This week in US powersports racing.
Mesa Gets His First Supersport Win Of The Year At Pitt Race
Two MotoAmerica rounds ago, the winner of the 2023 Supersport Championship seemed to be a fait accompli.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC rider Xavi Forés had reeled off eight consecutive wins, and it looked like he was head for a perfect season. But things changed for the Spaniard in Minnesota and the bumpy Brainerd International Raceway wreaked havoc on the handling of his Ducati Panigale V2, as well as on his win streak. He left the Land of 10,000 Lakes without a win, and it continued in Supersport race one at Pittsburgh.
The story of the race, though, was not who didn’t win, but who did.
Tytlers Cycle Racing Kawasaki rider Stefano Mesa notched his first Supersport victory of the season and the second of his career. Mesa also earned the pole position for both of the weekend’s races, so clearly, Pitt Race is a very good track for the Colombian. It was also Mesa’s 29th birthday.
Second place went to Forés, who commented in the post-race press conference that he is doing everything he can to keep up with the other bikes. The only Ducati rider in the field, Forés thinks the balancing measures mandated for his bike are too extreme.
Third place went to Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Tyler Scott, which was his seventh podium result of the season.
“The whole weekend, we’ve been very fast off the get-go,” Mesa said. “I think, after race two in Brainerd, we found a little something on the bike. We’ve been dealing with a lot of chassis issues with the new B bike, what we call the B bike, since I broke the (A bike at) Ridge. I broke it in half. Been battling a lot of chassis setup. But I think we finally hit the nail where it was. I think we’re in the window for the bike. My hats off to the team. They gave me a great bike since we rolled it out of the truck. We’ve been fast all weekend. The race was great. My hats off to these guys. This is great battling with them. It’s great trying to pass Xavi (Forés) on the brakes. I think first clean race I got to actually battle with Xavi and try and go for the win. I think I had the pace. Tomorrow we’re going to try and find a little bit more and see if we can get the win again.”
REV’IT! Twins Cup – The Title Chase Tightens
The battle for the 2023 REV’IT! Twins Cup Championship can’t get much closer than it already is, but Rodio Racing – Powered By Robem Engineering’s Rocco Landers is hoping that it gets even closer after tomorrow’s second race at Pitt Race.
Landers won his sixth REV’IT! race of the year after an early battle with championship rivals Blake Davis and Gus Rodio and the win moves him to within 10 points of the lead in the title chase.
The battle for second in Saturday’s race was also the battle for the championship lead and it went to N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto’s Davis by just .042 of a second over Landers’ teammate Rodio.
How’s this for close? Davis now leads Rodio by a single point with Landers 10 points behind Davis and nine behind Rodio.
Team Iso’s Dominic Doyle had a relatively lonely ride to fourth with TrackDay Winner/Blackmon Racing’s Jackson Blackmon rounding out the top five.
“I have not had the best past month, after what I did at Laguna,” Landers said. “But I knew this was a good track for me. It’s a good track for the bike. It’s a good track for the team. The Aprilia is handling absolutely amazing. The start I kind of got shuffled back there a little bit. I just tried to basically pick up the pieces after the first lap and do what I could to get back past these guys. They were riding amazing, obviously killing it. I knew if I could lead a few laps at least through the esses, I could maybe start to stretch out a gap and then hold it there. So, that’s what I did. It went to plan today. Doesn’t always go to plan, but today it did. We’re hoping to do at least that or even better tomorrow.”
Junior Cup – Dreher Bounces Back
After winning four out of the first five Junior Cup races of the season, it came as quite a surprise that Bad Boys Racing Kawasaki rider Avery Dreher hit a dry spell where he didn’t get another victory for three straight races. But, on Saturday at Pitt Race, Dreher returned to his winning ways.
Starting from pole position, the Florida-based rider battled throughout the 10-lap race with Fairium NGRT – Gray Area Racing KTM’s Rossi Moor, Hayden Bicknese Racing Kawasaki rider Hayden Bicknese, and Altus Motorsports Kawasaki rider Alessandro Di Mario. At the checkers, it was Dreher who notched the win by .036 of a second over Moor, with Di Mario just .136 of a second back from Dreher.
With three more races left in the Junior Cup Championship, Dreher has a 39-point lead over Moor.
“I honestly didn’t really lead that much,” Dreher said. “I went into the race, and I wanted to be as aggressive as I can. I’m usually not the most aggressive rider, but I had to change that. So, I wanted to be able to lead the whole race, just not fall outside the top two. We went back and forth a couple times. I had a couple moments. I was battling with some little grip issues here and there. But I got to say, the bike honestly felt amazing. Thanks to the team. We figured out our issues from Friday. That last lap was just figuring out if I wanted to be in third or second going onto the front straightaway. Just kind of was in a perfect spot to get that draft. I’m just super happy to extend my points lead and get another win.”
Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. – Moore Crowned!
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Mikayla Moore kept her perfect season intact with her sixth win in six starts and it all resulted in her wrapping up the 2023 Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. championship. Moore will attempt to close out a perfect season with another victory tomorrow at Pitt Race.
Sonya Lloyd earned her fifth podium of the year with her second-place finish and that virtually assures her of second in the championship after tomorrow’s finale. Lloyd battled with Moore early and finished 2.2 seconds behind the Marylander – the closest anyone has been to the newly crowned champion all season.
Defending series champion Kayleigh Buyck was third in the race and happy to be back on the podium after a rough season for the New Yorker.
“I was going into turn one and I’m like, holy crap, someone was like right next to me,” Moore said. “I just tried to do my best and hit my marks. Luckily, this round, I had my lap timer, so I ended up doing a 2:07. I told my parents. They were like, ‘What time do you think you’re going to run?’ I was like, ‘I think I’ll do a 2:08.’ But every time I get some fresh Dunlop tires, I end up going faster and meet my goals every time.
“If I can be honest, going into this program I thought I would struggle a little bit because in the beginning… I’m not able to adapt quick to bikes, so I’m really actually surprised. After the first round I was able to get quickly adapted to it and things like that. Then also we have a great team, so everyone kept each other positive. I just tried to at the Road America after the first round keep the streak going. So far, I had a perfect season. Just have to complete it tomorrow.”
Mission Mini Cup By Motul – Gouker Dominates
Stadler America’s Nathan Gouker picked up where he left off with a resounding Ohvale 160 class victory in the MotoAmerica Mission Mini Cup By Motul round on Friday afternoon at Pitt Race.
Gouker was dominant in taking a 17-second victory over Madd Will Racing’s Kruz Maddison, who barely beat American Racing’s Connor Raymond by a scant .198 of a second.
American Racing’s Joshua Raymond scored the win in the Ohvale 190 class, beating Alpha Omega’s Ryder Davis by 4.8 seconds with HistoricGP’s Mahdi Salem finishing a distant third.
Stock class racing on Friday saw Cory Texter Racing/Roof Systems’ Cruise Texter winning the Stock 50 class; Varnes Racing’s Cole Varnes doing likewise in Stock 110 with Jacobsen Motorcycle Training/Bettencourt Racing’s Nathan Bettencourt winning the Stock 125 final.
