News and stories from Powersports racing in the United States.
Hunter Lawrence Clinches 2023 AMA 250SX East Region Championship
During today’s AMA Supercross round at Nissan Stadium, Team Honda HRC rider Hunter Lawrence clinched the 250SX East Region Championship with yet another main-event victory. His teammate, Chase Sexton, won the 450SX main event on the same day. Of the nine East Region events held so far this season, Lawrence has ridden his CRF250R to the win in seven, and he finished third at the other two. The series finale is still to be run, but Lawrence’s 56-point lead in the title chase is too large for any rider to overcome.
This is Lawrence’s third season with Team Honda HRC. A native of Landsborough, in Queensland, Australia, he campaigned the 2016 European Motocross Championship as a 16-year-old, then moved up to the MX2 class the following season, earning attention when he finished second overall at the U.S. round in Florida. He switched to the 114 Motorsports Honda satellite squad for 2018 and finished third in the final standings despite missing several races. He topped the MX2 class at the Motocross of Nations that same year, before relocating to the U.S. with his family, so that he and his brother Jett could ride for the Factory Connection Honda satellite team . Although his bids for an AMA title were initially thwarted by injuries, his speed was obvious, and he and Jett were promoted to the factory squad for the 2021 season. Since then, Hunter has been consistently fast, finishing in the top three in every AMA championship he has campaigned with the squad. This much-deserved 2023 crown is his first in AMA racing.
“I just want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Hunter Lawrence said on the podium after the race. “Everyone that is with me now was with me when I was at my lowest of lows, so this is incredible. I can’t say I dreamed of this as a kid, because I didn’t know this was possible. I’m choked up; this is just surreal. This weekend has been incredible—the perfect day. I just want to celebrate this with everyone I love and care about—the whole team. This means the world.”
This marks the 13 th time that Honda has won the AMA Supercross East Region support-class title, with Lawrence joining past Red Riders including Brian Swink, Doug Henry, Davi Millsaps, Trey Canard, Justin Barcia, Wil Hahn, Malcolm Stewart, Justin Bogle, Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence . (Jett currently races a Team Honda HRC CRF250R in the AMA 250SX West Region and has a chance to clinch that title next week in Denver.)
“On behalf of everyone at American Honda and HRC, I’d like to extend a huge congratulations and thank you to Hunter,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Sports and Experiential at American Honda. “Of course it’s always an incredible feeling for a manufacturer and team to win a championship, but this one is particularly sweet, simply because Hunter has had to overcome so much to earn it. His family has made incredible sacrifices, moving first to Europe and then to the United States . As the older brother, Hunter has often had to blaze the trail, but he has consistently maintained a positive attitude, even when dealing with injuries and other setbacks. We’re all extremely proud of him, and we look forward to much continued success.”
Lawrence’s 2023 250SX East Championship comes in a season during which Honda marks the 50th anniversary of its first production motocross bike, the CR250M Elsinore, which Gary Jones rode to Honda’s first AMA Motocross Championship in 1973.
Chase Sexton Wins Nashville Supercross and Takes Over Second Place in Championship
Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton took the Round 15 win in a rare daytime Monster Energy AMA Supercross race in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Supercross series returned to Nashville. Daytime opening ceremonies kicked off the second-ever Supercross race in the Music City. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac led early but earned second at the checkered flag at Nissan Stadium. Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen delivered another podium performance and earned third place points toward both the 17-round 2023 Supercross season as well as the inaugural 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship. In the penultimate round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class season, Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence was picture-perfect for the race win and the points needed to seal his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship.
Chase Sexton’s Nashville Supercross win moved him into second place in the championship standings. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Eli Tomac grabbed a clear Holeshot and sprinted early to establish some breathing room on the pack of Tank Masters Red Line Oil Next Level KTM’s Kevin Moranz, Team Honda HRC’s Colt Nichols, Chase Sexton, Twisted Tea Suzuki Progressive Insurance’s Kyle Chisholm and Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia. Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsport’s Justin Hill got an incredible drive down the first rhythm lane and was into third place before the second corner. Absent was Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb, second in the championship points; Webb had been taken out of the event earlier by a tough crash in his Heat Race.
Tomac distanced himself from the pack as Sexton moved past Justin Hill to take over second just three minutes into the race. Sexton sat over four seconds back but set his sights on Tomac. A minute later Tomac had a near-crash in the whoops. The challenging track had created a lot of crashes through qualifying and racing. Tomac’s scare convinced him to lower his aggression, as he reported on the podium after the race.
Just over five minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race Barcia moved forward into third place. Up front, Sexton steadily cut down the lead. The next few laps shook up the race as Sexton made it to Tomac’s rear fender just as Barcia crashed hard off the Dragon’s Back. Barcia was out just as Roczen nabbed third from Justin Hill. From there the race leaders held their spots on the slick, dry track. Sexton earned his fourth win of the season and moved into second in the championship standings. Tomac lost three points to Chase but extended his points lead to 18 due to Webb earning zero in Nashville.
Hunter Lawrence made it a Team HRC Honda sweep by taking the Nashville win and also the 2023 Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
When the gate dropped for the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Hunter Lawrence grabbed the Holeshot but Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Jordon Smith quickly charged up to him. In the third corner Smith bumped his way past and into the lead ahead of Lawrence and Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin. A minute and a half into the 15-minute plus one lap race Smith held first ahead of Lawrence, Smith, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda, and Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan. With a 49-point lead and only one Eastern Regional 250SX Class round remaining after Nashville, Lawrence could finish as low as 20th and still claim the title. But Lawrence looked like he wanted to go out with a win, and hounded Smith up front. Shimoda moved into third behind them and Deegan fought to get past Martin for fourth.
With 9:30 remaining on the race clock Smith overcooked a turn in the sand section and went off the track and into the Tuff Blox. He didn’t fall, but the mistake and correction to get back on the track cost him two positions. Lawrence took over the lead but suddenly Shimoda was on a tear and looking like he might soon fight for the front spot. Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie, the winner at the previous round, had made his way into sixth and reached Deegan’s rear wheel just before Deegan made his own move and passed Martin for fourth place.
