Saturday’s opening round of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship marked the 50th anniversary of the Honda CR250M Elsinore and to commemorate that milestone the Honda HRC race team sent team rider Chase Sexton out in retroactive throwback Honda HRC racing gear from the era. Getting into the spirit of the whole thing in his 1980s-era Honda HRC throwback racing gear, Sexton, — a main event winner and sixth-place finisher in the recently completed Monster Energy Supercross Series, simply dominated the premier 450cc class at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
“Man, it was a dream day for me,” said Sexton who was untouchable on his works 2023 Honda CRF450R race bike. “All supercross season I wanted to be fast qualifier, win a heat race and win the main. I couldn’t do that… until today. And I think it’s harder to do it outdoors.”
Q: A very impressive Saturday afternoon out here at Pala for you guys. During the two motos it looked like you were able to just change lines with apparent ease. It seemed like you were just kind of having a good time there in the first two motos of the outdoor season.
CHASE SEXTON: Yeah. My first moto start was not good. It actually helped me out, though. I found a few lines early and that led to me kind of being able to catch back up and make a pass on Eli Tomac. Kenny Roczen and I had a couple of close moments. Him and I came together. Last year when I got around him, I over-jumped that middle jump by it felt like 35 feet into the bumps. It was a little bit squirrelly for me. Good thing Kenny didn’t go to the inside because I was coming in there hot.
So, besides that, second moto, I knew Kenny was going to be good. I got the holeshot, but he’s so good early. His line choice is second to none. He got by me and then I was just talking to him about it. I just followed him and picked up some of the lines that he was doing where I was losing time, and then part of the track I was really good at as well. Just kind of connected those lines and ended up making a push back to him. It was just cool. He and I have ridden a lot of laps together. It was just a fun day overall. To have one and two for Honda is awesome.
Q: What went through your head when you ran into the back of your teammate Kenny Roczen? Your bars almost come out of your hands. At that point what went through your mind?
CS: I was committed to going to the inside. He saw the lap before I almost made a move there and he guarded the inside. I was already committed. I ran pretty much into the side of him. I backed off, obviously, because I didn’t want either of us to go down. It was good racing. We raced each other clean. We came a little bit too close for comfort there, but overall, it was just a great day of racing. The track was tough. Those rollers after the start, I had a little bit of a close call second moto where Kenny almost crashed the first moto. Tough track, and overall, just in a good spot.
Q: A lot of your social media referenced your preparation coming into this opening round of the season. Was the goal to just push yourself to that limit each day of training?
CS: Yeah, after Salt Lake City in supercross, we went back to Florida, and I tested that week with Honda. Made some really good adjustments. I’ve been riding at Tyla Rattray’s track. His track is I would say the closest thing to a GP, as far as it looks. Just super rough and a lot of sand, which I struggle in. Got the bike to a really good spot. It’s honestly the opposite, kind of its little sister. Then put a lot of motos in. The week after that I did some 40s and just worked my butt off. I only had one week of real preparation and then last week came out here and rode press day. I felt real good. It was good that the bike translated to the track. I got another day in Thursday and it led to this race.
Q: What an awesome day for Honda. Is it almost surreal to be battling your teammate and not really having anybody close behind and just kind of focus on each other like that?
CS: Yeah. I’m not sure if Honda has gone one-two in both classes before, both motos. It being a Honda event and 50th year for Honda in motocross this year is cool. We had the retro theme today, which was awesome for those guys in the top step in both classes.
Racing Kenny, I knew he was going to be tough that second moto. Last year here I had a really good first moto and he went out and just destroyed everybody the second moto. I knew I had to get a good start and I knew he was the guy I had to beat second moto. So, it was cool. Like I said, we’ve done a lot of laps together. It was just fun. We’re going to race each other clean and not pull any cheap stuff out there. It’s just good, clean racing.
Q: I’d imagine you’re going to have a good time with the Honda team when you guys get out of here and catch your breath?
CS: Yes. Last year for me in outdoors was tough. I felt like I was better than what I performed at. Just wasn’t really comfortable on the bike and that led just to not really doing that great. So, to have a really good two off-weeks after supercross and to build coming into this race and have it pay off is awesome. We’ll celebrate tonight, but after tonight it’s in the past. Focus on the future. Hangtown is coming up and we’ve got 11 more races. It’s going to be a fun summer. Hopefully we can do this again.