East Rutherford, N.J., (April 23, 2023) – Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia captured lightning in a bottle and took the win at Round 14 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season in front of die-hard fans who braved rain and a thunderstorm delay.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac finished second on the rain-drenched and deep-rutted track inside MetLife Stadium. Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen found enough track through the standing puddles to take home third place in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The riders earned points for both the Supercross season and also the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship.
In an unprecedented weather delay, thunderclouds approaching MetLife Stadium required the racers on the starting line of the 250SX Class East/West Showdown to evacuate the starting area. The riders, along with every spectator in the stadium, retreated to cover for what turned out to be a 1.5 hour delay to the racing as the clouds dumped rain on the track.
When the gate finally dropped for the 450SX Class Main Event, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson officially took the holeshot but it was Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton who immediately established himself as the race leader. The deep mud and chaotic first lap shuffle saw Barcia jump into the lead for a moment before Ken Roczen took it over. Barcia dropped back to third, but before the first pass through the whoops Barcia cut under Sexton. The two bikes made light contact and Sexton went down as half the pack raced past him.
Roczen stretched out his lead; just two and a half minutes into the race he held a three second gap over Barcia in the abbreviated 17-minute plus one lap race. Points leader Eli Tomac quickly established himself in third place ahead of Yamaha Truck Central LLC’s Benny Bloss, Fire Power Honda’s Dean Wilson, and Next Level Racing KTM’s Kevin Moranz. Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb was fighting his way up from seventh place and Sexton had recovered from his tip over and ran eighth.
Less than four minutes in, the top three, Roczen, Barcia, and Tomac, had separated from the field while Sexton and Webb scrapped for fifth. Sexton quickly moved past Webb and set his sights on Bloss in fourth place.
Barcia’s wide-open riding style agreed with the brutal conditions, and six minutes into the race he was on Roczen. Barcia made the identical move on Roczen that he used on Sexton, but when Barcia took over the top spot Roczen stayed upright. From there Barcia pulled steadily away while Tomac inched closer to Roczen. Sexton was into fourth, but 23 seconds back from Tomac, with Webb in fifth 24 seconds back from Sexton.
The race action was with Tomac. The Yamaha rider got to Roczen’s rear fender with just over three minutes left on the race clock. After an exciting battle, Roczen tipped over in the whoops and Tomac took over the spot. Roczen was quickly back up without being in danger of losing the podium-place position.
From there the riders individually fought the track and did their best to preserve their motorcycles in the mud. Barcia took the win, his first since Houston 2021. Tomac earned second place, and stretched his points lead to 11 over Cooper Webb. Roczen carded his fourth podium finish of the season with a third.
450SX Class Results
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
- Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
- Shane McElrath, Oakland, Fla., Suzuki
- Kevin Moranz, Topeka, Kans., KTM
- Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., Yamaha
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM
- Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Honda
450SX Class Championship Standings
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (315)
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (304)
- Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (294)
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (265)
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (259)
- Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (225)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (213)
- Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (155)
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM (154)
- Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (150)