Saturday evening in Salt Lake City, Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium saw Chase Sexton wrap up the 2023 450SX Championship at the AMA Supercross series finale. His premier-class crown follows on the heels of twin 250SX titles by Sexton's Team Honda HRC colleagues Jett Lawrence (West Region) and Hunter Lawrence (East Region).
Sexton's win was hard-earned, as the 17-round series eliminated a number of top riders through injury. Sexton persevered, collecting six main-event wins, and he was consistently the fastest rider of all, qualifying on top at 14 of the 17 rounds. The 23-year-old set several season-best marks, including most podium finishes (13), most top-five results (16), most heat-race wins (eight) and most laps led. Of note was Sexton's upward trajectory; while his pure speed was impressive all season, he had to work hard to eliminate errors that cost him wins in the early rounds.
"Wow, 2023 450 Supercross Champion—it doesn't even feel real yet," an emotional Sexton said following the race. "It's what I've worked for since I was two-and-a-half years old, when I first got on a dirt bike; since then, this has been the goal. This year was definitely not easy; I was up-and-down in the middle of the season, but I got four of the last six wins—really came on strong at the end, when I needed to. It means so much to me. I couldn't ask for a better group of people around me—our team, everybody. I'm super, super thankful and happy."
Although Honda has the most AMA Supercross race wins of any manufacturer (228, or 44 more than second place), the premier-class AMA Supercross title has eluded them since Ricky Carmichael earned it 20 years ago. That said, this is the 16th time that Honda has won the title (a record), with past Honda champions including such legends as Donnie Hansen, David Bailey, Johnny O'Mara, Rick Johnson, Jeff Stanton, Jean-Michel Bayle, Jeremy McGrath and Carmichael.
This marks only the third time that a manufacturer has won all three AMA Supercross Championships in the same season, with one of the other two also having been accomplished by Honda; in 1991, Team Honda's Bayle topped the premier class, with Peak/Pro Circuit Honda's McGrath and Brian Swink taking the West and East crowns, respectively. This latest title sweep marks the first time that it has been accomplished by one team, and Honda also collected the 2023 AMA Supercross Manufacturers Championship for the third consecutive time.
"This has truly been an incredible AMA Supercross season, and Chase's premier-class title is the cherry on top," said Brandon Wilson, manager of sports and experiential at American Honda.
Sexton and the rest of Team Honda HRC now take a one-week break before kicking off the AMA Pro Motocross series in Pala, California, on May 27.