Craig, Sexton, Martin Start Season Strong for GEICO Honda in Anaheim
Anaheim, California (January 6, 2018) – Nerves and uncertainly surround every rider when the Monster Energy Supercross Championship kicks off, and team GEICO Honda's riders were not immune at the 2018 season opener at Angel Stadium. 250SX riders Christian Craig and Chase Sexton recorded solid fifth and eighth-place finishes, respectively, and Craig also got some TV time by scoring a heat race win. Jeremy Martin competed in the premier 450SX class and acquitted himself well, taking 11th after a race long battle. Overall, each rider showed promise but also hopes for more as the nerves subside for round two.
"The season opener is always a ton of nerves and wondering where you'll fit in especially in a stacked class like this year," said Craig, racing in 250SX West. "I felt pretty decent in practice. They brought in different dirt this year so had to change up my suspension a little for that. It was hard for me to find a flow, honestly, but we worked through it. In the heat, I pulled the hole shot and took it from there to get the win. It was nice to start my season off with a little victory in the heat race. In the main, I got a pretty good start, came out second or third. Again, it was hard for me to find a flow and get comfortable but I think a lot of that had to do with the first race jitters. I ended up in fifth for the night but I'll take it. Looking forward to Houston next weekend!"
Sexton's experience was unique, as it was actually his first-ever supercross since he missed all of last year's indoor campaign with a broken leg. He didn't ride like a rookie, though, battling with defending 250SX West Champion Justin Hill for nearly all of the main event before settling for eighth.
"A1 was in a way my first SX race since I got hurt last year in Atlanta," said Sexton. "Practice went pretty decent. I felt comfortable and it was good to see where I fit in with such a talented class. My heat was going decent. I got a pretty good start and was able to make some passes to get myself into fourth. Unfortunately another rider [Mitchell Harrison] and I came together and I went down. Was able to get up fast and not have to go into the LCQ. For the main, I got a good jump and was running up there in the front of the pack for a few laps. I think it being the first race and racing against all these guys was a new challenge for me but I was able to finish in eighth and see where I need to improve. Excited for next weekend!
In what was his first-ever true stadium-style supercross in the 450SX class (he raced at Daytona International Speedway last year), Martin grabbed a good start and battled all race long with 450SX class veterans. It was intense! He ran most of the race inside the top ten but ended up 11th.
"Solid performance at A1 aboard the GEICO Honda 450 machine for me," said Martin. "I couldn’t believe how close everyone was! Got off to a great start in the main before settling into seventh place for most of the main until I got tight and pumped up with three minutes to go to end up 11th on the night. Really enjoyed being in the mix with the 450 guys and can’t wait to learn some more in these next two rounds!"
Martin will indeed stay on the big bike for the upcoming rounds in Houston and Anaheim before putting his focus back on the Honda CRF250R for the 250SX East Region Championship. Craig and Sexton will continue competing for the 250SX West Region Championship. The team next lines up in Houston, Texas, this Saturday night.