2022 Fox Raceway Two | Race Report & Results
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship concluded with four sweltering motos in the Southern California sun at the 2022 Fox Raceway Two Motocross. Jett Lawrence defended his status as the top rider in the small-bore division, as the Team Honda HRC rider secured the 250 Class title with a win in Moto One and then the overall victory with a second place finish in Moto Two. Eli Tomac and Chase Sexton took their fight over the top spot in the 450 Class to the very last moments of the summer; the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha and Team Honda HRC riders were separated by just 9.2 seconds at the finish line and seven points in the final standings.
250 Moto One
The first 250 Class moto of the afternoon got underway with Jett Lawrence leading the field through the first turn for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed closely by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda. The close friends engaged in a spirited battle on the opening lap as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin slotted into third in his first start in the division since the 2015 season.
Lawrence continued to control the moto from the lead through the opening five minutes, but Shimoda was able to keep him honest with consistent lap times. Musquin settled into third but eventually faced a challenge from Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence. A small miscue forced Musquin off the track, which handed the position to Lawrence. Back up front, Jett Lawrence stabilized a lead hovering around two seconds over Shimoda as the moto reached its halfway point.
As the moto entered its final 10 minutes Shimoda picked up the pace and closed the deficit by a second with the fastest laps on the track. The Japanese rider began looking for a way around with alternate lines and soon found himself all over the rear fender of the Honda. As they played cat and mouse with one another it allowed Hunter Lawrence to close in from third and make it a three-rider battle with three minutes to go. Less than a second separated the top three as time ran out on the moto and set the stage for a thrilling battle to the finish.
With two laps to go, Hunter Lawrence pulled the trigger with a pass on Shimoda as they descended one of the track’s downhills. It resulted in hard contact between the two riders and sent Shimoda to the ground as Lawrence continued on in second. Shimoda remounted in third but was forced to fend off Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper from fourth.
The Lawrence brothers went head-to-head on the final lap as Jett narrowly held off Hunter by a mere four tenths of a second for his 11th moto win of the season, which also clinched the championship. Cooper made the pass on Shimoda for third, while Musquin rounded out the top five.
250 Moto Two
The final 250 Class moto of the season started with Cooper at the head of the pack with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, with Shimoda and his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Cameron McAdoo in pursuit, with Jett Lawrence in fourth. Shimoda bided his time and waited for an opening. Once it appeared he wasted no time in making the move and grabbed control of the moto a little more than four minutes into the race.
Once he had the lead in hand, Shimoda began to build a gap on Cooper that soon grew to more than five seconds. Behind him, Cooper was forced to fend off Lawrence, who made the pass on McAdoo and looked to continue his push forward. The champ chipped away at the deficit and closed in on the Yamaha at the halfway point of the moto. He made quick work of Cooper and took control of second. With a little more than 11 minutes to go the gap between Shimoda and Lawrence was more than nine seconds.
Just as it appeared as though Lawrence had control of the runner-up spot, Cooper mounted a counter attack to reignite the battle for the position. With Shimoda well in control of the moto, this battle became the focal point of the closing minutes.
Back up front, Shimoda was in a class of his own and rebounded from the frustrating end to the first moto to earn his fifth moto win of the season by 24.3 seconds over Lawrence, who kept Cooper at bay through to the finish.
450 Moto One
Extreme heat protocols were implemented for the races, which shortened each moto in both classes to 25 minutes plus two laps. As the field stormed out the gate to open 450 Class Moto 1 it was Sexton and Tomac at the front, with Sexton grabbing the MotoSport.com Holeshot. The championship rivals set a torrid pace early and easily sprinted away from the field.
The pair traded fast laps as the gap between them ebbed and flowed through various parts of the track, where both riders appeared to have strengths in different sections. Sexton and Tomac opened an advantage of nearly half a minute on the field as the moto reached its halfway point, while the distance between them hovered around a second.
Lapped riders brought the rivals closer together entering the final five minutes and it opened the door for Tomac to take advantage. The Yamaha rider seized the moment and went on the attack to make the pass. Tomac then dropped the hammer and opened a gap of two seconds with three minutes to go.
As they took the two-lap board just 1.5 seconds separated Tomac and Sexton, but a bobble from Sexton allowed Tomac to establish the largest lead of the moto at its most critical juncture. Sexton battled back and closed in, but it was too little too late as Tomac secured his 13th moto win of the season by 1.5 seconds. Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Christian Craig finished third, one minute and 15 seconds behind the leaders, with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson fourth and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia in fifth.
450 Moto Two
The final moto of the 2022 season had everything on the line and as the field exited the first turn it was Craig who came away with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed by Anderson and Sexton. Tomac was forced to work his way forward from a start deep in the top 10. In his pursuit of Anderson for second during the opening laps, Sexton suffered a bobble that shot him off track and caused him to tip over. He lost multiple positions and reentered the race right behind Tomac, in seventh. Sexton then tipped over again and lost another position.
Out front, the battle for the lead heated up between Anderson and Craig. The Kawasaki rider got alongside the Yamaha and made a savvy move to take the lead a little more than five minutes into the moto. Behind this exchange Tomac was able to break into the top three, while Sexton was on a recovery charge and clawed his way up to fourth. Tomac closed quickly on Craig, his teammate, and moved into second with ease. At that point, Tomac faced a 2.8 second deficit to Anderson. Needing to make a push, Sexton closed in on Craig for third but suffered another tip over. He remounted without losing a position.
As the moto surpassed the halfway point the battle for the lead was on between Anderson and Tomac. Despite having a faster pace, Tomac was unable to get enough of an edge to make a move. A slight miscue by Anderson saw him briefly put the bike in neutral, which allowed Tomac to slip past and seize control of the moto with six minutes to go. Sexton’s fight continued as well with a pass on Craig for third. From there, the Honda rider tried to track down the lead duo.
With the lead in hand, Tomac opened up a lead of more than six seconds as Anderson started to lose ground to Sexton for second. The Honda rider was decisive and made the pass, but faced too big of a deficit to contend for the lead. Tomac brought home an emphatic final moto win by 9.2 seconds over Sexton, with Anderson in third.