Jett Lawrence and Haiden Deegan Conquer The Sand of Southwick National

We keep getting treated to great racing here in Pro Motocross, and this weekend was, again, just that! The questions in the 450MX class coming into this event were: can anyone stop the current overall win streak from the #1 defending champion Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence at The Wick 338, and will the shoulder be a problem here on these rough sand conditions? Can the older brother and teammate on that Team Honda HRC machine, Hunter Lawrence, keep the points lead leaving here? Does Chase Sexton on that Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have anything for the two brothers in the sand?

The questions in the 250MX class were: can Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s and points leader, Haiden Deegan, conquer the sand in his second year at this track, or will he mimic the same performance as last year, defying that he isn’t as good in these sandy-type conditions? Can Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Tom Vialle replicate the previous year and take his second overall victory at The Wick?

Who had the strength, speed, and flow in the four motos? Let’s answer those questions and dive right into the breakdown of each race.

250MX Moto 1

At the start of the first 250 moto, current points leader Haiden Deegan grabbed the early lead, followed by Team Honda HRC’s Chance Hymas in second and Monster Energy Pro Circuit’s Levi Kitchen in third, crossing the holeshot line. The battle for 2nd was on as Kitchen got around Hymas briefly, but Hymas got right back around him shortly afterward. Then we see Tom Vialle, who was in 4th early, put in a charge and passed both Hymas and Kitchen to take over 2nd place around the halfway mark, dropping them back to 3rd and 4th, and began to set his eyes forward on your race leader Deegan. Triumph Factory Racing’s Joey Savatgy starts and stays inside the top 5 throughout the race.

There was not much action up front, but Vialle did make it interesting with his speed as he began to reel in your race leader, Deegan, but lap traffic held him up as the race dwindled. He decided to be content with that position and save energy for the second moto. Deegan answers another big question and grabs his first moto victory in the sand of Southwick, his 6th moto win of the season. Vialle 2nd, and Hymas finishes out the podium in 3rd.

Haiden Deegan proves he can win in the sand with the 250MX Moto 1 victory. Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey
Haiden Deegan proves he can win in the sand with the 250MX Moto 1 victory. Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey

450MX Moto 1

As the gate dropped for the first 450 moto, defending champion Jett Lawrence took the holeshot and early lead, followed closely by his older brother, teammate, and points leader Hunter Lawrence, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Chase Sexton in third. Aaron Plessinger started the race in 4th, but a goggle malfunction and a trip to the mechanic's areas for a fresh set dropped him back to 17th early in the race.

Not much happens at the front of the field here in this first 450 Moto as Jett stretched his lead out, never looked back, and took moto 1 victory. Hunter finishes in 2nd, and Sexton rounds out the podium in 3rd. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson had a great ride to finish 4th, and Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Justin Cooper rounds out the top 5.

Jett Lawrence grabs the holeshot and checks out on the field to take the 450MX Moto 1 win. <em>Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey</em>
Jett Lawrence grabs the holeshot and checks out on the field to take the 450MX Moto 1 win. Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey

250MX Moto 2

After the red flag restart on the opening lap of 250 Moto 2, the gate drops for the 2nd time, and Levi Kitchen grabs the holeshot, followed by Deegan and Team Honda HRC’s Jo Shimoda, with a much better start, top 3 with Vialle in tow. Deegan scrubs (almost too far) past Kitchen over the first jump to take the early lead away. Vialle then charges around Shimoda and Kitchen to move into the 2nd place position, and the battle is on at the front. Deegan then makes a mistake in a corner, burying the bike in the sand, causing him to lose the front end and going down, dropping back to 5th, giving Vialle the race lead with 20 minutes plus two laps. But this isn't the end of the race; this is just the start of a wild moto with the clock winding down.

Vialle was out to a comfortable and manageable lead, but some bad laps dealing with lap traffic allowed Shimoda and Deegan, now up to third, a chance at this moto win with three laps to go. Shimoda then passes Vialle with two laps to go, charging around the outside to take the lead. These three riders are all in the same turn as the crowd erupts in excitement. This battle goes all the way down to the final half a lap, where it looks as if Vialle was trying to gain the lead back from Shimoda to grant him the overall on the day, but a huge mistake, slides the bike out, exiting a corner and goes down. Deegan was content with 2nd in the moto after he witnessed the big mistake from Vialle.

