Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO — May 6, 2023
We could see two Supercross champions crowned tonight in Denver. If defending champion Eli Tomac can finish eight points ahead of Chase Sexton, he will clinch his third AMA 450SX championship and second in a row.
We asked Tomac, after his second-place finish at Nashville, if he would go all-out to try and lock the title up in front of his hometown fans. Or would he manage his advantage with smart, conservative riding? Eli’s response was that two podium finishes over the last two races would suit him fine. Smart over daring will almost assure a successful outcome to the season.
Chase Sexton kept Tomac within striking distance by gaining three points and a victory in Nashville. He now has five wins and 22 podiums through his first 42 450SX Class starts.
Ken Roczen scored his third straight podium and fifth of the season in Nashville. He now sits only one behind Ryan Villopoto for 10th on the all-time 450SX Class podiums list with 63.
Just like Tomac in the 450SX Class, Jett Lawrence has a path to clinching his 2023 Western Regional title in Denver. With a 39-point advantage over RJ Hampshire, Lawrence clinches with a 10th-position finish or better. He would clinch one week after his brother Hunter clinched the Eastern Regional title in Nashville to set up their second showdown of the season in Salt Lake City.
The first 450SX Class race in Denver was on May 18th, 1996, in Old Mile High Stadium and was the season finale. Jeremy McGrath won the race on a Honda and had already clinched the title weeks before.
Mile High Stadium was the home of the Denver Broncos from 1960-2000. Originally it was built as a 17,000-seat Minor League Baseball stadium in 1948. The capacity topped out at 76,000 before it was demolished in 2000 and now serves as a parking lot for the newer Broncos stadium at Mile High, Empower Field. Empower Field hosted Supercross in 2019 and 2022, meaning 2023 will be the fourth 450SX Class race in Denver and the third at Empower Field.
250SX West Heats
Levi Kitchen(43) out-raced RJ Hampshire(24) to the holeshot line in Heat One. He slowly built the advantage. Derek Kelly(41) and Max Vohland(34) staged a battle for the third spot.
Hampshire tried to make a late run. But a slip in one of the tight corners allowed Kitchen to pull away again, sealing the Heat win. Vohland took third from Kelly to round out the top three.
Heat Two featured points leader Jett Lawrence(18), and he did not get his usual dominant start. Around the first turn, Lawrence got squeezed and made contact with several riders going down and off his bike. Once back astride, Lawrence sat in 15th place, needing to pick up six positions to qualify for the main event.
Out front, Mitchell Oldenburg(49) took the early lead. Enzo Lopes(56) moved past and then gave up the lead to Carson Mumford(52). With just over a minute to go in the timed portion of the event, Lopes regained the lead with a clean pass on Mumford. The shuffle continued as Oldenburg passed Mumford for second place.
Lopes held on for his first heat win, and the Brazilian rider celebrated like he had won the series championship.
Lawrence worked his way through the field and finished fourth, putting him in a position to possibly wrap up the title in the main event.
Ken Roczen(94) and Kyle Chisholm(11) fought for the early lead, with Roczen pulling out in front quickly. Adam Cianciarulo(9) came charging hard to make up time on the leaders. Cianciarulo blew past Chisholm and closed within a second and a half of the leader. Roczen held off the challenge and took the Heat win.
Justin Hill(46) also passed Chisholm to finish in third.
Eli Tomac(1), much to the delight of the home crowd, fired out of the gate, leaving Chase Sexton(23) and Colt Nichols(49) in the dust. Sexton caught the defending champion, and Tomac relinquished the lead rather than chance a collision and possible injury.
Keeping Sexton in sight, Tomac led Nichols by over 10 seconds. Following his formula for success and riding smart. Sexton posted his seventh heat win of the season.
The 450SX class is missing some of its most competitive riders, as Jason Anderson(21), Cooper Webb(2), and Justin Barcia(51) are missing Denver. Each was injured in a series of incidents at Nashville and unable to recover in time to make the trip west.
250SX West Main Event
Jett Lawrence was 10th around the first turn as Max Vohland, Levi Kitchen, and RJ Hampshire battled for the lead. Out of the rhythm section on the second lap, Kitchen took over the lead, with Hampshire moving up to second. Vohland and Enzo Lopes fought for the final podium position.
Lawrence had gained three spots into seventh but was not taking any chances. Vohland went down in a collision with Lopes. Enzo stayed upright and took over the third position. However, Lawrence was coming and made the pass at the halfway point.
Kitchen and Hampshire were running one-two when RJ pulled even. Side-by-side, Hampshire ran out of track and could not make the pass, veering off the course and losing valuable time to the leader. Hampshire retained the second position as Lawrence just ran comfortably and safely in the third position.
