With two laps to go, Chase Sexton was on auto-pilot to win his second Monster Energy AMA Supercross race in the 450SX class with a dominating performance in Minneapolis. After winning his heat race and earning the first gate pick, he started second at the holeshot line. He passed Cooper Webb on Lap 8 and went on to lead the next 17 laps.
But as the clock hit zero with the white flag in sight, so did his chances of winning in U.S. Bank Stadium.
After the 90 degree left-hander just past the holeshot gap, Sexton’s front tire lost traction, sliding across the downward slope of the berm, then suddenly hooked onto the face of the first jump. That abrupt motion sent the Team Honda HRC rider over the handlebars, landing hard into the lip of the tabletop. Jason Anderson would be the beneficiary and go on to win the race, but Sexton would not be able to finish the race.
“I had a crash with a little over a lap left in the Main Event this weekend,” Sexton explained on Monday his view of the wreck. “After, I had a little bit of a hard time getting back up on my feet. Looking forward to being back at the races and hopefully we can go out there this weekend, put on a good show, and get back to where we were this weekend and finish it off.”
After Sexton had evaluated himself and shook off the dirt in his goggles, he tried to get back on the bike. To his discovery, the bike could not roll as the front wheel was bent from the severe force of the crash, pinching itself between the front shocks. The event marked his first DNF of the season, dropping him to sixth in the point standings being 28 markers off the lead of Eli Tomac.
“Obviously, not ideal,” Sexton continued. “I felt really good all day, was good in practice and good in the heat race. Then a small mistake with just a little over a lap to go left me on the ground. Just gotta move on. I still have that confidence in me.”
Despite the unfortunate finish, Sexton wasn’t the only one to miss out on maximizing championship points in Minnesota. Malcolm Stewart lost a podium position when he crashed with just a few laps remaining. Tomac fell to last on the first lap while dodging a mistake by his teammate, Dylan Ferrandis, and would only recover to sixth at the checkered flag.
On Monday, Honda HRC announced that Sexton is required by AMA officials to undergo their concussion protocol this week. No official announcement on Sexton’s status to race in Arlington, the second Triple Crown race of 2022.
“With only two laps remaining, Sexton was tossed into the following jump,” said the press release. “The Illinois native struggled to get up, and he was escorted off the track to be evaluated at the Alpinestars Medical Unit. Although banged up, Sexton felt relatively well when he left the venue, but officials will have him undergo concussion protocol this week.”
Team manager Lars Lindstrom knew how big the weekend would have been. After Jett Lawrence won the first round of the 250SX East division, Sexton was on pace for a Honda sweep over the weekend. He also took note of the change of pace with the weather. After racing most of the season openers in the warmth of southern California, Minneapolis brought a bruttle set of sub-zero temperatures.
“I was gutted for him and for the team,” said Lindstrom. “The victory was so close for all of us; it would’ve been incredible to win both the 250 and 450 main events. The whole weekend was a pretty difficult one with sub-zero temperatures outside and the team shuffling between the indoor pits and the truck for food and other things. I want to give a shout-out to the truck drivers, who had to deal with the extreme temperatures, which brings new problems and can cause issues with the trucks. The drivers kicked butt and made sure that everything worked properly the entire time.”
Sexton posted on social media Monday morning with an update that he is hoping to pass the concussion protocol to race at Round 8 next weekend.
“The doctors put me on concussion protocol, which I am following now,” shared Sexton. “Today, I had a meeting with a neurologist and he is easing me back into training. Hopefully by this weekend I’ll be 100%, but as of right now, I feel really good; did a little bike ride this morning. To get back to training was nice.”