Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton has slowly built himself into a consistent front runner in the 450 class in the 2021 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Now in his second year of motocross on a 450, Sexton was able to snag an overall win at the seventh round and has consistently been one of the fastest riders on track ever since. After another strong fourth overall at Budds Creek Motocross Park where he put up 3-4 scores, Sexton spoke with the media via Zoom about how he felt on the day and what has been working well for him in the second half of the season.
Chase, two great starts, in the mix both motos. I’m sure the results weren’t exactly what you were probably hoping for in the end, but the pace that the four of you were running all day long was really impressive, really exceptional. You’re one of those top guys now. You’re there every week, it seems like. How’s your progression been in the season and how was your day today at Budds?
Chase Sexton: I feel like I’m making steps in the right direction. Ever since really Millville, I’ve just been climbing forward. Obviously, getting a win at Washougal was nice and then even Unadilla, besides the first moto I was riding well all day. I feel like I rode well. I really had good speed today, especially early in the race, like you said. We were all kind of close. It was frustrating. I didn’t feel like I had what it took, especially second moto later in the race. I didn’t feel like I was confident with my bike. I just really wasn’t comfortable with the speed and just the track later on in the races. I wasn’t gelling with it, and it obviously showed. I got dropped pretty heavy. It was frustrating. To have that good speed and not really make anything out of it was not ideal. I feel like I’m making steps in the right direction. Looking forward to Indiana. It’s a home race for me, and I like that track. Just trying to improve. It was a little frustrating, especially late in the second moto to really lose the train. I guess we’ll just go back to work and try and get better.
You had the opportunity to run up front with those guys for a full day, back-to-back motos. What did you learn from that?
It was really good to have us four up front both motos. It was really enjoyable just being able to watch their lines and kind of just learn from them. Also, I had a couple spots on the track where I was pretty fast. It’s always fun to have tight racing like that. Obviously, it’s what I was born to do, and I really enjoy it. This week mostly, I just feel like I’m a little bit off setup-wise. I don’t feel comfortable like I said late in the second moto. Obviously, it showed today. I just got to work on that and get a little more comfort. Honestly, I think I probably need to get in better shape because it showed today. Just go back to work and try and make as many gains as I possibly can. We have three more races and it’s going to be a long stretch to the finish. Just try to get as much out of this next week as I possibly can.
You guys train in Florida. Extremely hot and humid there. From what I understand, this race was maybe one of the more physically demanding as far as that goes. Where do you find the balance point to stay hydrated, to not get overworked during the week in humidity?
It’s definitely a fine line. I haven’t probably necessarily found it. I’m still learning, obviously. It’s really easy to go over and under, I feel like. It’s really hard to find that sweet spot. But for me, today I didn’t really struggle with the heat at all, which has actually been a positive for me. Two thousand and nineteen I overheated at WW [Ranch] and ever since then I’ve gotten back to the point where I’m not super stressed about the heat and I don’t really feel it that much. Heat is not really a problem. Like I’ve said before, I think it’s just gelling with the bike late in the second moto for me. That’s where I’ve been struggling. When you’re not gelling with the bike, you do get more and more tired. So, that’s where I’m at. It’s not ideal, but I’m trying my butt off every week and trying to get better. Definitely not quitting out there.
Following Washougal, you mentioned you were definitely keen to ride for Team USA at MXoN. Is that still the case?
Yes, 100 percent. Like I’ve said multiple times, it’s a dream for me to go race for my country and represent the USA. Last year they didn’t have it and I feel like this year if I was to get an opportunity, if I get picked to go, I’m all in. I’ll definitely give it my best effort and go out there and put it all on the track, if I get the chance to.
Lappers today. We kind of referenced back to the thing with Cade [Clason] and supercross and what happened at Unadilla last week. A couple times today there were a lot of lappers. You had mentioned how quiet your bikes are. Do you feel like it’s a hindrance at all?
I don't want to complain because they’re out there racing like I am. So, for me, I don’t really complain that much until it gets to a dangerous point. I got cross-jumped a few times on the uphill triple today where I had to roll it, when Dylan was behind me. If I would have jumped, I would have landed right on the guy. Then I got off Henry Hill twice actually in the first moto, where Dylan did pass me. The guy jumped right, and I clipped his rear end, and I did that again the second moto. That’s where I’m at. That’s why I got frustrated. When they’re out there racing and they get in the main line or whatever, I don’t really care. It’s just holding a line. I try and make my bike as loud as possible. Obviously, our bike is quiet, but I try to let them know that I’m there. Like I said, I don't want to complain about them because they’re out there racing just like me and giving it their all. I get frustrated when it’s just holding their line. I just want it to be safe. That’s all I care about. So, when it gets to the dangerous point, especially on jumps and stuff like that, that’s when I get frustrated. It’s hard. I know it’s a hard spot. I feel like they’re doing everything they can to be safe out there, too.
Watch the full 450 Class post-race press conference from the Budds Creek National below.