Lawrence captures sixth 2023 win in Atlanta
Sexton reduces 450SX points deficit with wire-to-wire victory.
Located 20 miles south of Atlanta, the Atlanta Motor Speedway proved to be the site of another relatively simple win for 250SX East points leader Hunter Lawrence during his 2023 Monster Energy Supercross campaign, while Chase Sexton dominated at the unique venue to reduce his deficit in the 450SX points standings.
The team Honda HRC rider faced an early challenge from Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rider Haiden Deegan and was forced to reel Deegan back in after saving a near-crash in the early moments.
Upon his return to the lead, Lawrence pulled out to a lead of nearly 4s entering the final minutes and more than doubled it to 8.232s at the checkered flag.
Riding a Star Racing-prepared Yamaha YZ250F of his own, Jordon Smith got by Deegan for second before the race’s halfway point and settled for second behind Lawrence. The result ties Smith’s best previous 2023 result, from Arlington in late February.
Deegan collected his third career podium result ahead of Jo Shimoda as the returning Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider finished fourth in his first race of 2023.
Max Anstie (Fire Power Honda) finished fifth for his third time in 2023 in the follow-up to his 22nd-place outing inside Detroit’s Ford Field last time out.
Henry Miller (Ti-Lube Storm Lake Honda), Chris Blose (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Talon Hawkins (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), Cullin Park (Phoenix Racing Honda), and Caden Braswell (Phoenix Racing Honda) comprised the remainder of the top 10.
Nate Thrasher battled early with his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammates but crashed heavily in the whoops entering the final minutes. Known to be racing with a torn ACL, Thrasher left the racing area on a stretcher.
Similarly, crashes for Coty Schock (Phoenix Racing Honda, Jace Owen (Phoenix Racing Honda), Jeremy Martin (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha), and Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) limited their potential in the Atlanta main event and mired them at the bottom of the race results.
With the East/West Showdown at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium up next on April 22, Lawrence’s 250SX East lead has swelled to 45 points over Deegan. Anstie now holds third, a further 10 points back.
With a wire-to-wire victory, Sexton moved further past his array of mistakes during the 2023 Supercross season and reduced his deficit in the points.
Ken Roczen (Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki) started out front with Team Honda HRC rider Sexton after the day’s final gate drop, with Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) next on track.
Barcia moved into second as Anderson dropped back slightly, with Sexton leading comfortably.
At the checkered flag, 7.006s stood between Barcia and the victorious Sexton, who ensured Atlanta joined Anaheim and Detroit as venues at which he won during his 2023 Supercross campaign.
Roczen held on for third at the finish, a further 4.2s back from Barcia. At the same time, Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) had his race-long pursuit of Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) end 2.477s behind his championship rival.
While Tomac took the checkered flag fifth, Webb’s factory KTM stablemate Aaron Plessinger turned an LCQ win into a sixth-place result — his best since he took the checkered flag fourth four rounds ago in Indianapolis.
Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) recovered from a violent whoops crash while battling for the lead in his heat race to finish seventh in the main event.
A finish of eighth for Dean Wilson (Fire Power Honda) is his new high mark for the season and his best since two seventh-place finishes at Indianapolis and Seattle last year.
After Wilson, Colt Nichols (Team Honda HRC) and Justin Hill (Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsports) completed the top 10 in the Atlanta main event.
Anderson left the track early aboard his Kawasaki KX450SR, finishing six laps down in 21st.
Heading to the season’s 14th round at MetLife Stadium, Tomac holds a six-point advantage over Webb in the standings. Sexton is now 17 points back following his win.