Jacksonville, FL (June 22, 2019) – The Florida-based riders on the GEICO Honda team expected strong results at the Florida National, the first AMA Pro Motocross Championship race held in the Sunshine State since 1997. However, the race both giveth and taketh away, as Chase Sexton, who lives in the state, powered through the field in the first moto to score moto one win, the first moto victory of his career. From that high came an immediate low, as the heat and humidity started to catch up to him. Sexton attempted to start moto two, but soon pulled off the track, ending his day early. His 1-DNF moto scores left him ninth overall for the day. Hunter Lawrence had a solid day despite two bad starts and scored fifth overall with 8-4 scores, and RJ Hampshire was eighth with 6-11 scores.
Sexton’s moto win and subsequent troubles best explained the dynamics of racing in such high heat and humidity.
“It was strange because I felt really good during the moto!” said Sexton. “Actually probably the best I’ve felt all year. I obviously got hot but I didn’t realize it was that bad until after I got off my bike. That was followed by my knees buckling, throwing up, and blurry vision. I tried to get cooled down enough to race the second moto but I couldn’t get cooled down enough, and my vision wasn’t great after the sight lap. So I opted to not race. Obviously, I’m not happy about it, but I just felt it was the right thing to do, being young and I want to be good for the rest of the races. I didn’t want to take a huge risk of making things much worse. Back to work this week to get ready for the ‘Wick.”
RJ Hampshire not only lives in Florida but was born and raised there, and he did feel strong in the heat. Crashes ruined his results, though, with 6-11 scores leading to eighth overall. He crashed late in the first race while trying to make a push from the back of the pack for fifth. Two first-lap crashes in moto two made it even tougher in the second race.
“Felt good on the bike,” said Hampshire. “Made a late push in the first moto after a bad start but made a mistake and ended up on the ground. Second moto had another bad start and got caught up in a pile up, then ended up going down again later that lap trying to make passes. Two crashes on the first lap, I was so far back! Wish that second moto would have played out differently that first lap, I really wasn’t affected by the heat but couldn’t show it!”
Australian Hunter Lawrence has been tagging along with Hampshire in Florida for the last week, but before that he had not ridden in humidity for quite some time. While his day at the Florida National was quiet, it was effective, taking fifth overall via 8-4 scores.
“Tough weekend in the heat at WW Ranch, first moto was difficult with a bad start,” said Lawrence. “Coming through the pack back to eighth was a really tough ride, I had to push so hard through the field, and that took some energy. Second moto was a top ten start or so, and I fought my way up into fourth behind Cianciarulo. I couldn’t quite get him. The whole day was super hot and tough, it was my first hot race in maybe close to a year. I had to really dig deep, track was very physically demanding on top of all that with seven sets of rollers on the track, plus the bumps and wall jumps. It was tough! The big jumps were good to breathe and regroup but I think it was the most physically demanding track we’ve had this season. Fifth overall is okay for now.”
Christian Craig was hoping to be able to race this weekend after last week’s crash at High Point, but unfortunately, the humidity only made the affects worse. In addition, Craig is dealing with a situation with the FIM dating back to the recent reveal of an adverse finding in an anti-doping test from 2018. Craig will side line himself until the issue is resolved, hopefully within the next few weeks.
The team races again this coming weekend in Southwick, Massachusetts.