Around this time last year, Detroit Supercross concluded with about two-thirds of the 450 field going down at one point or another. One of the more chaotic rounds of Supercross I have ever seen. Going into the weekend the hope was that this didn't happen two years straight, but it's worth remembering. Regardless, now with the red plate for the first time since the Anaheim 1 of last season, Cooper Webb had the golden opportunity to keep his foot to the floorboard as the season gets closer and closer to a conclusion. Hard to bank on Eli Tomac to having the kind of weekend he had a week ago in Indy, caused by some neck pain in his own words, again the rest of the way.
To the 250 East Championship Hunt, Hunter Lawrence continues to moonwalk his way to in all likelihood winning a regional title with just a handful of rounds left. His only loss to this point was at the Triple Crown in Arlington, and even then he salvaged a third-place run. Better yet, the No. 96 was ever so close to putting the rest of the field in a vice grip, just points away from pulling out to a full-round lead in the standings over Max Anstie and Friends. And to no surprise, he continues to dominate in qualifying, as does his 450 counterpart Chase Sexton to boot. Also, Ken Roczen, coming off a highly emotional win for RMArmy, looked sporty in the afternoon once again. Is the kickstart magic still there?
Daytime Program/Injury Notes:
- Whoop Section and Dragon's Back took out Nate Thrasher and Jordon Smith respectively. Whoop section is MASSIVE.
- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (51.999) (A full second faster than anyone not named Nate Thrasher or Jordon Smith. Would have been the fifth fastest 450 qualifier)
- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 23 Chase Sexton (51.439) (Top eight riders within a second of each other)
- Far too many pairs of Jordan's being ruined during track walk time.
- Chase Sexton showing up to track walk in a Bulls shirt in Detroit is a BOLD move.
Heat Racing Roundup
How about some Star Yamaha infighting to kick off the evening? I have ZERO clue what Haiden Deegan was trying to do racing around Jordon Smith, but he took him out, and on top of wrecking on the dragon's back once again, was off to the LCQ. I would have paid premium currency to be inside that Star Yamaha rig after this first 250 Heat to put it lightly. The bigger winner of this was Jeremy Martin, who went from third to first to secure an easy win.
Not a particularly hot start for either Hunter Lawerence and more so Max Anstie meanwhile in Heat 2. The latter was barely inside of a transfer spot halfway into this Heat, but caught a gaggle of guys at the right time and picked up about four spots in one lap to get up to sixth. For Lawrence, his poor start allowed Thrasher to get that clean air out front to steal as NASCAR term, and cruise to a wire-to-wire win.
If you remember from last year, Jason Anderson dominated in the heat racing department but had none to this point in 2023. He looked to change that after a dynamite start, with privateers Grant Harlan and Kevin Moranz surprisingly in tow right off the bat. Justin Barcia, after a monster run a week ago, made up from almost wrecking off the start on the third gate to getting his way up to P2 in no time at all. Cooper Webb also had a poor start and seemed to be playing it safe. Even then he made his way up to P5 with 2:00 left on the clock. Anderson did hold on for the win but was flirting with disaster on the whip attempt across the line, luckily he got the bike right just in time.
The starts were once again on point for Ken Roczen, and for the first time in god knows how long, it was Suzuki 1-2 across the holeshot line with him and Shane McElrath. The spot that did him in here was surprisingly the whoops, as well as the final corner before the finish. Chase Sexton was notably faster in both, but Roczen had him everywhere else. Well, that was until Sexton uncorked a triple-triple out on the rhythm section after the holeshot line and forced his way inside. That got him the win, with Aaron Plessinger, Roczen, and Tomac right behind. Farther on back, I'm happy to say that Joshua Cartwright made the final transfer spot after going down with Chiz. This has NOTHING to do with PulpFantasy, repeat, NOTHING.
