Coming into Saturday’s Foxborough Supercross for the 15th round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, all of the talk was about championships. In the 450SX class, Eli Tomac had the chance to wrap up the title two rounds early if he could essentially just beat Jason Anderson and leave with a 52-point championship lead or higher. In the 250SX East class, Jett Lawrence was looking to wrap up that series one round early and needed to leave Foxborough with a 26-point advantage on RJ Hampshire.
With both titles hanging in the balance, eyes were fixated on how both Tomac, and Lawrence would handle the day. For Tomac, there was a bit more of the job to do as he needed to beat the man who won one week ago in Atlanta. Anderson has caught fire late in the season after a dreadful stretch through the mid-season and seems to at least want to win out in 2022 even if the title is out of reach.
Anderson was fastest nearly all day in qualifying and quite literally was only just tipped by Chase Sexton for pole position as time expired on the final qualifying session. Still though, it was clear that Tomac would have to really race if he wanted to make sure the gap was big enough over Anderson.
The gates fell in the main event, and it was initially Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb who got out to the early lead. Tomac was in second right away and went to work on challenging Webb out front. But right behind him was Anderson and Tomac could not afford to bobble. He did though, and Anderson came down the inside after Tomac and Webb went back and forth for the lead to just gently bump Tomac. Tomac hit Webb’s rear wheel and came to a complete stop which stalled his Yamaha.
Several riders went by but crucially several riders ended up between Anderson and Tomac. As for Anderson, he continued clicking as he had from qualifying earlier in the day and ran down Webb for the lead just a few laps later. Once he made the pass for the lead, Webb did try to keep with him for a lap or so, but it was clear that Webb was starting to struggle. Webb would eventually slip back to sixth place as he struggled to regroup.
Chase Sexton started to come up from second place and close in on Anderson out front. With about half of the race left to go, Sexton was right on Anderson, but Anderson slowly started to up his pace again and he was able to sneak back away.
Anderson’s fifth win of 2022 was plenty to push the title clinching moment for Tomac back another week as the gap is now down to 43 points. Tomac’s seventh was a clear measured approach as he didn’t look particularly feisty in late battles with either Justin Barcia nor Cooper Webb. This win for Anderson also means he has more wins this year than he did in his 2018 title run.
“I feel like it’s the most laps I’ve ever led in a season!” said Anderson. “Even when I won my championship, I didn’t really lead a lot of laps. I won some races. But to be honest, winning these races and getting the podiums is surreal for me. After the little dry spell I’ve had the past few years, it’s refreshing, and it’s given me that second wind.”
Chase Sexton’s second place finish was a third podium finish in a row as he now sits just 16-points behind Marvin Musquin for fifth in points. Sexton went through a rough spell where he kept finding the ground after his initial big crash while leading the Minneapolis Supercross in February. After another big crash in Seattle, Sexton has admitted that his goals changed to where he was simply just trying to keep it on two wheels of late and land on the podium. But now that he’s done it three weeks in a row, he’s starting to feel like the win should be his next step.
“My goal after Seattle of having weeks of laying on the ground, I just wanted to be back on the podium,” said Sexton. “Now that I’ve done that, obviously I want to keep continuing to be on the podium, but now the goal has kind of changed to going for wins. I’ve been close, but Jason has been riding really well and so has Eli. It’s not easy and I feel like I’m doing the best that I can.”
Third on the night was Marvin Musquin who has found himself on a bit of a podium run of late as well with this one being his fourth in the last five races. Musquin was actually catching both Sexton and Anderson at one point in the race and the trio nearly closed up to battle one another, but eventually Musquin slipped back off the trail a bit and settled for third.
With Musquin’s contract expiring in two weeks after the Salt Lake City Supercross, the Frenchman clearly is trying to make the most of the second half of this supercross season. Time will tell if these coming rounds are his last two races of his career or not, but for now, he’s looking very solid week after week.
“I'm enjoying the riding with the new setup on the bike,” said Musquin. “The track was challenging but I enjoyed it. Towards the end of the season, I've been feeling pretty good and getting on the podium right now is huge. I had a bad start but somehow, in the first two corners, I gained some time. It was a long main event, but I managed to be consistent and get third tonight.”
Eli Tomac eventually settled for a seventh-place finish on the night, but still boasts that 43-point championship lead. Because of that, a 14th place finish next week will be plenty to wrap up the title a round early and he gets the chance to do so in front of his home crowd in Denver, Colorado.
The rest of the top five finishers consisted of a quiet fourth place finish for Malcolm Stewart and Justin Barcia rounding out the top five after a bit of a wild main event. Barcia actually fell at one point, so he had to pass Tomac twice to get into the top five but was able to salvage the position in the end and the fight for second in the championship remains close.
|1||Jason Anderson||24 Laps||0:51.505||Edgewood, NM||Kawasaki KX450SR|
|2||Chase Sexton||+03.111||0:51.417||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|3||Marvin Musquin||+18.166||0:51.537||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|+23.020||0:51.945||Haines City, FL||Husqvarna FC 450|
|5||Justin Barcia||+23.745||0:52.204||Monroe, NY||GasGas MC 450F|
In the 250SX class, Jett Lawrence was fighting throughout the day for the top qualifying spot, but those honors would go to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner. Forkner was in his second race back after breaking his collarbone in a mid-air collision with Lawrence at Arlington and looked great in his return to racing in Atlanta.
