Features 3 Jul 2024

Quotebook: 2024 Pro Motocross Rd5 Southwick

Riders detail their weekends after the fifth round of the series.

Round five of AMA Pro Motocross at Southwick tested the 250MX and 450MX classes on the roughest track of the year. Quotebook features compiled comments from riders over the weekend.


Image: Octopi Media.

Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
Southwick wasn’t too bad. My legs got tired in the second moto, so we have to work on that for the rest of the season. Chase was riding strong; I tried going for it a couple times, but decided it was time to check up. I’m very happy to get out of here with the overall win. We just have to keep pushing.

Chase Sexton (Red Bull KTM) – Second:
This track has never really been my absolute favorite for some reason, but I had to put that behind me after the first moto, because I didn’t want to over-ride the track or push past the limit. In the second moto, I finally started to get a good flow going towards the end, picking some different lines, and it all came together for me. I was able to kind of jump around the track and make it more fun – when you’re doing that you go faster. That was the whole thing for me today and we’re happy to leave here with a moto win this afternoon.

Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Third:
Gnarly day at the ’Wick! I left it all out there today, and we have some good things to take away from this weekend. If you saw how many moments I had late in the second moto, it’s safe to say I was pushing and giving it my all! I came up a little short, but it’s a huge positive to leave here with the red plate after losing it here the last two years. Now we can keep getting better this week.

Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Fourth:
It was a good day overall. I had a big crash on Monday this week. I did a superman, and just whiskeyed off the bike, but somehow came away not too bad from that and just rested up until today. It was gnarly out here today. The track was definitely the worst I’ve seen it. It doesn’t help leaving after the 250s were out and I wasn’t used to it. Man, I tried though. I definitely put in some effort out there, but my back started spasming about halfway through the second moto and I had to get through it. Fourth on the day was good, but I want to get back up on the box though – that’s the goal. So we’ll go back to work.

Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Sixth:
Southwick could have gone better, but also could have been worse! I actually qualified fourth and was really good in practice, then I got a good start in the first moto, but stalled the bike coming down a hill and laid it down. I picked it back up, got some dirt in my goggles, and had to stop for new ones, so finished up 12th. Second moto, rebounded and rode a really, really good race for fourth. I almost caught the boys on the podium, and I can’t ask for much more from that one! The first moto could have dictated the day, but it didn’t, and we’ll bounce back again for RedBud!

Justin Barcia (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Seventh:
Today was an eventful day, a lot of stuff going on! I qualified P7, which was pretty good, and the motos were decent for where we’re at. I was sixth in Moto one and then had a first turn crash in the second moto but made a hard charge to 11th. Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with some knee injuries since about the week before Salt Lake City, and I’ve been pushing through it. One knee has a torn/sprained MCL, and my other knee had bursitis, with a little bit of a tear in the meniscus – not too bad, nothing that requires surgery. Because of the swelling, two of my tendons finally let go at High Point, but the good thing is that technically they will just scar up and be fine. I haven’t been riding during the week at all, just been trying to race on the weekends for my fans and the crew, but it’s got to the point now that we have a really good bike, my riding is really good, and these knees are holding us back. We want to be better than fifth-to-eighth, so we are going to take some time off. I will still be able to train quite a bit, do PT on the knees, and see what we can do to get better. All in all, they just need some time to heal up, so the goal right now, I would say, is to come back for Unadilla. I won’t miss too many races if everything works out, which I believe it will, and then we’ll come back swinging!

Kyle Webster (MobileX Honda) – 10th:
What an experience. I have a lot more to learn and improve on, and I am excited to get to work. There were some positives today, but the best thing to come out of racing my first race in America is realizing we have a lot to improve on, including my riding, fitness, and the bike. Tenth overall is great, but we need to be further up.

Malcolm Stewart (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 11th:
I actually had a good time here at Southwick. It’s been 11 years since I raced this race and the number one coolest thing for me today was the fans. Practice was good, I forgot how fast this track can be early on, and that’s important to get a good lap in. First moto was okay, got off to an okay start, and fought my way up to eighth. In the second one, my start was actually better than the first one, but we went down in the first corner, and I was able to keep going for 16th. It obviously wasn’t the best ride we’ve had, but we’ll take this thing to RedBud and I’m excited for that… I’m going to give it everything I’ve got!

Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – 12th:
There are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend. My KX450SR was feeling incredible the entire weekend and we have this bike feeling the best it ever has. I could not find my flow in the morning qualifying sessions, but it clicked in Moto one. I got a good start and tried to hitch onto the lead pack but settled into fourth the entire race. Moto two was a huge bummer for us. I got another good jump but got squeezed and went down. I remounted and tried to find my flow, making it all the way to 11th, but another mistake caused me to go down. I ended up 12th overall on the day, but I am looking for more.

Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 14th:
Southwick was tough, just struggled with the setting on this track in the morning, and then went in the wrong direction for the first moto. In the second moto, we went back to my base settings, got a better start, felt more comfortable, and it was an improvement. Today wasn’t great overall, but my second moto finish in P8 was the best of the year so far. That was better, but there was still some inconsistency, so we’ll move onto RedBud and try to keep building.

Shane McElrath (Twisted Tea Progressive Suzuki) – 18th:
The track was probably one of the roughest ‘Southwicks’ I’ve raced. We struggled to get going through the second practice and in the first moto. We’re still making changes and trying to figure things out a bit. The second moto was better but still, we can be better. We are focusing on RedBud and are ready to have a good week and continue progressing.

Kyle Chisholm (Twisted Tea Progressive Suzuki) – 19th:
My Suzuki worked well all day, we nailed that. the first moto I had a pretty decent start but unfortunately got roosted pretty bad coming into the first turn. I struggled to pull a tear off – there are really no smooth jumps, so it’s hard to find time to reach up and get clear vision. I got passed by a few riders, didn’t ride well the first two or three laps, and then just couldn’t make up the ground. In the second moto, I was caught up in the first turn crash – I was able to keep it up but got stuck. I rode better than I did in the first moto and worked my way up to 15th. I’ve got a little bit more in me and want to get close to the top ten.

Max Miller (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 32nd:
It was a gnarly day at Southwick,” said Miller. “I wasn’t great starting off the day but earned second in the LCQ and then we were into the motos. Before Moto one I had some issues on the site lap that caused me to miss the gate drop. I started about half a lap behind. It went better in Moto two; I rode hard and finished 25th.


Image: Octopi Media.

Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – First:
It was a really good day at Southwick. I rode really well in the sand and went 1-2 for the overall win. I think it’s time to get rid of the 1-2’s, and I need to go back to 1-1, but it got us the overall and a lot more points today, so that’s good.

Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) – Second:
I had a good first moto and when I got to second it was a big gap to the lead, but it was okay. In the second moto I was leading almost the whole race, before I got stuck a little bit with the lapped riders around three or four laps to go, so Jo [Shimoda] caught me really quick. I tried and really wanted to pass Jo again and fight for the win, but I crashed on the last lap – we were all pushing really hard, so it was a nice race anyway.

Jo Shimoda (Team Honda HRC) – Third:
I started the day pretty slow, and that led to a bad gate pick and a crash in the first turn. I had two good starts in the second moto and was able to charge to the front. This was a big boost for my confidence and makes me excited to go racing next weekend.

Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
Good result for my first time at Southwick. My goal in qualifying was to be in the top 10, and I was right there with seventh. I was second off the start in the first moto and finished third. I had another great start in the second moto before the restart, but I was only seventh after the red flag. We’ll take a fourth overall and getting out of here healthy.

Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Fifth:
It was pretty good. I didn’t get off the gate very well but rode really good today, so I’m happy with the results.

Joey Savatgy (Triumph Racing) – Sixth:
It was a tough day. This place is always hard on the body and bike! I went 5-6. I crashed out of fourth with a few corners to go in moto two and ended up sixth. I am trying not to beat myself up too much and stay positive. We had much better starts this weekend and were much closer to the front. We are moving in the right direction, and I am excited to see what RedBud will bring!

