Roczen, Sexton and the Lawrence brothers on Southwick
One week after his perfect overall-win tally came to an end, CRF250R-mounted Jett Lawrence posted a flawless 1-1 victory at the Southwick, Massachusetts, round of the AMA Pro Motocross series, resuming the lead in the 250 class title chase. In the 450 division, Jett’s Honda HRC teammate Chase Sexton shrugged off so-so starts to turn in a pair of second-place results and keep the red plate on his CRF450R.
Both 450-class holeshots went to Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen, who ran at the front for the first two laps of moto 1. The German then rode in second place until just before the midway point, after which he slipped to fifth. In the meantime, Sexton had completed lap 1 in fourth, but he took over third at the halfway mark, then dispatched second place with four laps left. Moto 2 saw Roczen run at the front for the first seven laps before eventually finishing fourth, while Sexton completed lap 1 in seventh place and went to work passing riders. He was up to fourth halfway in, and a late-race charge carried him to second place by the finish, his second-overall result five better than his next-best showing at the sandy circuit.
Both 250-class holeshots went to Jett Lawrence, and despite stiffer-than-usual challenges from his competition—Justin Cooper in moto 1, Levi Kitchen in moto 2—the reigning champ rode to both wins, crossing the finish line with advantages of 10.8 and 9.5 seconds. Jett’s brother and teammate, Hunter Lawrence (who had earned last year’s 250 overall win at The Wick 338), was hurt by poor starts and a scary moto 1 crash that left him banged up and with a chipped tooth. Hunter climbed to sixth by the finish of moto 1, and moto 2 saw him finish seventh.
Roczen: “It was a tough one. We obviously know that this track is very unique. I’ve been trying to improve my bike and myself. In the first moto I was getting beat up and couldn’t make anything happen. That was tough to swallow because I just wasn’t feeling it. We made a little change for the second moto, which helped me out, but I haven’t found a breakthrough setup yet. I’m hanging in there, and the team’s doing a great job of sending me stuff as quick as they can, doing everything they can to get me happy. Today wasn’t the result that we want, but I’m happy that I at least ended on a much better note in that second moto. I’m looking forward to trying to improve for Millville.”
Sexton: “My first-moto start wasn’t horrible; I was in a good enough position, even though Eli [Tomac] passed me. The second-moto start was not good; I think I just sat there and spun. I think I was outside the top 10, and it’s hard to come through a pack that’s this deep. Starts are something I’m going to focus on this week, because if you start out front, it just makes your life a whole lot easier. Other than that, I felt really good on the bike. I’ve never loved this place; my best overall finish was [seventh], so second’s obviously a lot better than that. I was pretty happy with my riding. In the second moto, I kind of came alive towards the end. All in all, it’s positive, and on to the next one.”
J. Lawrence: “It was good. Qualifying went great—P1—and I was really happy with my starts today. In the second one I had a better reaction but went into the deeper sand a little bit. I was second into the turn but was able to cut down a little bit and was able to collect the holeshot, thankfully. I had a little bit of a battle with Levi [Kitchen] and then was able to break him a little bit, with lappers. Then I just ended up maintaining. The track was brutal today, but the bike felt awesome and was running great. It’s good to get that red plate back.”
H. Lawrence: “Rough day. It was great last year, running 1-1, but this year we just sucked. It was almost like me and Jett did a role reversal from last year. I’m going to have to go to the dentist this week, after crashing in the first moto—got cross-jumped and then hit by another guy. It is what it is now—I can’t change it. I did everything I could, but it was just a really, really tough day. We’ll bounce back.”
Lars Lindstrom: “Overall, it was a pretty decent day. It was definitely a challenging track. Jett was just on another level. He made a couple mistakes in the first moto, and some of the other riders showed some good speed, which made it fun to watch. Hunter struggled a little bit with his setup and crashed when he got together with one of the other riders. After that it looked like he was hurting the rest of the day. Luckily, he wasn’t really hurt because it could’ve been bad if he got landed on. In the 450 class, Kenny’s starts were unbelievable. We made some changes to his bike, which seemed to be the right direction for him. He rode well, and it seems like he’s getting better after his sickness last week. He’s almost there, so hopefully next weekend he’ll be even stronger. Chase is showing that he’s top-level, for sure. He didn’t have the best starts but was still able to race to second in both motos. We’re pretty excited about the second half of the season; the tracks are ones where Chase should be good. I think we’re right there.”
Words and images: Honda