Late in the race Lawrence had built a comfortable lead while Shimoda, Smith, and Deegan ran close enough that each of their positions were in jeopardy. The riders circled the final laps without major mistakes. Lawrence brought home the race win and with it his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross title. Shimoda earned his first podium of the season after missing most of it due to injury, and Smith took the final podium spot.
Only two rounds remain in the season. The 450SX Class racers line up again inside Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado next Saturday, May 6th before the 2023 Supercross Championship Final Presented by Utah Sports Commission at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 13th. Two champions remain to be crowned, one in the 450SX Class and one in the Western Regional 250SX Class.
The two rounds will also pay points toward the all-new SuperMotocross World Championship which encompasses the Supercross season, the AMA Pro Motocross season, two Playoff races and a Final to determine the sport’s first SuperMotocross World Champion in September.
All 31-rounds of the SuperMotocross World Championship are streamed live on Peacock and select rounds are broadcast on NBC, USA Network, and CNBC. The 450 class racers battle for a one million dollar payout to the winner, and the 250 class racers all battle in a single class for a $500,000 prize to the winner in that class.
Tickets are available now alongside video highlights, race results, the complete SMX schedule, and more at SupercrossLIVE.com.
450SX Class podium (riders left to right) Eli Tomac, Chase Sexton, and Ken Roczen.
Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
450SX Class Results
- Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
- Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM
- Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
- Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Honda
- Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki
- Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Suzuki
- Josh Hill, Huntersville, N.C., KTM
450SX Class Championship Standings
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (338)
- Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (320)
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (304)
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (280)
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (267)
- Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (242)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (213)
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM (172)
- Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (170)
- Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Honda (165)
250SX Class podium (riders left to right) Jordon Smith, Hunter Lawrence, and Jo Shimoda.
Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
- Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
- Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
- Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha
- Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha
- Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda
- Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha
- Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
- Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki
- Henry Miller, Rochester, Minn., Honda
- Cullin Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
- Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (224)
- Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (168)
- Max Anstie, Cairo, Ga., Honda (166)
- Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (141)
- Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (132)
- Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (128)
- Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (120)
- Tom Vialle, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (111)
- Cullin Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda (109)
- Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda (89)
NASHVILLE SUPERCROSS HITS SOUR NOTE WITH JUSTIN BARCIA
Several of the AMA Supercross series frontrunners endured costly crashes at Nashville, and unfortunately, that included Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing Team’s Justin Barcia.
- After Justin’s big win in East Rutherford last weekend the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing Team was looking to add to their string of recent successes
- Justin Barcia ends up in 21st spot after a hard crash in the main event
- Michael Mosiman sat out the action in Nashville
Things were looking good again for Justin Barcia and his MC 450F Factory Edition machine early in the day, as he qualified third-fastest, and then backed that up with a win in his heat race. After a strong start to the main, he quickly worked his way into fourth place, and then into third place by lap six. Unfortunately, shortly after that, he had a hard crash in the dragon’s back section of the track. Despite being assisted by the Alpinestars Mobile Medical crew, he was unable to continue.
After injuries earlier in the season, Michael Mosiman is back in the saddle and continues to prepare for the upcoming AMA Pro Motocross season.
Next Event (Round 16): May 6, 2023 – Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo.
Results – 2023 AMA Supercross Championship, Round 15
250SX East – Main Event Results
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda) 17 laps; 2. Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki) +03.857; 3. Jordon Smith (Yamaha) +05.305
450SX – Main Event Results
1. Chase Sexton (Honda) 23 laps; 2. Eli Tomac (Yamaha) +14.513; 3. Ken Roczen (Suzuki) +29.756 … 11. Justin Starling (GASGAS)… 13. Tristan Lane (GASGAS)… 21. Justin Barcia (GASGAS)
Championship Standings – After 15 Rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda) 224 points; 2. Haiden Deegan (Yamaha) 168 points; 3. Max Anstie (Honda) 166 points … 19. Michael Mosiman (GASGAS) 51 points
1. Eli Tomac (Yamaha) 338 points; 2. Chase Sexton (Honda) 320 points; 3. Cooper Webb (KTM) 304 … 5. Justin Barcia (GASGAS) 267; 21. Justin Starling (GASGAS) 66 … 29. Tristan Lane (GASGAS) 13
LOWS AND HIGHS FOR TALON HAWKINS IN NASHVILLE SUPERCROSS
Throw in everything from soft and wet conditions in the morning, to hard to dry in the afternoon of the unusual day race, and Nashville provided plenty of opportunities for an exceptional educational experience for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team rookie, Talon Hawkins.
After a tough go in the heat race, where Talon made contact with another rider, he returned to score a win in the LCQ aboard his FC250. In the main event, he had to work from the rear after getting pushed wide in the first turn, and he improved from 22nd to 12th at the finish.
“The race had a lot of ups and downs, that’s for sure, but that’s part of learning and this is my first year doing this. We’re learning a lot and I’m glad I’m getting time to see time on the pro tracks,” said Hawkins. “I went down in the heat. I came together with another rider. It happens. It’s racing. So, I had to go through the LCQ, and I ended up coming out with a win, and it was cool to be able to put my FC250 up on the podium and talk about it. In the main event, I was on my way to a good start, and unfortunately, I got pushed out wide and into a Tuf-Blox. I had to come from dead last to 12th. There were some good moments to take away from this race, and let’s get back to work.
Christian Craig and Malcolm Stewart are both still sidelined and are continuing their recovery and/or preparation for future events to come in ’23.
\Next Event (Round 16): May 6, 2023 – Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo.
Round 15 Results: Nashville
250 SX East Results
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda)
2. Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki)
3. Jordon Smith (Yamaha)
12. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
450 SX Results
1. Chase Sexton (Honda)
2. Eli Tomac (Yamaha)
3. Ken Roczen (Suzuki)
250 SX Rider Point Standings
1. Hunter Lawrence – 224 points
2. Haiden Deegan – 168 points
3. Max Anstie – 166 points
13. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 73 points
450 SX Rider Point Standings
1. Eli Tomac – 338 points
2. Chase Sexton – 320 points
3. Cooper Webb – 304 points
11. Christian Craig – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 150 points
28. Malcolm Stewart – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 15 points
TOM VIALLE SEVENTH IN TOUGH NASHVILLE FOR RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Round 15 of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship in Nashville proved to be a difficult day that unfolded for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, with Tom Vialle racing to seventh in the 250SX East Main Event, and two-time 450SX title-winner Cooper Webb crashing out of Heat 1.