What a great battle between those three riders at the most challenging part of the day and the track at its worst! Shimoda wins his first moto of the season and third overall on the day. Deegan takes second and wins his fourth overall on the season. He answers everyone’s big question at the beginning of the day: Can he conquer the sand? Sure enough! Vialle 3rd in the moto and 2nd overall on the day.

Deegan extends his points, commanding 42 points on Chance Hymas, who is second in points, and 43 up on Vialle in 3rd.

Jo Shimoda proves again he is good in the sand and wins 250MX Moto 2. <em>Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey</em>
Jo Shimoda proves again he is good in the sand and wins 250MX Moto 2. Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey

Haiden Deegan, 4th overall win on the season: “I had a point to prove here after last year. Kind of the narrative was that I couldn’t ride a sand track and show everyone that I could. It was a big motivator because if I could win here this weekend, I’m pretty much unbeatable. The scrub on that opening lap, I thought I was going to crash but somehow saved it.”

Tom Vialle, 2nd overall: “I gave it everything. I got stuck behind some lappers, allowing Jo and Haiden to catch up to me. We were all three trying hard on that final lap. I tried to get Jo on that last lap to get the overall win but crashed. It was a nice race.”

Jo Shimoda, third overall: “I just never gave up that second moto. Good racing, and those last three laps were intense!”

250MX Overall Southwick Results
250MX Overall Southwick Results

450MX Moto 2

As the last race of the day is underway, the 2nd 450 moto, Jett Lawrence, grabs another holeshot, followed by his older brother Hunter, Justin Cooper in 3rd, Sexton 4th, and Aaron Plessinger rounding out the top 5. Sexton quickly moves around Cooper to take over 3rd. Sexton then sets sails toward the front, passing Hunter aggressively briefly before gaining back the position at the end of lap one. Just a couple of moments later, Hunter is on the back wheel of his brother Jett and makes the pass for the lead, charging down the first straight away and leaping past. A little rain comes into the mix here in this final moto. It is nothing drastic, but clean vision is essential for these riders out at Southwick, especially with how the lines and corners can change each lap. Halfway through the moto, Hunter stretches his lead to about 3 seconds over his brother, and Sexton is only five behind.

With about nine minutes plus two to go, Hunter starts to drop and make mistakes, allowing his brother Jett to close that gap. Jett gets around his brother on the inside to take the lead, and Sexton is still within striking distance of these two with the race winding down. A couple of moments later, Sexton puts in another late race charge and gets around Hunter for 2nd with 5 minutes plus two laps to go, and that was not the end of his charge to the front as he was relentless and could see the race leader now within striking distance. Sexton briefly gets around Jett, charging the outside line, but Jett stays on the gas longer on the inside to hold the lead position. Just a couple of corners later and 2 minutes left on the clock, Sexton uses the outside line down the mechanics straight away, keeps his momentum up and wheels on the ground, and takes the lead away from Jett. A big moment for Sexton as he passes Jett.

Sexton holds onto the moto win as Jett knows he has the overall victory on the weekend and finishes second. Hunter rounds out the podium in 3rd. A great ride out of Plessinger, who, after that first moto mishap with the goggles, finishes in 4th, and Phoneix Racing Honda’s Dylan Ferrandis rounds out the top 5 in the Moto.

Even with the shoulder injury from the crash at Hangtown, Jett holds on for his fourth overall victory. He answers another big question everyone had coming into the sand of The Wick 338 and has the strength to take the overall wins still. Sexton takes second overall on the day with a 3-2 and Hunter Lawrence 3rd with 2-3 moto scores.

These three riders are now separated by just three points in the championship!

Chase Sexton puts in another late race charge to the front to win 450MX Moto 2. <em>Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey</em>
Chase Sexton puts in another late race charge to the front to win 450MX Moto 2. Photo Courtesy Ayala Media | Josh Davey

Jett Lawrence, 4th overall on the season: “I was using my legs so much more to compensate for the shoulder, and they got a little tired. It is what it is. For how long it's taken to heal, we might get an MRI. We will go back and work harder.”

Chase Sexton on second overall: “I wasn’t riding the track how it should have been ridden, but I finally found a good flow towards the end of the second moto. Better late than never. I switched up some lines, and everything started coming together for me. I put in a good charge and felt strong.”

Hunter Lawrence, third overall: “The points lead, I could care less out there. With all the “moments” I had out there, you can say I was giving it all I had. I did everything I could and came up just a little short.”

450MX Overall Southwick Results
450MX Overall Southwick Results

Current Overall Points