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Photos from MX | Motocross Championship, Millville, Minnesota Jly 17, 2022

Monster Energy’s Tomac, Sexton, & Anderson sweep top three spots at Spring Creek MX National

Jul 182022

Another premier 450 class podium sweep for Monster Energy athletes as Eli Tomac (Star Racing/Yamaha), Chase Sexton (Honda), and Jason Anderson (Kawasaki) go 1-2-3, respectively, at the Frescados Spring Creek MX National, round seven of the 2022 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday.

With the convincing 1-1 two moto victory Tomac took a five-point overall 450 class point lead ahead of Sexton coming out of Spring Creek MX. His deciding second moto win was truly hard-earned as Tomac and Sexton battled within a couple seconds of each other for much of the 35-minute contest.

“That was a crazy pace the whole time,” said Tomac, who has now won seven-straight motos and four-straight overall races. “I got ahead, then he (Sexton) caught up and latched on to me. Thankfully I was good the whole moto that time (Sexton had passed Tomac, straight up, for the lead in the opening moto).” Tomac continued: “I was able to put the bike where I wanted to. I made a few adjustments, cleaned up some things and it paid off. But man was that a battle.”

Sexton, who crashed while leading the opening moto and had to settle for 2nd, would be pleased with his second moto effort, understanding he’s still well within the championship hunt versus the three-time Outdoor National MX champion Tomac. “The second moto I felt good, was trying my best. Eli got around me and I was just trying to latch on. Couldn’t get close enough to make a pass, obviously, but that was a gnarly pace for 35 minutes. He’s (Tomac) on a roll. I gotta get better. And we’re here to fight for the rest of the season.”

In 250 class action at Spring Creek MX Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda scored his 4th podium of the season with a strong, come-from-behind 2nd place run (3rd-2nd). “Every race I feel like I’m improving little by little,” said Shimoda, who is in 3rd place in the overall 250 class point chase. “In the second moto I finally got a good start. 3rd or 4th place (off the start) is like a holeshot for me.”

Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Justin Cooper would capitalize off three moto holeshots (including the red flagged restart in Moto 2) to podium in the second moto (3rd) and place 4th on the day behind Shimoda.

Here’s a look at what went down at Spring Creek MX, beginning with the 450 class.

450 Moto 1

Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy looked like he’d been shot out of a cannon all day out of the starting gate as he pulled both 450 class holeshots, including the opening 450 moto at Spring Creek. But it would be Tomac who would quickly move to the lead, followed by Savatgy in 2nd, Sexton in 4th, Anderson in 5th and Christian Craig (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) in 7th after the first lap. With Sexton pressuring him, Savatgy would go down on lap two, his first of two crashes on the day, and re-join the race in 10th place. Sexton, now in 2nd place on lap two, set sail for race leader Tomac. Five minutes into the contest Tomac had a two-second lead on Sexton, with Anderson about five seconds back – and in a battle with multi-time Outdoor MX National champ Ryan Dungey (KTM), with Craig closing rapidly in 5th place. Just past the race’s halfway mark Sexton would set up and pass Tomac for the lead as the two thundered down Mt. Martin, the insanely steep hill and marquee feature of Spring Creek MX. By the 13:23 mark Sexton had opened up a ten bike length lead on Tomac as the two gapped the rest of the 450 field. Then out of nowhere, at the 8:00 mark, Sexton tucked his front wheel into a deep rut on a downhill section and tumbled off the bike, the spinning rear knobby tire catching Sexton in the back while he lay helpless on the ground, shredding his jersey. Tomac rolled past to take the lead and Sexton was able to remount in 2nd place (Lap 11). From there Tomac put the hammer down, taking the point lead from Sexton, who would place 2nd in the moto with Anderson 3rd.


Said Tomac: “I was going hard, up front, but I think that hurt me a bit. Chase (Sexton) had some better lines and was opening up some turns. He (Sexton) tried different lines and had better momentum. It was a good learning moto and, obviously, I capitalized off his mistake.”


Added Sexton: “Yeah, I knew it was going to be a dogfight between me and Eli (Tomac). I was able to get around him, then made a small mistake there. Tucked the front and the bike just came over and clobbered me.”

450 Moto 2

It was Savatgy again out of the gate and to the holeshot chalk line first, followed by Sexton, who got past Ken Roczen (KTM) and into 2nd, while Anderson snaked his way into 4th. At the halfway point of the opening lap Sexton would get past Savatgy for the lead, with Tomac moving from 5th to 3rd past Savatgy, with Craig moving into 4th past Savatgy. Tomac would then get past Roczen for 2nd, setting up a rematch of the opening moto battle between the 450 class point leaders. On Lap 4 Tomac would go full gas past the Mechanics Tower uphill section, passing Sexton for the lead on the inside line. As Tomac and Sexton checked out, Anderson had his sights set on both Roczen and Craig, having to pass at least Roczen to put himself into podium position. Craig would air it out past Roczen and into 3rd place, after which, at the 15:17 mark, Anderson would get by Roczen as well for 4th – and into the 450 class’ 3rd place overall position at Spring Creek MX. Sexton would cut Tomac’s lead to 1.7 seconds with three laps to go, but that’s as close as he’d get as Tomac took the checkers with the same 1.7 lead, marking seven moto wins in a row for the defending Monster Energy AMA Supercross champion. Craig would podium in 3rd place in the second moto, with Anderson in 4th and Savatgy battling back to a respectable 7th.


