450SX race tightens following Sexton Triple Crown win at A2
Consistency in 250SX chaotic class lands Kitchen Anaheim overall.
The race for the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship has tightened up after Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton charged to the Anaheim 2 Triple Crown overall, while Levi Kitchen used consistency to win in 250SX.
It was a drama-free first race for Sexton as he stormed to a flag-to-flag 5.190s win over Ken Roczen (Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki), with red plate-holder Eli Tomac a further five seconds back in P3.
Tomac’s Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Dylan Ferrandis fought to fourth position, while Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) was fifth after making late contact with Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) that saw the former two-time champion go down.
That handed sixth to Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – who ran inside the top three for the race’s opening portion – and Webb remounted for seventh, directly ahead of Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM), Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) and Joey Savatgy (Rick Ware Racing Kawasaki).
In 11th was Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas), who fell in the early laps while circulating in sixth, costing him in the first of three finals for tonight.
Anderson hit the front out of the gates in race two and was essentially unchallenged from there, pulling a lead of 1.589s and placing himself in contention for the overall tonight. While Anderson was in control, Tomac took some time to make his way by Roczen for second position, and that’s where the trio would finish.
Fourth was Webb – unable to make a final lap pass on Roczen – and first race winner Sexton took fifth following an error of his own early on. Ferrandis was consistent for P6, from Plessinger despite a fall while inside the top three, Barcia, Savatgy and Craig. One point split Tomac, Roczen, Anderson and Sexton going into the final outing.
A deserved ride from Sexton saw him earn the final race win of the evening and the overall as a result. It was Anderson who led the field over the first four laps until Sexton inched by, going on to by 1.234s over Webb in the end to clinch a decisive first main event victory of the season.
Race three saw top-qualifier Sexton top Webb and Anderson, while the major talking point was Tomac crashing in spectacular fashion when challenging for the podium, only to remount for 13th position. Fourth was Roczen following a troubled start, followed by Ferrandis, Barcia, Plessinger, Cianciarulo, Savatgy and Craig.
The round podium was Sexton from Anderson and Roczen in his first podium since returning to Suzuki. In terms of the series, Tomac still leads after salvaging sixth tonight, four points up on both Sexton and Webb leading into Houston next Saturday, 4 February.
A consistent scorecard in tonight’s first Triple Crown round of the season at Anaheim 2 saw Kitchen secure his first Monster Energy Supercross victory.
A flawless ride from RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) in race one saw him holeshot and power to a controlled 1.038s victory over Pierce Brown (TLD Red Bull GasGas), who also enjoyed one of his best performances of the season in P2.
While Hampshire led from the outside with red plate-holder Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) giving chase, it was a mistake from the latter in the mid-stages of the race that saw him bumped back outside the top-five, only to charge back to third by race’s end. He wasn’t quite able to complete a move on Brown for position on the final lap.
Behind the leading trio, Kitchen claimed fourth, with Mitchell Oldenburg (Smartop MCR Honda) behind him in fifth position. Sixth through 10th were Stilez Robertson (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing), Maximus Vohland (Red Bull KTM), Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) after he was able to race through pain from a qualifying crash, Cole Thompson (Team Solitaire Heartbeat Hot Sauce Yamaha) and Derek Kelley (AEO Powersports KTM).
Chaos reigned supreme in the second race of the night, leading to Robertson taking a surprise win of sorts over Kitchen and longtime leader Phil Nicoletti (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha). First, Lawrence went down on the opening lap, eventually clawing his way all the way forward to sixth across the line.
The drama didn’t stop there though, with opening race winner Hampshire affected by a bad start and then an off-track excursion, before crashing out altogether when his hand slipped off through the sand section. Up front, Nicoletti led the first seven laps only for both Robertson and Kitchen to make their way past, which is how they would finish.
Fourth was Oldenburg, with Kelley fifth and Lawrence sixth after making a late move on McAdoo. Behind them came Vohland, who went down while in podium contention, Enzo Lopes (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha) and Anthony Rodriguez (Smartop MCR Honda). Kitchen, Robertson, Oldenburg and Lawrence were the progressive points leading into race three.
Lawrence finally executed like he knows how in the third and final race of the night, but it was too little, too late as a runner-up result from Kitchen was enough to seal the overall.
While Lawrence cruised to an advantage of 12.433s to cap-off his night, it was a clean effort from Kitchen that handed him a first-career 250SX win, edging Lawrence by a single point and second race winner Robertson completed the podium tonight.
Fourth in the race was Vohland after getting the better of a gritty McAdoo, while Oldenburg, Kelley, Brown, Rodriguez and Dylan Walsh (Revo Kawasaki) were the top 10. Hampshire returned for the final encounter, only to go down in the whoops and cross the finish 13th in the end.
What all that means is that Lawrence will carry a 16-point lead over McAdoo into Oakland when the western region resumes next month, while Hampshire is a further point back in third position.
An anticipated first Supercross Futures round of the year saw Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rider Daxton Bennick rise to the occasion, winning over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna duo Casey Cochran and Talon Hawkins.
New Zealander Cole Davies (Altherm JCR Yamaha) was fourth, with Haiden Deegan fifth after going down in the early stages. Top-qualifier Julien Beaumer (Yamaha) had to settle for P16 after his handlebars dropped early on.