After qualifying in P8, Vialle powered his KTM 250 SX-F to a sixth-place result in the opening Heat race of the event, which transferred the French rookie directly into the Main Event. The Tennessee circuit further deteriorated with each gate-drop, making for an added challenge come Main Event time, where Vialle went on to secure seventh place. He currently sits eighth in the standings.
Tom Vialle: “I crashed in practice, so the beginning of the day wasn’t as expected, but recovered well in the Heat race with a fourth, before I was docked two positions because I didn’t see the red cross flag. That gave me a tough gate pick for the main, and I came around the first corner in eighth or ninth. I was close to sixth, although ended the race in seventh. The track was very sketchy and I lost a bit of time in the dragon’s back section, but overall, an average result here and one more chance to race Supercross for the season in two weeks’ time.”
Title challenger Webb stormed out of the gates and led the opening 450SX Heat race of the day, before going down soon afterward on lap one. The 27-year-old was then transferred from the stadium to the hospital for further evaluation, unfortunately, ruled out for the remainder of the round, and he is now positioned third in points. An additional update once he has seen his doctor will follow.
The KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION of Aaron Plessinger was a non-starter in Nashville, recovering from his incident last weekend in East Rutherford, and he is intending to return to action next Saturday in Denver, Colorado.
Next Race: May 6 – Denver, Colorado
Results 450SX Class – Nashville
1. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, 23 laps
2. Eli Tomac (USA), Yamaha, +14.513
3. Ken Roczen (GER), Suzuki, +29.756
5. Justin Hill (USA), KTM
10. Josh Hill (USA), KTM
12. Kevin Moranz (USA), KTM
18. Max Miller (USA), KTM
Standings 450SX Class 2023 after 15 of 17 rounds
1. Eli Tomac, 338
2. Chase Sexton, 320
3. Cooper Webb, 304
7. Aaron Plessinger, 213
8. Justin Hill, 172
14. Josh Hill, 116
18. Kevin Moranz, 81
Results 250SX East Class – Nashville
1. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 17 laps
2. Jo Shimoda (JPN), Kawasaki, +3.857
3. Jordon Smith (USA), Yamaha, +5.305
7. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM
Results 250SX East Class 2023 after 9 of 10 rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence, 224
2. Haiden Deegan, 168
3. Max Anstie, 166
8. Tom Vialle, 111
Gaige Herrera Dominates NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte
Gaige Herrera extended the perfect start to his breakout rookie season by delivering the Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team its second consecutive Pro Stock Motorcycle class win Sunday onboard his Gen III Suzuki Hayabusa at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC.
- Gaige Herrera dominated the weekend by topping qualifying and winning a second straight race in his first career NHRA four-wide race appearance.
- Eddie Krawiec qualified second to lock out the top two starting spots for the Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team and finished in third place.
Gaige Herrera (79) captures his second win in a row in his first four-wide race in Charlotte.
Under the NHRA’s unique four-wide racing format, the first two motorcycles to cross the finish line, barring a redlight jumpstart, advance to the next round regardless of lane pairing. In the final round four-wide quad, the first motorcycle to cross the finish line wins.
Unfazed by his inexperience in four-wide racing, Herrera displayed more of the speed and poise that have vaulted him to the top of the Pro Stock Motorcycle standings by qualifying number one for the second race in a row with a 6.735 seconds/201.52 mph run on Saturday.
In the first round of eliminations, Herrera won his first-round quad matchup with a strong 6.754-second/201.13 mph run to easily advance past runner-up Kelly Clontz (6.874-seconds/196.04 mph), who also moved to the second round.
Herrera advanced to his second career final round thanks to some luck in the semi-finals after his motorcycle slowed when his kill switch lanyard became detached and shut off the engine near the end of the run. Despite the hiccup, his 6.857-second/170.02 mph run was good enough to advance into the final round along with runner-up Matt Smith (6.916-seconds/194.60 mph).
Continuing his dominance, Herrera blasted to a second straight race win with a hammer-blow 6.71-second/202.00 mph pass that easily covered the other three bikes in the final round quad. Matt Smith finished runner-up with a 6.780-second/199.61 mph run, followed by Krawiec in third (6.784-seconds/199.37 mph) and Steve Johnson (6.810-seconds/197.54 mph) in fourth, capturing the four top finishing positions for Suzuki.
Exuding confidence and calmness that belies his rookie status, Herrera is taking his incredible start to the season in stride. “It’s definitely more than I expected. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in the Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team, but as far as me being able to hold my composure and show the results of all the hard work they do back at the shop, it’s a lot to take in.”
Herrera is also adapting to the techniques required to ride a Pro Stock Motorcycle consistently fast. “Every pass has a learning curve. I’m still working on how to make little changes with my body during a run that won’t affect the motorcycle’s elapsed time or top speed. The Gen III Suzuki Hayabusa is a dream to ride, and if I leave the line going straight, I know it’s going to be a good pass. I have one of the best bikes out there, so I’ll try to make it three in a row in Chicago.”
Making the final for the first time in this early season, Eddie Krawiec (7) finishes third.
After struggling with an inconsistent performance at the end of the 2022 season, Krawiec has turned a corner with his motorcycle’s performance this season after chasing and fixing some hard-to-diagnose issues.
Capitalizing on improvements made to his Suzuki Hayabusa after the opening round in Gainesville, Krawiec posted a strong 6.765-second/197.77 mph qualifying performance to claim the second starting position.
In the first round, Krawiec staged a come-from-behind win in his quad matchup against Hector Arana, Jr., Ron Tornow, and Angie Smith. He advanced to the second round with a 6.822-second/200.02 mph run, along with runner-up Arana (6.914-seconds/199.55 mph).
Improving on his first-round speed, Krawiec advanced to the finals with a 6.784-second/199.73 mph run to defeat runner-up Steve Johnson (6.806-seconds/198.00 mph).
Krawiec trailed his teammate in the final round, finishing in third place in the quad with a 6.784-second/199.37 mph pass.
