jett Lawrence to move into third as Hunter remounted in fourth.
With 11 minutes remaining in the moto Jett Lawrence started to force the issue with Shimoda and applied heavy pressure on the Kawasaki rider. Shimoda kept his friend and rival at bay for multiple laps but Lawrence made the pass stick and took control of second. With approximately eight minutes to go Cooper and Lawrence were separated by 4.8 seconds, with Lawrence running the quickest laps on the track.
In the closing minutes Cooper picked up the pace to run his fastest laps of the moto, which fended off a late push from Lawrence. That turned the attention to Hunter Lawrence and his pursuit of Shimoda for third. With his chances for the overall win in the balance, Lawrence continued to make gains as both riders navigated through lapped traffic. Mere bike lengths separated the two riders as they took the white flag. Lawrence got close on multiple occasions, but couldn’t complete the pass.
Cooper went wire-to-wire for his first moto win of the season, 5.5 seconds ahead of Jett Lawrence, while Shimoda held on for third.
|OverallA consistent afternoon proved to be the difference maker in the overall classification, as Jett Lawrence’s pair of runner-ups was enough to earn his seventh victory of the season. Cooper (4-1) and Hunter Lawrence (1-4) finished tied for second, just a single point behind first, where Cooper earned the tiebreaker by virtue of his better second-moto result.|
With the win, Jett Lawrence added another point to his championship lead, which now sits at 28 points over Hunter Lawrence. Shimoda remains third, 49 points out of the lead.
Jett Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“I just got lucky on that one. I didn’t quite have that pace [today], so I just focused on trying to get a flow. I just kept an eye on Hunter [Lawrence] at that point. It’s nice to get another win, but I definitely wasn’t at my best today.”
Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“It’s great to be back [with a moto win]. I felt like I had the speed today. My intensity was off in Moto 1, but I got a better start in Moto 2 and I just felt like I was in my groove and was able to ride my own race. We’re making our way back and it’s showing now. It’s starting to feel a bit more normal.”
Hunter Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“I was pushing [to catch Shimoda]. There was a seven second gap and I had to bridge that. I did all I could there. This track can be scary. I’m happy with my riding, but I need to clean up those little mistakes.”
|Photos: Align Media|
|250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2 // 44)Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (4-1 // 43)Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-4 // 43)Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (3-3 // 40)Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (7-5 // 30)Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (5-8 // 29)RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (8-6 // 28)Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (6-9 // 27)Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (13-7 // 22)Josh Varize, Rialto, Calif., KTM (10-10 // 22)250 Class Championship Standings (Round 8 of 12)Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 355Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 327Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 306Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 275Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki – 207RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 194Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 192Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 180Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS – 169Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 169|