Violent Sexton crash enables one last 2023 victory for Lawrence at season finale.
The 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship season finale at the historic Los Angeles Coliseum saw rookie sensation Jett Lawrence add two more moto wins to his list of successes throughout the year, along with an additional championship as he secured the first 450SMX title as the best rider in the premier class in the sport’s first year with a post-season.
Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) snuck through the opening corner first as moto one for the premier class at the finale event kicked off.
Sporting a retro look on his No. 9 Kawasaki KX450SR, Cianciarulo led the opening lap before giving way to his Monster Energy Kawasaki stablemate Jason Anderson moments before a violent crash for fellow front-runner Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) brought out a red flag.
Anderson was tasked with keeping Ken Roczen (Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki) behind following the staggered restart and did so until the sixth lap when the German rider launched past Anderson on the inside in a bowl turn with 13 minutes on the clock.
Roczen led two laps until he was passed for the lead by Lawrence, whose charge forward began when he passed his teammate Chase Sexton for third in the moto’s early moments and continued with a move on Anderson a few corners after Roczen’s.
Initially showing an ability to keep pace with and challenge Lawrence for the lead, Roczen ultimately lost touch with the undefeated 450MX Pro Motocross Championship winner and settled for second by 1.561s at the end.
Sexton held on for third, 6.316s back.
Anderson ended up fourth, followed by a quiet run to fifth for Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing newcomer Cooper Webb. Garrett Marchbanks (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha) finished a solid sixth ahead of Cianciarulo, Colt Nichols (Rick Ware Racing Madd Parts Kawasaki), Ty Masterpool (HBI Racing Kawasaki), and Dean Wilson (Fire Power Honda) in the top 10 positions.
A first-turn crash for Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) and a later fall for Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) saw those two join Barcia at the bottom of the results for the first 450SMX race of the season-ending night.
Sexton launched into the lead following the final gate drop of the year, surrounded by his closest competition with $1 million on the line. Cianciarulo, Lawrence, Webb, Anderson, and Roczen also benefitted from solid starts and set their sights on Sexton, with every position weighing heavily given the triple points on offer.
A significant shakeup arrived when Sexton violently crashed out from the lead, entering the high-speed sand section on the ninth lap. Lawrence avoided Sexton’s downed motorcycle and assumed the race lead.
Though Roczen chased him until lapped riders interrupted the German Suzuki rider’s progress with the year’s final checkered flag nearing, Lawrence led the final 10 laps of the season as he finalized a 1.644s victory. He secured the first-ever 450SMX title simultaneously, ultimately finishing 17 points clear of Roczen in the final standings.
Webb found the final podium position behind Roczen in this season-ending moto as well as the overall results for the Los Angeles SMX.
Cianciarulo finished a solid fourth to secure fourth overall with 7-4 results on the night. Nichols earned fifth overall with eighth in moto one and fifth in moto two as he beat Plessinger, Marchbanks, Freddie Noren (HEP Suzuki), Masterpool, and Nicoletti in the top 10 in the final race of the year.