Features 4 Feb 2023

Racefeed: 2023 Supercross Houston

Direct updates from tonight's round of the season at NRG Stadium.

Follow the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship with direct updates from tonight’s round of the season at NRG Stadium in Houston through Racefeed.

Image: Octopi Media.

250SX qualifying one:
Max Anstie put his Firepower Honda atop the timesheet for the opening timed qualifying session of the year for the 250SX East regional series inside Houston’s NRG Stadium, beating out Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) by a considerable 0.357 seconds with a best lap of 52.918s. A second Star Racing-prepared Yamaha YZ250F landed third in the number 58 entry piloted by Jordon Smith. Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas) was next with the fourth-fastest lap, followed by Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence. Considered the primary championship contender entering the season, Lawrence could only lap within 0.819s of Anstie’s chart-topping pace. Jeremy Martin (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha), Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM), Cullin Park (Phoenix Racing Honda), Chris Blose (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), and Henry Miller (Ti-Lube Storm Lake Honda) comprised the remainder of the top 10. The first professional Supercross laps in competition for Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) and Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC) came in the B group, with Deegan going fastest at 53.945s, 0.22 seconds clear of Hymas.

450SX qualifying one:
Picking up where he left off last time out, Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) put 1.347 seconds between himself and his competitors in the first timed 450SX session with a 50.481s. Sexton’s second-fastest lap, a 50.796s, was also faster than any lap his competitors could put forth. Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) came closest with a 51.828s. Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis were 1.414s and 1.67 seconds off Sexton’s pace, respectively. Joey Savatgy had the fifth-fastest time aboard his Rick Ware Racing Kawasaki KX450SR, putting the privateer program ahead of five factory riders who also reached the top 10 – Ken Roczen (Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki), Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki), Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) and Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM).

250SX qualifying two:
Also as he did in qualifying one, Anstie recorded a 52.128s lap-time in session two to maintain his place at the head of the time-sheets. Smith of Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing darted out to be first on track as the final 250 qualifying session began, and Lawrence set the early pace at 54.765s, but it was again Anstie who topped the class aboard his Fire Power Honda. Going eight-tenths of a second quicker than his class-leading pace from the first session, Anstie was 0.31s clear of Smith’s Star Yamaha stablemate Thrasher, who was just 0.026s faster than Smith who placed third. Lawrence improved one position from the first session with the fourth-fastest lap, 0.391s back from Anstie, while Martin rounded out the top five. Positions six through 10 on combined times were filled by Mosiman, high profile rookie Deegan, Hymas also from group B, MX2 world champion Vialle in his 250SX debut and Blose, who is standing in at Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki.

450SX qualifying two:
Sexton gave Team Honda HRC the fastest qualifying lap of the day inside NRG Stadium, going 0.161s quicker than his best lap from the first session with a 50.320s to lead the way again in the second outing. Similar to the earlier session, Sexton’s second-fastest lap was faster than any other rider’s fastest, and he was the only rider to lap quicker than 51s heading into the night show. Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing riders Ferrandis and Tomac were second and third, over a full second off Sexton’s top time. A trio of Kawasaki KX450SR machines from Monster Energy Kawasaki and Rick Ware Racing were next, due to the session’s best laps from Anderson, Cianciarulo, and Savatgy. Craig placed seventh, ahead of Webb, Barcia and Roczen. On debut in the premier class this weekend, Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) qualified in 14th position.

250SX heat one:
Asserting his dominance and confirming his pre-season label as the title favorite, Hunter Lawrence led all eight laps of the night’s first heat race and beat Thrasher to the checkered flag by 2.316s. Blose held the second position early but was overcome by Thrasher, Hymas, and Mosiman, who claimed positions 2–4. After Blose in fifth, Henry Miller, Hardy Munoz, Devin Simonson, and Jace Owen punched their tickets to the first 250SX East main event of 2023. Owen, notably, fell in the tight first corner and made the pass for the final transfer position just before the last lap.

250SX heat two:
Jordan Smith’s transition to the Star Yamaha team kicked off with success in the night’s second heat race. Fastest qualifier Anstie was 1.234s behind at the checkered flag, followed by Vialle and Deegan in the first heat race of their careers. Martin ensured representation for ClubMX in the main event while Park, Talon Hawkins, Michael Hicks, and Luke Neese also successfully transferred. A violent crash for Coty Schock after contact with his teammate in the air saw him collide at full speed with the side of the track’s over-under bridge. The Phoenix Honda rider appeared shaken but not injured, however he didn’t remount and continue.