The Junior Cup pack fires off into turn one at Pittsburgh International Race Complex on Saturday. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Nathan Gouker won the Ohvale 160 class during Mission Mini Cup By Motul action on Friday at Pitt Race. Photo By Klingsporn Media
Rocco Landers celebrates his victory in the REV’IT! Twins Cup race on Saturday at Pitt Race.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Stefano Mesa (97) leads Xavi Forés (12) and Tyler Scott (70) en route to winning Saturday’s Supersport race. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Mikayla Moore wrapped up the 2023 Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. Championship at Pitt Race.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Saturday photos available HERE
Gagne Wins His Seventh Of The Year At Pittsburgh International Race Complex
Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha’s Jake Gagne was up to his old tricks on Saturday at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The two-time defending Medallia Superbike Champion started quickly, let the others hang around for a lap or two and then rode off into the distance for his seventh win of the year and the 36th Superbike victory of his career.
The win also extended his championship lead to 83 points heading into tomorrow’s two Medallia Superbike races in the MotoAmerica Superbikes At Pittsburgh, Presented By Steel Commander triple-header.
Gagne didn’t put a wheel wrong in earning his seventh win of the year. He had Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz on his back wheel for the opening laps, but then was able to pull away and let those behind him battle for second place as he managed his tires to the best of his ability.
Second ended up going to Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier, the five-time AMA Superbike Champion bouncing back from his big crash at Brainerd International Raceway a few weeks ago. Beaubier admitted that he was struggling with confidence after the race-one crash that forced him out of race two in Minnesota.
Beaubier started slowly in the race (after qualifying sixth) before eventually fighting his way through the pack to third. He then worked around Scholtz and kept him at bay to the finish. Beaubier was 3.6 seconds behind Gagne at the end of the 17-lap race and 1.8 seconds in front of third-placed Scholtz.
Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong ended up fourth in his best Superbike race of the year. Fong, riding David Anthony’s Yamaha YZF-R1, put in a solid ride after starting from his first career Superbike pole position. Fong saved what would have been a ferocious highside midway through the race, was later penalized for cutting the chicane, and still managed to narrowly beat Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen by .4 of a second with the penalty.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin was also penalized for a chicane violation and he barely beat JD Beach, who was riding the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha in place of the injured Cameron Petersen, for sixth place.
Beach, in his first Superbike race since 2021, was seventh and some four seconds ahead of Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante. Escalante, in turn, bested his teammate Brandon Paasch by a tick over five seconds.
Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim rounded out the top 10.
Gagne now leads Herrin, 287-204, heading into tomorrow’s two races at Pitt Race with Beaubier just a point behind Herrin. Jacobsen is fourth in the title chase with 173 points, 18 more than fifth-placed Escalante.
Superbike Race One
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
- Cameron Beaubier (BMW)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
- Josh Herrin (Ducati)
- JD Beach (Yamaha)
- Richie Escalante (Suzuki)
- Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)
- Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
Jake Gagne – Winner
“Mat (Scholtz) got a great start. He kind of got the launch on me. I was expecting him to come up the inside in one. This turn one is kind of tricky. You don’t really know where to brake. It’s blind going in and you don’t want to blow it. I was plus zero on the pit board for a couple laps, or plus 0.2. Almost nothing. I could kind of hear, in the slow turns, that it sounded like a Yamaha. You can tell the difference with the way the thing sounds. Just with it being so much hotter than it had been all weekend, the track was pretty greasy the first couple laps. Then the tires dropped off a little bit more than I expected, just because of the heat. I think there was a lot of heat in the tires. Just tried to be consistent. Would have a second, two seconds, and at that point just tried to ride smooth. Even if those guys started reeling me in, I just wanted to kind of click off the laps that I could and if they came back, then that’s what happened. We made a lot of progress really with the bike from yesterday to today. Weird start yesterday. We only missed a couple laps in the first session, but still making some changes that we’ve kind of wanted to try and got a better feeling in a couple areas with the bike, so I’m pretty happy with that. But tomorrow is going to be hot, two races. I think it will be probably another 10 degrees hotter, so it will be an interesting tough couple races tomorrow, so just try to be smart and learn what we can overnight. It’ll tighten up tomorrow, I’m sure.”
Cameron Beaubier – Second Place
“You’re right. This weekend has just been kind of a slow start for me. Yesterday I wasn’t trusting the bike. I wasn’t trusting the TC. I wasn’t really throwing the thing around and riding the thing like I know how to ride. I just wasn’t riding like myself. The guys have gotten me a lot more comfortable on the bike though and just kind of rebuilding the confidence a little bit. To be honest, I’ve been doing this long enough now that I’m able to bounce back pretty quick after a crash, but that one rattled me a little bit. I felt better this morning, even though the times weren’t there. I was feeling more confident on the bike with my riding and stuff. We made a good step with the bike going into the race. I just kind of slowly worked myself into a rhythm. I was able to pick the guys off and put my head down. I had pretty good pace up until about seven to go. I thought I was going to be able to ride it home in second. Jake (Gagne) was gone. He was riding incredible. But then my gap on my pit board started coming down and coming down. I even looked over my shoulder to see who it was, and it was Matty (Scholtz) who was charging. I had to really give it a good push those last five laps to hold onto second comfortably. But we’ll definitely take this after the struggle we had yesterday and roll it into tomorrow. See how it goes.”
Mathew Scholtz – Third Place
“I think it’s one of those tracks that when you’re following somebody it’s pretty easy to kind of flow and find the corners a little bit better. Then once I lost tow on Jake (Gagne), I kind of struggled a little bit. I dropped down into the 44s quickly, which was surprising. I kind of thought I’d be able to stay in the low 43s. The track definitely seems to have lost a little bit of grip on the edge. Once Cameron Beaubier passed me, I looked back and I think there was (Bobby) Fong and Josh Herrin or PJ Jacobsen, one of them. I thought, I have to try to find something now or I’m going to finish fifth. So, I just managed to kind of start to flow slight better, pick-up speed through the middle of the corner and not worry about driving out really hard. Dropped the times to the mid-43s. Then the last lap I kind of knew Bobby Fong was there. I knew he was going to try to pass me somewhere. He passed me through the fast left coming up to the chicane. He didn’t set up wide for up, but I dived up the inside of him then and kind of pushed him over the extra bit of curb, so I knew that he would get penalized. Crossed the line fourth, but I kind of got pointed towards the parc fermé and ended up third. So, I’m pretty happy with that.”
Jake Gagne (1) leads Mathew Scholtz (11), Bobby Fong (50) and the rest of the Medallia Superbike pack into turn one on Saturday at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Although he was never headed, Gagne was chased in the early goings by Scholtz (11), Fong (50) and PJ Jacobsen (99). Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Cameron Beaubier (6) fought through from a slow start to finish second to Gagne on Saturday.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Gagne celebrates his seventh Medallia Superbike win of the season and the 36th of his career.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Saturday photos available HERE
Perfect 2023 Pro Motocross Championship Season Continues for Jett Lawrence with Tenth Win at Budds Creek
One week removed from becoming the eighth different rider in the history of the Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, to capture the 450 Class title his first year in the division, Team Honda HRC pilot Jett Lawrence’s quest for a perfect season moved one round closer to completion at the Yamaha Budds Creek National. The young Australian withstood his toughest challenge to date at Southern Maryland’s Budds Creek Motocross Park, but ultimately prevailed with his 10th consecutive 1-1 outing to move within two motos of the fourth unbeaten campaign in series history. In the 250 Class, Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence once again complemented his younger brother’s victorious effort with his seventh victory of the season, to put the Gary Jones Cup within reach ahead of next weekend’s finale.
