Welcome to the Racer X Race Day Feed, coming to you from Unadilla MX in New Berlin, New York, for the ninth round of the 2022 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. From practice reports to the blow-by-blow from today's racing, you’ll find it all right here. Updates are posted in chronological order, so be sure to scroll down for the latest info. For even more updates be sure to follow us on Twitter, @Racerxonline.
Good morning race fans! Welcome to the 52nd anniversary of Unadilla MX. While we go racing today, we cannot forget those no longer with us: last year I had dinner with northeasterner Bill Dill of 3D Racing, who passed away in February earlier this year after a fight with brain cancer. Dill gave some of the Racer X crew “lobstas” as they would say in New England, and while Dill is no longer with us, I wanted to give him a shout-out for hosting us here last year. And unfortunately, another gentleman is not here with us today. Ward Robinson, founded of Unadilla MX, passed away on Monday, August 8, at the age of 85. Godspeed, Ward Robinson.
Today should provide some great weather for racing as the 2022 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship returns after two weekends off as the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch took place. The industry got a glimpse at some of this sport’s future stars and hungout under the baking Tennessee sun, but today’s conditions should not be as brutal. We are expecting no precipitation with a high of 75 degrees. While the weather conditions should not be difficult, today will not be a walk in the park. The historic Unadilla MX track will get rough and rutted, causing riders to be smart about passes and lines choices all day long.
If you cannot remember exactly where we left off two weeks ago at the Washougal National, here is a quick refresher. Chase Sexton and Eli Tomac are in the midst of one of the closest championship battles of all-time. At the eighth round, Tomac struck with his eighth moto win in a row, but Sexton claimed the win in moto two to claim the overall and slow the Tomac train. They are separated by a five-point difference as we head into today’s racing. Third place in the standings Jason Anderson is a distant 79 points behind ET3, although “El Hombre” is having his best Pro Motocross season to date. We should be in for another great day of racing between the front runners. Today’s racing will feature the return of several big-name riders: Dylan Ferrandis, Malcolm Stewart, and Dean Wilson. Ferrandis will debut his #1 plate this summer for the first time after suffering a torn thumb ligament only days before the opener that required surgery. Stewart and Wilson suffered respective injuries in Monster Energy AMA Supercross but are both in for today. When Stewart lines up, it will mark his first Pro Motocross race in eight years, as his last race was the 2014 Budds Creek National in July 2014. And do not count out Ken Roczen, who finished 1-1 at the last two visits to Unadilla MX in 2019 and 2021. Roczen is 90 points behind Tomac but could shake up the championship this weekend with another strong ride.
In the 250 Class, defending champion Jett Lawrence has a strong grip on the championship. He has a 28-point lead over his older brother Hunter Lawrence, and a 49-point lead over third-place Jo Shimoda. Jettson has claimed seven of the eight overall wins so far and looks to keep the ball rolling. New York native Justin Cooper is coming off of his first moto win of the season in the final moto at Washougal before the two-week break. Cooper came into the season with the foot injury that sidelined him for the entire Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship but has got the ball rolling lately. The #32 is hoping to put in a strong showing at his home state race.
Tune in to all the action from Unadilla MX today.
UnadillaSaturday, August 13
- QualifyingLiveAugust 13 - 10:00 AM
- 250 Class Moto 1LiveAugust 13 - 1:00 PM
- 250 Class Moto 1LiveAugust 13 - 1:00 PM
- 450 Class Moto 1LiveAugust 13 - 2:00 PM
- 450 Class Moto 1LiveAugust 13 - 2:00 PM
- 250 Class Moto 2LiveAugust 13 - 3:00 PM
- 250 Class Moto 2LiveAugust 13 - 3:00 PM
- 450 Class Moto 2August 13 - 4:00 PM
- 450 Class Moto 2LiveAugust 13 - 4:00 PM
First Qualifying Sessions
In the 250 Class Group B session, it was Jorgen Talviku who topped the session aboard a Husqvarna FC 250 with a 2:22.222. Talviku needs to hit up Randy Richardson for some Teenior Citizen contingency with that time! In the first 250 Class Group A session, it was New York’s Justin Cooper who dropped a 2:14.525 late to take the top time. Second fastest to Cooper was a 2:16.107 by RJ Hampshire as he was the first of a handful of riders with 2:16s, joined by Jett Lawrence, Seth Hammaker, Nate Thrasher, Jo Shimoda, and Nick Romano.
