For the first time all season, the feeling that Jett Lawrence's undefeated streak is in serious jeopardy feels very real. Another 1-1 last week in Millville, but Chase Sexton looked better than the (likely) soon-to-be Champion. Every mistake in the book cost him not one but both Motos.
You could be wondering why Sexton had been so highly touted all week coming into Washougal, and the answer is simple, he's been great here on a 450. In two trips to the Pacific Northwest on a 450, Sexton is 2-for-2 on Overalls, has two Moto wins, and averages a 1.75 Moto finish. Lawrence, meanwhile, won last year's 250 overall but has no Moto wins at Washougal to his name in two career trips. Would this finally be the week Lawrence falls?
Onto the 250 class, Hunter Lawrence put a bit extra on it as he stormed his way back to the red plate and gave himself a 13-point cushion with eight Motos to go. The downside is because of both his and Haiden Deegan's shortcomings these last few weeks, several riders are lurking in the background of this 250 Championship hunt—namely R.J. Hampshire, Jo Shimoda, and Justin Cooper. One more false step and things could get quite interesting going into this double-bye week.
Eli Tomac is a Super Human
78 Days, that's how long it's been since Eli Tomac ruptured his Achilles tendon at Denver Supercross. Three (3) days ago, the outgoing Undisputed Champion posted a couple of pictures doing complete one-legged perturbation/balance rehab exercises. Now for what it's worth, the Massachusetts General Hospital Achilles Tendon Rehab Protocol would indicate he is right where he is supposed to be on the timeline. Still, this is an incredible development for the four-time 450 MX Champion. Cannot believe he sent that tweet though.
Look Good, Race Good
The Folks over at Yamaha decided to kick off their 50th-anniversary celebration a bit early this weekend and did so in the best way possible. Both in America and over in MXGP for the Lommel GP, all 'factory' Yamaha riders we're running the white Yamaha's with the pink and purple accents, made famous by Damon Bradshaw back in the 1990s. I mean, you want to talk about one of the all-time best looks in the history of Motocross, one of the cleanest looks in the history of Motorcross, and one of the most iconic looks in the history of Motocross. S Tier, 10/10, Five Stars (Six or more in the Toyko Dome), no notes.
Two Stroke Bounty Hunting
I've been told through the grapevine that 'the people' love themselves some two-stroke action. One such member of 'the people' is Washington's own Carson Brown, who, if you haven't heard, is one of the newest members of the Red Bull family. What ended up starting as a fun little challenge has now blown up to become this; can you beat Brown at Washougal on a 250 two-stroke to win $25,000? Well over a half dozen riders ended up taking a shot at doing so by signing up, but some of the notable guys with Brown on the two smokers were Kevin Moranz, Jerry Robin, Anthony Rodriguez, and Jeremy Hand. Of that group, Hand ended up qualifying the best at 19th.
Daytime Program/Injury Notes:
- Former MXGP rider Jed Beaton was lining up on a stock 450 Honda with some support from FirePower Honda.
- Yamaha had Ryan Villopoto and Damon Bradshaw on site for their 50th-anniversary demo.
- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 32 Justin Cooper (2:14.175) (Ran 1.5 seconds slower in the second qualifying session than in Q1).
- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 18 Jett Lawrence (2:14.510) (Just shy of a full second faster than anyone else, but was not fastest in Q1).
250 Class Recap
1st - No. 238 Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) (1-1)
Life happens quickly. One moment you (this may or may not have been me but what does that matter) are scrolling through lap times thinking a Moto is over. The next, a sixteen-year-old kid decides to run the final five laps of the day like it's qualifying and jets off to a 1-1. No exaggeration there either, even beyond Deegan's downright preposterous 2:15 he laid down, he backed that up with one last 2:18 when Justin Cooper was a 2:20-plus guy those last few laps. Hell of a way to answer back to Hunter Lawrence, and now he's only back three with six Motos to go. Also, just going to be entirely real here; I'd be ALOT more selective of who I'm shouting out on the podium from here on out, and I'll leave it at that.
3rd- No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (Honda HRC) (2-4)
If there's any reason Lawrence will lose out on this 250 Championship, it will be because of his starts. His average of 4.5 on the season leads the class, but he's been setting himself up for failure these last few rounds. That number jumps up to 6.6 for Lawrence if you look at Southwick to now, and while Deegan is only fractionally better in that same time frame, it's more of a timely bad starts issue for Lawrence.
Just look at what happened in Moto 1. Lawrence got caught behind the Levi Kitchen, Max Vohland, and Seth Hammaker grouping for those opening half dozen laps, and that completely killed him. Looking at the lap chat, there wasn't a single lap from lap seven to the checkered flag where Lawrence wasn't faster than Deegan. Now imagine if he had some clear track from the jump, that's a crucial six-point swing at this point in the year. That's not even getting into the Moto 2 tip over, either. That cost him a couple of extra points, at the very least.
15th - No. 55 Austin Forkner (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) (21-10)
Nothing to show for it points-wise in that opening Moto, but a very impressive effort from Forkner to get up to 21st after going down in turn one of Moto 1. The bad news is that makes his path to being a top 20 rider for SMX virtually non-existent. Looking at how things are shaping up, Forkner would likely have to finish top three in every Moto left to have a chance, and at this point, I don't see that happening. Another mistake or fall, and his path to getting into one of those 10 LCQ spots gets much tougher as well.
