MENTOR, Ohio (June 27, 2018) - Round 5 of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship proved to be a mixed bag for Wiseco-sponsored riders when the series made its annual visit to Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tenn., on Saturday.
GEICO Honda's Chase Sexton led the way for Wiseco's 250 Class contingent where the 18-year-old rider turned in his first career podium finish in Pro Motocross competition. Unfortunately, the team was also dealt a devastating blow to its title hopes when Jeremy Martin was collected in an incident during the first lap of the second moto, leaving him with extensive back injuries, thus ending his bid for a third 250 Class outdoor title. Martin, who won the first moto of the day and was the points leader coming into the weekend, was diagnosed with a burst fracture of the L1 vertebrae and underwent surgery Monday. The rider of the No. 6 Honda CRF250R is expected to make a full recovery.
Sexton was fourth and fifth, respectively, in each of the 250 Classes qualifying sessions and was a fixture inside the top 10 all afternoon. The La Moille, Ill., native rounded the first corner of the first moto 10th in the running order and picked up a pair of spots over the course of the 30-minute-plus-two laps opening moto to earn a solid top-10 showing. Back on the gate for the second moto, Sexton bettered his first start by three positions and worked his way as high as third, but slipped to fourth. He closed out the day with a solid 8-4 result to be credited with a third-place overall finish.
"I actually had really bad starts today, but I was excited with my first lap," explained Sexton, who sits ninth in points. "I made a lot of passes. I think I was in third for most of the second moto. I actually saw Dylan (Ferrandis) and Alex (Martin) in front of me. I started catching them a little bit. I had no idea (race winner) Shane (McElrath) was behind me. He came out of nowhere and blew by me. These guys rode good. The track was pretty good. It was a little tough to pass, but it was fun. I'm happy to get my first podium. It wasn't the moto scores that I like to have, but third is third. So, it was a good day."
In 450 Class action, Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen led the charge for the Wiseco brigade. Roczen, a 24-year-old, two-time Lucas Oil Pro Motocross titlist, ripped a pair of holeshots and turned in a sturdy 3-4 effort on the day, good enough for fourth, overall.
"I'm happy with how our day went," commented Roczen, who also holds down fourth in the standings. "I got fourth, but I feel a lot better because I think we made some good steps forward. I'm a lot happier with my second moto. We definitely made some great improvements on the bike between races. I was kind of fighting it a little in the first moto, but the changes we made were a lot better. I was having fun and not feeling beat up. I ripped two holeshots, which is great. I was up there in the first moto, finishing third, but I just wasn't gelling. I don't think the results show how happy I was with the second moto. Not on the podium, but all-in-all I'm satisfied and we can just keep working forward from here on out."
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returns to the Wick 338 in Southwick, Mass., this weekend for one of the most unique and grueling contests on the summer schedule.
The first moto of Round 6 from the Southwick National will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., June 30 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Pacific. Broadcast coverage for the second motos will be televised on a live-to-tape basis on NBCSN at 8 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. Pacific.