In the first 450 Class Group A session, it was Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen who put in a fast 2:14.543 to best Joey Savatgy’s 2:15.181, Eli Tomac’s 2:15.374, and Jason Anderson’s 2:15.530. Defending champion Dylan Ferrandis puts in a 2:16.833 in his first qualifying session of the season, as Malcolm Stewart and Dean Wilson put down heaters of 2:20.831 and 2:20.893, respectively. In the 450 Class Group B session, Ronnie Stewart topped the field with a 2:21.536.
Second Qualifying Sessions
Jett Lawrence drops a 2:12.777 on the final lap time of the final 250 Class Group A qualifying session, besting his time from the first session (a 2:16.333) and Cooper’s 2:14.525 from the first session for the top 250 Class time of the day. That gives the defending champion his third fastest overall qualifying spot of this summer. A 2:14.755 from Hunter Lawrence in the second session gives him P3 heading into the motos.
Eli Tomac put in a 2:14.908 on the last lap of the final 450 Class Group A session but Jason Anderson sneaks in a 2:14.840 on his last lap to top the session. Ken Roczen's 2:14.543 from the first session stands as the top 450 Class qualifying time of the day, giving Roczen his first fastest qualifier of the 2022 season. As the motos come around, the weather should be in perfect conditions. It would not be shocking to see Roczen come out hot in this first moto. Chase Sexton finishes P5 overall with a 2:15.522 and a 2:16.069 from Dylan Ferrandis gives the defending champion P6 overall. Jerry Robin put down a 2:18.538 for P13 overall, as Shane McElrath put down a 2:19.524 for P17 on his new Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha YZ450F. Malcolm Stewart (2:20.831) and Dean Wilson (2:20.893) are P22 and P23 overall in their first respective event of 2022.
When the gate dropped on the first moto of the day, it was New Yorkers Nick Romano and Justin Cooper out front! Romano went into turn one first but went wide as Cooper quickly got around his teammate to take over the race lead. The #32 led the first lap ahead of Romano, Jo Shimoda, Seth Hammaker, and Ryder DiFrancesco. On the second full lap, Cooper made a mistake in the deep rutted turn a few sections after the finish line, got sideways, and went down, which handed the race lead to Shimoda. Jett Lawrence made his way around DiFrancesco and into fourth place. Shimoda had about a 2.8-second lead over second-place Romano, who was feeling pressure from Jett Lawrence and Hammaker.
After laps of not being able to pull the trigger on a pass, Jett Lawrence finally got around Romano then the #1 immediately went down in a rough turn. Then a huge battle broke out behind the lead duo, who had separated themselves some on the field. Hammaker, RJ Hampshire, the Lawrence brothers, DiFrancesco, and Cooper all went back and forth for a few laps, squaring one another up and trading positions. Jett Lawrence and Hampshire banged bars, bumping one another before Jett went down again on his own! The #1 was flung from his bike near the bottom of the track and rolled a few times. Luckily, he was uninjured and quickly remounted again. He lost a few positions but remained inside the top ten. This was the first race where we really have seen Jett Lawrence
With about 4:30 (plus two laps) left on the clock, Hunter Lawrence pulled off a successful pass on Romano to take over second place. Late in the race, Hammaker caught a kicker and endoed in mid-air, briefly landed on the front wheel, and then was pulverized by his bike! He got up under his own power and was attended to by the Alpinestars medical crew, but his moto was over. He waved to the crowd while he rode off on the medical cart.
By the end, Shimoda held on for his second career moto win over Hunter Lawrence and Hampshire, who worked his way from about seventh to third from about the halfway mark. Romano finished fourth ahead of Cooper, Vohland, and DiFrancesco. After his two crashes, points leader Jett Lawrence came through in seventh place following a late pass on DiFrancesco.
Gates dropped on the first 450cc moto of the day, and it was Jason Anderson who went into the first turn first. However, Dylan Ferrandis snuck in and swung to the inside by the #21 to take the holeshot and race lead! Ken Roczen put on one of his ridiculous first-lap charges and got to and around Ferrandis pretty quickly. It looked like Roczen might check out but suddenly Eli Tomac came out of nowhere and make quick work of Roczen! Riders continued to shuffle in and suddenly, Sexton started clicking off rider after rider after starting just inside the top tenth.