250 East Class Recap
1st - No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (Honda HRC)
I ended up tweeting this as he was wrapping things up and am ready with this take, but I now 100 percent think Hunter Lawrence has comfortably better than Jett in 2023. The argument on which of these 250 fields is better (I'd say West with all the Pro Circuit injuries), but Hunter has simply looked better on the eye test and doesn't have the barrage of mistakes that Jett does. Last night was yet another masterful wire-to-wire performance, picking up career win No. 10 indoors in the process. Dont think it'll be too much longer until he wraps this title up.
3rd - No. 238 Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
Oh boy, there's a lot to unpack for Deegan from last night. Starting just with his overall Main Event performance, for now, this was another stout performance. He seems to like racing around Jeremy Martin because he keeps on finding him here in these last few weeks. Had to put some elbow grease into a pass on him once again, and that ended up securing him his second career podium. The real story with Deegan I would say was his podium interview, which was...well...something.
“It was a racing incident. [Smith]'s my teammate; we’re cool. I’m sorry to make it a little gnarly if you guys think that, but I’m just out there having fun and rubbing is racing, so let’s go baby.”
I would classify that answer as being confusing at best, and highly problematic at worst. If that was for a Main Event win against anyone that wasn't a teammate, I could understand Deegan's perspective. For a podium spot in a HEAT RACE against your teammate of all people? Super tough look. Would imagine that Bobby Regan was furious about the whole thing. He'll learn from this though, super young kid with a lot of talent, but he's not all the way there yet, and this, along with his post-race comments are prime examples of that.
4th - No. 6 Jeremy Martin (Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha)
It's been a little over a year now since JMart was last on a Supercross podium, but it feels good to see him doing as good as he is with all the injuries he's suffered these last half dozen years. Six rounds in, he's finished no worst than sixth, but a podium still eludes him despite coming home with a fourth for the second consecutive weekend. Looking ahead, I think this could be a good sign for outdoors. Remember that he got a head start with ClubMX after he got out of his Star contract and took all of the last summer off. Gotta imagine they have an idea of what to expect going into Pala 1. For now though, good weekend.
22nd - No. 63 Max Anstie (Firepower Honda)
What a bummer for Anstie. He wasn't going to compete with Lawrence if you base things off his Heat Race struggles, but things went bad and bad quickly in that Main Event for everyone's favorite Brit. After he gnarly get off, he came into the pits and he had what appeared to be a shifter/transmission issue, and it wasn't too long after that he went to the back. A tough break considering how well his season was going to this point, lost a boatload of points here.
DNQ - No. 58 Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
Furious I feel like is a good word to guess how Smith was after that LCQ wrapped up. Not because of that specific result, although he personally screwed that up at the very end, more on that later. But to have things get to that point in the fashion that they did has to be frustrating as all hell. I have no idea what possible issues Smith and Deegan have with one another, but I doubt this will be the last we hear of this. As far as the LCQ goes, Smith had Jack Chambers hook, line, and sinker going into that final corner. Under no circumstances should he have tried to rail that final corner on the outside. Simply a disaster of a weekend, no other way to put it.
250 East Class Detroit Top 10
1st No. 96 Hunter Lawrence
2nd No. 29 Nate Thrasher
3rd No. 238 Haiden Deegan
4th No. 6 Jeremy Martin
5th No. 57 Chris Blsoe
6th No. 128 Tom Vialle
7th No. 67 Cullin Park
8th No. 285 Coty Schock
9th No. 66 Henry Miller
10th No. 460 Michael Hicks
250 East Class Points after Detroit
1st No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (151 Points)
2nd No. 29 Nate Thrasher (116 Points)
3rd No. 238 Haiden Deegan (111 Points)
4th No. 6 Jeremy Martin (109 Points)
5th No. 63 Max Anstie (104 Points)
6th No. 58 Jordon Smith (92 Points)
7th No. 57 Chris Blose (88 Points)
8th No. 128 Tom Vialle (85 Points)
9th No. 285 Coty Schock (72 Points)
10th No. 67 Cullin Park (67 Points)
450 Class Recap
1st - No. 23 Chase Sexton (Honda HRC)
Well, there's good news for Chase Sexton, and there's some bad news for Chase Sexton. Let's start with the former, he finally found his way to the top step of the podium again. Not in the fashion that he would have probably wanted, but considering he's been on the opposite end of that stick plenty of times, he should rightfully take them how he can get them, especially with how things have gone this calendar year.
