I think the main takeaway from this 2023 Supercross campaign is that it isn't about how many times you fall as long as you get up more. Chase Sexton had as rough an opening half of a Supercross season as I've seen in years and was still relatively in title contention despite that. He lost upwards of 30 points in the opening 10-ish rounds due to late mental mistakes or outright crashes, and the 23-year-old out of La Moille, Illinois never gave up when he absolutely could have multiple times this season. And in one of the more ironic turn of events ever in this sport, the guy who hit the ground as much as anyone this year, ended up being the last man standing at the top of the food chain. Because of that, Chase Sexton can now call himself a 450 Class Supercross Champion after one last dominant win in Salt Lake City.
A Deserving Champion
I'm going to start this section by saying this; Eli Tomac was 100% the best rider of the 2023 season and there's no real argument for anyone else. However, in just about every sport the best guy doesn't always end up securing Championship hardware. Look at my Boston Bruins for example, or last year's Los Angeles Dodgers. Granted the circumstances around this season are unprecedented, but Sexton is 100% a worthy champion for our sport. Don't just take my word for it though, look at his numbers head-to-head against Tomac in the six race weekends leading up to Denver.
Main Event Wins: 3
Main Event Wins: 2
Main Event Average Start: 4.00 (1 Holeshot)
Main Event Average Start: 2.75 (2 Holeshots)
Main Event Average Finish: 2.33
Main Event Average Finish: 2.33
Main Event Laps Led: 52
Main Event Laps Led: 50
Heat Race Wins: 2
Heat Race Wins: 1
Fastest Qualifier Wins: 5
Fastest Qualifier Wins: 0
Points Gained: 131* (*- Lost seven points at Detroit for jumping on a red cross flag)
Points Gained: 137
Well Worth the Wait
Outside of Sexton himself and his family/inner circle, there might not be anyone happier than the folks at the Honda offices in Japan. Before Saturday, a Honda rider hadn't won the premier class AMA Supercross Championship since 2003, Ricky Carmichael's final year with the team indoors (missed the entirety of '04 SX with a knee injury). In some different terms, that drought (19 years) was only a few years younger than Sexton is right now (23 years old).
This is also the first time a manufacturer has swept all three Supercross Championships in the same season in over 15 years with Sexton and the Lawrence Brothers, and just the third time ever. The most recent time this has happened was when James Stewart (so good btw), Ryan Villopoto, and Ben Townley swept the board in 2007 for Kawasaki, and before that, Jean-Michel Bayle, Jeremy McGrath, and the late Brian Swink clean sweeping for Honda in 1991.
Never too early for silly season, and a rumor that I had seen as early as last December (unprecedently early) has more than enough legs at this point. That being Sexton is going to be Red Bull KTM bound around late October/early November-ish. That's a gigantic get for them considering Cooper Webb is rumored to go back to Star Yamaha at the time being, and hard to say what Marvin Musquin's future is right now. Also felt like this was going to happen no matter what with the Lawrence brothers in the pipeline. Sexton still has outdoors and the SMX Playoffs to go, but keep that in mind as we move into the summer months that his time with Honda is certainly coming to a close.
Main Image via Honda HRC