Sexton got into second after a pass on Anderson, Sexton only had Tomac ahead of him. But the #23 had a six-second gap. The Honda HRC rider dropped the hammer and put in a blazing 2:16.383 and not only caught but passed Tomac for the race lead! The two almost collided in air but Tomac backed off slightly to avoid contact. Sexton would eventually remain on the gas and he pulled away! The #23 claimed the race win with a 12-second advantage. Anderson held on for third and Ferrandis fourth, after both made their way around Roczen late in the race. Ferrandis finishing fourth in his first race back is impressive! Bummer we have not been able to see the defending champion battle all summer until now, but it’s good to have him back. Ryan Dungey even snuck by Roczen late in the race, as the #94 finishes sixth. However, a one-position penalty was given to Dungey after the race, bumping Roczen to fifth and Dungey to sixth.
Just like he did in the first moto, Justin Cooper grabbed the holeshot in the second moto. Right behind him was Jett Lawrence, but the #1 ran into troubles! The defending champion’s third crash of the day was similar to his second crash, where he was flung from the bike! This time, Jettson’s crash was on the top of the track in the turn before Gravity Cavity and the finish line.
The other Lawrence brother ran into troubles as well, as Hunter appeared to have a bike issue as he waved to a McAdoo and Shimoda battle as if to say, “Hey, watch out don’t hit me!” But then, Hunter kept going! He eventually finished the moto in fifth.
There was so much shuffling it was tough to keep track of! Shimoda tipped over but finally got into third after an all-out battle with his teammate McAdoo. McAdoo finished fourth in what was a stellar return to racing after suffering some significant injuries in the opening moto of the summer. Great ride by the #48.
Somehow, despite his crash, Jettson was able to fight through and take second. Cooper held on for the moto win, but Shimoda’s 1-3 gave him the overall win over Cooper’s 5-1 finishes. Hunter Lawrence’s 2-5 finishes were good enough for third overall over his brother’s 7-2 finishes. Shimoda claims his second career overall win as he remains the only rider not named Jett Lawrence to win a 250 Class overall this summer. Although he had a rough day, Jett Lawrence leaves this weekend healthy and still with a nice points lead. The #1 has a 26-point lead over his older brother Hunter and a 40-point lead over third-place Jo Shimoda with only three nationals remaining.
The 30-second board turned sideways and then the final moto of the day was off! Eli Tomac positioned himself well entering and exiting the first turn. Aaron Plessinger, Justin Barcia, Chase Sexton, and Jason Anderson. Tomac started to pull away out front as Sexton made a quick move jumping by Barcia to take over third place. The #23 then tried a pass on Plessinger as they came through the holeshot stripe as the two almost collided. Then a few sections later Sexton launched out of Gravity Cavity and made up so much ground, successfully getting around Plessinger to take over second place. Tomac had about a two and a half second gap over Sexton by the time Sexton got into second place, but there was still about 27 minutes left on the race clock! Behind the #23, Anderson squared up Barcia to take over fourth. Anderson then closed in on Plessinger, who started well and rode a strong ride himself. The New Mexico native went to use his square up line again—on Plessinger—but he accidently went too far inside and went to the other side of the track banners. He later pulled off a pass on Plessinger but was over 13 seconds down on Tomac and Sexton out front.
About ten minutes into the race, Sexton caught Tomac! Sexton pulled off that big Gravity Cavity jump he did to get by Plessinger but this time it put him into the lead! Tomac looked over, saw the #23 machine coming and went wide. Sexton started to open up a gap of about a second and a half, although Tomac kept him honest. Eventually, Sexton opened up a big gap then cruised it home to the checkered flag with a 15-second gap on ET3. The two switching positions was big: not only did it give Sexton 1-1 finishes to Tomac’s 2-2 instead of two 1-2s that went in Tomac’s favor, but Sexton also reclaimed the points lead. Tomac entered the day five points up on his younger competitor, but Sexton gained six points on Tomac on the day. Anderson came through in third and his 3-3 finishes gave him third overall on the day. When the series heads to Mechanicsville, Maryland, for the Budds Creek National next weekend, Sexton will again have the extra red on his Honda HRC as the points leader. Will the #23 be able to keep it there after next weekend or will ET3 reclaim the points lead by the end of round ten? Dylan Ferrandis finished 4-10 for seventh overall in his return to racing. Malcolm Stewart (14-16 for 15th overall) and Dean Wilson (19-13 for 16th overall) finished inside the top 20 overall in their first Pro Motocross events of the summer. Tune in next weekend for the Budds Creek National.