The first 450 Class moto got underway with the Monster Energy Kawasaki of Adam Cianciarulo leading the way to the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed my Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Jay Wilson and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger, who soon moved into second. Third was then occupied by Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia. A bit further back, Lawrence started sixth.
The top three settled in through the opening portion of the moto but Plessinger started to chip away at the deficit and was able to make the pass for the lead a little more than eight minutes into the moto. Cianciarulo and Barcia gave chase from second and third, respectively, while Lawrence closed in from fourth. The champ persistently pressured Barcia for a few laps and made the move for third just before the halfway point. He then made quick work of Cianciarulo to move into second.
Less than a second separated Plessinger and Lawrence, but the Australian quickly closed onto the rear fender of the KTM and relied on some savvy racecraft to slip into the lead and seize control of the moto with 13 minutes remaining. From there he quickly moved out to a multi-second advantage. As Lawrence pulled away, the battle for the remaining podium spots tightened up between Plessinger, Cianciarulo, Barcia, and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson.
Anderson made the first move of the group with a pass on Barcia to drop the GASGAS rider to fifth. The Kawasaki rider’s forward momentum continued with a pass on his teammate for third and continued with a quick push to pass Plessinger for second. This late battle added a new rider in Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis, as the Frenchman was on a charge into podium contention. The former champ marched his way past multiple riders and moved within striking distance of Plessinger as time expired on the moto. Ferrandis went on the attack and completed the pass.
Lawrence easily controlled the second half of the race to bring home moto win 19 by 4.3 seconds over Anderson, followed by Ferrandis in third. Plessinger and Barcia battled all the way to the checkered flag for fourth, with the KTM coming out ahead of the GASGAS.
Jett Lawrence withstood his toughest challenge to date to keep
his perfect season intact at Budds Creek.
Photo Courtesy MX Sports Pro Racing / Align Media
The final moto of the day began with Lawrence clear of the field to easily grab the MotoSport.com Holeshot over Cianciarulo and Barcia. Barcia quickly slotted into second, followed by Plessinger in third, while Cianciarulo settled into fourth. After a challenging first moto filled with adversity, Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton started fifth but made quick work to jump up to third behind Barcia and his teammate.
Sexton showed patience in his pursuit of Barcia for second but once he went on the attack he wasted no time making the pass and moved into second just a handful of minutes into the moto. From there Sexton inched closer to his teammate and as the moto surpassed the 10-minute mark less than 1.5 seconds separated the Honda duo. As they traded momentum, Sexton appeared to have slightly more speed and closed in to within less than a second. However, the battle ended when Sexton tipped over while navigating one of the track’s many downhills.
The lead duo was well ahead of the rest of the field, but a multi-ride affair for third headlined the halfway point of the moto as Barcia was forced to contend with Plessinger, Cianciarulo, and Anderson. As the moto wore on Barcia and Plessinger were able to inch away from the Kawasakis, but their battle persisted. No matter what Plessinger tried Barcia seemed to have an answer, but as the moto reached its final five minutes Plessinger finally got the upper hand and made the pass, while Barcia stayed close.
Back up front, Sexton’s never-give-up mentality saw him erase an eight-second deficit to close within striking distance of Lawrence. Mere bike lengths separated the teammates on the final lap, but Lawrence did enough to keep Sexton at bay and secure his 20th moto win to extend the perfect season.
Aaron Plessinger earned his best result of the season with a runner-up effort (4-3).
Photo Courtesy MX Sports Pro Racing / Align Media
The 10th overall victory of the season for Lawrence was arguably his toughest of the summer, as he was forced to dig deep to pull out the 1-1 sweep and keep his unblemished record intact. With his third-place finish in the final moto Plessinger was able to secure a season-best runner-up finish (4-3), while Anderson’s resilient charges through the field in both motos was rewarded with third overall (2-5).
Lawrence needs to win the final two motos of the summer to become the third different rider to amass a perfect season, in what has been a historic first season of premier class competition.
Jason Anderson put up a fight across both motos to secure third overall (2-5).
Photo Courtesy MX Sports Pro Racing / Align Media
Jett Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“I had a spot where I could see Chase [Sexton] each lap, but then [one lap] I just didn’t see him there. Then I knew he was closing in. I had a bit of bad luck with lappers, but we got away with it. It was a close one there, but that was good at the end.”
Aaron Plessinger, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
“I knew [Barcia] was going to be hard to pass and this track is a bit one lined. He’s such a great competitor and I really enjoyed racing with him in that second moto. I rode a bit tight in that first moto, but we came out and proved it in the second one. I’m just so grateful to be up here again [on the podium].”
Jason Anderson, Monster Energy Kawasaki
“I feel like I’m getting better. I had to work hard and come from behind a couple times today. It feels good to be back on the podium. We just need to keep piecing it together.”
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)
- Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda (1-1 // 50)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (4-3 // 38)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (2-5 // 38)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (9-2, 34)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (5-4 // 34)
- Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha (3-9 // 32)
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (7-6 // 29)
- Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (6-8 // 28)
- Ty Masterpool, Fallon, Nev., Kawasaki (8-7 // 27)
- Phil Nicoletti, Cochecton, N.Y., Yamaha (10-11 // 21)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 10 of 11)
- Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda – 500
- Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha – 379
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 350
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 298
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 294
- Ty Masterpool, Fallon, Nev., Kawasaki – 242
- Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 228
- Fredrik Noren, Lidköping, Sweden, Suzuki – 208
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 171
- Grant Harlan, Justin, Texas, Yamaha – 162
The opening moto of the day began with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki of Jo Shimoda leading the field out of the first turn to grab the MotoSport.com Holeshot just ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rookie Haiden Deegan. The lead pair engaged in a spirited battle on the opening lap, swapping lines throughout the track layout, from which Deegan was able to slip past and take control of the early stage of the moto. Shimoda then settled into second ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle in third and Hunter Lawrence in fifth.
With no pressure from behind, Deegan was able to open up a comfortable margin on the field through the opening 10 minutes of the moto, with more than five seconds between him and Shimoda. The top two asserted themselves at the head of the pack while the battle for third picked up as the moto reached its halfway point. However, the entire complexion of the race changed when the red flag flew for a downed rider and brought the moto to a halt.
With mere seconds before the moto reached the 15-minute mark, the formal halfway point, the red flag resulted in a restart out the starting gate for a 15-minute sprint to the finish.
As the field approached the first turn off the second gate drop Deegan made contact with Vialle, which hampered the Frenchman’s start and sent Deegan to the ground and to the rear of the field. Out front, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jalek Swoll emerged with the lead ahead of Lawrence, with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Justin Cooper in third. With invaluable championship points on the line, Cooper, who sits second in the standings, made an aggressive pass on Lawrence to move into second.
Cooper continued his push to the front and made his way past Swoll, only to have the Husqvarna rider counter to reclaim the position. Cooper looked to recompose himself, which brought Lawrence into the mix from third to initiate a three-rider battle for the lead. Cooper waited for his opportunity and then made a savvy pass with six minutes left in the moto. Not long after Lawrence made his way around Swoll for second. With five minutes to go the championship rivals were separated by 1.3 seconds.