“We fixed some things on my bike and are running a completely different setup now than last year, so I’ve got to relearn what makes it happy,” Krawiec said. “As we do that, it’ll get better and better. It’s good to have a fast motorcycle and that’s now in view. I’m not looking for it with binoculars anymore.”
Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki crew chief Andrew Hines praised Herrera’s performance and his perfect start to the season.
“Gaige is on fire. He’s a rookie. He’s got nothing to lose and nothing to prove. He just goes out there and races,” Hines said. “We had a lot of time off after Gainesville, a lot of time to go through all our engines and figure out which ones were the best. We brought our two A-game pieces to this race that we knew were ready to go and to be class leaders. The new Gen III Hayabusa body is allowing both riders to make flawless runs, and our Vance & Hines horsepower is shining. These are the two best race bikes we’ve brought to the racetrack in a long time. The clutch tune-up I have in Gaige’s bike is working very well. We’ve just got to adapt the setup on Eddie’s bike a little bit better and we’ll be good to go for Chicago in a few weeks.”
After two of 15 rounds, Herrera and Krawiec currently sit first and third in the Pro Stock Motorcycle standings with 255 and 135 points, respectively.
The Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team will be back in action May 19-21 at the Gerber Collision and Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway in Elwood, IL.
For the latest Suzuki team news, race reports, and information visit SuzukiCycles.com/Racing/Drag-Racing.
450SX TITLE BID OF RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING’S COOPER WEBB ENDS FOLLOWING NASHVILLE EXIT
MURRIETA, Calif. – Two-time 450SX champion Cooper Webb’s 2023 AMA Supercross Championship title challenge has come to an early ending following his crash at Nashville on Saturday, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider now taking the time to recover from a concussion sustained in the incident.
Webb has thankfully been cleared of any additional major injuries following his exit in the opening Heat race of the night, however, the 27-year-old who won the premier class title with Red Bull KTM both in 2019 and 2021 will be absent from the upcoming final two rounds of the 2023 season.
Cooper Webb: “As many of you saw, I suffered a concussion last night in Nashville. I am thankful everything else has checked out okay. This will unfortunately put an end to my SX season. It hurts to have it end like this, but I can hold my head high knowing that I gave it my all.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager, Ian Harrison, echoed Webb’s sentiments, acknowledging that safety is paramount for the team’s riders, despite the disappointment of being ruled out of contention this late in the 17-round Supercross season.
Ian Harrison: “It’s definitely not the end to the 2023 Supercross Championship season that the team had hoped for, but we are very relieved that Cooper is okay after what had the potential to be a very nasty accident, as he was really going for it when he went down in a racing incident. Our riders’ health and safety are very important to the team, so knowing he is going to be okay is a huge weight off everyone’s shoulders. Obviously, we were really looking forward to taking the championship hunt all the way down to the final Supercross race in Salt Lake City, but unfortunately, that won’t be the case this year. It’s disappointing, but we will turn our focus towards our 250 riders’ final Supercross races of the season, as well as supporting Aaron Plessinger as he heals from his crash at the previous round in New Jersey, and get a jump start on preparing for the upcoming Pro Motocross Championship season.”
This season has marked a spectacular return to form for Webb riding the 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION, securing nine podium finishes over the course of the opening 14 rounds, which included two 450SX Main Event victories in Tampa and Arlington, respectively. He entered Nashville ranked second in the standings, 11 points outside of the red plate prior to his fall.
The 2023 AMA Supercross Championship now heads to Denver, Colorado, for the penultimate round of the series this weekend, before the final round in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday, May 13, will draw the curtains on this year’s championship.
FMF KTM FACTORY RACING TEAM ENDURES CHALLENGING PRIMM NGPC ROUND
PRIMM, Nev. – The FMF KTM Factory Racing Team experienced a challenging day in the Nevada desert for round six of the 2023 AMA National Grand Prix Championship (NGPC), with Mateo Oliveira 11th in the Pro Class and defending champion Dante Oliveira credited 14th position.
Ending the opening lap in third position, the elder Oliveira brother would climb his way into the race lead by lap four. An unfortunate fueling issue then dropped the number one bike down the order and eventually to 14th position, where he would finish. Dante retains the points lead in the Pro Class, currently holding an 18-point advantage.
Dante Oliveira: “Round six started off solid for me, ran third for the first few laps and grabbed the lead around the 50-minute mark, then ran into trouble on that same lap, so went in and got that sorted. Came back out, tried to charge, but all-in-all it was a tough day. We’ll be back for the next one.”
The story was similar for the second FMF KTM Factory Racing team rider, Mateo Oliveira, who began the race in fifth place, remaining inside the top five on his 450 XC-F until lap five when he was also struck by a similar problem, which relegated him to 10th by race’s end. He sits eighth in the point standings.
Mateo Oliveira: “We were moving in the right direction today for round six of the NPGC Series, ran up front, and proved that we can be right there in the fight. Next round we’ll come out swinging.”
The weekend in Primm saw an exceptional ride from KTM-mounted Mikayla Nielsen, who took home the top honors in the Pro Women’s Class and extended her series lead, while Kaitlyn Jacobs secured the final step of the podium in third.
Round 7: Delta, Utah – May 19-21, 2023
Results: Round 6
1. Cole Martinez, HON
2. Justin Hoeft, YAM
3. Zach Bell, KAW
10. Mateo Oliveira, KTM
14. Dante Oliveira, KTM
Pro Women Results
1. Mikayla Nielsen, KTM
2. Ava Silvestri, GAS
3. Kaitlyn Jacobs, KTM
Pro Championship Standings
1. Dante Oliveira, 143
2. Cole Martinez, 125
3. Ryan Surratt, 119
8. Mateo Oliveira, 78
ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA’S AUSTIN WALTON CONTINUES NGPC FORM WITH FOURTH PLACE AT PRIMM
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Austin Walton has continued his run of form in the 2023 AMA National Grand Prix Championship (NGPC) round at Primm, notching another top-five result with his fourth-place ride in Nevada.
Walton completed the opening lap of the race in P6 and would progressively pick his way through the field to end up in fourth by lap five. It was there that Walton would see out the race, crossing the line in fourth position by the race’s end and retaining P4 in the Pro Class standings.