450SX heat one:
Kawasaki rider Anderson was the first 450SX heat race winner of the east coast swing, charging past early leader Webb. Aaron Plessinger also got by his Red Bull KTM teammate to finish second, with Ferrandis and Roczen completing the top five. Qualifying standout Savatgy placed sixth after a battle with Cooper during the former 250SX regional champion’s first heat race aboard a 450. Benny Bloss and Cade Clason took the two other transfer positions over Freddie Noren, who was 1.682s short of going straight through to the main.

450SX heat two:
Sexton dominated the night’s concluding heat race, passing early leader Tomac and stretching his lead to nearly eight seconds by the checkered flag. Barcia similarly moved forward from his position after the start to place third ahead of Cianciarulo and Honda man Colt Nichols. The battle for the four remaining transfer positions was relatively quiet, with Craig, Wilson, Justin Hill (Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsports), and Shane McElrath (Twisted Tea Suzuki Progressive Insurance) safely transferring. Justin Starling, Joshua Cartwright, Kevin Moranz, and Kyle Chisholm notably missed out and were added to the LCQ lineup.

250SX LCQ:
Josiah Natzke of Partzilla PRMX Racing took early control, with Jeremy Hand, Jack Chambers, and AJ Catanzaro slotting in behind. With two minutes to go, Natzke pulled off the track near the whoops due to an apparent bike problem, vaulting Hand into the lead and Brock Papi into the fourth and final transfer position. Schock began pressuring Chambers for fourth and swiped the position when Chambers ran into the back of Papi and fell after the over-under. Chambers remained within three seconds of Schock but couldn’t overcome the deficit, allowing Schock to join Hand, Catanzaro, and Papi in heading back to their respective pit areas to prepare for the main event.

450SX LCQ:
Joshua Cartwright emerged with the lead and never relinquished it. Starling, Moranz, and Noren filled the other three transfer positions as the clock ran out, having initially faced minimal challenge beyond a short-lived lunge by Alex Ray. In the final turn, Chisholm made heavy contact with Noren in a violent attempt to swipe the final spot, putting the Kawasaki rider on the ground and stalling his Suzuki. While Chisholm kickstarted his bike, Ray reappeared with mere feet standing between his Yamaha and a spot in the main event. However, he ran into Noren and went off the track a second time. Instead, John Short went from seventh to fourth in the last turn to join Cartwright, Starling, and Moranz in transferring.

250SX main event:
Racing for his first time on American soil, Vialle led the first lap of the 250SX East season. Lawrence soon rode into the lead, despite a quick trip off the side of the track as he veered left in the air beside Vialle, who was also passed by fastest qualifier Anstie. Apart from Vialle, debuting rookies Hymas and Deegan displayed early brilliance before dropping back. At the same time, Smith, Thrasher, and Martin moved forward on their Yamahas and chased the leaders. Smith held third despite a fall in the sand, while a worse fall for Thrasher in the same area dropped him to 15th at the end. Holding off a charge from GasGas rider Mosiman, Deegan benefitted from a last-lap fall for Martin to finish fourth on debut after Lawrence, Anstie, and Smith earned podium positions less than 3 seconds ahead. Martin recovered for fifth ahead of Mosiman, Vialle, Hymas, Park, and Blose in the top 10. Husqvarna’s Futures graduate Hawkins was 11th, just up the track from Schock, who salvaged a 12th-place result after being questionable to participate in the LCQ.

450SX main event:
Points leader Tomac rebounded from a violent crash during the Anaheim 2 Triple Crown to come out on top in Houston, holding off a race-long charge from Sexton. Tomac was first to the ultra-tight 180-degree opening corner with Plessinger, Barcia, Cianciarulo, Webb, and Sexton in tow. Plessinger put early pressure on Tomac, with Anderson and Sexton emerging as the other primary contenders. With 16:37 to go, Ferrandis partly landed on the back of Roczen’s Suzuki and was knocked unconscious as he violently hit the ground. The former 250SX West champion stood and was helped toward the medical vehicle, seemingly uninjured but wearing a neck brace. With 16 and a half minutes remaining, a staggered start saw the pre-existing battles start back up. Anderson quickly got by Plessinger for second on the first green-flag lap before Sexton passed the KTM rider for third a lap later. Sexton closed within a second of the lead with just over five minutes remaining, but his charge stalled as he settled for second. Anderson and Plessinger held on for third and fourth while Webb completed the top five. Barcia ended the night in sixth, just ahead of Cooper, who put in a prolific late-race charge to earn seventh in his 450SX debut. Roczen, Savatgy, and Cianciarulo recovered from minor mistakes in the closing minutes to comprise the remainder of the top 10.