Team USA took home the gold at the 2022 Motocross of Nations and a solid rock of their day came from great performances out of Open class rider Chase Sexton. The Honda HRC man put together 2-3 moto scores and even momentarily had the lead at one point as he was never far from the front in either of his motos. They didn’t need moto wins to win the Motocross of Nations, they just needed solid results, and Chase Sexton helped provide those.
After capping off his terrific season with helping USA get back on top after 11 years, we spoke with Sexton about how it feels to be a MXoN champion.
Chase Sexton: Obviously first time racing this race, it’s like no other. This summer was a lot of pressure, but this race is something I can’t even explain. I barely got any sleep last night and then waking up to rain, that was not something I wanted to wake up to, just because of how it went in 2018. I was super happy with how the day went, the starts were good, and man that third moto, it was a super long time out there and I just didn’t want to make any mistakes. I was just reading my pit board, trying not to throw it away. I didn’t want to do anything stupid. I made it to the finish line and I’m just so proud of this team, Justin and Eli. It was a dream day for us and for me, getting my first win in my first time here, I won’t take for granted. So proud of Team USA, and happy to get it done here at RedBud.
Racer X: I like that fact that you admitted, it is different, it is nerve racking, it is an experience. It’s not like any other race.
Chase Sexton: Yeah, honestly, everyone was telling me coming in that this was going to be nerve racking. I think Roger [De Coster] said, “It’s going to weigh a lot on your shoulders.” And I didn’t really believe him until I woke up. Well, really last night, it just went through my head, the outcome. There’s a lot of stuff that could happen and I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night and then that first moto I rode super tight and wasn’t riding really that good and then I freed up a little bit in that second moto. I wanted to go for the win, I thought I was capable of it, I just didn’t want to do anything stupid like I did yesterday and that was really what was in the back of my head. So, I was able to ride it in for third and I was consistent today. That’s what counts. I didn’t know that we were going to have to use my score for the second race, but it came in play. I was happy. I think halfway I realized that I’ve got to be smart, and I was happy to get it done. I worked my balls off for this race and it was cool to see Eli get one, and Justin, they all did great today. So, I’m just happy we were able to get it done.
Did you have goggle issues in your first moto?
Yeah first moto, goggles were… I wore a new helmet and for some reason when I wear a new helmet, I get super sweaty in my goggles and it was like seeing four different lines. I’m like, “This ain’t good.” So that was part of the problem, but I honestly wasn’t riding good. Second moto I felt good on the bike. These conditions, it’s weird. You can’t trust the berms so it’s, I don’t know, it’s something that I’ve never ridden before. It was cool to get that test because I think in the dry conditions, we would have been a bit stronger, and you never want to win it the easy way. So, it was hard today and glad we could get it done at RedBud.
How did you stay positive and confident with the rain?
Yeah, waking up to rain, it definitely got me a little more nervous to where I thought I would be. Yesterday I felt really comfortable on the track, and it felt pretty normal to me. I made a mistake on the last lap which I felt like an idiot for, but this morning, waking up, I knew I was going to have to ride good today. Definitely not used to how the track was. It was a good learning curve, because my first moto I rode a lot worse than my second moto. I was getting better and better. Like Eli said, these conditions were an equalizer. To go back to 2018 and win this year, it was a little bit better conditions [this year] I would say, but lining up for that first race, I was nervous. I rode very tight. It’s a different kind of pressure than a normal championship. Glad to get it done, proud of this team and the fans, stoked to get it done here.
You’re supposed to race this race as a team. How hard is it to see the leaders in front of you and not try to chase down the win?
Obviously I wanted to go for the win. I felt like I had a good opportunity, I was riding behind first, but I didn’t know where I could pass and be somewhat safe. The track was really muddy on the edges, and I didn’t really trust the line, I was afraid the line wouldn’t hold up. I didn’t want to throw it away, and the crash yesterday was kind of running through my mind a little bit. If I had thrown it away, I would have looked like a complete idiot. I was just trying to get it to the finish line. Like I said, I definitely felt better than I did in my first moto, so it was definitely good to feel that comfortable on that type of track.
Just give me an idea, is it elation now or more relief? You guys had so much speed yesterday and it seemed like with the mud, maybe this could all fall out of our hands. Is it almost a relief that it didn’t go that way?
A relief that we didn’t repeat 2018. I was here for that race, and I’ve never been more… I guess depressed leaving here and not even racing. Seeing these guys and I know how hard they work, and being here at home at RedBud especially, you obviously are the favorite to win, and it didn’t go well. So, for me, I was disappointed, and I did not want that to happen again. For me, being the first time on the team, I didn’t want to blow it for them, and I was able to ride consistent and get decent starts so that was really key. I would have loved to have a dry race, it would have taken a lot of the stress off, but it was good to get it done in the mud and it was more GP conditions today. I want to go into foreign soil next year and win.
Maybe it will be dry over there.
Please be dry! Please! It’s a clay track I think and that I think plays into my favor a little bit more. We should have a strong team with maybe even Justin back on the team and who knows. So, hopefully I can be in that spot again next year.
Already saying he wants to be Team USA for life. No problems for this guy.
I do. Obviously, I’ve got to be one of the best guys to be on the team. Yeah, I want to go and win and hopefully next year if I get picked, I can be team captain. That would be sweet.