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Photos from the 2022 MX | Unadilla, New Berlin, New York

Chase Sexton & Jo Shimoda Sweep 450 & 250 Classes at Unadilla

Aug 152022

Monster Energy’s Chase Sexton (Honda) flat out took his rival Eli Tomac (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) to task on Saturday at the famed Unadilla MX Raceway in upstate New York, catching and passing the overall Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship point leader – twice – in a 1-1 performance that shifts the premier class’ championship point race momentum back in favor of Sexton.

“I did what I could. Chase (Sexton) was really strong today,” said 2nd (2-2) place Tomac.

Sexton, who’s now captured two-straight 450 class overall victories (Washougal, Wash., & Unadilla), looks to have overcome the crash gremlins that haunted him, and his path to victory, during both Monster Energy AMA Supercross season and earlier MX National rounds.

“I needed to catch Eli (Tomac) and I did. I needed to step up, and I did that at Washougal, then again today. Now I’ve got some confidence and I want to keep that going,” said Sexton, who leads Tomac by one point, 409-408, with three races remaining on the 2022 schedule.

Sexton and Tomac were joined on the Unadilla 450 podium by Jason Anderson (Monster Energy/Kawasaki), who put in a great 3-3 run for 3rd to complete the Monster Energy podium sweep.

And in 250 class racing, Jo Shimoda (Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) backed a masterful opening moto victory with a strong 3rd place finish in the second moto (1-3) at Unadilla to capture the overall victory – his second of the season. Joining Shimoda on the podium in 2nd place was Justin Cooper (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha), who overcame an opening moto crash – while leading – to place 5th, then dominated the second moto for 2nd overall (5-1).



Right out of the 450 Moto 1 starting gate it’s Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis (Star Racing/Yamaha), pulling the holeshot and leading in his first race back from a thumb injury suffered in practice the Tuesday before the MX Nationals started. … Anderson got out in 3rd place, but a bobble would allow Tomac to strike, taking 3rd (with Sexton starting in 6th place). … Honda’s Ken Roczen, who had the fastest qualifying time, was out front of Ferrandis, with Tomac charging hard and taking 2nd from the defending overall 2021 450 class series champion (Ferrandis) at the 25:10 mark. … Tomac quickly put 1.5 seconds on Ferrandis as he began to reel in Roczen, with Sexton three seconds back of Tomac in 5th place. … At the 23:38 mark, Tomac was onto Roczen’s rear wheel, passing for the moto lead with 22:23 remaining in the 30-minute plus two-lap moto. … Sexton would catch and pass Ferrandis as the moto neared the halfway mark, still some five seconds (5.3) back of Tomac. … Sexton would post the first of two blistering 2:16 laps on Lap 8, catching and passing Roczen, and leading race announcer and former MX Nationals champion Jeff Emig to comment: “He’s (Sexton) on rails right now.” … Anderson would come whipping in and also pass Roczen, setting the former champion up on the inside of the first turn area and securing 3rd place. … Having been some six seconds back at one point, Sexton made up the deficit on Tomac and passed the then 450 class overall point leader at the 7:07 mark – and quickly put 2.9 seconds between the two. … Making a tough track look easy, Sexton continued to gap Tomac – and the rest of the field – winning Moto 1 by 10.35 seconds over 2nd place Tomac. Anderson would place 3rd, Ferrandis 4th and Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy/Kawasaki) in the top ten at 9th.


Chase Sexton: “I came from pretty far back at the start. I was eating so much roost that finally I just started to find some key lines and just went as fast as I could for as long as I could – and that worked out.”


Eli Tomac: “I got off to a good attack, then – obviously – I got passed by Chase (Sexton). I gotta get a little bit better, gotta learn some stuff. He (Sexton) was really strong coming out of the turns. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”


Jason Anderson: “I kind of came out a little notchy. Tried to keep making progress, getting closer to those front guys. I’ve missed two years of Outdoors and you kind of forget how gnarly it is.”



Moto 2’s holeshot went to Tomac, determined, and with the early lead, while Sexton gets off the gate in 4th. … A Justin Barcia (Gas Gas) bobble allowed Sexton to easily move into 3rd place, and was quickly on to KTM’s Aaron Plessinger for 2nd (as Anderson moved past Barcia and into 3rd). … During this movement between 2nd/3rd and 4th place, Tomac was able to build a 2.4 seconds lead. But Sexton would erase that quickly as he berzerked his Honda CRF450R out of Unadilla’s Gravity Cavity and made the massive, through-the-air pass on Tomac for the lead at 20:20 of Moto 2. … At the moto’s halfway point Sexton was up 1.597 seconds on Tomac. But Tomac wouldn’t buckle, and kept pace, studying Sexton’s line selection. … With Anderson holding off a late charge from Plessinger to keep 3rd, the final 450 moto podium would be a carbon copy of the first – Sexton (1st), Tomac (2nd) and Anderson (3rd) completing another Monster Energy sweep.


