Supercross 2023: Results and points after Denver
Injury to a major contender shook up the Monster Energy Supercross results and points at Nashville and Denver proved to be no different as Eli Tomac ruptured an Achilles tendon on Lap 3 and Chase Sexton won.
Barely three minutes into Round 16 at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, the battle for the championship battle ended abruptly as Tomac landed hard in a rhythm section, slammed his foot into the dirt and suffered a season-ending injury. In a matter of moments, it was apparent Tomac would not finish the race. It took only a little longer for word to come from the Alpinestars Medical trailer that his season was coming to an end.
The hometown crowd quieted in shock as Tomac fell from the lead, but there was a race to finish and Sexton methodically worked his way through the field. He took the lead from Adam Cianciarulo on Lap 9 of 20 and the Denver Supercross results were different than anyone expected at the gate drop. Sexton held the top spot until the checkers. He not only erased his 18-point deficit to Tomac, but ended the event up by seven, which would have made the championship battle difficult even if the former points’ leader were able to mount up in Salt Lake City for next week’s finale.
This was Sexton’s fifth victory of the season and his second consecutive. Tomac will end 2023 with seven wins.
Ken Roczen also got around Cianciarulo, but it took him the entire race. He made the pass for second on the final lap of Supercross Round 16 and the Denver results show this as his fourth consecutive podium and fifth top-five. Roczen started the season on a new bike with a team that does not have the same level of support as he has been accustomed throughout his career.
The most emotional result from Supercross Round 15 at Denver belonged to Cianciarulo, who missed most of last year to injury and has been plagued with health problems for most of this season. He’s ridden well in the early stages of races, but faded outside the top five in every round so far. On the podium, he tearfully reported he considered ending his Supercross career because the results were so erratic, but Denver gives him a new lease as the Supercross series prepares to go outdoors when the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season begins in three weeks at Pala, California.
One week after scoring a career best fifth at Nasvhille, Justin Hill bettered that mark by one more position and finished fourth. While he failed to finish inside the top five, Hill had four previous top-10s this season.
Shane McElrath led the first half of Lap 1 before he was overtaken by Tomac. He gradually lost ground to the leader and finished a lap off the pace but still managed to score a top-five.
In a race in which Jett Lawrence clinched the 250 West championship, RJ Hampshire scored a moral victory by winning for the first time in 2023. After practice and qualification, he told reporters he was going to win. There was a sense of relief when he made good on his prediction. The Lawrence brothers Jett and Hunter have been in a league of their own, but Hampshire and the 250 East rider Jordon Smith have the second most podiums of five.
Levi Kitchen won his heat and led for half of the 250 West race. Hampshire hounded him through those early laps and Kitchen thought he had some relief when that rider slipped into neutral and nearly crashed. In the postrace news conference, Kitchen said he looked over his shoulder too many times and lost momentum. He is still seeking his first main win of the season. Kitchen’s Anaheim 2 overall victory came without winning one of the Triple Crown features.
Lawrence had an adventurous night.
He was knocked to the ground in heavy traffic in his heat and fell outside the top 10. No one expected Lawrence to stay there and he worked his way to fourth, but with a deeply rutted course in front of the gate, his effort in the feature was affected. Lawrence took a gate far to the inside and that contributed to a poor start. Lawrence needed to finish 10th or better at Denver to clinch the Supercross 250 West championship, so this result was going to be enough.
Lawrence showed patience for the first half of the race and eased around the competition. Once he made his way to third on Lap 10, the crew informed him there was a 10 second gap to the battle for the lead. Lawrence settled in and made certain he did not make a mistake. Third was good enough and after the race Lawrence said he’s focused on his impending move to 450s for the outdoor season.
Hunter wrapped up the 250 East championship last week, making this the first time brothers have won the divisional titles in the same season.
Enzo Lopes was denied his first career podium by Lawrence midway through the race. Lopes was forced to settle for a fifth top five. He finished fourth in two races previous at San Diego and Seattle. Next week’s finale will be an East/West Showdown, so getting on the podium will be twice as difficult.
Mitchell Oldenburg has not finished in the top five since Anaheim. He was fourth in both races there early in the season before struggling to a best of seventh in his next three rounds.
Round 15, Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence win
Round 14: Justin Barcia, Max Anstie win
Round 13: Sexton, H Lawrence win
Round 12: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 11: Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, H Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win
2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings
Week 15: Eli Tomac is back on top
Week 14: Justin Barcia, most of top 20, hold steady
Week 13: Barcia leapfrogs the Big Three
Week 12: Eli Tomac gains momentum
Week 11: Cooper Webb, Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
Week 10: Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Sexton unseats Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s