With the clock winding down, Hampshire was making up time on Kitchen. With a minute to go, the lead was cut to under a second. Out of the whoops, Hamshire made his move and took over the lead. Kitchen tried to come back, but Hampshire held him off to take the win.
With his third-place finish, Jett Lawrence clinches the 250SX West championship. A week after Hunter grabbed the 250SX East crown. He will face off against brother Hunter next week in the East/West showdown at Salt Lake City in the season finale.
Jett will move to the 450SX class next year, and the talk is that Hunter may join him in moving up to the premier class.
250SX West Results
|1||24||RJ Hampshire||Husqvarna FC 250 RE||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing|
|2||43||Levi Kitchen||Yamaha YZ250F||Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing|
|3||18||Jett Lawrence||Honda CRF250R||Team Honda HRC|
|4||56||Enzo Lopes||Yamaha YZ250F||Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha|
|5||49||Mitchell Oldenburg||Honda CRF250R||Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda|
|6||34||Max Vohland||KTM 250 SX-F FE||Red Bull KTM|
|7||41||Derek Kelley||KTM 250 SX-F||AEO Powersports KTM Racing|
|8||52||Carson Mumford||Kawasaki KX250||Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki|
|9||83||Cole Thompson||Yamaha YZ250F||Team Solitaire Heartbeat Hot Sauce Yamaha|
|10||59||Robbie Wageman||Suzuki RM-Z250||BarX Suzuki, R-Jerky, Grindstone|
|11||85||Dilan Schwartz||Suzuki RM-Z250||Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki|
|12||53||Derek Drake||Suzuki RM-Z250||BarX Suzuki|
|13||84||Mitchell Harrison||GASGAS MC 250F||AJE Motorsport Overstock Vehicles.com GAS GAS|
|14||604||Max Miller||KTM 250 SX-F||Rides Unlimited, Bell, FMF, Scott, Factory Connection|
|15||508||Hunter Yoder||Kawasaki KX250||Partzilla Prmx Racing, SOBMX, OGS, RynoPower, Ogio|
|16||981||Austin Politelli||GASGAS MC 250F||Aje Motorsports, Overstock Vehicles, GasGas, Ellison Earthworks, HRT, Burk Mechanical, CCP|
|17||98||Geran Stapleton||GASGAS MC 250F||Geran Stapleton|
|18||76||Dominique Thury||Yamaha YZ250F||Team Solitaire Heartbeat Hot Sauce Yamaha|
|19||89||Kaeden Amerine||KTM 250 SX-F||Rocky Mountain ATV MC, Rides Unlimited Racing, Seven MX|
|20||388||Brandon Ray||Honda CRF250R||TDMX Graphics|
|21||93||Jerry Robin||GASGAS MC 250F||AJE Motosports|
|22||636||Luke Kalaitzian||Honda CRF250R||KBR, Honda, Mitchell Brothers Concrete|
250 SX West Standings
|1||18||Jett Lawrence||Zephyrhills, FL||197|
|2||24||RJ Hampshire||Minneola, FL||163|
|3||56||Enzo Lopes||Chesterfield, SC||137|
|4||43||Levi Kitchen||Washougal, WA||135|
|5||34||Max Vohland||Granite Bay, CA||121|
|6||49||Mitchell Oldenburg||Godley, TX||117|
|7||48||Cameron Mcadoo||Sioux City, IA||101|
|8||33||Pierce Brown||Sandy, UT||98|
|9||83||Cole Thompson||Brigden, ON||87|
|10||41||Derek Kelley||Riverside, CA||86|
|11||59||Robbie Wageman||Newhall, CA||71|
|12||52||Carson Mumford||Simi Valley, CA||59|
|13||40||Stilez Robertson||Bakersfield, CA||55|
|14||508||Hunter Yoder||Menifee, CA||55|
|15||53||Derek Drake||Lake Elsinore, CA||52|
|16||79||Dylan Walsh||Wildomar, CA||49|
|17||69||Phillip Nicoletti||Bethal, NY||44|
|18||84||Mitchell Harrison||Leesburg, FL||42|
|19||85||Dilan Schwartz||Alpine, CA||41|
|20||111||Anthony Rodriguez||Tallahassee, FL||40|
450SX Main Event
Eli Tomac needs a win, while Chase Sexton can finish no better than fifth for Tomac to clinch the title in front of the hometown fans. At the start, Tomac rounded the first turn in third, Sexton was ninth.
Tomac took the lead before the end of the first lap. Sexton moved to the fifth spot. Then the impossible happened.
