The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the defending Eastern Regional 250SX Champion, Chase Sexton, is a class act. Since turning pro during the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the GEICO / Honda rider has kept his head down with his nose to the grindstone and he quietly became the 2019 250SX East Champ and signed a dream deal to graduate to the 450 class with the prestigious HRC Factory Honda racing team later this year at Hangtown. You may not know much about Chase because he is one of those kids that likes to do his talking on the track, but we have a feeling 2020 is going to be the year his on-track talking gets a whole lot louder.
At the opening 250SX East round in Tampa last weekend, it was all Shane McElrath, but Chase finished second and fought back for a big win at the Arlington SX “Triple Crown” on Saturday night to grab a share of the red plate heading to round three. It was a statement race for Chase that needed to be made and that statement is, I’m not giving up this #1 plate without a fight. He also told RJ Hampshire you are going to need to do more than knock me over to beat me.
After the podium celebration and the press conference was over, MotoXAddicts contributor Chris Coooksey from Cooksey Media caught up with Chase to talk about his “Triple Crown” win, his on-track game of “tag, you’re it” with RJ Hampshire and more.
Congrats Chase. So what is it about the “Triple Crown” format? How did you feel tonight?
I felt good! I felt good all day. We really made a big change between the second and third practice for the whoops. I feel like it paid off. I was strong in them all night. It’s having that confidence and knowing I was good. Even if I got a bad start, I knew I could make passes there. It kind of took the pressure off and my starts and I really feel like I put myself in good position. That was the key to the “Triple Crown” in general.
Do you feel like coming into the season with that number one plate and knowing that you’re already signed with HRC on the 450, is that a lot of pressure?
It’s pressure, but I think it’s an honor to run the number one and I feel like it’s what I’ve been dreaming of since I was little. To be able to run the number one and knowing this is my last year in the 250 class, it does add a little pressure knowing that I need to win and get as many wins as I possibly can before the 450 class. I don’t really think about it that much obviously on race day, but in the preseason I was thinking about it quite a bit. And, honestly, being hurt twice in the offseason didn’t help. But I feel like now when I’m racing, I don’t really think much too much.
So did you break your collar on purpose so you could run the number plate? ‘Cause I heard you were slated for West before that happened.
I was slated for the West, but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to race East. I just didn’t ’cause I ran out of gas and broke my collarbone when I was at home.
You ran out of gas?
Yeah, I ran out of gas. It was my fault. I filled it up and I was out there for I guess longer than 40 minutes. I was riding and having fun and just trying to get time. I was riding the 450, so I was trying to get time.
You’re in too good of shape dude. (laughs)
I was just having fun back home and riding the tracks that I’ve been riding my whole life. I was just trying to get time on the 450 and really just put in some base motos on it because I knew I had to ride that thing come outdoors. That was unfortunate. And then I ended up crashing on a pit bike, which is not good. It happens. We’re in a pretty good spot now, so I’m trying to keep this thing going.
I see your pants are torn. What happened there?
That was from the first race. I don’t know if that was…it wasn’t RJ. RJ hit me here [pointing to his opposite side] so I have no idea. I only had one pair of pants for tonight, so I had to run them.
RJ seemed to admit [during the press conference] that the hit was kind of on purpose. He was giving you some payback and you said that you’re cool with it up there. Are you really cool with it, though? Is that it?
I mean, I kinda wanted to do my talking on the track and just take the win and not really say anything about it. I kinda knew it was coming. I knew coming into the season I was going to have a target on my back a little bit. Not from everybody, but I knew he was not happy about what happened last year at Millville. I mean it’s racing and I feel like I bounced back really well and kind of made a statement tonight.
After the race you kind of doubled up and jumped right in front of him.
Well, I just wanted him to know I wasn’t happy with it. I think he knew I wasn’t going to be happy with it, but I think I caught him from pretty much…I probably lost about eight seconds and I caught up almost to his back wheel. So I kind of feel like I made a little statement there. I wanted him to know that I wasn’t happy about it and I was here to play.
I’m pretty sure the whole stadium was watching going “Oh boy, if he catches him we are going to have fireworks!”
I mean, I knew I faster in the whoops and I knew that was my passing spot. That’s where I made my first pass. I wasn’t going to try and be dirty with him, but I just want to get out front and get away.
Follow Chris Cooksey on Instagram
Photos courtesy of GEICO / Honda