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Seventh:
Today was a step in the right direction starting with qualifying, placing fourth in that. In the first moto, it started off pretty slow for me, but I quickly found my pace and ended up fourth. In Moto two, I got a good jump out of the gate, but it was red flagged immediately. After the restart, I got the holeshot again, but quickly lost the tow up front. I pretty much had third place overall in the bag until a lapped rider took me out with about 10 minutes to go. Overall, we fought, and I am making steps in the right direction. I appreciate my entire Monster Energy® Pro Circuit Kawasaki team for all their help this weekend.

Ty Masterpool (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Eighth:
It was a really tough track today for us. In qualifying, it went okay, and I placed fifth. My first moto was a really solid performance. I was able to charge all the way through and felt strong the entire way, but my start was not the best. During Moto two, the track was super gnarly and I was pushing the entire race but got tired towards the end and faded a bit. Next stop will be Redbud and we always have a good time there. I am excited to prove myself next weekend.

Pierce Brown (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Ninth:
In the first moto I struggled, but we made some changes for Moto two, and I felt a lot better. Unfortunately, I fell on the first lap and had to come back from 40th to 12th, so my riding was there, but obviously it didn’t show on paper. We don’t get sand like this in California, so it is hard to prep properly for this race – we’ll move onto RedBud and keep charging.

Casey Cochran (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 10th:
First time here again, but it was actually a pretty good day! I struggled to figure out the track, but started coming around and got some pretty good finishes – my best two results that I’ve had so far. Overall, it was a pretty good weekend, we’re going to keep taking baby steps and moving forward, so I’m excited for RedBud next weekend.

Ryder DiFrancesco (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – 11th:
Southwick was okay. It was an improvement from last year, I got a little bit better in the sand, but a mistake on the last lap cost me a couple of spots overall. It was a step in the right direction, we had two solid motos, and I’m ready for RedBud.

Daxton Bennick (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 12th:
Twelfth overall at The Wick. It’s not the result we are looking for, but we’ll keep learning and go back to work this week for RedBud.

Max Anstie (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 13th:
It was quite a welcome back to the outdoors. In the first moto, I was in the mid-pack carnage and got a metal rod stuck in my wheel somehow, so that was the end of that race. In the second moto I had the 39th gate pick, so I just wanted to click off the laps and ended up getting ninth. The second moto was solid and a good bit of learning for me and the team. That’s the reason why I’m here – to make progress going into the next season. There’s no magic formula. Right now I’m jumping in the deep end; everything’s new, everything’s different, and I’m learning the team and how the bike works. Hopefully, we can be a little bit better next weekend and keep this progression going so that next year, I’m firing on all cylinders for outdoors. So yeah, we’re just figuring all those things out and ironing out all the kinks.

Jalek Swoll (Triumph Racing) – 18th:
It has been a frustrating day, but the first moto started very well. Jalek had an unfortunate issue in moto one and lost some points: he was running sixth prior to that and we had a brilliant shot at having two bikes in the top five. That is where we should be! The poor gate pick that Jalek had in moto two made life even more difficult. Joey was strong, finished in the top five overall and moved into a seeded position in the SuperMotocross points. RedBud will be a great event and another opportunity for us to put the TF 250-X in the top five.

Nick Romano (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 20th:
It was a tough day at Southwick. I struggled all day with setup and finally got something decent for the last moto, but I was just smoked. I’m dealing with health issues right now, so I’m doing my best each weekend, but yesterday, that was all I had. I’m going to keep searching and figuring stuff out and will be ready to give my all for RedBud.

Dilan Schwartz (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 21st:
In Moto one, I crashed and was hit by another rider. I was able to get up and finish. In Moto two, I just limped my way through it and managed to finish P-17.

Julien Beaumer (Red Bull KTM) – 24th:
It was a tough first moto. I crashed in the first turn and then made a good comeback, but crashed late in the moto again and lost my goggles. In Moto two, I made a bad start, then unfortunately got tagged by another rider as I went down and was run over. I spent some time in the medical unit, but am happy to be healthy, so we will see the neurologist this week and see if we’re able to race next weekend.