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2023 AMA Pro Motocross Recap - Southwick

Many (me and probably Ricky Carmichael) have called Southwick America's greatest sandpit over the years. The Western Massachusetts facility is the most unique stop on the schedule for that reason, on top of the fact a ton of New England locals take the gate. Take Chris Canning, for example. The Connecticut native has run very well here over the last couple of years. Or the pride of Peabody, Mass Jimmy Decotis, who this weekend was making his first AMA start of any kind since Atlanta Supercross in 2020. If RedBud is the National, then Southwick isn't too far back along with Unadilla and Millville, for my money anyway. Lots of awesome side plots surrounding this 250 Point race and Jett Lawrence's push for a perfect season.

Daytime Program/Injury Notes:

- HOT one in Southwick on Saturday, but it's the New England humidity that will get you this time of year. - signed, Lifelong Massachusetts resident

- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 613 Jimmy Decotis (!!!) (2:06.592) (Only he and Justin Cooper broke under the 2:08 barrier).

- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 18 Jett Lawrence (2:05.422) (Two seconds faster than anyone else. Chris Canning came home in sixth, Anton Gole in seventh).

250 Class Recap

1st - No. 128 Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) (1-3)

Even if Cooper didn't go down, Moto 1 was going to be his, no matter what. He was running in the 2:16s when no one else was even in the 2:18s late in that first Moto, simply an absurd pace at Southwick of all places. Starts were something that hadn't been there for Vialle yet, despite that being his calling card over in the GPs, but we finally got a glimpse into that as well. Going into that first corner of Moto 2, Vialle had at least a full bike-length advantage over anyone else.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for Vialle here, but if you saw him come back in the MX2 title fight last year, you know he has a flair for the dramatics. Now that the first win on a non-GP bike is in the books, I'm interested to see if this leads to some form of run for Vialle. He's 40 points out of the lead, but at this rate, he might be able to get back in it with the way things are going.

2nd - No. 32 Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) (2-2)

It was all right there for the taking, but Cooper let a golden opportunity slip by his own design trying to run down Jo Shimoda in that second Moto and coughed up the lead to Vialle beforehand in Moto 1. The good news is that with all the drama behind him, he's sneakily very much in this title fight, even after missing all of High Point. With that said, those extra six points could loom large by the time we get to Ironman. Remember Washougal a couple of years ago?

3rd - No. 30 Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) (6-1)

'Our' faith in the Jo Shimoda Agenda never waivered, never faltered, never yielded, through the opening 11 Motos of 2023, and at long last, everything went right for 30 minutes + 2 laps. Now for what it's worth, I thought Cooper and R.J. Hampshire were notably better down the stretch, but neither had the start Shimoda did, and both had their shortcomings, more on the latter in a few moments. Definitely would like to see Shimoda start putting two Motos together from here on out as well, he's as good as any guy in this field, and you saw that on Saturday.

4th - No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) (3-4)

If coming up just short of finishing third in a Moto when you ditched your goggles isn't enough to impress you then I have no clue what will. Hampshire continues to be the single most entertaining rider in this sport because it's genuinely something new every week. On that last Moto 2 lap he nearly broke into the 2:19 second range, WITH ZERO (0) GOGGLES, trying to run down Vialle. Furthermore, no one else ran faster than 2:20.800 on that 15th and final lap.

6th - No. 238 Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) (4-10)

Taking 2012 Ken Roczen out of the equation, the last time a 250 rookie held the red plate in Motocross was one Eli Tomac after he won in his professional debut at Hangtown in 2010. So yeah, quite the company that Deegan now finds himself with six rounds deep into this Championship. He definitely left some meat on the bone from a points perspective, though. Deegan didn't have the juice in Moto 2 and then coughed up the little ground he did gain in the final third. Still very excited to see how heavy the red plate is on the No. 238 moving forward, it's a whole new ballgame now.

13th - No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (Honda HRC) (DNF-8)

WELP, it happened again at Southwick. Last year Hunter walked in with the points lead, lost it, then never got it back. This year he walked in with the points lead, and lost it again, mainly due to a last-lap engine failure in Moto 1. Whether or not he wins or loses this Championship remains to be seen, but this is less than ideal given that Lawrence was up nearly 40 points going into RedBud. One more stat on the way out, Lawrence's second-ever Moto win came at Millville in 2019, but since then he has finished better than fifth in a Moto there just once.

15th - No. 613 Jimmy Decotis (Trail Jesters KTM) (12-17)

What Decotis did on Saturday might be the best story of the year. This was his first race of any kind since Atlanta Supercross 2020 and his first National since Budds Creek 2018. The reason is Jimmy D has had well-documented battles with Lyme Disease but opted to return just for Southwick. So the fact that he not only brought it home 15th overall, but also qualified fastest in a class that features Hunter Lawrence, Haiden Deegan, Tom Vialle, Justin Cooper, and Jo Shimoda is incredible. Long live the pride of Peabody.

