Minnesota’s Spring Creek MX Park held the seventh round of The 50th Anniversary of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, on Saturday. The Frescados Tortillas Spring Creek National featured one of the most dynamic racetracks in American motocross and it provided a compelling afternoon of competition that saw Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Eli Tomac storm to his fourth straight 450 Class victory following another 1-1 moto sweep that moved him atop the point standings. In the 250 Class, defending champion and current point leader Jett Lawrence continued his impressive title defense with his sixth overall win of the season, completing another 1-1 sweep of the motos aboard his Team Honda HRC machine.
The 450 Class frontrunners of Tomac and Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton emerged at the head of the pack to start the opening moto, but it was Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy who came away with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, only to lose the lead to Tomac. A brief battle for third between Sexton and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ryan Dungey saw the Honda rider secure the position and go on the attack for second. Savatgy went down and dropped outside the top 10, which moved Sexton into second, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson into third, and Dungey into fourth.
A showdown between the top two riders in the division took shape, as Sexton started to close the gap. Tomac responded and stabilized the lead as the moto reached its halfway point. Fifteen minutes into the moto Sexton went on the attack and pulled the trigger to make the pass for the lead as they navigated one of the track’s steep downhill sections. Tomac responded and got alongside Sexton, but the Honda rider countered to establish his hold on the spot. Sexton then sprinted out to a multi-second lead.
Sexton appeared to have the moto in control but missed a rut on one of the track’s downhills and went down, which handed the lead back to Tomac with less than 10 minutes to go. Sexton was able to remount in second but faced an insurmountable deficit. Tomac carried on to his sixth consecutive moto win with a margin of 14.4 seconds over Sexton. Anderson followed in third, with Dungey fourth and Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Christian Craig in fifth.
The second 450 Class moto started with Savatgy once again leading the way for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, with Sexton and Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen in hot pursuit as Tomac followed from fourth. Sexton went on the attack immediately and fought his way into the lead before the completion of the opening lap as Roczen soon followed into second. Tomac then aggressively made his way into third and set his sights on the Hondas.
Tomac stalked Roczen for a lap and made an impressive move to take control of second. Less than two seconds separated the lead pair, but Tomac made quick work to erase that deficit and soon applied heavy pressure on Sexton. A relentless Tomac made an impressive move to take the lead away from his rival and looked to check out with a blistering lap. While Tomac’s pace was unmatched, Sexton was able to keep him honest and kept the Yamaha within striking distance. This allowed both riders to pull away from the rest of the field.
Behind the leaders the battle for third heated up between Roczen and Craig. The Yamaha rider was patient and took advantage of his first opportunity to claim the position and moved into a podium spot. Roczen then lost his hold of fourth to Anderson, who then looked to track down Craig for third.
As the moto entered its final five minutes the gap between Tomac and Sexton hovered around a second, with swings in momentum favoring one rider or another as they worked through lapped traffic. As the clock ran out on the moto both riders let it all hang out for the final two laps. Sexton closed in as the final lap began, but Tomac didn’t put a wheel wrong and inched away in the final corners to wrap up his seventh straight moto win by 1.7 seconds. Craig finished in a distant third.
Tomac’s midseason run of dominance continued with his third consecutive 1-1 performance, which resulted in his fourth straight overall win and the 31st victory of his career. Sexton’s unblemished podium streak continued with his seventh in a row for the runner-up spot (2-2), while Anderson earned his third podium result of the season in third (3-4).
Tomac’s streak allowed him to take control of the championship point lead for the first time in 2022, where he now has a five-point lead over Sexton. Anderson’s podium finish allowed him to move into third in the standings, 72 points out of the lead.
“That was crazy, running at that pace the whole time [in Moto 2],” said Tomac. “I had my work cut out for me off the start and had to make some passes. I was able to get by Chase [Sexton] early and that was huge. We made some changes to the bike in the second moto that really helped and allowed me to put the bike where I wanted,” he said.
“My riding hasn’t been an issue, but I honestly felt off today and made a lot of mistakes,” said Sexton. “I tried my best all day though. That was crazy running at the pace the whole final moto, but [Tomac] is riding awesome right now. I obviously need to do some things better and I’ll keep fighting,” he said.
“I didn’t put myself in a good position to start, but I did what I had to do in order to get on the podium,” said Anderson. “I’m exhausted, but we’ll keep doing whatever we have to continue to be up here,” he said.
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-1 // 50)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-2 // 44)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-4 // 38)
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (5-3 // 36)
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (4-6 // 33)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (6-5 // 31)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (7-7 // 28)
- Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (9-10 // 23)
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna (10-11 // 21)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (17-8 // 17)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 7 of 12)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha - 317
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda - 312
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki - 245
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda - 241
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha - 220
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM - 218
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS - 190
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM - 177
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 142
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 139
As the 40-rider field stormed down the longest start straight in Pro Motocross and into the first turn it was Jett Lawrence and Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper side-by-side for the MotoSport.com Holeshot. A slight bobble slowed Cooper’s momentum enough to give Lawrence the holeshot and early lead. A brief challenge by Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence for second forced Cooper to push the pace and it ultimately carried him around Jett and into the lead. Unfortunately, Cooper tipped over shortly thereafter and dropped outside the top 10, which handed the lead to Hunter Lawrence as Jett Lawrence was slowed to avoid Cooper and lost second to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Seth Hammaker.
