Jett Lawrence sweeps LA Coliseum, wins inaugural SMX Championship
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LOS ANGELES, California - Jett Lawrence swept the motos at the Los Angeles Coliseum and took earned his third championship of 2023. He won the 250 SX West title and became the first rookie to record a perfect season in Pro Motocross.
Ken Roczen got stranded behind lapped riders with two laps remaining and lost too much ground to Jett Lawrence to make an 11th-hour charge. He closed the gap significantly on the final lap but could not catch Lawrence.
Finishing fifth in the first moto and third in the second, Cooper Webb finished third overall.
Chase Sexton’s bid to win the inaugural SuperMotocross championship ended abruptly on Lap 10 of the second moto when he crashed out of the lead. In the post-race news conference it was announced he was battered but sustained no significant injuries.
In 250s, Haiden Deegan was surprised that he won the overall, and with it the championship. He did not think his fifth-place result in Moto 1 would give him the victory.
Jo Shimoda came up just a little short in his bid to win the title and the $500,000 that went with it but over the past four weeks he has arguably been the best rider in the field. He’s certainly been the most improved.
RJ Hampshire finished second in the first moto and sixth in the second. He’s relegated to third via the tiebreaker.
The 450 Moto 1 was filled with drama as Justin Barcia went down immediately after passing Adam Cianciarulo for the lead. The crash ended up bringing out the red flag as AlpineStars worked to get Barcia off the track.
The red flag was thrown after Jason Anderson and Roczen crossed the finish line completing the third lap and as per the AMA rulebook the riders completed a staggered restart with Anderson in the lead. The three main Championship contenders of Roczen, Jett Lawrence and Sexton were now nose to back tire. Ultimately the trio completed the podium with Lawrence ahead of Roczen and Sexton.
In one of the most hotly contested motos of the season, Jordon Smith wins the first 250 race while championship contenders Shimoda and Deegan swap positions. Shimoda head into the final race with a slight advantage.
Hunter is out for tonight with a pinched nerve in his back from a Friday practice crash that was exacerbated by a hard landing in Saturday’s qualification.
Playoff contenders Deegan in 250s and Sexton in 450s set the pace in their first Qualification sessions.
Hunter struggled badly during 250 qualification and landed well outside the top 10 in both sessions.
Sexton gets the first gate pick in 450s with Jason Anderson and Cooper Webb next to pick. Jett was fourth quickest overall with Roczen sixth.
Phil Nicoletti in the 450 class and Hunter Yoder in 250s win their LCQs and set the field for the season finale at the LA Coliseum.
The field is now set for the SuperMotocross season finale.
With one champion crowned in Haiden Deegan, the 450 riders take to the track to settle their battle. One rider will claim $1 million at the end of this.
Chase Sexton knew he needed a good start and he gets the holeshot.
On Lap 2 Jett Lawrence moves into second. He only needs to finish there to win the championship. Car dealerships throughout Florida are starting to get a selection of sporty SUVs ready to show.
Ken Roczen is stalking Lawrence. If he takes second away from Lawrence, Sexton would still have a one-point lead and the championship. Roczen is within two seconds of Lawrence.
Lawrence lands hard and nearly goes down; this race isn’t over yet. Roczen is unable to capitalize and is still seconds back.
Chase Sexton crashes hard in the sand section. He’s slow to get up and the battle switches to Lawrence versus Roczen. It’s winner take all between these two now.
If Roczen wins, he will have a one-point advantage over a second-place Lawrence.
Unfortunately, Sexton crashing from the lead was a theme of Sexton’s Supercross season.
Roczen is 1.2 seconds back.
Leaders are in traffic; Roczen closes in. to .8 seconds.
Two seconds on the clock. Lawrence leads over Roczen. Cooper Webb is third.
Lawrence gets through traffic better than Roczen, who gets stranded behind two riders. That could do it for the challenger. He lost two seconds.
Jett Lawrence sweeps the motos and wins his third championship of 2023.
Will Jordon Smith continue to play spoiler to Jo Shimoda and Haiden Deegan?
Levi Kitchen gets the hole shot over Maximus Vohland.