With Lawrence likely to play the championship game throughout the racing during the night program, the opportunity was there for Forkner to step in and win his first race of 2022. Standing potentially in his way though was Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GasGas’ Pierce Brown who also looked up to the task in qualifying and won his heat race to kick things off.
As for the championship picture, that got potentially sorted right away when RJ Hampshire had two crashes in his heat race and was forced to the LCQ. If Hampshire was unable to secure a spot in the main event, Lawrence would clinch the title before the gates even hit the dirt. Fortunately for Hampshire, he would go on to win the LCQ and take with him an outside gate pick to the main event.
Off the start, it was Cullin Park who grabbed the holeshot, but Pierce Brown was smelling a victory and quickly pounced by the Phoenix Honda rider for the race lead. Park played a little buffer for a couple of laps before Hampshire would scoot through into second place. It wasn’t long before the top four consisted of Brown, Hampshire, Forkner, and Lawrence though and Forkner and Lawrence were catching the lead duo.
Lawrence tried to make a pass on Forkner, and the resulting contact left Forkner off the track, but the Kawasaki rider rejoined and quickly repassed Lawrence going into the next corner. Then RJ Hampshire went down when he clipped Brown’s rear tire on a jump and the Husqvarna rider would slide back to sixth.
With time winding down, Forkner and Lawrence charged up to and then around Brown for the race lead and second place. It came down to a last lap duel between the two for the win with Forkner eventually coming out on top for his 12th career victory.
“It’s been two years since I’ve won a supercross now so that felt really good,” said Forkner of his win. “My goal [in coming back] was to still be one of the top guys. Even after qualifying last week in Atlanta, I knew that I was still right there. It feels good to get another win in general, whether I had the year I did or not, it just feels good to get a win.”
Of course, Lawrence’s second place finish was more than enough though to secure the 2022 250SX East Championship. Lawrence became the fourth youngest rider in the last two decades as well to complete the motocross and supercross double in the 250 class as well which certainly puts him in some rare air.
All throughout 2022, Lawrence’s tenacity to not let mistakes and crashes get to him ultimately led him to this championship. Prior versions of Lawrence often left him on the ground in such trying moments, but the Australian prevailed this season and now looks firmly set to make the 250 class all his as he goes into Lucas Oil Pro Motocross as the reigning champion.
“I’ve dreamed of this since I was a little kid,” said Lawrence. “All the hard work that us and the team put in, all the hard times that we’ve gone through, this one night makes all that disappear. If I knew I was going to get a result like this back then, I’d do it all over again.”
Brown would settle for third on the night which could be looked at as a disappointment given how close he truly came to snatching his first career victory, but Brown was not down on his result. In fact, he was really upbeat about his riding and seemed to believe that this season has really boosted him to the next level. With the East-West Showdown coming up in two weeks as the final round, Brown still has one more shot to get it done.
“All in all, I’m stoked on the ride,” said Brown. “I’m just hungry for more. I wish I could have held onto it but I’m not too bummed. I learned a lot out there and hopefully next time I can hold onto it all the way. I led a lot of laps here tonight and hopefully this can jumpstart me into a win here soon.”
The veteran duo of Mitchell Oldenburg and Kyle Chisholm would round out the top five as this also concludes Chisholm’s run with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing. In just four races as a fill-in rider, Chisholm went 12-7-4-5 and catapulted to 14th in the championship. Realistically speaking, Chisholm made a pretty good case that he could do some damage in the 250SX class for any team looking around for his services next season.
RJ Hampshire came home in sixth and watch the title slip away from him as well in the process. But he still does have a chance to retain second in the series as he sits 11 points up on Pierce Brown with one round remaining. Look for Hampshire, Brown, and Oldenburg, who are separated by just 17 points, to have a mini points battle at the finale in a few weeks’ time.
That’s it from Foxborough though as one champion has been crowned and two still remain on the table. Next week in Denver, Eli Tomac will look to clinch in front of the home crowd while Christian Craig looks to extend his championship lead over Hunter Lawrence just enough in the 250SX West series to wrap the title up a round early. We’ll see you there!
|1||Austin Forkner||18 Laps||0:51.552||Richards, MO||Kawasaki KX250|
|2||Jett Lawrence||+00.580||0:51.287||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|3||Pierce Brown||+04.746||0:52.445||Sandy, UT||GasGas MC 250F|
|4||Mitchell Oldenburg||+32.843||0:53.067||Alvord, TX||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Kyle Chisholm||+34.331||0:53.553||Clearwater, FL||Yamaha YZ250F|