Lawrence closed the gap to within a second of Cooper and started to look for potential lines to mount an attack, but Cooper didn’t flinch and was consistent through the closing stages to keep Lawrence at bay. The lead grew over the final two laps as Cooper brought home his third moto win of the season 2.1 seconds ahead of Lawrence. Swoll completed his best effort of the season in third, with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Daxton Bennick in fourth and Vialle in fifth. Further back, Deegan recovered from the first-turn incident to finish 16th.
Hunter Lawrence’s seventh win of the season moved him closer to the 250 Class title.
Photo Courtesy MX Sports Pro Racing / Align Media
As the field stormed into the first turn to start the second and deciding 250 Class moto it was Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner who led the field to the MotoSport.com Holeshot, just ahead of Lawrence and Cooper. Forkner looked to lead his first lap of the season, but he missed an obstacle, which helped Lawrence to take over the top spot. The clear track allowed Lawrence to sprint away from the field.
Each of the top three riders proceeded to settle into their respective positions on the track through the first 10 minutes of the moto until Cooper looked to apply some pressure on Forkner for second. The Kawasaki rider responded and kept Cooper at bay, while Shimoda bided his time from fourth. At the turn of the midway point of the moto Cooper finally made the move on Forkner to grab control of second. Shimoda then proceeded to challenge his teammate for third. A slingshot move on an outside line allowed Shimoda to surge past and give chase to Cooper with less than 10 minutes to go.
Shimoda was one of the fastest riders on the track and soon closed in on Cooper to mount an attack for second. As soon as Shimoda appeared to have the Yamaha in his sights, Cooper responded to stabilize the margin with an increase in his own pace to become the fastest rider on the track. With the drop in his lap times Cooper was able to inch back towards Lawrence but couldn’t gain enough ground to pressure for the lead.
Lawrence closed strong to take his seventh moto win of the season, just 1.5 seconds ahead of Cooper at the finish. Shimoda followed with a solid third-place effort.
Justin Cooper tied for the top spot (1-2) but settled for a runner-up effort.
Photo Courtesy MX Sports Pro Racing / Align Media
With identical moto finishes Lawrence (2-1) and Cooper (1-2) finished tied atop the overall standings, but the second-moto tiebreaker went to Lawrence for his seventh win of the season and forced Cooper to settle for his sixth runner-up effort of the summer. Shimoda rounded out the overall podium with his third top-three performance of the year (7-3).
Lawrence, Cooper, and Shimoda remain the only riders mathematically eligible for the 250 Class title entering the finale next weekend. With no points lost or gained on Cooper, Lawrence will carry a 22-point advantage into Indiana’s Ironman Raceway in search of his first national championship.
Jo Shimoda kept his title hopes alive with a third-place finish (7-3).
Photo Courtesy MX Sports Pro Racing / Align Media
Hunter Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“It’s awesome [to get another win]. It was a tough day, but a good day at the end. We went out and made it happen. Looking forward to next weekend to try and close this out.”
Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“I gave it everything I had today. I got into second, but Hunter [Lawrence] was riding really good. I tried to close the gap and got a bit sketchy out there but did everything I could. We’ll see what we can do next weekend.”
Jo Shimoda, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
“The track was tough. I chose a paddle tire to try and help with the start, but that made things sketchy out there at times. I’m happy to get another podium and looking forward to closing out the season next week.”
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
- Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda (2-1 // 47)
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (1-2 // 47)
- Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Kawasaki (7-3 // 34)
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (8-4 // 31)
- Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM (5-6 // 31)
- Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (3-12 // 29)
- Daxton Bennick, Morganton, N.C., Yamaha (4-11 // 28)
- Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Kawasaki (12-8 // 22)
- Julien Beaumer, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., KTM (11-9 // 22)
- Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (6-14 // 22)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 10 of 11)
- Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda – 391
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 369
- Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Kawasaki – 343
- Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 329
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 308
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 288
- Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 269
- Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM – 264
- Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 195
- Ryder DiFrancesco, Bakersfield, Calif., Kawasaki – 181
SECOND-PLACE PODIUM FOR RED BULL KTM’S AARON PLESSINGER AT BUDDS CREEK
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger claimed second overall in the 450MX Class during Round 10 of the 2023 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Budds Creek, with 250MX contender Tom Vialle finishing fifth and newcomer Julien Beaumer racing to an impressive ninth overall on debut.
Powering his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION to the eighth-fastest qualifying time, Plessinger rocketed to the lead of the opening moto of the 450MX Class, leading a sizable proportion of the moto before crossing the line in fourth position.
Engaged in an all-out dual throughout the entirety of the second moto, Plessinger withstood the pressure of the competition as he battled hard all race long, pushing his limits as he raced into third place. A 4-3 moto scorecard landed him second overall for the weekend.
Following Budds Creek, Plessinger retains his third-place position in the 2023 standings with one round remaining.
Aaron Plessinger: “My starts were good today and it’s so much easier to run the pace of those guys when you’re up there from the beginning. Led the first moto for a long time, then tightened up and went to fourth, before the second moto was an all-out battle. I think there were four of us battling for that spot, and I managed to get Justin [Barcia], which gave me some clear track to come home in third. Man, second overall feels great, the fans were awesome, and I’m looking to close this thing out strong next weekend!”
In 250MX, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Vialle opened Budds Creek by posting the sixth-fastest lap-time in qualifying, before racing at the front of the field and finishing moto one in fifth place. A good jump out of the gates in moto two was compromised by first turn carnage, requiring the Frenchman to dig his way back through the field for a sixth-place result, which placed him P5 overall for the round.
Tom Vialle: “Budds Creek was pretty good for me. I want to be on the podium, but I was really happy with how I rode today. Had a great start in moto one after the restart, but [Haiden] Deegan hit me hard in the back, and I very nearly crashed – came back to fifth. And second moto, just a bad start, which resulted in sixth. The bike was working really good today and I can’t wait for Ironman next week – I want to finish this motocross season with a podium.”
The Budds Creek round marked the professional debut for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing signing Beaumer, as the 17-year-old signed a multi-year deal with the team last week. The rider out of Arizona posted an impressive string of results on debut, running inside the top-five comfortably for the majority of the opening moto, before finishing in 11th.
Another consistent outing in moto two saw Beaumer finish in ninth position, resulting in a well-deserved ninth overall to open his professional career.
Julien Beaumer: “Good start in the opening moto here at Budds, I was running fifth for a long time, but these races are much longer than what I’m used to and everyone is so fast, so a couple mistakes cost me a lot of time and I went to 11th. Moto two was good, I started in 12th, and was able to get to ninth for ninth overall on my pro debut. We met our expectations and we’ll take this momentum into next weekend.”
250MX charger Maximus Vohland began his Budds Creek day by charging to the third-fastest qualifying time aboard his KTM 250 SX-F, before a poor start in moto one saw the Californian recover to ninth place. Another difficult start in moto two resulted in a tough outing on the Maryland circuit, with Vohland winding up in P16 for the moto and 14th overall for the round.
Maximus Vohland: “Tough weekend here in Budds Creek. Two bad starts and then pulling all my tear offs at once in moto two made it really challenging, racing to a 9-16 scorecard on the day. I’m healthy and intent on securing two strong results in the next two motos at Ironman.”
