The racing was thrilling on a racetrack built along and across the four-lane zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, with 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Champion Chase Sexton earning two convincing race wins to take the Playoff 1 event overall victory.
Current FIM World Supercross Champion Ken Roczen returned to racing after taking most of the AMA Pro Motocross season off and he earned second overall with 3-3 moto scores.
Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis showed top speed as he took home third overall in Concord with 2-4 moto finishes. In 250 Class racing, Jo Shimoda earned the event win through 4-1 race scores in the highly competitive and aggressive 250 class.
In the 450 Class’ first moto, Justin Barcia grabbed the early lead out of the unique split start that funnelled 22 riders together at the corner exits of two separate first turns. Ty Masterpool ran in second with Sexton in third, Aaron Plessinger in fourth, and Ferrandis rounding out the top five.
Australian Jett Lawrence, who had just completed an undefeated AMA Pro Motocross season two weeks prior, was off to a mid-pack start. Within a few laps of the 20-minute plus one lap moto Sexton used the track’s split lane to take the lead from Barcia.
From there Sexton put down smooth, fast laps and pulled clear of the field. Just before the race’s midpoint Jett Lawrence tipped over on the track’s off-camber corner and remounted back in tenth place.
Roczen was the rider on the move, getting up to third place behind Ferrandis as Barcia found himself back in fourth. As the race clock ticked down, Sexton held a lead of more than eight seconds while behind him the battle tightened up for second place.
At the chequered flag it was Sexton, followed by Ferrandis, Roczen, Jason Anderson and Plessinger. Lawrence managed to climb back to seventh at the finish.
The second 450 class race and final race of the day saw privateer Masterpool grab the holeshot ahead of Adam Cianciarulo, Roczen and Plessinger. Roczen wasted no time, slipping into second in the first few turns then taking over the lead in the first pass through the track’s long rhythm section.
One lap into the race, Roczen was pulling a gap on the field of Masterpool, Cianciarulo, Anderson, Sexton, and Barcia while Jett Lawrence sat in tenth.
On the next pass through the rhythm lane Cianciarulo crashed, handing third place to Anderson. Sexton was on the charge and moved into third as Lawrence reached seventh place back in the pack.
Before five minutes were off the race clock Sexton was into second place and looking up the track at Roczen, who held a 5.5 second lead. Sexton inched up on Roczen, then just after the race’s mid-point he quickly closed the gap.
Sexton used an inside line on the off-camber turn to take over the lead and pull out a comfortable gap. With just over two minutes left on the race clock, Lawrence leapt past Roczen to grab second place. Sexton went unchallenged to the checkers to sweep both Motos, take the event overall win and its $100,000 win bonus, and extend his points lead in the post-season.
The SuperMotocross League holds Playoff 2 next weekend, September 16th, in Joliet, Illinois at Chicagoland Speedway.
The same seeded riders are guaranteed a spot on the gate and the same LCQ racers will have to battle their way into the points-paying Motos. The overall finishing positions for Playoff 2 will pay double points to the racers.
The 450 class racers will rack up points toward winning the $1,000,000 championship win bonus.
The 250 class racers will vie for the championship prize of $500,000. With large finishing bonuses all the way down to the 22nd position, the racers will battle harder than ever on the world’s most challenging tracks for their piece of 2023’s total purse of $10,000,000.
450 Playoff 1 Results:
1 Chase Sexton, LaMoille, IL., Honda (1-1)
2 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (3-3)
3 Dylan Ferrandis, Bedarrides, France, Yamaha (2-4)
4 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (7-2)
5 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (4-5)
6 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (5-6)
7 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (6-8)
8 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (8-7)
9 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (10-9)
10 Colt Nichols, Muskogee, OK, Kawasaki (12-10)
450SMX Class Championship Standings:
1 Chase Sexton, LaMoille, IL., Honda (50 points)
2 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (38 points)
3 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (38 points)
4 Dylan Ferrandis, Bedarrides, France, Yamaha (37 points)
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla Suzuki (36 points)
6 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (32 points)
7 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (30 points)
8 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (27 points)
9 Adam Cianciarulo, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki (24 points)
10 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (22 points)
250 Playoff 1 Results:
1 Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Kawasaki (4-1)
2 Tom Vialle, France, KTM (3-2)
3 Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (1-5)
4 Ryder DiFrancesco, Bakersfield, Calif., Kawasaki (7-3)
5 Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Yamaha (8-4)
6 Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (5-8)
7 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (2-11)
8 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (9-7)
9 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (12-6)
10 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (11-10)
250SMX Class Championship Standings:
1 Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Kawasaki (42 points)
2 Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (42 points)
3 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (39 points)
4 Tom Vialle, France, KTM (38 points)
5 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (35 points)
6 Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Yamaha (30 points)
7 Ryder DiFrancesco, Bakersfield, Calif., Kawasaki (28 points)
8 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (27 points)
9 RJ Hampshire, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Husqvarna (26 points)
10 Maximus Vohland, Granite Bay, Calif., KTM (25 points)
Photo courtesy Honda
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