Stop me if you have heard this before, but Chase Sexton was the fastest 450SX rider and he did not win the main event. Think Houston 2 and Atlanta in 2021. Then the Honda HRC rider got his maiden premier class supercross win in San Diego in January, putting the checkers or wreckers memo behind him. More wins were right around the corner, right? Well, they were, until he made a few more mistakes! He took off in the main event in Minnesota and had the win in the bag until a crash with just two laps to go left him weak on the ground after a wild crash. He officially scored 16th because of how many laps he completed before crashing out. It was another frustrating night.
Coming into Atlanta Motor Speedway, many thought Sexton could be up for redemption. Last year in Georgia he came within a lap of getting that maiden win. In 2022, the #23 was the fastest qualifier, he whooped the field in the second 450SX heat race, and it appeared he could get the win at the venue he was oh so close to winning at in 2021.
Right off the start of the main event, Sexton positioned himself perfectly in the first turn, exiting right behind Justin Barcia. On the second lap, Barcia went to protect the inside line, allowing Sexton to shoot past on the outside. He put a 1:21.279 in right off the bat when he got clear track—his fastest and the fastest of the entire race—and the redemption plan was coming to light. Unfortunately, his time in the lead was short lived as after only one lap later he pushed the front end in the far 180-degree turn on the far end of the stadium. As Sexton’s bike awkwardly teeter-tottered on him, Jason Anderson inherited and ran away with the lead, and four more riders would get by until the #23 remounted.
Check out the sequence our guys at Align Media caught!
Just like that, it went from redemption to “Damn, again?!”
Sexton managed to put in a charge through the checkered flag and eventually landed in third behind race winner Anderson and second-place Eli Tomac. Through 14 rounds of 2022, the 450SX sophomore sits with still only one main event win to his name. This has a tendency to get frustrating, and we’ve heard plenty of brutal honesty about the lows from Sexton in the past.
This time, despite the fall while leading, Sexton took away positives from the day.
“It was a really good day for me, riding-wise,” he said in the post-race press conference. “I felt really good with the track. I felt good here obviously last year, and then coming back here I was excited. The rain made the track pretty technical. It was pretty fast still, but I think it slowed it down a tad bit. Put myself in a really good position in the main event to win. I knew Jason was going to be good, and Eli obviously. I kind of wanted to sprint away and just came into that corner. I couldn’t really save it. It just was gone so fast. Had to kind of gather my thoughts and just push forward. I knew that I could probably make it back to the podium if I rode like I knew how. That was my goal after my fall. Thankfully we’re back up here, but obviously I want to be where Jason is sitting. He rode really well. Just keep plugging along.”
Earlier this year Sexton had been talking about a lack of comfort with his bike. This time, although he crashed, he still praised the feel he had on the track.
“Confidence definitely took a hit,” Sexton said on his up and down season. “I had a decent race then a really bad one, another decent one. I just couldn’t get any momentum going. Finally, Honda came down and did some testing on supercross and as soon as they found something that made the bike a little bit more comfortable for me, my riding came back to how I was riding pre-season and the first couple races. Then really after that, even in practice my confidence came back up before I even raced last weekend. Definitely was just something that I needed to get back up on the podium. So, I’m just excited for that and finish out these last three races strong.”
Even with his handful of misfortunes and crashes this season, he still has the third most overall main event podiums in 450SX: Tomac leads the class with 11, Anderson has seven, and Sexton has six as he continues to figure things out in the premier class. He looks to close out his season strong before entering into his third season on a 450 in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.