Next Race: August 26 – Crawfordsville, Indiana
Results 450MX Class – Budds Creek National
1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 1-1
2. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, 4-3
3. Jason Anderson (USA), Kawasaki, 2-5
28. Crockett Myers (USA), KTM
34. Max Miller (USA), KTM
Results 250MX Class – Budds Creek National
1. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 2-1
2. Justin Cooper (USA), Yamaha, 1-2
3. Jo Shimoda (JPN), Kawasaki, 7-3
5. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM, 5-6
9. Julien Beaumer (USA), KTM, 11-9
14. Maximus Vohland (USA), KTM, 9-16
17. Josh Varize (USA), KTM
23. Derek Kelley (USA), KTM
28. Marcus Phelps (USA), KTM
31. Brock Bennett (USA), KTM
33. Slade Smith (RSA), KTM
34. Hunter Cross (USA), KTM
39. Cameron Durow (RSA), KTM
Standings 450MX Class 2023 after 10 of 11 rounds
1. Jett Lawrence, 500 points
2. Dylan Ferrandis, 379
3. Aaron Plessinger, 350
11. Cooper Webb, 147
32. Max Miller, 22
39. Dante Oliveira, 15
41. Christopher Prebula, 12
42. Tyler Stepek, 11
45. Brandon Scharer, 7
47. Kevin Moranz, 5
49. Trevor Schmidt, 4
65. Jeffrey Walker, 1
Standings 250MX Class 2023 after 10 of 11 rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence, 391 points
2. Justin Cooper, 369
3. Jo Shimoda, 343
7. Maximus Vohland, 269
8. Tom Vialle, 268
23. Derek Kelley, 39
26. Slade Smith, 28
27. Josh Varize, 27
28. Julien Beaumer, 22
36. Jimmy Decotis, 13
37. Brock Bennett, 12
40. Matti Jorgensen, 7
41. Lux Turner, 7
44. Preston Boespflug, 4
46. Marcus Phelps, 2
Gagne Wins His Third Straight MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Title
In case anyone had forgotten, Jake Gagne reaffirmed that he’s the best Superbike racer in the country on Sunday at Pittsburgh International Race Complex with his two decisive victories earning him his third successive MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship.
Gagne and his Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing Superbike were perfect in both of today’s races, holding back all of the challenges the top men threw at him. In the first of the two Superbike races held on a sunny Sunday at Pitt Race, Gagne was challenged to the bitter end and came up just .264 of a second ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen. In the second Superbike race of the day, Gagne had it a bit easier as he topped Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz by 1.868 of a second.
Not even Gagne would have predicted that he would come out of Pitt Race with his third title as most believed the title fight would at least go to round eight at Circuit of The Americas in a few weeks’ time.
But, today was the day with Gagne’s eighth and ninth wins of the season and the 37th and 38th wins of his AMA Superbike career clinching the title with two rounds and four races left on the 2023 schedule.
Superbike Race 2 – Gagne On The Verge
Race two was red-flagged early on when Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier was involved in a scary crash when he ran into the back of Ashton Yates’ Aftercare Scheibe Racing BMW. With the two in a battle and Beaubier looking to make up spots after an off-track excursion, Yates led him through the chicane but on the exit his BMW had a mechanical issue that caused him to slow suddenly. With nowhere to go, Beaubier ran into the back of Yates and crashed heavily. Beaubier was transported to the infield medical center and was treated for facial lacerations.
By this point, Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong was already out of the race with the pole sitter crashing his Yamaha YZF-R1 in the opening laps.
Although he was pushed the entire way by Jacobsen, it was Gagne taking the victory, his eighth of the year, over the New Yorker.
Third in race two on Saturday went to Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin, 1.4 seconds behind Jacobsen and a second ahead of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz.
JD Beach was impressive in riding the injured Cameron Petersen’s Fresh N Lean Progressive Racing Yamaha to fifth, well clear of Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch. Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim was eighth, just a few tenths ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cory Alexander.
Benjamin Smith Racing’s Benjamin Smith and Steel Commander’s Gabriel Da Silva rounded out the top 10.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante crashed out of fourth place on the last lap.
Race Two Quotes
Jake Gagne – Winner
“Yeah. Obviously that red flag, at first, I was bummed and then to go by and see Cam (Beaubier) down again… man, we were all just seeing what we saw on the track. It was gnarly there for a second. So, I hope he’s okay. I knew it would be hot, greasy, gnarly. Restart, eight-lap sprint. I could feel these guys on me. I could hear those bikes every turn. Just tried to hit my marks because I knew if I was a little wide there, a little wide here, they would have got up in there. But it was a fun race because I could hear them the whole time. So having eight laps pushing and trying to be as consistent as possible is a good time. So, hats off to these guys. We’ve got to go throw down this afternoon, so it will be fun.”
PJ Jacobsen – Second Place
“Yeah, people say that and I’m like, ‘I’m upright as much as I can, and I’m still sliding everywhere.’ Every time he was spinning up, I was spinning up as well, just trying to get the same drive grip as him. But both races were honestly going to be good for me, I thought. Even that first one before the restart, I think I was catching (Mathew) Scholtz and Richie (Escalante) when they started coming back to me. So, it was really good. I’m happy. We made some changes, and the bike was working really good.”
Josh Herrin – Third Place
“The bike felt good all weekend. It’s kind of like it was at Barber. I just feel super good on the bike, but we’re not able to drive forward on the track. Everybody is having the problem, but it seems like we’re having it pretty bad. Today I said just take the TC (traction control) out. Not all the way, but just let the thing hang. The warmup lap we ran shag tires on the parade lap, and that thing was like flat track sideways. I was like, ‘Is this thing okay? It’s sideways.’ They’re like, ‘That’s what you asked for.’ The thing obviously worked way better than it did yesterday. It was just a handful. I felt like I was riding a bike with 50 more horsepower today. But it worked, so that’s the important thing. I’m just wore out because it was tough. This third race, I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard on everyone but it’s going to be a tough one. It’s getting hotter. I’m really happy with how today went. I just didn’t have it for them at the end. I felt good. I just made one little mistake and then the mental focus kind of lost me for two turns and they were gone. I just couldn’t make it back up. I’ve been struggling really hard in the chicane.”
Superbike Race 3 – Title Time
Gagne got his normal fast start and led every lap of race three. Scholtz kept him honest, finishing 1.8 seconds behind the factory Yamaha.
The win, Gagne’s ninth on the year, gave him an insurmountable 337 points after 16 races – 101 points ahead of Herrin, who finished third. If Herrin would have finished second with Gagne winning, the title fight would have gone to the next round in Austin, Texas. Any chance of that was thwarted when Herrin, who was right on Gagne’s tail, blew the chicane and then waited for at least three riders to go by so that he wouldn’t be penalized.
Herrin fought back, but ultimately lost out to Scholtz with the South African pulling away to beat the Ducati rider by 3.6 seconds. Herrin, meanwhile, had his hands full with Escalante who was trying to land his first Superbike podium. He would come up .6 of a second short at the finish.
Jacobsen was fifth and just another few tenths behind Escalante with Beach sixth again and less than a second behind Jacobsen, who moved to third in the championship by one point over Beaubier with his teammate’s failure to score points on Sunday.
