However, his overall win was in doubt until the last lap thanks to Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac.
Colorado man Tomac finished third in race one at the round seven event at Washougal, Washington, and started just outside the top five in race two before eventually getting himself in third behind Sexton and series leader Dylan Ferrandis, from France, who had only finished fifth in race one after a bad start.
With three laps to go, Tomac finally found his way past Sexton after continually going inside and outside of Sexton, trying to force a mistake.
Tomac then did a 2min 14s lap time and was reeling in Ferrandis who he needed to pass to win the overall. Ferrandis then dropped his lap time to 2min 14s, only for Tomac to set the fastest lap of the race with two to go at 2min 13s lap.
But Ferrandis refused to give in on the last lap with Tomac on his back wheel when the white flag came out, and he actually pulled away by the flag and a big win for the Frenchman that also allowed Sexton to take the overall.
“The overall was right there, right in front of me but didn’t quite get it done, awesome day overall, I left everything on the track,” said Tomac.
Ferrandis said: “Having the holeshot was a good saving of energy. I tried to manage the gap. I wanted to know if it was Eli or Chase because I knew Eli would make a charge on the last lap. I managed my energy and I gave everything I had on the last lap, I had to dig really deep.”
The Frenchman now has a 47-point lead over Honda’s Ken Roczen after the German could only muster a ninth overall fading from second to sixth in race one followed by a tenth in race two, the German just not looking himself all day – maybe due to his big crash the previous weekend.
French rider Marvin Musquin was fourth overall but, with a better start in race two, he could have been on the podium.
Musquin was flying all day and was chasing down Sexton late in moto one for the win, until he crashed and ended up third, but a bad start meant he had no chance of catching the top three in race two, with Marvin climbing to through the field to fifth. But it was a big improvement for him over the previous six rounds.
Jeremy Martin took an unlikely overall win after race one winner Justin Cooper, who looked to be extending his lead extensively over Jett Lawrence with the Aussie only seventh in race one, crashed out of second with a lap and a half to go and ended up back in eighth.
To make matters worse for Cooper, Jett, who was running third, got promoted to second meaning Cooper lost not only the overall win but also all the majority of points he had gained in race one, although he still had gained five points and now leads by eight – but it could have been 17.
Cooper said of the crash: “I was trying to make a push for Jeremy. I got a weird kick, it was kind in the shadows, there was an edge and I caught it wrong. Really disappointed, threw away a win.”
But Martin deserves credit. After a decent third in race one but not the pace to win, Martin put a hard pass on Jett to get into second then eventually got his way by Cooper before pulling a small gap, and he even responded when Cooper made a run late for the win just before Cooper hit the deck. Martin is now 61 points off the lead with five rounds left.
Jett Lawrence didn’t get the start again in race one but came through to seventh before finally getting away at the front in race two right behind Cooper in second – until Jeremy Martin pushed Jett out of the way and he lost a couple of spots.
The Aussie rode hard to get back to third then inherited second when Cooper went down in a moment that really keeps him right in this championship and everything to play for with five rounds to go.
Photo courtesy Honda HRC
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