Jason Anderson: “After you get 3rd enough times… it’s kind of a bummer… But I’m still glad to be up here. Those guys in front (Sexton and Tomac) are ripping right now.”


Anderson has a solid hold on 3rd place in the overall 450 class point standings with 325 points, 21 points in front of 4th place Roczen.



New York native Nick Romano (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) was shot out of a cannon at the start, taking a brief lead before Cooper ripped past the holeshot chalk – taking with him the holeshot and lead in a puff of white powder. … Shimoda would quickly get past Romano for 2nd, then inherited 1st when Cooper spun out in some wet dirt, coming out of a corner too hot. … Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Seth Hammaker and Ryder DiFrancesco were running near the front pack in 4th and 5th, as Cooper, back in 8th place, began his fight back to the top five. … Romano, returning from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for the Washougal round, was locked for several laps in a thrilling battle with 250 class point leader Jett Lawrence (Honda). The New Yorker (literally, Queens) who, curiously, had never raced Unadilla before Saturday, was riding so fast that Lawrence crashed trying to catch him. … At the halfway mark of the opening 250 moto, Shimoda led by six seconds over 2nd place Romano, with Hammaker in 3rd. … By the 10:58 mark, Shimoda was up by nine seconds, with DiFrancesco, Hammaker, and RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna) locked in a three-way battle for the final top five positions. … Inside 10 minutes plus two laps remaining Jett Lawrence would go down again in an effort to catch up with Shimoda, leading Emig to say: “Jo Shimoda has been absolutely perfect this moto.” … Romano would drop a couple of spots late in the moto to Hunter Lawrence (Honda) and Hampshire, but it’d be Hammaker that blew out of top five contentions with a spectacular crash – and subsequent medic cart ride back to the pro pits (including a wave to the crowd from a positive-looking upright/seated position). … Cooper then got past DiFrancesco for 5th, with Romano 4th and Shimoda 1st at the checkers, DiFrancesco (8th) and Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) in 10th to round out the top ten.


Jo Shimoda: “I just focused on myself and got a good start, pushed as much as I could the first four laps. I kept pushing and pushing and didn’t even care what was going on behind me.”



Cooper would pull a very angry and vengeful holeshot and took the early Moto 2 race lead, looking to make up for his opening moto lapse in judgment while leading. … Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Cameron McAdoo, who placed 11th in the opening moto, was running his first Outdoor National race of the season, having been banged up in Monster Energy AMA Supercross. McAdoo ripped a great start and was in 3rd place behind Cooper. On the contrary, Moto 1 winner Shimoda got a poor start and had to fight his way into a respectable 7th place at the end of Lap 1. … Running well early and in 4th place was Romano, but he’d soon have Shimoda on his tail at the 21:35 mark. … Cooper and Jett Lawrence would find each other and lock into battle as the race neared the 20-minute mark, about the same time Shimoda caught and passed Romano for 5th. Shimoda would need 4th place or better in Moto 2 to secure the overall. … Crazy situation next as Hunter Lawrence appeared to have some sort of mechanical issue going, raised his hand (as a caution to other racers that he was having bike issues as they closed the gap from behind him quickly). McAdoo and Shimoda would get past Lawrence, only to have Lawrence seemingly solve the issue (at this point) and pass Shimoda back. … 2nd place Jett Lawrence would crash again (third time on the day) and Monster Energy, at Moto 2’s halfway point, had three guys in on the overall podium – Cooper (1st), McAdoo (2nd), and Shimoda (3rd). … At the 5:19 mark, a wild-riding Jett Lawrence had made his way back to 2nd place but was still 15.4 seconds back of leader Cooper. … Shimoda would endure a couple of feet-off-the-pegs moments late in the race himself, but kept it together to pass McAdoo on the last lap for 3rd – and win the overall with a 1-3 score. Shimoda joined moto winner Cooper on the podium (3rd), with McAdoo 4th, Thrasher 7th, and Romano 9th.


Jo Shimoda: “I was in an overall position already, but just kept going to get on the box again. Made it tough on myself again (with the poor start), and had to get after it.”


Justin Cooper: “I wanted to go 1-1 here today. Had that mistake in the first moto, went down with the lead. That was a bummer. Bike was pretty bent up so I did what I could and got back to 5th. But the second moto was more like it.”