“All done here with the NGPC round six here in Nevada,” Walton commented. “I’m in a positive headspace, it was a tough day with the heat and how rough the track was, though we made improvements – we keep making improvements – and it’s all positive. The team is working hard, so am I, and we keep making great progress. Today I walked away with fourth place, which isn’t exactly where I expect to be, though we’re getting better and better each round and moving in the right direction toward that top step.”
Meanwhile, a strong start for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Dalton Shirey saw him sitting in third place throughout the opening stages of the race, before being caught out by an unfortunate fueling issue on lap five. Shirey returned to the field soon afterward and put on a charge, ending the Primm event in ninth position.
“Today I started off with a great start,” recalled Shirey. “Dante Oliveira and Justin Hoeft set a solid pace that I struggled to match, so I was happy to sit tight in that third position. That was before I realized that I had the problem, then I hauled the mail to get back into the race. We’ll get them at the next one!”
Next Round (7): Delta, Utah – May 21, 2023
1. Cole Martinez, HON
2. Justin Hoeft, YAM
3. Zach Bell, KAW
4. Austin Walton – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
9. Dalton Shirey – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
Pro Championship Standings
1. Dante Oliveira, 143
2. Cole Martinez, 125
3. Ryan Surratt, 119
4. Austin Walton – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 104
9. Dalton Shirey – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 72
Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda Secures Fifth Career Supercross Podium at Nashville SX
Foothill Ranch, Calif. (April 30, 2023) – The upbeat tunes of Music City echoed through the early morning sky of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, for Round 15 of the Monster Energy® Supercross Championship where Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda reached another career milestone after clinching his fifth career Supercross podium with a second-place finish. Teammate Chris Blose continued his string of top-10 finishes with a consistent eighth-place result. In the 450SX Class, Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson rebounded from crashes early in the day to earn sixth place while his teammate Adam Cianciarulo put on a come from behind performance to finish in eighth.
With showers early in the week soaking the Nashville track and an early start time, Saturday morning track conditions presented riders with a tacky top layer combined with a slick base. When 250SX Class qualifying sessions began, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo of Shimoda and Blose were quick to experiment with a variety of different lines and rhythm lane runs. Shimoda placed green on top of the leaderboard during the first qualifying session as he set the fastest time of the morning with a 54.092 lap time. When the timed qualifying practices concluded, Shimoda was third fastest (53.407) with Blose recording the sixth-fastest lap time (53.976).
In the first 250SX heat race, Blose emerged from Turn 1 running in third and quickly distanced himself with the leaders from the rest of the field. The No.57 showed consistency and speed as he managed to stay competitive against the top-two riders. With no real threat from behind, and a comfortable gap to the riders ahead, Blose rode a steady and controlled race, crossing the finish line in third and securing his spot in the main event.
At the start of 250SX Heat 2, Shimoda was fifth heading into the first turn. Buried in the pack, the young Japanese-born rider displayed impressive race craft as he kept the opposition behind and moved into fourth place during the opening laps. As racing progressed, the No.30 closed in on a top-three position and began to apply immense pressure in efforts to take over third place. The crowd inside Nissan Stadium roared as Shimoda and former 250 Class champion Alex Martin engaged in a multi-lap battle until Shimoda made a mistake due to the slick track conditions, ending his run for a third-place finish. The No.30 tried to close the gap to third once more but with little time remaining, he settled for fourth.
When the gate dropped on the 250SX Main Event, Shimoda and Blose launched their KX™250 race machines to strong fourth and fifth place starts. Running in fourth, Shimoda wasted no time in making his way forward by skillfully passing Martin in the opening rhythm section to take third place. Blose on the other hand, shuffled back to eighth place. Keen on returning to his podium ways, Shimoda deployed an impressive charge, gradually closing in on the leaders with each lap. Once he was within a few bike lengths of the lead group, the No.30 put on a masterclass in technique and race strategy as he capitalized on the back and forth racing ahead to maneuver into second place. Meanwhile, Blose engaged in a fierce battle with Tom Vialle for seventh place, fighting tooth and nail to gain ground. Despite his best efforts, Blose crossed the finish line in eighth place, while Shimoda finished in second. With his fifth career 250SX Class podium, Shimoda proved once again that he’s still a force to be reckoned with.
“My jump out of the gate wasn’t the best, but I stayed focused and kept pushing forward. I made some great passes and was able to work my way up to second place. It feels amazing to have fought my way back to the front of the pack and earn a podium finish. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team and my fans. I’m mostly happy to be back on the podium where I know I belong and I’m excited to carry this momentum into the final round.”
– Jo Shimoda
“I got a decent start in the Main Event, but some silly mistakes during the opening lap shuffled me back. I did my best to regain some positions once the race settled down, but I couldn’t find the right opportunity to attempt a pass. I’m proud of the effort I put in and that I was able to keep my consistent run of top-10 finishes intact. The team and I will do some extra work on the starts this week so we’re better prepared to battle up front during the final round in two weeks.”
– Chris Blose
Monster Energy Kawasaki riders Anderson and Cianciarulo continued their recent success in qualifying sessions as both KX™450SR riders quickly adapted to the track’s challenging conditions. During the first timed session of the morning, the Kawasaki duo made their mark with times inside the top-10 and turned up the speed for the second session as Cianciarulo placed his Kawasaki near the top spot of the leaderboard with the second fastest lap time (52.889). Anderson wasn’t far behind, and although a mistake in the whoops momentarily threw him off course, the No.21 still managed to claim the seventh quickest lap with a 53.490.
The No.9 of Cianciarulo utilized the power of his KX450SR at the start of 450SX Heat 1 to rocket out to a third-place start and quickly began pressuring the riders ahead. With the front three riders jockeying for the lead during the opening lap, a mistake from the leaders ahead allowed Cianciarulo to move into second and build a comfortable gap in front of the competition. The No.9 continued to log consistent laps through to the checkered flag, securing a second-place finish.
When the gate dropped on 450SX Heat 2, Anderson placed green towards the front once more as he reached the first turn in third. Narrowly escaping chaos behind him, Anderson set his sights forward and began to close the gap to second during the opening lap. Unfortunately, the quickly deteriorating track conditions saw Anderson get cross-rutted in the middle of the opening rhythm section and fall off the side of the track. Battered and bruised, the New Mexico native left the heat race early to recover and prepare for the 450SX LCQ.
