Chase Sexton has certainly been in the middle of it all. After coming up breathtakingly close to Eli Tomac in the 2022 AMA Pro Motocross Championship showdown at Fox Raceway in Southern California late last summer, the Team Honda rider regrouped, refocused and came out firing in the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Series where he was able to edge out an injured Tomac for the most glamorous and prestigious racing title in the entire sport.
This Saturday afternoon, once again, back at Fox Raceway at Pala, Sexton will try and make a run at yet another title in 2023: the AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Rested, relaxed and supremely confident, the 23 year-old is ready to beat back all comers who try and snag what he hopes and plans to be his.
“I feel good,” declared Sexton. “I think obviously winning the supercross title has only motivated me more to win. I think Ricky Carmichael said it, but winning is pretty addicting. My goal with this series is to do the same thing and I think that if I can improve off of last year and what I had going, it’s going to be a good year.”
Sexton not only goes into the curtain-raising round as the new Monster Energy Supercross champion, he also enters the fray with the knowledge and understanding that he’s now the best SuperMotocross racer on earth.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Sexton. “Obviously I’ve worked my whole life to get to this point and I’m definitely not anywhere near being done. I definitely have not reached my potential and that’s exciting for me. I want to keep progressing. It’s not really the time to look back yet. I want to keep moving forward. I’ve got to win multiple championships. That’s my goal. That’s my goal for right now. Overall, I’m super-happy with where I have grown to and I look forward to the future and growing even more.”
The supercross title clinched and now in his possession, while Sexton was able to quickly regroup and catch his breath after the supercross finale at Salt Lake City, the Midwesterner is now looking at the clean sheet of paper that is the very start of the ’23 450MX National Championship brawl.
“Yeah, I definitely got a little bit of fresh air after the supercross season, but honestly not too much,” he said. “I went straight into outdoor testing. That week after the final race at Salt Lake, I put over seven hours on my bike, so I did quite a bit of riding. I’m really looking forward to this series. I really had a breakout year last year and if I can keep that going, we’ll be in a good spot. There is going to be some new competition and Dylan Ferrandis is coming back. It’s going to be a fun series. Obviously we are bummed not to have Eli Tomac out here, but there are definitely plenty of challenges laying ahead of us.
“I’m really, really ready to race the outdoors,” continued Sexton. “For me, I’m obviously biased, but I feel like this is one of the most physically demanding sports out there and it never gets easier! The more fit you get, the harder you can push. It’s never easy. I’ve obviously put a lot of time and effort into my training and my program and it has been paying off. But like I said, I want to keep improving. Obviously we have a motor underneath us, but it doesn’t make anything easier. It is definitely a lot to handle out there, especially the 450 with it being heavier and with a lot more power. I don’t think a lot of people understand how difficult it all is until they actually ride, so it is definitely an awesome sport and something that I wouldn’t change for anything.
“I think after supercross it is kind hard to get your mind focused on outdoors, but once you get through that first race outdoors, you break through that little wall, it’s not quite as bad. Once you get through that first race, you’re kind of in that flow and once you kind of get into that rhythm, it doesn’t seem like it’s anything different. You’re just going out there and if you are riding how you should be, it shouldn’t be super-hard on you or your body.
“I think last year I really had fun the whole season and it really paid off towards the end because towards the end of the series everyone is kind of burnt-out and ready to pack it up. For me, though, I was ready to keep going, so I think that just goes to show how much effort and focus I put into my training and it really pays off at the end of the season.
“Yeah, it is definitely going to be a little bit different not having Eli Tomac here, but for me, I’m going to be racing myself and that’s just my mentality right now. I doesn’t really matter who is on the line for me, I just want to go out there and win. If I can ride to the best of my ability, no matter what that is, I’ll be right there. That’s what I’m looking for.”
And the Chase Sexton masterplan for the season opening 450MX natural terrain race at Fox Raceway at Pala?
“Definitely a win would be the main goal, but for me, I want to start the season off strong,” he said. “We did a lot of pre-season testing, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this bike handles the race track. Yeah, I’m just going to go from there. Obviously winning is the main goal and I want to try and duplicate what I did last year. I feel super-good and very confident.
“It is definitely a different spot than I was in a year ago. I feel way different than I did last year and that’s cool. I definitely feel like last year was a turning point for my career and I just want to keep building. I’m looking forward to that. I definitely believe that I can win tis and that’s my expectation. That’s why I train and wake up every morning and get on my dirt bike. I do that to win and that’s where my head is at.”