Now the bad news; any point gains Sexton did makeup were lost, and then some, about a half hour after things wrapped up. The AMA handed down a seven-point penalty over him jumping the split double with a red cross flag out for Dean Wilson's incident. So instead of going to Seattle down 11 points, which considering how things have gone would have been great, he's down 18 now. Gotta imagine that takes some wind out of the sails, but getting a win was big for Sexton in the confidence department.
3rd - No. 1 Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
Things were not looking too hot for Tomac once again here, and I think it's fair to start asking how bad that neck issue that gave him fits a week ago actually is. After that moment where he dropped from second to fourth, and then eventually fifth, it felt like he was just in full conservation mode. He gave up a ton of time to Webb specifically at the very end, that gap was as high as eight seconds near the very end. Even then, Tomac only sits three points out of the lead, and he has a bye week just on the horizon for this stretch run.
4th - No. 51 Justin Barcia (TLD/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing)
I don't know if it was the Sexton incident at Daytona or something else, but something has clearly clicked with Bam Bam and this GasGas team these last two weeks because he's looked as good as he ever has with the team here. Wouldn't be all too shocked to see Barcia pick up a win before the season is over at this rate.
7th - No. 46 Justin Hill (Team Tedder KTM)
From multiple years off to now top 10 in the 450 class standings, this has been an awesome story for Hill and the Team Tedder program here. Even wilder is that both Hill brothers ended up with top 10s, Old man Josh ended up taking 10th which is another awesome story, his best result on a 450 in nearly a decade (A3 2015). But back to Justin, this is three top 10s in the last four weeks now. Talent was never an issue with him, and doing this good with the Tedder program is all the proof you need of that.
13th - No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM)
This was the night for AP man. Three minutes into that Main Event he was G-O-N-E, there wasn't anyone within six seconds of him and he was running over a second faster a lap than anyone else. Even when he was losing steam in crunch time, Sexton appeared content with just riding home in second as they were about to take the white flag.
Then it all unraveled when Plessinger decided to stand up on the opening of the tabletop section before the dragon's back. He was literally seconds away from taking the white flag, and about another minute from the checkered. Devastated would be an understatement, seeing a guy like AP finally break through for that first win would have been an awesome story, especially after what happened with Roczen a week ago. Hard to say if Plessinger will have a ride that dominant again all year, but that win is coming, I'm sure of it.
450 Class Detroit Top 10
1st No. 23 Chase Sexton (Seven Point Penalty)
2nd No. 2 Cooper Webb
3rd No. 1 Eli Tomac
4th No. 51 Justin Barcia
5th No. 94 Ken Roczen
6th No. 28 Christian Craig
7th No. 46 Justin Hill
8th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo
9th No. 21 Jason Anderson
10th No. 751 Josh Hill (In the year of our lord 2023)
450 Class Points after Detroit
1st No. 2 Cooper Webb (225 Points)
2nd No. 1 Eli Tomac (222 Points)
3rd No. 23 Chase Sexton (208 Points)
4th No. 94 Ken Roczen (182 Points)
5th No. 21 Jason Anderson (180 Points)
6th No. 51 Justin Barcia (174 Points)
7th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (164 Points)
8th No. 28 Christian Craig (136 Points)
9th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (107 Points)
10th No. 46 Justin Hill (103 Points)
Detroit PulpMX Industry Idiots Fantasy Team
450 Class: Eli Tomac (All-Star +2), Dean Wilson (+3), Cade Clason (+12), Joshua Cartwright (+11)
250 Class: Haiden Deegan (All-Star +5), Michael Hicks (+8), Lance Kobusch (+16), Luke Neese (+13)
FFL: Hunter Lawrence (Successful)
Points Total: 250 Points (Seven Riders)
Next Up: Lumen Field (Seattle, Washington)
Main Image via KTM