When the 450SX LCQ gate dropped, Anderson again rocketed out to a superb start, this time reaching the first turn in second. A determined Anderson quickly moved into the lead before the end of the opening lap and immediately built a decent gap from the riders behind. Looking to put the mistakes from earlier in the day behind him, the No.21 rode a smooth and consistent race through to the checkered flag to take the race win and transfer into the Main Event.
In the 450SX Main Event, the Monster Energy Kawasaki duo faced early adversity with Anderson starting in 11th and Cianciarulo tipping over in the first turn. Unfazed by the daunting task at hand, Cianciarulo quickly gained ground to move from 22nd to 12th place, behind his teammate, by the second lap. As they worked their way up the field, the Kawasaki teammates engaged in an exciting multi-lap battle that culminated in Cianciarulo passing Anderson for ninth just before the long whoop section. Despite the intense competition, Anderson mounted his own charge and eventually overtook Cianciarulo to finish in a respectable sixth place, while Cianciarulo finished in a solid eighth place, earning Monster Energy Kawasaki two top-10 results.
“Today was a tough day, but I didn’t let the earlier setbacks get to me and I knew I had to give it my all in the Main Event. My body was sore heading into the Main Event, but I raced with everything I had, and I’m happy to have salvaged a top-10 finish for the team. It’s not the result I wanted, but sometimes it’s just about picking yourself up and pushing through no matter what. I’m proud of the effort we put in, and we’ll come back stronger next race.”
– Jason Anderson
“I was feeling great in qualifying and happy with how I was riding, but unfortunately I made a small mistake entering the first turn during the Main Event and had to battle my way through the pack. I found a good flow early in the race and managed to get into the top-10 and put on a good battle for the fans against my teammate. As the track continued to deteriorate, I made a couple of mistakes that cost me some time. Overall, I’m proud of how I was able to fight back and salvage some points with an eighth-place finish. We’ll regroup and come back stronger next race.”
– Adam Cianciarulo
Championship, Double Win for Team Honda HRC at Nashville SX
Team Honda HRC collected its third win-sweep of the season at the Nashville Supercross, and this one was even better than the first two. Not only did Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence top the 450SX and 250SX East classes, respectively, but Lawrence also clinched his first-ever AMA championship one round early. To top it all off, Colt Nichols notched a fourth-place result in the premier division–the best of his career.
Sexton got a fifth-place start in the 450SX main event and was in third the first time across the line. By the end of lap 3 he had powered his CRF450RWE by Justin Hill through the whoops, and then he set his sights on title-rival Eli Tomac. He closed in on the reigning champ and moved by at the halfway point. From there, the Illinois native rode flawlessly on a treacherous track, ultimately winning by 14.5 seconds. Meanwhile, Nichols enjoyed a strong start, slipped back a few spots, then rebounded to move up to fourth place by the finish.
Lawrence nailed the 250SX East main-event holeshot aboard his CRF250R but was quickly passed by Jordon Smith. The Australian waited patiently before taking advantage of a lap-6 pass opportunity and assuming the lead. Masterfully navigating the dry, slippery, technical conditions that rewarded his technical prowess, Lawrence pulled ahead to win by 3.9 seconds and celebrate with his family and team.
- The Nashville Supercross featured an early schedule, which meant the Team Honda HRC crew left their hotel at 5:40 a.m.
- For Supercross weekend in Music City, Hunter Lawrence did an amazing collaboration with Gibson Guitar. On Friday, he starred in a meet-and-greet at Gibson Garage, where he signed autographs for fans and was presented with a special guitar. Then on race day, Lawrence wore special Alpinestars gear inspired by the 1979 signature Les Paul guitar of Tool guitarist Adam Jones. Jones is also a visual artist and animator who has created cover art for the band’s albums and directed many of their videos. Lawrence is a huge fan of the band, and he also wore a helmet featuring artwork by Jones.
- Chase Sexton, Colt Nichols and Lawrence took part in Media Day Friday, although rain during the week meant that there was no riding, in order to protect the track for race day.
- Team Honda HRC hosted former Redondo Beach Police Department motorcycle officer Bill Turner at Nashville. Turner, who recently retired, is a longtime friend of several team members and Honda associates, and he was heavily involved in an Africa Twin-based police-bike project that the RBPD is spearheading. During a small ceremony in the Honda pits, Turner was presented with a special plaque that featured several factory CRF components.
- Jett Lawrence was on hand in Nashville to cheer his brother on to his championship.
- Several Honda managers made the trip from the company’s Alpharetta, Georgia, Powersports Division headquarters, and watched the race from a suite.
- Former Honda and Factory Connection team manager and mechanic Dan Betley was also in Nashville, and he visited some of his friends and former colleagues in the Team Honda HRC pits.
- Everyone at Honda and HRC sends their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Wills Fedrick. The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Paddock Manager lost his life during the week leading up to the race. Fedrick was invariably a huge help in the pits, and a pleasure to spend time with. He’ll be missed.
- During morning qualifying, Team Honda HRC once again topped the combined times in both classes, with Sexton best in 450SX and Lawrence quickest in 250SX East. Nichols ended up 10th in the premier division.
- The second 250SX East heat race saw Lawrence exit turn 1 in third (behind two other Hondas) and move into the lead on the first lap. From there, he rode perfectly to the win, with Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie two seconds back. The fifth-through-seventh spots were taken by Phoenix Racing Honda riders Jace Owen, Caden Braswell and Coty Schock, followed by Moto Academy’s AJ Catanzaro. The first heat advanced three Red Riders: Red Research Group’s Luke Neese, Valley Ford Truck’s Jeremy Hand and Phoenix’s Cullin Park. TiLube/Storm Lake Honda’s Henry Miller and Michael Hicks made it through the last-chance qualifier, making it 12 CRF250Rs out of 22 bikes in the main event.
- Sexton suffered a poor start in the second 450SX heat race but was up to third by the end of lap 1. A lap-6 pass on Ken Roczen moved him into second, which is where he finished. Colt Nichols was fourth in the first heat race.
