As we continue to count down to the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's Ranch, we also continue to reminisce about great battles through the years at an event that has hosted plenty of them.
Chase Sexton and Austin Forkner just raced each other for the last time in the 250SX class last month in Salt Lake City, Utah. Growing up racing each other as two quick kids from the middle of the country, they had seen plenty of one another through the years as amateurs. The final time they would see each other at Loretta Lynn's ranch in 2015 created some close racing and produced a foreseeable future into the pro ranks for both.
The 34th AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s was also the lone appearance on a big bike for Forkner. The soft-spoken kid from a humble background in Missouri was a highly rated prospect with Kawasaki Team Green, winning four titles at the ranch during his minicycle days. But entering Loretta’s in 2015, everyone wanted to see how he’d stack up on the big bike, particularly against fellow Midwestern rider Chase Sexton, who was riding for Yamaha at the time. The two were set to square off in Schoolboy 2 (13-16) B/C and 250 B.
The week unraveled for Sexton in the first moto of Schoolboy B/C as he suffered a DNF and Forkner won the moto. Sexton would rebound to win the second moto, but the damage had already been done. Forkner would win the third and final moto over Sexton to capture his first title of the week. Jordan Bailey finished second ahead of current TLD/Red Bull KTM pro rookie Sean Cantrell.
The 250 B matchup was very tight, with Forkner winning the first two motos over Sexton, who finished runner-up. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Michael Mosiman finished fourth in the first two motos, but he would play a factor in the third and final moto of the week.
Sexton needed help and he got it, as Mosiman passed Forkner for the lead early in the moto. Unfortunately, Sexton was buried off the start and had to work his way through the field. He did make his way to third, but it wasn’t enough as Forkner cruised to the title with a second place finish behind Mosiman.
On the podium after his after his Schoolboy 2 (13-16) B/C win, Forkner announced that he had signed a four-year deal with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki and would turn pro at Hangtown the following year. Sexton later announced a pro deal with GEICO Honda.
“Whenever I first got on big bikes it was a big transition because, at that time, I was still a little bit too small for them, and we had to get suspension set up right,” Forkner told Racer X at the time. “I was trying to get set up for Monster Cup, which I ended up not going to, so I was having to ride supercross basically straight from Super Minis to big bikes on supercross. So it was big [the transition], but we got it figured out.”
Main Image: Chase Sexton, Photo by Ken Hill