Tom Vialle loses control of his bike and then loses his bike.
Moto 1’s winner Smith is back in 22nd place.
Deegan is chasing down Kitchen followed by Justin Cooper and Jo Shimoda.
Shimoda is running in fourth just 2.4 seconds behind Kitchen in the lead but Deegan is now closer. He runs second with his teammate Cooper between him and his championship competitor.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing is currently running 1,2,3 with Kitchen, Deegan and Cooper.
Deegan makes a slight mistake but holds onto his lead on Cooper.
As they run Deegan’s combined 5-2 beats Shimoda’s 4-4.
The Kawasaki great start streak ended at the wrong time for Shimoda, and he has to race his way through these final two motos.
Shimoda is running out of time to catch Cooper. He needs to pass Cooper and get to Deegan for the overall win and the Championship.
Shimoda puts pressure on Cooper in the final section of the final lap but can’t take third.
Kitchen wins the race and Deegan wins the Championship as a rookie.
The overall podium for 250s is Haiden Deegan with a 5-2 followed by RJ Hampshire’s 6-2 and Jo Shimoda’s 4-4
“This is a dream come true, and I just want to say to the haters is I love you guys,” Deegan said with a shell-shocked look on his face. “You pushed me to win this.”.
Deegan holds the yellow No. 1 plate in victory. The plate is special for the SuperMotocross champion instead of the regular season red plates.
“This is getting pretty old, I guess I have to have more confidence in my ability because when I show up, I can do really well,” A motivated Kitchen said of his victory after a disappointing Moto 1. “We’re going to be a different person next year.”
Kitchen has struggled to put two strong motos together in the same weekend.
Before the start of Moto 2 Levi tore off most of his tearoff’s to give himself no excuse to not holeshot. It worked as he took the early lead.
After a dramatic 250 Moto 1, the 450 riders will take the stage.
Adam Cianciarulo’s green Kawasaki bike glows with the leader light followed by Justin Barcia and Jason Anderson.
As they close out the first lap the Championship the favorites run as follows: Ken Roczen in fourth, Chase Sexton in fifth and Jett Lawrence in sixth.
Barcia attempts a pass on Cianciarulo up to the peristyle.
Then Barcia gets Cianciarulo 30 seconds later before crashing from the lead.
Jason Anderson now leads the three main championship contenders, Roczen, Sexton and Lawrence.
Red Flag for Barcia! His elbow seems to be injured from his crash from the lead. He is also placed on a backboard. The AlpineStars medical team works to cart Barcia off the track.
The rule book says “If race is stopped with under three laps completed, Racers must return to the gate to undergo Complete restart.” So, riders are situated back at the gate.
If more than three laps are completed by the leader, racers head back to starting gate for a staggered restart. Anderson barely completed the third lap so it will be a staggered start.
This is huge for the rider of the Kawasaki No. 21 as he has a better chance of holding his lead.
On the first lap after the red flag, Lawrence makes a pass on Sexton to move into third behind Roczen.
Aaron Plessinger was on a surge through the sand when he went down, he fell back to 20th. He is leaving the track.
Roczen pressures Anderson on the peristyle and looks to make the pass in the sand.
Lawrence gets by Anderson, and he’ll look to shorten the lead that Roczen has already pulled away on.
The Lawrence versus Roczen battle is intense on Lap six. Lawrence pressures for the pass before the finish line. It’s very similar to Roczen’s pass on Anderson.
Pass made in the final turn before the finish line. Lawrence now leads.
Lawrence is not going to let Roczen get past.
Roczen wants to pass without a wave by. A patch on the bottom of his livery reads 1+1=3, a reference to last week.
Sexton stays close to the battle riding in third. All three riders have so much to prove.
The difference between Lawrence and Roczen is 1.9, and Roczen to Sexton just 1.3 with six minutes remaining.
Sexton is the fastest followed by Roczen and Lawrence, a perfect inverse of how the riders run with six minutes remaining.
Lappers are about to come into play for the leaders.
Lawrence over jumps in the rhythm section; Roczen is just 1.2 seconds behind with two minutes remaining.
One minute and a lap remains.