- Sexton’s 450SX win is his fourth this year and the fifth of his career. Lawrence’s victory in 250SX is his seventh of the year (in just nine races!) and the 12th of his career.
- Sexton and Lawrence both participated in the post-race press conference.
- Team Honda HRC now heads west to Denver for the penultimate AMA Supercross round of the year, in Denver. Jett Lawrence has an opportunity to clinch the 250SX West title a round early (he currently has a 39-point lead). Meanwhile, Sexton’s win, combined with the injury to Cooper Webb, moved him up to second in the premier division, and he’ll be shooting for another win in order to eat into Eli Tomac’s 18-point advantage.
Smith Scores Fifth Podium of Season
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Jordon Smith returned to the podium, finishing third at the penultimate round of the 250SX East Championship at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. His rookie teammate Haiden Deegan had another strong performance in the challenging conditions and crossed the line fourth.
With rain preceding the 15th round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, riders were met with challenging track conditions for the day race schedule. Smith got off to a flying start topping free practice and qualifying second in the combined times. He grabbed the holeshot in the first 250 heat race of the day and led from start to finish. The North Carolinian got another great start in the main event in second and quickly claimed the lead. Smith led the first five laps but unfortunately went off track and rejoined in third. The veteran kept his cool in the changing conditions and tried to charge back to the runner-up spot, but ultimately crossed the line third for his fifth podium of the season.
Deegan qualified fourth and had a good start in his heat race, slotting in behind his teammate to finish second. In the main event, he didn’t get off the gate as he had hoped but was in the top five. The Californian kept pushing and made his way to fourth with an outside pass after the whoops. He tried to close the gap on the frontrunners, but there wasn’t enough time, and he crossed the line fourth. Deegan maintains his runner-up position in the 250SX East Championship as the regional class gets a weekend off before the season finale in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Next weekend Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Levi Kitchen returns for Round 8 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX West Championship and the 16th round of the SuperMotocross World Championship at the Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado, on May 6.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“We started bright and early this morning, but it was a good day for us. I was right there with the top times in each practice and won the heat race. Then I got off to a great start in the main, passed for the lead, and led the thing for maybe five or six minutes. I made a mistake and went off the track and got a little tight after that. The track was really gnarly. It was really hard to keep pushing all the way through the main event, especially with a little bit of arm pump. The track just broke down a lot. The track crew tried fixing it, but it was just soft and hard at the same time. One of the rhythm sections was already foot-peg deep which they fixed before the main event, so it was constantly changing, and you had to stay on your toes the whole main. I’m happy to get my fifth podium of the season and battling for the win. It’s been a long time since I’ve been consistently on the podium, so I’m not taking that for granted. We’re just going to keep working.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It was a good day overall. Qualifying was alright, and then the heat race was good. I had good speed and got second. In the main event, I got a bad start and tried to push through, but I just didn’t have enough time at the end. I ended up getting close, which was good. It was the first time I was able to catch the front guys, so I’m happy with that. The track did break down a lot more than I thought it was going to, watching previous videos of this place. It had quite a bit of ruts, and it was hard-packed, dry, and sketchy. So fourth place on the day. We will just keep getting better.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 Team Manager
“The weekend went, with Smith ending the day on the podium and Deegan fourth. They qualified great, with Smith second and Haiden fourth, and they both raced Heat 2 and finished 1-2 to get great gate picks for the main. They both had good starts, and Smith found himself in first on the first lap, but a small mistake shuffled him back to third. He put in a late charge to try and secure second but was a little short and finished third, which is great to go into the final round with a podium. Haiden fought his way through some guys to finish fourth. It’s not what he wanted, but he can continue to fight and go for a podium spot at the finale.”
Tomac Strengthens Title Defense in Nashville
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac rode a smart race in challenging conditions at the Nissan Stadium to take a runner-up finish at Round 15 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship in Nashville, Tennessee. The reigning 450SX Champion’s 11th podium of the season bolstered his title defense, giving him an 18-point lead with two rounds remaining.
Rain in advance of the event made for challenging track conditions, but Tomac showed strength straight away and topped the first two sessions. He ultimately qualified fourth on the combined timesheets and then got off to a flying start, grabbing the holeshot and the first 450 heat race win. In the main event, the reigning champ grabbed another holeshot and set a blistering pace up front to have over a three-second lead on the first lap. He continued to throw down some fast times and built a comfortable gap up front. As the race wore on, the competition closed the gap and ultimately passed him a couple of laps after the halfway mark. Tomac continued to ride his own race in the challenging conditions, crossing the line comfortably in second to head to the penultimate round in his home state of Colorado with an 18-point lead in the championship.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“We had a very solid day. I had great starts for the heat race and the main event, and I got out to the lead early. I was setting a good pace, and then I made one or two mistakes in the whoops. I backed down my pace a little bit, and then Chase was able to slide right by me. Overall, I was really happy with my riding, and the motorcycle on the starts has been awesome.
It was a very tough track, too, because it went from a soft surface and then it turned into a dry surface, so that’s what made it hard. The transitions were soft, but at the same time, you had to manage traction. It was tough. It ended up biting quite a few guys, and I’m just happy to get out of here safe.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager
“Nashville was a good race for us. The whole day went very smooth. It’s scary to see competitors go out the way we saw with (Cooper) Webb. During the main, Eli pulled the holeshot and was riding great. He got into lapped traffic, and that allowed Chase (Sexton) to catch us. At that point, Eli calculated his risk versus reward and was smart enough to finish right where we needed.”
Kyle Peters Claims Fourth Consecutive AMA Arenacross Championship
The American Motorcyclist Association congratulates Phoenix Racing Honda’s Kyle Peters, who claimed the 2023 AMA Arenacross National Championship, his fourth straight title.
Peters closed out the 2023 AMA Arenacross National Championship two weeks early with a 2-1 main-event performance at the Salem, Va., round. Although winning titles has become the norm for 30-year-old Peters over the last few years, this one was special as it came on the heels of a vertebrae-injury recovery and took place in an arena just two hours from his hometown of Greensboro, N.C.
“To be able to do it the way I did it in front of my whole family and to be able to share that with them and share the victory, share the overcoming of all the obstacles, the adversity,” Peters said. “It was so incredible.”
