Lucas Oil Pro Motocross went to town at Washougal with the season’s two elite combatants going head-to-head throughout the afternoon as Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton edged out Monster Star Yamaha Racing’s Eli Tomac via tiebreaker for his second victory of the season.
The opening 450 Class moto began with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ryan Dungey and Sexton side-by-side exiting the first turn, where Dungey emerged with the MotoSport.com Holeshot. Sexton was able to solidify a hold of the lead in the next turn and looked to sprint away as Dungey then battled with Tomac for second.
Dungey continued his pursuit of the lead but suddenly experienced an issue with his KTM that ultimately ended his moto. That misfortune allowed Tomac to assume second and give pursuit to Sexton, while Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen took over third, nearly 10 seconds behind the leaders.
As the moto passed the 10 minute mark the battle for the lead was on. Tomac appeared to have the faster pace, but found difficulty in trying to complete a pass. The Yamaha rider continued to keep the pressure on his Honda rival and made his way by with a savvy move just before the halfway point. Once out front, Tomac quickly built a multi-second advantage over Sexton.
The closing 10 minutes saw Sexton claw his way back into the fight as he lowered the deficit to less than a second. Behind them, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson closed in on Roczen for a battle for third. Back out front, Tomac and Sexton reignited their battle for the final five minutes.
With three minutes to go Tomac’s front tire got stuck in a rut and caused him to tip over. Sexton’s close pursuit caused him to run into Tomac and also tip over. The two riders then raced to pick up their bike, restart it, and resume. Tomac got going first, with Sexton getting back underway moments later. As they returned to race pace, the distance between them remained the same, while their 30-second gap over the rest of the field dropped to just under 20 seconds.
Sexton made one more late push with two laps to go and was able to nearly get alongside Tomac, but the point leader fended him off and dug deep on the final lap to keep the Honda at bay. Tomac held on for his eighth straight moto win, 1.1 seconds ahead of Sexton. Anderson made the pass on Roczen for third, while Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia finished fifth.
The second and deciding moto began with Sexton and Tomac leading the way, with the MotoSport.com Holeshot going to the Honda rider. As the lead duo began their fight for the top spot, Anderson and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger engaged in a battle for third. A torrid pace on the opening laps allowed Sexton to inch away and open a lead of more than a second, while Anderson asserted his control of third and closed in to make it a three-rider breakaway.
Sexton continued to add to his lead and pulled out nearly two seconds clear of Tomac through the first 10 minutes of the moto. However, as soon as Sexton appeared to have the upper hand, Tomac responded and closed to within bike lengths of the lead. With their battle, Sexton and Tomac easily left Anderson behind in third.
The excitement ramped up again at the halfway point of the moto. Tomac appeared to have the faster pace and started to look for a way around, but Sexton countered and inched away once more as they navigated lapped riders. The lead stabilized to more than a second for Sexton approaching the final 10 minutes but Tomac found the pace to get back within bike lengths.
Sexton’s continued defense of every one of Tomac’s advances turned the closing minutes into a chess match. The Yamaha rider continued to drop back and mount charges, but was unable to find enough momentum to make a move. The lead was about as big as it had been to start the final two laps and continued to grow from there. Sexton put the finishing touches on his performance with his fastest lap of the moto on the second-to-last lap. He pulled away on the final lap and took his fourth moto win of the season by 8.4 seconds over Tomac, who saw his streak come to an end. Anderson finished in a distant third.
By virtue of their identical moto scores Sexton (2-1) and Tomac (1-2) finished tied atop the overall classification, but the second-moto tiebreaker went to Sexton for his second victory of the season and the fourth of his career. He also successfully defended his Washougal victory from the 2021 season. The winning performance ended Tomac’s win streak at four, but also extended Sexton’s perfect podium record this season. Anderson’s consistent 3-3 effort landed him third overall.
With equal points, Tomac and Sexton remain separated by five points in the championship standings entering the final break of the 2022 season. Anderson strengthened his hold on third and now sits 79 points out of the lead.
“That was a really good moto for me. Eli was on me but I kept fending him off,” said Sexton.
“I finally got away and brought it home. It means a lot to me to win like that and I’m really looking forward to these last four races. I couldn’t be more happy to battle [for the championship] with a guy like Eli.”
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-1 // 47)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-2 // 47)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-3 // 40)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (4-6 // 33)
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (6-5 // 31)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (5-8 // 29)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (7-7 // 28)
- Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (9-9 // 24)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (8-13 // 21)
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (10-12 // 20)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 8 of 12)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 364
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 359
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 285
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 274
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 251
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 236
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 219
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 198
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 170
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 157