Gillim was seventh for the second time on the day with pole-sitter Bobby Fong eighth. Smith was ninth again with Tom Wood Powersports’ Nolan Lamkin rounding out the top 10.
Race 3 Quotes
Jake Gagne – Winner
“To do it with a couple wins here at a place this Yamaha loves is awesome. I just didn’t expect it. We didn’t really do any math. The team didn’t talk about it. Nobody talked about it. I just had a feeling if I won and I didn’t exactly know what Josh (Herrin) had to do, but I knew sure as hell Josh was going to put up a fight to bring it down to one more round, and I knew he was right there. Congrats to Matty (Scholtz). Doing Yamaha a favor, doing me a favor today. It’s cool to get it done early. Again, kind of unexpected. I haven’t been the fastest guy all year, but I guess kind of luck has been on my side. We finished almost every race, besides one. It’s going to be a hell of a fight for that championship run with a lot of guys in it next year. I’m looking forward to going to the last couple rounds and just duking it out with these guys with nothing else to worry about.”
Mathew Scholtz – Second Place
“We made a pretty decent change on the traction control just to kind of help when I first crack the gas so that the bike doesn’t just want to spin as you first start to wind it on. I was definitely pushing the front more on the gas, but it definitely helped me to kind of roll through the middle of the corner to kind of keep up with the Ducati a little bit better, once you have it picked up. Overall, the race early on I was struggling. I was on the absolute limit. This race I felt confident and I managed to get past Josh (Herrin) with a couple laps to go and open up a small gap. Kept it pretty similar to (Jake) Gagne out front. So, I’m really happy with that. I’m happy with the changes that we made to the bike. I think it’s going to work well at the next two tracks for us.”
Josh Herrin – Third Place
“Yeah, we left it. It worked. We didn’t change anything from the first race. We looked at stuff. I talked about maybe going one or two taller in the gearing because it seemed like I was struggling a little bit in the corners that I was using first gear – just trying to get that initial squirt. But second didn’t feel comfortable to me. But we ended up not going with it. We decided to just play it safe and stick with what was working because it would have lengthened the bike a little bit. Whenever I missed the chicane and I fought to catch up to Jake (Gagne), got right there. I actually felt like I did at Brainerd where I was like, ‘Okay, I might get a little bit heated at the end but at least I’m here and I can kind of plan something out a little bit.’ Then I don’t know what I did and ran off in the chicane. Then, unfortunately, you have to give up a second whenever you do that, so I let two guys go by. Then kind of just waited as long as I could before PJ (Jacobsen) got on my butt and then went. Then I think I charged back up to second. Then I switched the engine brake map to a different map and it was just free-wheeling a little bit too much. Started to get some slides on the front on the right side. I put it back to the mode that I was in originally, but I just never got that confidence back and unfortunately just didn’t have the pace. Congrats to these guys. Congrats to Jake on wrapping that championship up this fast. I didn’t think that was even possible to happen that quick. It just came out of nowhere. I saw it on Instagram right before the race started, and it kind of helped me get a little motivated to try to get up there at the beginning of this race. It just seems like there’s a trend all year where if Friday and Saturday are pretty rough for me, then Sunday is there. So, I’m really hoping that these guys give me one more shot next year. It would be the first year that I’ve had the same bike in Superbike in 10 years, for two years in a row. So, I’m really hoping that I get it again because I just love everything about this team and I’m having fun. Looking forward to COTA.”
Jake Gagne (1) leads the second of three MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike races over PJ Jacobsen (99), Josh Herrin (2), Mathew Scholtz (11), Richie Escalante (54) and JD Beach (95).
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
The battle for victory came down to Gagne (1) vs. Jacobsen (99) with Gagne emerging victorious. Herrin (2), meanwhile, ended up third. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Josh Herrin (2) tries to hold off Mathew Scholtz (11) and Richie Escalante (54) in the third and final Superbike race of the weekend while PJ Jacobsen (99) and JD Beach (95) give chase.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Jake Gagne wrapped up his third straight MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship on Sunday at Pitt Race. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Sunday photos available HERE
JUSTIN BARCIA GETS BACK ON THE GAS AT BUDDS CREEK
The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing Team has been playing a bit of catch-up through the latter part of the Pro Motocross season since both Pierce Brown and Justin Barcia were injured and couldn’t put in a lot of work on bike setup before the team headed outdoors. But with a press day to experiment, and two solid motos for Justin, the weekend proved productive.
- The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing used this round as a test session to get caught up on their setup for the remaining races in the outdoor season, as well as preparation for the upcoming SuperMotocross playoffs
- Justin Barcia finished fifth overall with a 4-5 score
- Pierce Brown had a tough day with crashes and finished with a 15-24 tally
Considering that Justin Barcia was in only his second race back aboard his MC 450F Factory Edition
since returning from injury, he put in an impressive ride in moto one. Justin was among the leaders heading into the first turn but slipped into third spot by the end of the first lap. Battling with other competitors throughout the moto, he dropped to as low as sixth place but worked back to finish fifth at the finish, hot on the rear wheel of the fourth-place finisher. In moto two, Justin was third off the line and made a great move into the second corner to nail down the second position. He stayed there for a couple of laps before slipping to third, where he remained for much of the moto as he battled other riders. With six laps to go, he was passed and moved to fourth, where he finished.
Justin Barcia: “It was definitely a more productive day here at Budds Creek. I qualified sixth after two good practices, and we kind of used this weekend as a testing session. It’s hard coming back after being unable to test and do everything you need to do to prepare for the Nationals. Everyone has a lot of races under their belts, so we used press day as a test session, and then we changed the suspension going into the first moto. It worked out well for us today. We had two good starts, and battled up front in both motos. All in all I was extremely happy with where I’m at for not being able to train or anything. This is like only my fourth 30-minute moto since I started riding again, so considering that, I’m quite happy. We’ll keep plugging along and working hard. I’m looking forward to Indiana and we’ll keep building for SuperMotocross.”
With a deep and talented field, Pierce Brown was just outside of the top ten in the first moto aboard his MC 250F Factory Edition. But a bobble on lap two dropped him into the mid-20s for position, so the rest of the moto was spent working forwards to 15th. A tangle off the line in moto two put Pierce deep into the pack, and from there it was a battle to climb back to 24th.
Pierce Brown: “It was a tough day for sure. I qualified decent in Q1, and in Q2 I struggled. After that I just couldn’t find my flow. In moto one I got a bad start and fell a couple laps in. When I restarted, I was in a pack of guys that weren’t moving forward, and I couldn’t move through them so it was tough. In moto two I tangled with a rider right out of the gate and I got the worst end of the stick on that one. It’s racing. We’ll bounce back next week at Ironman.”
Next Event (Round 11): August 26, 2023 – Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Ind.