Shortly after his 2022 title, Peters suffered a burst fracture injury of his C5 and C6 vertebrae April 9 at the St. Louis AMA Supercross round that forced him to have six vertebrae fused and spend six days in the ICU. The North Carolinian worked his way back for the AMA Arenacross opener in November, where he claimed his first of seven wins prior to securing the title, taking first in both motos.
Peters clinched the title with 368 points through 12 rounds.
Two weeks later the new-look AMA Arenacross had its 2022-23 season finale.
“Under new ownership, the 2023 AMA Arenacross season was a huge success,” said AMA Deputy Director of Racing Mike Burkeen. “A solid TV package and new technology has laid the foundation for bringing Arenacross back to its former glory.”
For more information on AMA Arenacross, visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com/arenacross.
Full list of 2023 AMA Arenacross class champions:
- Micro 3 (7-8) Limited
- 85cc (9-15) Open
- Vet (30+)
- Micro 2 (4-6) Limited
- 85cc (9-12)
- Mini Sr. (12-15)
- 50cc Aircooled (4-8) Limited
- 2-Stroke (14+)
- Schoolboy 1 (12-17)
- 65cc (7-9)
- 250 B
- 450 B
- Schoolboy 2 (12-17)
- Supermini (12-16)
- Senior (40+)
- Pro Sport
- Masters (50+)
- B/C Open
- Open A
- 65cc (10-11)
- 65cc Open (7-11)
- Eidan Steinbrecher
Micro E (4-8) Limited
- Micro Open (4-8) Limited
- 250 C
- 450 C
- College (18-24)
Daniels, Mees Continue Battle for Supremacy at Ventura Short Track
Progressive American Flat Track will conclude its early-season run of four Short Tracks with the inaugural Ventura Short Track this Saturday, May 6, at Ventura Raceway in Ventura, California.
It’s somewhat unusual to have four Short Tracks throughout an entire campaign, let alone in the opening six races. The first three delivered huge thrills and significant developments for the 2023 Championship, and the same can be expected again this weekend.
Together with the Mission Dallas Half-Mile presented by Roof Systems, this year’s first four ovals have already begun to reshuffle the pecking order. Current Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle title leader Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and reigning premier-class champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) have earned two wins apiece and currently rank 1-2 in the standings.
Mees comes in with soaring confidence after having gotten the better of Daniels in their most recent two matchups. That said, rising star Daniels has shown no real weaknesses or made any major mistakes, allowing him to build up an early-season advantage with no finish worse than second. That’s a mighty high standard that promises to ratchet up the pressure on Mees (and everyone else) should he continue to perform at that level.
Two-time Champion Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 890 Duke) expected a rollercoaster of a season when he originally committed to racing a developing platform in the KTM 890 Duke. And while he’s gotten that, he’s continued to be a factor, securing a pair of podiums and three top-five finishes in the bike’s earliest days. He should only get better as the season evolves and Bauman is better able to exploit the bike’s inherent strengths.
JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) is the season’s only winner other than Daniels and Mees. While that came in the TT discipline in which he stands as one of the sport’s all-time greats, Beach also won a pair of Short Tracks a season ago. He’s more than capable of doing the same this weekend, which would be the ideal way to rebound back after crashing out of podium contention in Dallas.
Independent Indians pilots Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750), Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) and Ben Lowe (No. 25 Rackley Racing/Mission Foods Indian FTR750) line positions 5-8 in the standings. The first three have already stood on the podium this season while Lowe came close with a fourth of his own.
Meanwhile, the factory Royal Enfields of Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) and Ryan Wells (No. 94 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) have earned a top five and multiple top tens already in their first season of Mission SuperTwins competition – while demonstrating the potential to place even higher.
And finally, Short Track extraordinaire Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Martin Trucking/Castrol Harley-Davidson XR750) will be back on track this weekend. While he piloted a Yamaha MT-07 to a pair of top tens at the DAYTONA ST opener, he’ll be armed with the venerable Harley-Davidson XR750 this weekend with designs on adding yet another chapter to its multi-decade legend.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
The Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER class has emerged as a red-hot battleground for manufacturers in recent seasons, and 2023 is shaping up to be one to remember in that regard.
First it was the KTMs, with Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F) sweeping the season’s first four race wins.
Then it was the Hondas, as the American Honda-backed Turner Honda trio of Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), and Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) struck back by locking down the podium in Dallas.
Who will be next? While both KTM and Honda will look for further successes, there’s a real chance that other marques will now take their turn in the spotlight.
The Estenson Racing Yamaha team that secured back-to-back Parts Unlimited AFT Singles titles in ‘20-’21 courtesy of the aforementioned Daniels still boasts one of the most talented line-ups in the paddock with Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).
And the 1st Impressions Husqvarna Racing effort feels primed for a huge weekend with Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) regularly running up front and James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) having already earned a runner-up finish at the Senoia ST earlier this season.
There will be plenty to keep fans entertained at the track on Saturday, including the second round of Royal Enfield’s Build. Train. Race. (BTR) program, the return of the Grand National Hooligan Championship (GNHC), numerous vendors, plenty of food and beverage options, music, and motorcycle parking.
General Admission Grandstand tickets are just $40 (kids 12 and under $5), while Reserved Grandstand tickets are just $10 more.
Pit Pass Upgrades are also available for purchase, which provide all-day access to the pits where fans can scope out the world’s fastest dirt track motorcycles and get up close and personal with the stars of the sport.
Visit https://www.tixr.com/groups/americanflattrack/events/ventura-short-track-61345 to purchase your tickets today!
Gates will open for fans at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. PT) with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. PT).
For those that can’t catch the live action from the circuit, FansChoice.tv is the live streaming home of Progressive AFT. Sign up now and catch every second of on-track action starting with Practice & Qualifying and ending with the Victory Podium at the end of the night at https://www.fanschoice.tv.
FOX Sports coverage of the Mission Dallas Half-Mile presented by Roof Systems will air earlier in the day on FS1 on Saturday, May 6, at 11:00 a.m. ET (8:00 a.m. PT). The Ventura Short Track will premiere on FS1 one week later, on Saturday, May 13, at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT). As always, both broadcasts will feature in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras.
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.