250 Class Southwick Top 10

1st No. 128 Tom Vialle (1-3)

2nd No. 32 Justin Cooper (2-2)

3rd No. 30 Jo Shimoda (6-1)

4th No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (3-4)

5th No. 35 Seth Hammaker (7-5)

6th No. 238 Haiden Deegan (4-10)

7th No. 34 Max Vohland (8-6)

8th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (5-9)

9th No. 38 Jalek Swoll (11-7)

10th No. 243 Caden Braswell (9-11)

250 Class Points After Southwick

1st No. 238 Haiden Deegan (218 Points) (New Points Leader)

2nd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (213 Points)

3rd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (205 Points)

4th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (198 Points)

4th No. 32 Justin Cooper (196 Points)

6th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (182 Points)

7th No. 128 Tom Vialle (179 Points)

8th No. 34 Max Vohland (165 Points)

9th No. 75 Ryder DiFrancesco (122 Points)

10th No. 38 Jalek Swoll (110 Points)

450 Class Recap

1st - No. 18 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC) (1-1)

The easiest part of these recaps by far has been Jett, but I don't think it's hyperbole to say that was a career outing for the 19-year-old. On that track, with that heat and humidity, for him to be running at the pace he was at was incredible. DIdnt even matter that he went 0-for-2 on holeshots either since he carried way more speed into that second corner than anyone else. Welp, now we're passed the halfway point to perfection. Five more 1-1s and Lawrence will join Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart (so good by the way) as the only men to ever go undefeated in the Great Outdoors.

2nd - No. 23 Chase Sexton (Honda HRC) (2-2)

I thought Sexton made some good strides from RedBud on Saturday. The starts were a tad better than a week ago, and he did a better job of keeping Lawrence honest, more so in that opening Moto. If for nothing else, Sexton was the only rider, and I mean the only rider, who was even remotely close to where Lawrence was running when things were all said and done. On a side note, that second Moto pass on Dylan Ferrandis should get thrown on a loop and put up at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

7th - No. 87 Chris Canning (Basco Racing GasGas) (8-7)

Before Saturday, the best Canning had ever done at the track he now lives at in a Moto was 11th in 2018, and his career-best Overall finish was 11th just last year. You can say it was because of the depleted field all you want, but an 8-7 for seventh quite literally in Canning's backyard is one of the best stories of this entire season so far. My educated guess is that there's a chance we see him at Unadilla or Budds Creek again like last year, but quite the grand opening-grand closing in 2023 if not.

8th and 10th - No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo and No. 21 Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) (7-8 and 6-14)

Might as well put the Kawi guys together since they were fighting through it in that second Moto real bad. Hard to blame either of them, given Cianciarulo's well-documented nerve issues in his arm/hand, which at Southwick has to be an absolute nightmare. Then Anderson only being two rounds back from a neck injury. Would I have probably liked to see these two run better, 100%, but I'm not going to fault them here either. Speaking of Cianciarulo, he revealed this morning that he went straight to the medical rig after Moto 2 and passed out inside. Glad to hear that he's doing ok now.

450 Class Southwick Top 10

1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (1-1)

2nd No. 23 Chase Sexton (2-2)

3rd No. 23 Chase Sexton (3-3)

4th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (4-4)

5th No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks (10-5)

6th No. 107 Jose Butron (9-6)

7th No. 87 Chris Canning (8-7)

8th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (7-8)

9th No. 81 Ty Masterpool (5-10)

10th No. 21 Jason Anderson (6-14)

450 Class Points After Southwick

1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (300 Points)

2nd No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (233 Points)

3rd No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (210 Points)

4th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (176 Points)

5th No. 2 Cooper Webb (147 Points) (Done for the remainder of Motocross)

6th No. 81 Ty Masterpool (134 Points)

7th No. 23 Chase Sexton (130 Points)

8th No. 47 Freddie Noren (124 Points)

9th No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks (118 Points)

10th No. 103 Lorenzo Locurcio (110 Points)

Southwick PulpMX Industry Idiots Fantasy Team

450 Class: Ty Masterpool (All-Star, +6), Chris Canning (+6), Gert Krestinov (+18), Lars van Berkel (+14)

250 Class: Hunter Lawrence (All-Star, +1), Jorgen Talviku (+14), Matti Jorgensen (+14), Jimmy Decotis(+16)

FFL: Jett Lawrence (Successful) and Hunter Lawrence(Unsuccessful)

Points Total: 579

Next Up: Spring Creek (Millville, Minnesota)

Main Image via KTM


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