Forkner and Jett Moto Up in Motor City

Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence became the first Monster Energy AMA Supercross repeat-winner in 2024 with an impressive victory in front of 52,961 fans inside Ford Field in Detroit. The event kicked off the Eastern Regional 250SX Class championship with Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner (featured photo above) riding smooth, steady, and fast to grab the win and the points lead in the 9-round championship.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Chase Sexton, the defending series champion, took over second place on the opening lap and held it throughout the 20-minute plus one lap 450 Main Event. Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen recovered from a mid-pack start to work his way up on the rutted track and earned the final spot on the podium. When the scores were tallied Chase Sexton took over the championship points lead by a single point over Jett Lawrence. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger now sits third in the standings just a one point behind Lawrence.

Jett Lawrence

“I think Jett Lawrence just finally showed up to a race,” Lawrence said when asked about his results since his opening round win. “I think the biggest difference for me is more this [points to his head]. My decision making, the past few weeks, it’s been kinda not as good. My speed’s been not too bad, but it’s just more poor executing and that stuff.”

“It’s nice to have the red plate but it really only matters who ends with it,” said Sexton. “So it’s nice to have it back, we’re all pretty close in points, but tonight was one of my best rides on the new bike, I think. We’ve had so many mud races, last week it was a Triple Crown, and this week it was our first real main event [since the opening round], and I felt pretty solid in the conditions. I didn’t have a great heat race and after seeing the 250 start, I was pretty far outside [on my gate]; I was a little bit nervous that if I didn’t get a good jump I was going to get pushed off the track. So I got a good start and I had some good speed, [made] some mistakes obviously, but it was a good main event and looking forward to build off that.”

“I’m not the kind of guy that plays the ‘I can’t catch a break’ type thing,” said Roczen, of whom it’s often said that he “Can’t catch a break.”

“It’s just part of racing. I had a streak of, you know, if you want to call it bad luck, that can happen to anybody. And you know, we fought our way back to the podium. And I know we have everything that it takes to be on the top step, but… before I think about winning all the time, I want to get some consistency and being on the podium [regularly]… I just really want to get a little bit further up to the front in the point standings.”

The Eastern Regional 250SX Class’ Main Event started with a first turn pile up that ensnared nearly half of the field. Austin Forkner was ahead of the crash and set sail for a decisive win to earn his 13th Supercross victory. Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie got a decent start and battled his way into second place on the challenging track. Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s rookie Daxton Bennick made an impressive debut and brought home a third place finish from his first pro Supercross race.

Austin Forkner

The win for Forkner in Detroit was a long time coming after being sidelined at the opening round last year. Saturday was a different opening round story for Forkner, who started the day qualifying third. He looked confident as he led every lap of his heat race and readied to make it count in the main event. Forkner was able to get a great start and avoid a huge first-turn crash, launching to the lead, where he held on for a wire-to-wire victory.

“It’s such a great feeling to get the win,” said Forkner. “Last year at the opening round, I was laying on the ground, and my supercross season was over. I worked really hard to get back up to speed and I am very thankful to everyone who has stuck behind me. It feels great to give them a win and the team its second win in two weeks.

“I just made it kind of a point to surround myself with people who are there to lift me up, basically. I feel like that’s just really important in this sport. You can have one good race and be on top of the world and you can have a bad one and get so down. So having people around you that keep you on the right track and keep you focused on what you need to be focused on, I think is really important. I’ve done that this year. Also the mental change was trying to have more fun riding. Obviously anybody knows, injuries in any sport… you don’t want to do it as much. You start being scared of what you fell in love with, essentially, and that being dirt bikes for me. To ride a dirt bike scared, at this level is – you can’t do it. So [we also worked on] just keeping the whole preseason [work] fun… We did quality work over quantity so much, and we kept it fun and kept me in a good mental space coming into this season, and I think it shows.”

“It took me a little longer than what I would’ve liked to get around Chance but, you know, at the end of the day he’s riding great,” said Anstie. “As soon as I got around him, I thought, ‘All right, let’s stretch my legs a little bit.’ But I got caught with a few lappers the wrong way, and honestly Austin was riding really well. I kinda wanted to go, and then I was like, ‘I’m not going to take the bait and drag a footpeg up some of these rhythm sections [and crash],’ and just kept it solid.”

“I was definitely going fast at the [pre-season] test track, but that’s one thing, racing’s a completely different thing,” said Bennick, when asked to comment on rumors he was fast at the test tracks coming into his debut rookie pro race. “I didn’t know how it would be on Saturday. The nerves were high, for sure, and I knew I just had to keep calm. And we had that replica [of the Detroit track layout] at The Farm [team training facility] so I just had to, you know, imagine I was at The Farm. And once I got I think into fourth, I saw Chance in third and I started laying my laps down. I felt really strong at the end, so that was also a thing – I didn’t know if I was going to be strong at the end of the moto ‘cause I’ve never raced a full pro moto. So yeah, check that box and I’m really happy with it.”

The series heads back west for Round 6 inside State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 10th. The schedule returns to night racing, with the opening ceremonies commencing at 8:00 PM EST. Each Monster Energy Supercross race also pays points for the 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship. The SuperMotocross League brings together the thrills of the 17-round Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, the 11-round AMA Pro Motocross season, two Playoff Rounds, and one Final to determine an overall winner for both the 450SMX and 250SMX classes.

250SX Class Western Regional Main Event Results – Detroit

  1. Austin Forkner (Kawasaki)
  2. Max Anstie (Honda)
  3. Daxton Bennick (Yamaha)
  4. Coty Schock (Yamaha)
  5. Pierce Brown (GasGas)
  6. Jalek Swoll (Triumph)
  7. Henry Miller (Honda)
  8. Guillen Farres (Husqvarna)
  9. Marshal Weltin (Yamaha)
  10. Chance Hymas (Honda)

250SX Class // Eastern Region Points Standings

  1. Austin Forkner (Kawasaki), 25
  2. Max Anstie (Honda), 22
  3. Daxton Bennick (Yamaha), 20
  4. Coty Schock (Yamaha), 18
  5. Pierce Brown (GasGas), 17
  6. Jalek Swoll (Triumph), 16
  7. Henry Miller (Honda), 15
  8. Guillen Farres (Husqvarna), 14
  9. Marshal Weltin (Yamaha), 12
  10. Chance Hymas (Honda), 11

250SX Class // Western Region Points Standings

  1. Levi Kitchen (Kawasaki), 84
  2. Jordon Smith (Yamaha), 84
  3. RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna), 76
  4. Garrett Marchbanks (Yamaha), 70
  5. Anthony Bourdon (Suzuki), 55
  6. Jo Shimoda (Honda), 54
  7. Mitchell Oldenburg (Honda), 51
  8. Nate Thrasher (Yamaha), 50
  9. Julien Beaumer (KTM), 48
  10. Carson Mumford (Honda), 47

story, photos and video courtesy of Supercross and Kawasaki

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