Results – 2023 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, Round Ten
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda) 2-1; 2. Justin Cooper (Yamaha) 1-2; 3. Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki) 7-3 … 18. Pierce Brown (GASGAS) 15-24; 24. Mark Fineis (GASGAS) 20-38;42. Mitchell Harrison (GASGAS) 40-DNS
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda) 1-1; 2. Aaron Plessinger (KTM) 4-3; 3. Jason Anderson (Kawasaki) 2-5… 5. Justin Barcia (GASGAS) 5-4; 18. Jose Butron (GASGAS) 22-17; 19. Romain Pape (GASGAS) 20-19; 22. Jakub Teresak (GASGAS) 25-20; 34. Cody Groves (GASGAS) 36-30; 39. Raimundo Trasolini (GASGAS) 38-35
Championship Standings – After Ten Rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda) 391 points; 2. Justin Cooper (Yamaha) 369 points; 3. Jo Shimoda (Yamaha) 343 points… 20. Pierce Brown (GASGAS) 61 points;29. Michael Mosiman (GASGAS) 20 points; 36. Tyson Johnson (GASGAS) 13 points; 45. Joel Rizzi (GASGAS) 3 points; 51. Mark Fineis (GASGAS) 1 point
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda) 500 points; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (Yamaha) 379 points; 3. Aaron Plessinger (KTM) 350 points … 12. Jose Butron (GASGAS) 142 points; 14. Lorenzo Locurcio (GASGAS) 110 points; 17. Romain Pape (GASGAS) 84 points; 22. Justin Barcia (GASGAS) 41 points; 29. Chris Canning (GASGAS) 27 points; 50. Jacob Runkles (GASGAS) 4 points; 58. Cody Groves (GASGAS) 3 points; 66. Jakub Teresak (GASGAS) 1 point
JALEK SWOLL SCORES PODIUM FINISH IN MOTO ONE AT BUDDS CREEK
The Budds Creek round of the Pro Motocross series had some highs and lows in store for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team. After a tough crash as Unadilla, RJ Hampshire was forced to miss round ten. But it also provided Casey Cochrane his first opportunity in Pro Motocross, and for Jalek Swoll, he scored his best moto finish of the season.
Jalek Swoll was in seventh and in the midst of a great three-way battle midway through the first 250 moto aboard his FC250, but a rare red flag for a downed rider caused a full restart. When the gate dropped again, Jalek took full advantage of it by grabbing the lead and showing everyone the way for five laps. While two of the championship contenders managed to slip by, he was still left with his best moto score of the season so far, a third-place finish. Jalek also moved back into ninth overall in the season standings.
“I’d say this was a positive for me. I got back on the box, but I couldn’t secure it for the overall. I had a tough second moto and not the best start. I was buried, but I fought as hard as I could and got to 12th. I felt like I could have been on the box for the overall today,” said Swoll. “We’re taking this confidence and the momentum to the last round and getting excited for the playoffs.”
For Talon Hawkins, 17-21 moto scores led to a 20th overall for the day on his first-ever crack at Budds Creek.
“This was a rough one. It was the first time ever here, and it’s a gnarly track. I didn’t really gel with it all day. We got better and better, and I put a lot of solid laps together and had the speed, I just dug a hole for myself on the starts and then had too many lulls,” said Hawkins. “I know what to work on. We’ll be back next weekend.”
Casey Cochrane has had excellent results in the 250SX Futures races throughout 2023 but had some tough going in his first crack at the Pro Motocross series. He shadowed Hawkins in the results with a 19-23 day, and 22nd overall.
“Budds Creek was all right. It was a learning experience for sure. There are definitely things to go back and work on so that I can come out next weekend and show up where I believe I should be,” said Cochrane. “I ran pretty good in the second moto, but I just hit a wall. That’s what we need to work on and we’ll be better next weekend.”
Next Event (Round 11): August 26, 2023 – Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Ind.
Round Ten Results: Budds Creek
250 MX Results
1. Hunter Lawrence (Honda), 2-1
2. Justin Cooper (Yamaha), 1-2
3. Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki), 7-3
6. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 3-12
19. Jorgen Talviku (Husqvarna), 24-17
20. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 17-21
22. Casey Cochrane – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 19-23
450 MX Results
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda), 1-1
2. Aaron Plessinger (KTM), 4-3
3. Jason Anderson (Kawasaki), 2-5
15. Anton Gole (Husqvarna), 15-15
27. Charlie Putnam (Husqvarna), 29-29
30. Luke Renzland (Husqvarna), 23-38
32. Scott Meshey (Husqvarna), 33-32
250 MX Rider Point Standings
1. Hunter Lawrence – 391 points
2. Justin Cooper – 369 points
3. Jo Shimoda – 343 points
6. RJ Hampshire – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 288 points
9. Jalek Swoll – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 195 points
12. Talon Hawkins – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 116 points
31. Jorgen Talviku (Husqvarna) – 19 points
47. Casey Cochrane – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – 2 points
48. Kai Aiello (Husqvarna) – 2 points
450 MX Rider Point Standings
1. Jett Lawrence – 500 points
2. Dylan Ferrandis – 379 points
3. Aaron Plessinger – 350 points
27. Anton Gole – 29 points
51. Luke Renzland – 4 points
52. John Adamson – 4 points
56. Tanel Leok – 3 points
59. Scott Meshey – 3 points
MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI RIDERS TAKE HOME TWO OVERALL PODIUMS AT ROUND 10 OF AMA PRO MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
|Foothill Ranch, Calif. (August 20, 2023) – Round 10 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship was held at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland. In the 450 Class, Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Jason Anderson charged to a season best moto finish and clinched third place position overall (2-5). Adam Cianciarulo rocketed to excellent starts in each moto claiming the holeshot in Moto 1 and finished seventh overall (7-6). In the 250 Class, MonsterEnergy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda achieved another overall podium finishing third place in a hard fought battle. Teammates Austin Forkner, Carson Mumford, Seth Hammaker and Ryder DiFrancesco finished fourth (8-4), eighth (12-8), 10th (6-14) and 15th (21-7), respectively.|
Budds Creek Motocross Park is known to be challenging and demanding for riders featuring varied terrain, elevation changes, jumps, and technical sections that create an exciting and competitive racing environment, attracting both riders and spectators. Budds Creek Motocross Park’s location in Mechanicsville, Maryland makes it accessible to a large portion of the East Coast motocross community making it a fan favorite on the Pro Motocross calendar. In the early morning qualifying sessions, Cianciarulo finished third with a time of 1:59.846 while his teammate, Anderson would trail closely in fourth with a time of 2:00.139.In the first Moto of the 450 Class, the No. 9 of Cianciarulo burst out of the starting gate to grab the holeshot and secured an early lead which he held for the initial half of the race. Meanwhile, Anderson riding the No. 21 machine initially found himself positioned in eighth place. As the race progressed and the track conditions worsened, Anderson began a remarkable display of overtaking, swiftly passing fellow competitors and propelling his KX™450SR into second place and earning his best moto finish of the season. As the moto wore on Cianciarulo faced challenges from many riders finishing in seventh place.