Tomac’s left foot appeared to slip off the foot peg on the launch of a triple jump, jamming the knee and leg. When he landed the jump, Tomac immediately slowed and pulled off the track.
He rode directly into the tunnel and stopped at the Alpine Medical trailer, where he had to be helped off the bike.
On the track, Sexton rode to the lead. With Tomac being credited with the 22nd and last-place finish and Sexton posting a win, a new leader will carry the number one plate to the final event of the season in Salt Lake City. Tomac will trial Sexton by seven points.
In a remarkable twist of fate, Sexton will look to bring a 450SX title to Honda for the first time in 20 years. Who was the last rider to give that honor to Honda? The G.OA.T. Ricky Carmichael, who was calling the race in the broadcast booth.
Sexton takes the win easily. Ken Roczen gets his fourth podium in a row with a second-place finish, and Adam Cianciarulo places third.
Yamaha team officials revealed that Eli Tomac ruptured an Achilles tendon and is out for the remainder of the year. Sexton will officially take the championship title when he starts next week with Tomac out of the season finale.
|1||23||Chase Sexton||Honda CRF450R||Team Honda HRC|
|2||94||Ken Roczen||Suzuki RM-Z450||Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki|
|3||9||Adam Cianciarulo||Kawasaki KX450SR||Monster Energy Kawasaki|
|4||46||Justin Hill||KTM 450 SX-F||Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsports|
|5||12||Shane McElrath||Suzuki RM-Z450||Twisted Tea Suzuki Progressive Insurance|
|6||15||Dean Wilson||Honda CRF450R||Fire Power Honda|
|7||751||Josh Hill||KTM 450 SX-F||Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsports|
|8||11||Kyle Chisholm||Suzuki RM-Z450||Twisted Tea Suzuki Progressive Insurance|
|9||78||Grant Harlan||Yamaha YZ450F||Rock River Yamaha|
|10||60||Justin Starling||GASGAS MC 450F||FXR, General Grind & Machine, JSR Motorsports|
|11||111||Anthony Rodriguez||Honda CRF450R||Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda|
|12||519||Joshua Cartwright||Kawasaki KX450||Psychic Motorsports, T3 Civil, Ronnie Prado Company, Cardinal|
|13||68||Cade Clason||Kawasaki KX450||Partzilla Prmx Racing|
|14||47||Fredrik Noren||Kawasaki KX450SR||MaddParts.com, Big Buildings Direct, Ronnie Prado Company|
|15||460||Michael Hicks||Honda CRF450R WE||TiLube Honda Racing, Storm Lake Honda, FXR, 6D, X Brand|
|16||170||Devin Simonson||Kawasaki KX250||Partzilla Prmx Racing|
|17||90||Tristan Lane||GASGAS MC 450F||Next Level Racing, Silverback Racing, American Recycling Center|
|18||74||Logan Karnow||Kawasaki KX450||Only Fans, Oneal, TCD, Rabbit Savior, Kennedy Cycles|
|19||129||Lane Shaw||GASGAS MC 450F||Ez-Line , Ronnie Prado Company JkopMx, Fly, TJ Cycles|
|20||80||Kevin Moranz||KTM 450 SX-F||Next Level Racing, Tank Masters, Red Line Oil, KTM|
|21||45||Colt Nichols||Honda CRF450R||Team Honda HRC|
|22||1||Eli Tomac||Yamaha YZ450F||Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing|
|1||23||Chase Sexton||Clermont, FL||346|
|2||1||Eli Tomac||Cortez, CO||339|
|3||2||Cooper Webb||Newport, NC||304|
|4||94||Ken Roczen||Clermont, FL||303|
|5||51||Justin Barcia||New Jersey||267|
|6||21||Jason Anderson||Rio Rancho, NM||242|
|7||7||Aaron Plessinger||Hamilton, OH||213|
|8||9||Adam Cianciarulo||New Smyrna Beach, FL||191|
|9||46||Justin Hill||Yoncalla, OR||191|
|10||15||Dean Wilson||Menifee, CA||182|
|11||28||Christian Craig||Temecula, CA||150|
|12||45||Colt Nichols||Murrieta, CA||141|
|13||12||Shane McElrath||Oakland, FL||135|
|14||751||Josh Hill||Huntersville, NC||132|
|15||11||Kyle Chisholm||Valrico, FL||103|
|16||44||Benny Bloss||Oak Grove, MO||91|
|17||17||Joey Savatgy||Clermont, FL||85|
|18||80||Kevin Moranz||Topeka, KS||84|
|19||78||Grant Harlan||Decatur, TX||81|
|20||60||Justin Starling||Riverview, FL||79|