Lawrence edges Thrasher in Tampa 250SX thriller
Former 450SX champion Webb prevails in Tampa for first win of 2023.
A final turn move from red plate-holder Hunter Lawrence was enough to edge him ahead of longtime leader Nate Thrasher following a 250SX East thriller in Tampa, as Cooper Webb charged to victory in the 450SX main event.
Team Honda HRC rider Lawrence’s inspired ride saw him recover from a poor start and swipe what appeared to be a sure victory for Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Thrasher in the final moments.
Thrasher led every lap before a stunning charge to the front put Lawrence in position to get to the checkered flag first via a last-turn move. By a mere 0.134s — the closest margin of victory in eight years — Lawrence extended his win streak to two after coming out on top a week ago in the Houston season-opener.
That meant Thrasher had to settle for a disappointing second, while Max Anstie (Fire Power Honda) finished third after falling prey to Lawrence’s unmatched speed earlier. That marked his second podium in two starts upon returning to the 250 class.
Rookie Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) finished fourth for the second-consecutive week, while Jeremy Martin (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha) ended up fifth after leading a few moments during the opening lap.
Another newcomer in Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) rode to a quiet sixth despite going down in the sand early, while Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas) earned seventh after hitting the ground when Lawrence made contact during a pass near the race’s midway point.
Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC), Jace Owen (Phoenix Racing Honda) and Hardy Munoz (Husqvarna) comprised the remainder of the top 10. Following a podium one week ago, Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) finished a disappointing 15th after crashing at the beginning of the race.
The points now have Lawrence leading by eight ahead of Anstie, with Deegan a further six back in third. Monster Energy Supercross will head back to the western region in Oakland next Saturday, 18 February.
Applying constant pressure to race-long leader Chase Sexton paid off for Webb as he forced a mistake and became the third 450SX winner of the year.
Webb, the 2021 premier class champion, stalked Team Honda HRC’s Sexton throughout the race, finally taking control when the No. 23 Honda hit the ground in the whoops section entering the closing minutes.
The Red Bull KTM rider jumped past the white flag with a lead of 6s over Sexton, who resumed in second ahead of the other factory KTM 450SX-F FE piloted by Aaron Plessinger.
Webb closed out his first victory since the Salt Lake City finale in 2021 by a margin of 6.169s as Plessinger landed on the podium for the first time in Supercross since the second round of the 2022 season at Oakland.
Ken Roczen (Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki) and reigning champion Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) made it four manufacturers in the top five, with Tomac nearly 32s back from the win at the end.
An early collision with Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) forced Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson to charge up to a sixth-place result, boosted by a late-race pass on seventh-place finisher Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing).
Barcia, Joey Savatgy of Rick Ware Racing, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna representative Christian Craig completed the top 10.
A fall for Anderson’s Kawasaki teammate Cianciarulo dropped the No. 9 Kawasaki KX450SR from fourth to an eventual 12th-place result.
As the series leaves Tampa and heads back west to complete the postponed Oakland event, the top three in the 450SX standings are covered by just four points, with Tomac two ahead of Sexton and Sexton two ahead of Webb.