41st - No. 128 Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) (DNF-DNS)
These west coast rounds have not been kind to the reigning World MX2 Champion. Struggles in the opening Motos of rounds 1 and 2 left him just off the podium, but Vialle either DNF'd or DNS'd the final four west coast Motos this year. Luckily his Moto 1 crash yesterday may have just "knocked the wind out of him" according to Jason Thomas, but we didn't see him for the rest of the day. A shame too. Things seemed like they were starting to click between him and the American-style KTM frame.
250 Class Washougal Top 10
1st No. 238 Haiden Deegan (1-1)
2nd No. 32 Justin Cooper (3-2)
3rd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (2-4)
4th No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (4-5)
5th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (8-3)
6th No. 35 Seth Hammaker (7-6)
7th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (6-7)
8th No. 34 Max Vohland (5-8)
9th No. 52 Carson Mumford (9-9)
10th No. 33 Pierce Brown (12-11)
250 Class Points After Washougal
1st No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (300 Points)
2nd No. 238 Haiden Deegan (297 Points)
3rd No. 32 Justin Cooper (281 Points)
4th No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (274 Points)
5th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (269 Points)
6th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (247 Points)
7th No. 34 Max Vohland (219 Points)
8th No. 128 Tom Vialle (210 Points)
9th No. 75 Ryder DiFrancesco (146 Points)
10th No. 38 Jalek Swoll (144 Points)
450 Class Recap
1st - No. 18 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC) (1-1)
Welp, thought this was going to be the week Lawrence would finally fall, and sure enough, he remains perfect through 16 Motos. But we did see him fail to get an FFL for only the second time all year and give credit to Dylan Ferrandis, who gave Lawerence a good fight for the opening few laps in Moto 1. I feel like at this point though, if Jett can make it out of Unadilla still perfect, he's home free. If I were Lucas Mirtl (Lawrence Brother's agent), I'd get that perfect season merch pre-approved just in case. Championship merch is ready to go at this point I imagine as well.
2nd - No. 23 Chase Sexton (Honda HRC) (2-2)
These last two weeks probably have Sexton thinking 'what if' a ton, I'd imagine. In three out of the last four Motos, he was legitimately better than Lawrence by any metric you want to use, but the mistakes keep pouring in. But just like after Millville, Sexton needs to keep telling himself that No. 18 is beatable. I think 'Dilla is his last real shot, but he answered the bell in a massive way there last year against Eli Tomac.
3rd - No. 21 Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) (4-4)
Quiet as it was kept, El Hombre has been excellent after what went down at Southwick. Three straight fourths if you remove the second Moto at Millville, where he was a victim of circumstances in the sand whoops. My big question involving Anderson at this stage of the year is this; is he a realistic option for Motocross Des Nations? He did well at Assen in 2019, and the pre-race work he put in should be the standard, but he's also not too far removed from a neck injury and is a new dad. Still a few weeks out before we know the Team USA lineup, but just some food for thought.
10th - No. 45 Colt Nichols (Rick Ware Racing - Kawasaki) (10-10)
Yesterday was shy of two full years since Colt45 made his last outdoor start for Star Yamaha, which conveniently enough was at Washougal. He had to get some extra points to get into that top 20 for the SMX Playoffs, and luckily he did that and then some. It doesn't show up on the PDF for whatever reason, but his 163 points now have him as the 19 seed, and if he shows up a couple more times with those same results, he'll probably end up as the 15 or 14 seed.
21st - No. 64 Carson Brown (Red Bull/BBR Motorsports Yamaha) (18-21)
Not a shocking result, but several two-stroke riders tried and failed to beat No. 64 on your program but No. 910 in our heats. Only Brown and Anthony Rodriguez scored points, for that matter, and no one was able to get points in both Motos. All things considered, this was an awesome outing for Brown, but he passed out a couple of times after Moto 2, according to Steve Matthes. Hopefully, he's feeling a bit better today, and hopefully, the extra 25 grand helps out a bit.
450 Class Washougal Top 10
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (1-1)
2nd No. 23 Chase Sexton (2-2)
3rd No. 21 Jason Anderson (4-4)
4th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (3-5)
5th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (7-3)
6th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (5-7)
7th No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks (8-6)
8th No. 81 Ty Masterpool (6-8)
9th No. 69 Phil Nicoletti (11-9)
10th No. 45 Colt Nichols (10-10)
450 Class Points After Washougal
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (400 Points) (Clinches Championship at Unidilla if he gains five more points on Dylan Ferrandis)
2nd No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (305 Points)
3rd No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (280 Points)
4th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (236 Points)
5th No. 23 Chase Sexton (218 Points)
6th No. 81 Ty Masterpool (190 Points)
7th No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks (174 Points)
8th No. 47 Freddie Noren (169 Points)
9th No. 2 Cooper Webb (147 Points) (Done for the remainder of Motocross)
10th No. 107 Joss Butron (132 Points)
Washougal PulpMX Industry Idiots Fantasy Team
450 Class: Aaron Plessinger (All-Star, +3), Carson Brown (+11), Jed Beaton (+6), Anton Gole (+12)
250 Class: Hunter Lawrence (All-Star, +1), Austin Forkner (+1), Carson Mumford (+5), Hunter Cross (+18)
FFL: Jett Lawrence (Successful, no 250 Class pick)
Points Total: 382 (My will to live is fading)
Next Up: Unadilla (New Berlin, New York) (Double Bye-Week ahead)
Main Image via Honda HRC