Hunter Lawrence looked to establish himself out front, but his brother was determined to reclaim the lead. Jett Lawrence made quick work of Hammaker and was able to take advantage of a brief off-track excursion by Hunter to put pressure on the lead and seize control of the moto. A Lawrence brothers battle followed as Hunter gave chase to Jett. As the leaders asserted themselves out front, Hammaker and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Max Vohland engaged in a battle for third.
The Honda-mounted siblings traded momentum and were never separated by more than about a second, which allowed them to open a gap of more than five seconds on the field, where Volhand moved into third. A little more than 10 minutes into the moto Hunter made a savvy pass to take the lead from Jett. The elder Lawrence picked up the pace to establish the biggest lead of the moto at more than two seconds. Hunter maintained his lead through the middle portion of the moto and even pulled ahead by nearly three seconds, but as the leaders approached lapped traffic in the waning minutes of the moto it allowed Jett to take a big chunk out of his deficit and close to within just over a second. Hunter responded and stretched the lead back out, but Jett battled back and with two laps to go as mere bike lengths separated the siblings.
Lapped traffic played into another swap for the lead as Jett was able to take advantage of Hunter’s slowed momentum to move back out front. On the last lap Hunter dropped the hammer and closed onto Jett’s rear wheel, but it wasn’t enough. Jett grabbed his eighth moto win of the season, and his fourth in a row, by a half-second over Hunter, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda made a late pass on the final lap to steal third from Vohland. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire rounded out the top five.
The final 250 Class moto initially began with another battle between the Lawrence brothers taking shape, but a red flag for a downed rider initiated a restart. When the gate dropped for the second time it was once again Cooper out front with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed by Shimoda and Jett Lawrence, who made a quick pass for second. Hunter Lawrence slotted deep inside the top 10.
Cooper led for the opening minutes, but Jett Lawrence was able to make an outside pass stick to take control of the moto. Shimoda then started to apply pressure on Cooper for second as the top three opened a big gap on the field. The battle for second continued for several laps as Cooper fended off multiple pass attempts by Shimoda, which allowed Jett Lawrence to move out to a lead of more than three seconds. Shimoda finally made the pass stick but faced a five-second deficit to the lead.
With no pressure from behind, Jett Lawrence was able to ride his own race and control the lead. He wrapped up his fifth straight moto win by 7.9 seconds over Shimoda, while Cooper followed in a distant third.
A second consecutive 1-1 performance gave Jett Lawrence his sixth overall win in seven rounds and the 11th victory of his career. Shimoda secured back-to-back runner-up finishes (3-2) and has now amassed a four-round overall podium streak, while Hunter Lawrence completed up the overall podium in third (2-6).
Another afternoon of maximum points allowed Jett Lawrence to add to his advantage over Hunter Lawrence in the 250 Class standings, which now sits at 27 points. Shimoda remains third, 45 points out of the lead.
“I got a good start on the restart and was able to make a few passes to get into first,” said Jett Lawrence. “I had a much better flow than the first moto because I wasn’t constantly trying to sprint like I was when battling Hunter [Lawrence]. This was one of the easiest motos of the year, but we won’t take that for granted and will keep pushing,” he said.
“Every race I feel like I’m improving little-by-little,” said Shimoda. “I was able to get a much better start in the second moto, coming out third or fourth is like a holeshot to me, so I’m really happy to get another podium,” he said.
“My first start was good, but I messed up on the restart,” said Hunter Lawrence. “I was really tired at the end there in the second moto, but gotta take the positives and be happy to finish on the box. Jett [Lawrence] is riding really great right now,” he said.
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-1 // 50)
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (3-2 // 42)
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-5 // 38)
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (6-3 // 35)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (5-4 // 34)
- Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (4-6 // 33)
- Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (8-7 // 27)
- Ryder DiFrancesco, Bakersfield, Calif., Kawasaki (13-8 // 21)
- Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (12-9 // 21)
- Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Suzuki (16-10 // 16)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 7 of 12)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda - 311
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda - 284
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki - 266
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha - 232
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha - 180
- Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki - 178
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS - 169
- Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna - 169
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 166
- Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM - 162
The 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will make its return to the West Coast next Saturday, July 23, as the series travels to the scenic Pacific Northwest and Washington’s legendary Washougal MX Park. The MotoSport.com Washougal National will feature comprehensive live broadcast coverage on MAVTV Motorsports Network in addition to live streaming coverage on “MAVTV on FloRacing,” beginning with qualifying at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET and followed by four consecutive hours of moto coverage, starting at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET.