Jett Lawrence and Chase Sexton wrote their names into the history books at the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship finale—which made us wonder how many other times have there been two first-time winners at the same event? The Lawrence-Sexton duo was only the second time in the last decade of AMA Pro Motocross that two riders have earned their first wins at the same event on the same day (it was the third time both riders were on the same brand as well). Below are the times we have seen two first-time winners on the same day.
Double First-Time Winners
1972 Road Atlanta National: Obviously, the first AMA Pro Motocross National marked the first winners ever, both from New York, both on Ghost CZ motorcycles. Barry Higgins topped the 500 class while Sonny DeFeo was the 250 winner. Both repeated the following week at round two, which was at a track below Memphis. There would be two more rounds in ’72 where first-time winners emerged together. At the Cal-Expo round near Sacramento, Kawasaki’s Brad Lackey won the 500 class while Husqvarna’s Gunnar Lindstrom was a first-time winner in the 250 class. And then at Snyder Park in Indiana, Bultaco’s Gary Bailey topped the 250 class while CZ-mounted Texas legend Wyman Priddy was the 500 class winner.
1973 Daytona Motocross: Because “supercross” had yet to be invented as a series, the first two Daytona infield races were part of the Florida Winter-AMA Series, and then the third event in ’73 was part of the AMA Pro Motocross tour. First-time winners emerged in Yamaha’s imported Dutch mercenary Pierre Karsmakers in the 500 class, while Bob Grossi of the Husqvarna team topped the 250 class.
1974 Hangtown Motocross Classic: For the first-ever 125 National, Team Honda rolled out its new CR125 Elsinore in the hands of the rookie Marty Smith, and he promptly won. In the 250 class, Billy Grossi earned his first win on the 250 Elsinore. There was a 500 class that day as well, and the winner was Mike Hartwig on a Yamaha, but he had already won a pro national in 1973.
1974 Motocross West National: Run on the banks of the Mississippi River outside of New Orleans, this race saw a pair of Husqvarna teammates each win their first pro nationals. Ohio’s Gary Semics went 1-1 to top the 250 class while Texan Kent Howerton went 2-3 for the 500 overall.
1982 Lake Whitney National: This race was just for 125 and 250 riders, and the first-time winners were another pair of future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers that came of age on the same day, Kawasaki's Jeff Ward (125) and Honda's Donnie Hansen (250).
1983 Lake Whitney National: The Texas race saw a pair of first-time winners in 16-year-old Ron Lechien (125) and Billy Liles (250), but there was also a third class that year—the 500 class—which was won by well-established motocross star Broc Glover.
1985 Washougal National: This was a strange one. As the last round of the ’85 series, which hosted all three classes (125, 250, 500), only the 250 class had yet to have its title decided, as Kawasaki’s Jeff Ward and Honda’s Johnny O’Mara battled for the #1 plate. As a result, Honda decided to add already-crowned 125 champ Ron Lechien to the 250 class, as well as 500cc runner-up David Bailey, who had already lost the title to Yamaha’s Broc Glover, who decided to sit out the finale altogether with an injury. These moves opened two doors for unlikely winners, as Suzuki’s A.J. Whiting won the 125 National and Yamaha support rider Eric Eaton, a local hero, won the 500 National. As for the 250 class, O’Mara won the overall but Wardy won the title, as Lechien and Bailey didn’t really get in anyone’s way.
1989 Gatorback National: This season opener is mostly remembered for Rick Johnson suffering a career-altering practice crash with Danny Storbeck that left RJ with a broken wrist, but it was also the day that two future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers, Jean-Michel Bayle (250) and Mike Kiedrowski (125), won their first-ever outdoor nationals. Both were riding Hondas, and Bayle went 1-3 for his win while Kiedrowski finished 4-1.
1991 Hangtown Classic: This 125/250 National was famously called after the first set of motos due to a huge rainstorm that swamped the Prairie City OHRV Park. The first-time winners were longtime friends and fellow privateers from New England who would go on to stellar careers, Doug Henry (125) and John Dowd (250).
1999 Washougal National: Team Yamaha’s Jimmy Button, a seasoned veteran by this point, finally put two motos together to take the win on his Yamaha YZ450F, making him just the second rider to ever win an AMA National on a four-stroke. In the 125 class the winner was FMF Honda’s Brock Sellards, who used 1-3 scores to top Ricky Carmichael’s 2-2 finishes. (RC thought he had won the race when he passed Sellards on the last lap of the second moto, not realizing that local hero Jason McCormick had already finished with the unlikely moto win.)
2009 Southwick National: Honda’s 17-year-old rookie Justin Barcia took his first career moto win at a wet and muddy 2009 Southwick MX-338 event. Barcia got stuck in the gate at the beginning of the second moto when there was a gate malfunction, but somehow fought through not only the pack but the tough conditions to get all the way back up to third-place. He won the first moto and his 1-3 earned him the overall ahead of Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray, the winner of the second moto. After Australian Chad Reed had claimed the 450 Pro Motocross title one week early, he also claimed the first moto at Southwick. When the second moto started it appeared Reed would add a 1-1 to pat his season stats. However, Reed (who was challenged by Andrew Short for the lead) got cross-rutted over the finish line and crashed hard, forcing him out of the race. This opened the door for Yamaha replacement rider Matt Goerke, who was fast in the first moto before crashing and being landed on by his bike, then finishing sixth. Goerke went won the moto aboard a Factory Yamaha YZ450F—and somehow claimed his maiden and only overall win with his 6-1 finishes.
2017 Budd Creek National: Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo finally won his first 250 National, at the very same track where he made his halting debut four years earlier. RCH Suzuki rider Justin Bogle was the unlikely winner in the 450 class after having a career day outdoors, going 1-3 for his first (and so far only) outdoor national win.
2020 Fox Raceway National:Jett Lawrence had a breakthrough ride at the 2020 finale, where he won the first moto and then backed it up with a strong second moto. That gave the 17-year-old not only his first overall podium finish but his first overall win as well. The day was bittersweet for the GEICO Honda team as Lawrence won the overall and the team went 1-2-3 (with Jeremy Martin winning and Jo Shimoda finishing third) in the second moto. It was the team’s last race before shutting its doors after 22 years. Next, Chase Sexton earned the first overall win of his career in the 450 finale. Like he had done in several motos this year, Sexton was on the tail of race leader Adam Cianciarulo—who made a costly mistake and went down. The Illinois native and GEICO Honda alumni took over the lead and led the final seven laps before taking the checkered flag. The Honda HRC rookie’s 3-1 gave him the overall win. Sexton was also a GEICO Honda rider in 250SX this year. It was an amazing final day for the team, with riders taking both overalls (plus Christian Craig, also on loan from the GEICO team, followed Sexton across the line in 450 moto two to make it a 1-2).