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2024 AMA Pro Motocross Recap - Hangtown

For the second and final time this SuperMotocross season, the focus shifts to NorCal and the famed Hangtown circuit on the outskirts of Sacramento. The once-longtime season opener is now some years into its new slot in the two-hole of the Pro Motocross season, and it was a notably hotter and more humid day than it was in Pala a week ago. A tougher track, tougher conditions, and conditioning would certainly play a factor in all four Motos. Who could beat the heat out in Hangtown?

Daytime Program/Injury Notes: 

-- Lots of notable changes on this layout, namely getting rid of the pair of 180s off the opening hill.

- I don't know what the general consensus was on it, but I liked that halfpipe section they had for a few years before they took it out. Off topic, but I thought that was worth bringing up.

- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 166 Casey Cochran (1:57.994)

- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 1 Jett Lawrence (1:56.406) (Was two-tenths slower in Q2)

250 Class Recap

1st - No. 38 Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) (1-2)

A spinning get-off cost Danger Boy another 1-1, but in a Championship that's a marathon, not a sprint, a 1-1-1-2 start to the season is as good as you could hope for. Never mind that the only real challenger he had was Chance Hymas in Moto 1, who he had to run down for the win, but an excellent Moto 2 start meant he didn't have to run anyone down. He also deserves props for not letting that big mistake from unravelling things from a points perspective. Something tells me that if this were 2023, Deegan would probably end up going 1-5 or 1-6 and entirely off the podium.

2nd - No. 16 Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) (4-1)

Not a bad day at the office for Vialle again, but he's probably going to want his two gate drops back, which put him in the 8th-10th range twice yesterday. Looking at the Moto 2 lap times (taking away both his and Deegan's worst laps), they were in the same ballpark on average lap times, but Vialle wasn't going to beat him with that kind of a start. Moving forward, KTM has got to do something to get Vialle back to his 'GP form off the gate drop consistently. An average start position of sixth will not cut it if Deegan consistently puts himself upfront early in these Motos.

4th - No. 48 Chance Hymas (Honda HRC) (2-4)

I probably would've liked to see Hymas have some better late-race pace to seal that Moto 1 victory, but I don't know how much I can fault him, given the heat yesterday. Regardless, he's impressed me a ton through four Motos, and don't look now, but he's only a half dozen points out of being second in this Championship. Given his career day at High Point last summer, I wonder if we'll see Hymas' best work come once we head east.

10th - No. 166 Casey Cochran (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) (12-12)

After his stunningly good qualifying efforts, I figured Cochran would have a better day than he did. Sadly for him, a 12-12 with a pair of poor starts was the best that he could muster. The positive is that this is a notable improvement over his season-opening outing in Pala. Keep steadily improving, and the good results shouldn't be far behind.

14th - No. 17 Joey Savatgy (Triumph Factory Racing) (35-7)

It took a while, surprisingly enough, but Triumph had their first notable mechanical issue since joining the AMA ranks, and it ruined what could've been a top-five day for Savatgy. Salvaging a seventh in Moto 2 is still a positive, but that's a ton of points they left on the table yesterday.

250 Class Hangtown Top 10

1st No. 38 Haiden Deegan (1-2)

2nd No. 16 Tom Vialle (4-1)

3rd No. 47 Levi Kitchen (3-3)

4th No. 48 Chance Hymas (2-4)

5th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (7-5)

6th No. 39 Pierce Brown (5-10)

7th No. 33 Jalek Swoll (8-8)

8th No. 29 Ty Masterpool (6-11)

9th No. 929 Julien Beaumer (9-9)

10th No. 166 Casey Cochran (12-12)

250 Class Points After Hangtown

1st No. 38 Haiden Deegan (97 Points)

2nd No. 47 Levi Kitchen (84 Points)

3rd No. 16 Tom Vialle (81 Points)

4th No. 48 Chance Hymas (78 Points)

5th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (62 Points)

6th No. 33 Jalek Swoll (61 Points)

7th No. 39 Pierce Brown (55 Points)

8th No. 929 Julien Beaumer (48 Points)

9th No. 57 Nate Thrasher (46 Points)

10th No. 17 Joey Savatgy (41 Points)

450 Class Recap

1st - No. 4 Chase Sexton (Red Bull KTM) (1-1)

By the time Sexton got up eight in less than 10 minutes, all you could do was laugh. Things were shaping up perfectly for a missed opportunity at an Overall win, but instead, we got perhaps the single best Moto performance in the history of the sport, which I don't say lightly. Sexton wasn't just faster than anyone else; he was notably faster than anyone else.

From Lap Four onward in Moto 2, Sexton ran a total of one (1) lap slower than 2:02.500 seconds and put up three laps in the 2:00 second bracket. How he turned the dial to 11 and kept up that kind of pace the entire way I'll never understand. That was Tomac-esque, Stew (so good, by the way)-esque, Carmichael-esque, whatever adjective you want. This was an all-time instant classic performance, and a career-defining one at that, for one of the sports best in a spot where he needed something to break right.

2nd - No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (Honda HRC) (2-4)

Another stout outing from HLaw has him as the only rider in the field within 10 points of Sexton for the Points lead, and I think he deserves credit for being able to lock in after watching his brother take a nasty spill right in front of him. I can't imagine that was easy to watch from his end. I don't think he had the pace to win today, but I'm convinced that that day is coming, probably sooner than you may think.

3rd - No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) (5-2)

On literally any other Saturday you can think of, AP's Moto 2 performance would've been good enough to take the checkered flag. Clearly, yesterday wasn't your typical Saturday, and Ohio's most famous cowboy came three corners short of a Moto win, which would've been his first on a 450. Still, I think AP was fine with the result, and after an eight Overall last weekend in Pala, I can't say I'd blame him. Sitting in a tie for third in points probably also helps the cause.

12th - No. 1 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC) (24-6)

This was certainly not how anyone would've wanted to see Jett's undefeated streak come to an end, but crashes like the one he had have happened to many greats. That downhill send looked like a risky gambit in real-time, and sure enough, it bit him in a big way.

Where Lawrence deserves props is that he did every lap he could despite riding well under 100%, especially in the back half of that second Moto, where you could tell he was doing all he could. Needless to say, I don't think you can question his toughness anymore, but how he is physcially at Thunder Valley next week is the biggest storyline in the sport.

450 Class Hangtown Top 10

1st No. 4 Chase Sexton (1-1)

2nd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (2-4)

3rd No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (5-2)

4th No. 32 Justin Cooper (2-4)

5th No. 21 Jason Anderson (7-5)

6th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (6-8)

7th No. 51 Justin Barcia (8-7)

8th No. 27 Malcolm Stewart (7-9)

9th No. 22 Freddie Noren (9-10)

10th No. 28 Christian Craig (12-11)

450 Class Points After Hangtown

1st No. 4 Chase Sexton (90 Points)

2nd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (82 Points)

3rd No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (69 Points)

4th No. 32 Justin Cooper (69 Points)

5th No. 21 Jason Anderson (67 Points)

6th No. 1 Jett Lawrence (66 Points)

7th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (62 Points)

8th No. 51 Justin Barcia (61 Points)

9th No. 27 Malcolm Stewart (57 Points)

10th No. 22 Freddie Noren (46 Points)

Hangtown Lit Kit: Chase Sexton (Alpinestars)

Main Image via Red Bull KTM

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