Said Anderson, who moved past Roczen into 3rd place in the 450 class overall standings: “I didn’t put myself into a very good position after that first lap (in Moto 2). But I worked myself up there and was able to stay behind Christian (Craig), pace off him. 3rd place is what we had today. It’s a step in the right direction.”

250 Moto 1

Cooper looked to have the holeshot, but the back end got around on him and Jett Lawrence (Honda) snuck past for the early race lead. Through the first lap Cooper was 2nd, with Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) in 4th, Nick Romano (Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha) in 6th, teammate Nate Thrasher in 7th and Shimoda way back in 14th. … Cooper would catch and pass Jett Lawrence for the race lead heading up Mt. Martin on the opening lap, only to tip over at the base of the mountain and give the lead back to Lawrence. This allowed Hammaker to move into 2nd place, with rookie racer Ryder DiFrancesco (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki), in only his second pro motocross race, moving into the top ten (10th). At the 23:11 mark Shimoda, on a mission, would rush past DiFrancesco for 10th, with Hammaker (3rd), Thrasher (5th), Cooper (8th) all in the top ten as well. Cooper then put a pass on Stilez Robertson (Husqvarna) for 7th. At the halfway mark Thrasher and Hammaker would battle for 4th, with Thrasher – followed by Cooper – getting past Hammaker at the 12:21 mark. Shimoda was flying at this point, putting up some of the fastest lap times in the field. He’d get past Cooper and into 6th place, then did the same with Thrasher (into 5th), then past RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna) and into 4th place at the 6:52 mark. The only racer now standing between Shimoda and the opening 250 moto podium was Max Vohland (KTM). At the 1:44 plus two lap mark Shimoda had cut Vohland’s lead down to four seconds, then pulled onto Vohland’s rear fender on the white flag (last) lap as the two entered Spring Creek MX’s famous sand whoop section. Shimoda would hound Vohland for the next several turns before out-braking the KTM rider at end of a charge down Mt. Martin, taking 3rd place and making the pass stick through the checkers.


Said Shimoda: “Like usual, the start have been struggling, struggling. Just couldn’t get it. You get down so far behind (14th place) and it’s just so hard to come back. So hopefully for me the next moto I get a better start and fight the top guys.”

250 Moto 2

The best starter on the circuit, Cooper kicked up the chalk first for the holeshot, then was quickly passed by his Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha teammate Romano. Shimoda, who was out in 14th place in the opening 250 moto, pulled a considerably better start and was in 3rd place early. No sooner did the opening lap come to an end when the leader board read “Cooper” up front, the Lawrences, Hunter and Jett, would catch Cooper for the lead, after which Cooper battled Romano for No. 3 spot. During this time Shimoda dropped off the leader board, collected in a crash involving Thrasher and several other racers. But with Shimoda in 26th place, the Red Flag would come out, signaling the raced needed to be restarted (due to a separate crash and injury). On the restart Cooper (Who else?) pulled the holeshot with Shimoda coming out strong again, 2nd, before being passed by Jett Lawrence. Monster Energy racers in the top ten of the second 250 moto included race leader Cooper, Shimoda (3rd), Romano (4th), DiFrancesco (6th) and Hammaker (8th). Jett Lawrence would wrestle the lead from Cooper up the face of Mt. Martin, with Shimoda then closing in on Cooper for 2nd. At the 20:08 mark Shimoda jumped to the inside off a table top feature and got past Cooper for 2nd. While Shimoda put the chase on Jett Lawrence, Romano and Thrasher, at the 13:55 mark, had a gnarly get together in the air off a jump. Both riders hit the deck, hard, with their bikes tweaked to the point that ended their race day early. By the 5:22 mark Shimoda had put four seconds between himself and Cooper. That, coupled with a Hunter Lawrence miscue, put Shimoda in prime position for the 2nd place overall 250 class finish at Spring Creek MX. With three laps to go Hammaker caught DiFrancesco for 7th place, with Shimoda and Cooper still running 2nd/3rd. And that’s the way it’d end, Shimoda taking 2nd place overall and Cooper making the second moto podium and placing 4th overall.

Overall 2022 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, presented by Monster Energy, Points (Round 7 of 12)


450 class

1st – Tomac

2nd – Sexton

3rd – Anderson

5th – Craig

9th - Savatgy


250 class

3rd - Shimoda

4th – Cooper

5th – Kitchen

6th - Hammaker