Roczen drags a toe and Lawrence pulls back to a 1.6 second lead.
Final lap as the white flag waves. Lawrence stays in front.
Lawrence enters the rhythm section for the final time and takes the checkered flag!
The Podium is Lawrence, Roczen and Sexton as the three fight for the million-dollar payday.
Jason Anderson finishes fourth after leading early. Copper Webb completes the top five.
Hunter Lawrence will not start the first SuperMotocross feature at the LA Coliseum after pinching a nerve is his back. The injury was suffered in Friday’s practice and exacerbated by a hard landing on Saturday.
Jalek Swoll gets the holeshot but Haiden Deegan gets around quickly.
Tom Vialle takes the lead from Deegan, who is looking at the big picture. If Deegan wins the overall, he wins the championship.
Jo Shimoda gets a slow start and ends Lap 1 in seventh.
Vialle and Deegan have a close battle through the peristyle. And Vialle’s leader lights make him easy to pick up at night.
It’s slow going, but Shimoda climbs to sixth. Every position matters if he wants a shot at the championship.
Halfway: Vialle, Deegan, Jordon Smith, RJ Hampshire and Jalek Swoll.
Swoll is making it hard for Shimoda to pass.
Shimoda and Vialle lean on one another but don’t go down.
Surging up the peristyle, Smith gets Deegan and Hampshire is pushing too.
Shimoda’s not out of it. He’s now fifth and one position behind Deegan.
Five minutes to go and points as they run show Shimoda and Smith tied for the lead. Deegan is one point back.
Deegan goes wide on a turn. Shimoda pounces and takes the spot.
Now Shimoda has his sights set on Vialle to battle for the final podium position with time running off the clock.
Smith and Hampshire are 1-2.
Wow: Jordon Smith wins Moto 1 and is suddenly in the championship hunt. Hampshire finishes second.
The best battle of the moto is between Vialle, (who finishes third), and Shimoda in fourth.
Shimoda came forward from as far back as eight.
Deegan finishes fifth and the championship battle heads to Moto 2.
There is a lot of pressure to make the night show here at the LA Coliseum as everyone wants to be part of this historic return to this venue.
Hunter Yoder wins the 250 Last Chance Qualifier with Preston Kilroy, Mitchell Oldenburg and Coty Schock also advancing into the Main.
Phil Nicoletti gets the holeshot in his quest to win all three LCQs of the playoffs.
And Nicoletti wins the LCQ to remain perfect. He moves onto the Main finale. On the top of the box, Nicoletti suggests a rule change for 2024. In the inaugural season, once a rider finishes outside the top 20 he is forced into every LCQ no matter his points’ standing after Rounds 1 and 2. He entered the finale weekend 13th in the standings.
Jerry Robin and Jeremy Hand follow him into the big show.
In the first practice session for the seeded 250 riders, Haiden Deegan topped the leaderboard over RJ Hampshire and Justin Cooper.
The other two championship contenders, Jo Shimoda was eighth and Hunter Lawrence 12th.
In the 450 seeded Qualification 1, Chase Sexton beat Jett Lawrence. If either of these riders win the race, they take the championship.
Adam Cianciarulo slots into third while the other most-likely championship contender Ken Roczen is fifth.
Back to 250s: While running up front, Pierce Brown crashes as time winds off the clock. Max Vohland also goes down.
Justin Cooper tops Qualification 2 over Hampshire and Brown.
In 450s, title contenders Shimoda lands sixth on the chart, Deegan eighth and Hunter all the way down in 14th.
Second round times were fastest, so the top three gate picks go to riders who are not in the top three. With points’ tripled, there is room for an upset.
Hunter will have a terrible gate pick with the 14th fastest qualification time.
In 450s Qualification 2, Sexton rides wide in a turn, catches a Tuff Blox and crashes. He’s back up and okay.
El Hombre, Jason Anderson tops Qualification 2 over Sexton, (who rebounded from his crash). Cooper Webb is third.
Roczen and Jett hover around fifth.
Qualification 2 times are the fastest. Sexton has the first gate pick with Anderson then Webb getting to choose next. Lawrence will have the fourth pick and Roczen sixth.
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