As Moto 2 kicked off, Cianciarulo once again exhibited one of his great starts, surging across the holeshot line in second position. However, challenges from the competition once again resulted in a drop to the fifth spot. In contrast, Anderson’s race began similarly to Moto 1, but he promptly executed swift maneuvers to bridge the gap and catch up with the leaders. With the track conditions devolving into a drier and more rugged state, carving out optimal racing lines became increasingly more challenging. As the race concluded and the checkered flag waved, Cianciarulo held on to a sixth place finish, while his teammate just ahead secured fifth place and an overall podium in third-place.
|“Budds Creek is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit and today went really well. I was able to secure my best moto finish of the season and clinch a third overall on the day. The bike setup was immaculate all day on my KX450SR and I am ready for the last round of the series before SuperMotocross.”– Jason Anderson|
|“There are lots of positives to take from the day. In both motos the starts were there. A holeshot in Moto 1 and a second place start in Moto 2. The track was challenging, but being able to lead a lot of laps in the first moto was a good feeling. I’m looking forward to making more progress each day to finish the season strong.”– Adam Cianciarulo|
|During the wet and early morning qualifying session, MonsterEnergy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders faced a challenging track with very close times. Hammaker and Shimoda started the day off strong, positioning themselves in fourth and seventh place with a time of 2:01.505 and 2:01.873. Forkner, Mumford and DiFrancesco piloted their Kawasaki machines into ninth, 11th and 15th with the time of 2:01.906, 2:02.144 and 2:03.901.|
In Moto 1 of the 250 Class, the Kawasaki riders launched off the starting gate with Shimoda and DiFrancesco surging ahead to seize the first and second positions as they navigated the first corner. As the race began to unfold, an unfortunate red flag brought racing to an abrupt halt for a rider needing medical attention, requiring a race restart with 15 minutes left on the clock. As the gate dropped for the restart, riders charged towards the first turn only to encounter a crash that caused a significant disruption in their momentum. This incident led to a considerable setback for the Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders, relegating them to positions just outside the Top 10. Hammaker and Shimoda, faced with limited time, engaged in a swift battle and ultimately crossed the finish line in sixth and seventh places. Forkner’s performance yielded a respectable eighth place finish, Mumford secured the 12th position, while DiFrancesco, unfortunately caught up in the first turn pile up, concluded the race in the 21st spot.
At the start of Moto 2 in the 250 Class, Forkner catapulted out of the starting gate, securing his first holeshot for the season aboard his KX™250. Shimoda and DiFrancesco closely trailed behind, occupying the fourth and fifth positions as the first lap unfolded. Regrettably, Mumford found himself amidst the pack in 12th place, while Hammaker’s luck took a downturn in the opening corner, causing him to fall back to the 25th position. The track conditions in this second race differed significantly from the morning’s qualifying sessions, with the once-moist terrain now dried out and riddled with challenging ruts. Despite these obstacles, the riders of the Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team staged late race comebacks. Shimoda managed to secure third place, thereby clinching the third overall for the day and another podium for Kawasaki. Just trailing behind, Forkner achieved his best placement of the season by finishing in fourth. DiFrancesco made a remarkable recovery from his Moto 1 misfortune to attain a seventh place finish. Mumford secured the eighth position, while Hammaker concluded the race in the 14th spot.
|“Today was a good one. I had a few minor mistakes in Moto 2 while I was charging towards the front, but I was able to hold on and bring home another overall podium. I’m looking forward to the last round next weekend and hope to keep the momentum rolling.” |
– Jo Shimoda
|“I will take that! A holeshot in Moto 2 and a fourth overall on the day is much closer to where we want to be. My speed showed today and I know I belong up there every race. Big shoutout to the fans and my team for the continued support.”– Austin Forkner|
|“All day I felt as if I was at the practice track ripping laps. I was able to hit my lines and never fatigued throughout the motos. I had some good battles with Levi (Kitchen) and Stilez (Robertson) passing each other back and forth for the better position. Huge shoutout to the team for keeping my KX™250 running perfect all weekend.”|
– Carson Mumford
|“Tough day at the races for me. I went down in the first corner of Moto 2 and had my work cut out for me. I put my head down and was able to fight through the pack to finish 14th.”– Seth Hammaker|
|“Today was a much better day. I was running up in the front in Moto 1 until it was red flagged. The results today did not show, but my fitness and mindset are solid. I had some great battles with Haiden (Deegan) and this is forward progress on my performance.”|
– Ryder DiFrancesco
Dual Overall Wins Once Again for Team Honda HRC at Budds Creek
For the seventh time this AMA Pro Motocross season, Team Honda HRC swept the overall wins in both classes, this time at Mechanicsville, Maryland’s Budds Creek Motocross Park, where Jett Lawrence continued his flawless campaign in the 450 class and Hunter Lawrence notched a 2-1 victory in the 250 ranks.
Jett’s season has been marked by strong starts, but after turn 1 in the first 450 moto, he sat in ninth place (one behind teammate Sexton). With his moto-win streak in jeopardy, and on a track where passing was difficult, the recently crowned champ was up to sixth at the end of lap 1, in the top three by lap 7 and in the lead by lap 8, with more than half the race still to be run. Jett held on to win comfortably aboard his CRF450RWE. Meanwhile, a few early miscues by Sexton put him outside the top 20, but he was able to mount a charge through the pack to secure a ninth-place result. An incredible holeshot kicked off moto 2 for Jett. Despite starting a few positions back, Sexton moved up to second but tipped over while he was challenging for the lead. He remounted and once again caught Jett near the end of the moto but came up less than a second short at the finish.
The first 250 moto ran nearly half its distance before being red-flagged, at which point Hunter Lawrence sat in fourth place. The Australian did well on the restart and ran in the top three before finishing second to title-rival Justin Cooper. Hunter started much better in moto 2 aboard his CRF250R, and he was in front by the completion of lap 1, never to trail again. His 2-1 performance earned him the overall win and kept him 22 points ahead in the title chase.
- Powersports of Crofton, a Honda dealership located south of Baltimore, had a pop-up activation booth set up in the Team Honda HRC pits, where they engaged with fans and customers and showed them new Honda powersports models.
- Once again, Jett Lawrence and Chase Sexton were the fastest riders in the 450 class during timed practice. Hunter Lawrence was 10th-fastest in the 250 ranks.
- Jett notched the fastest lap times in both 450 motos, while Hunter turned the fastest time in the first 250 moto.
- With Jett’s 2023 success at Budds Creek, Honda takes sole possession of the record for overall wins at the venue in the 450 class (250 two-stroke), with eight, as well as the mark for most moto wins, with 18. Jett joins a list of past Honda-mounted 450 overall winners at Budds Creek, including Jeremy McGrath (twice), Kevin Windham, Ricky Carmichael (three times) and Chad Reed.
- Hunter’s 2023 overall win puts him on the list of past Budds Creek Red Rider victors in the 250 class (125 two-stroke), including Mike Kiedrowski (twice), Steve Lamson (three times), Tallon Vohland, Mike Brown and RJ Hampshire.
- Hunter’s AMA Pro Motocross 250 overall win was the eighth of his career.
- Jett and Hunter Lawrence both participated in the post-race press conference at Budds Creek.
- Next up for Team Honda HRC is the final AMA Pro Motocross round of the year next weekend–Crawfordsville, Indiana’s Ironman National, where Hunter Lawrence (carrying a 22-point lead) has a good opportunity to secure the 250 title. Jett Lawrence also has a chance to complete his perfect 450 rookie season, although Sexton—for whom the venue is something of a home track—will be trying hard to break that streak.
- With the inaugural SuperMotocross Finals fast-approaching, Sexton holds the points lead in the 450 class, while Hunter Lawrence is in front of the 250 class. Despite having raced a 250 in AMA Supercross, Jett Lawrence sits fourth in the 450 ranks.