2023 East Rutherford Supercross Recap

What an unforgettable mess!

An epic round of racing can only describe Round 14 of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season held Saturday at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ which quickly became one to remember for more reasons than the massive weather delay, perpetual rain and a track that held up surprisingly well as it ever so slowly dissolved into a mud pit.

Race officials shortened the 450 class Main Event to 17 minutes from the usual 20-minute format and once the gate dropped this mud race featured just three contenders and everyone else. Chase Sexton grabbed the Holeshot, Ken Roczen quickly passed for the lead and Justin Barcia came up inside Sexton in a turn leaving him in the mud as Eli Tomac took over third place - all in the first lap.

It wasn't too long before the front three rolled the throttle on the rest of the pack. Sexton eventually caught Cooper Webb for fourth but was 20 seconds back of third-place Tomac at the 12 minute mark and dropping. Meanwhile, Roczen and Barcia stayed withing seconds of each other with Tomac trailing in third by a lengthy 10 ticks on the clock. Then Barcia got under Roczen in a corner, similar to his pass on Sexton, with less than 11 minutes left, for the lead and he held on for his first win in more than two years.

"Once I got to a 16 second lead it got quite emotional because I knew that was it," Barcia said. "I laid off my clutch. The track conditions got worse and worse every lap. Man, it was awesome."

Barcia ultimately beat Tomac by nearly 15 seconds facing only stiff competition from the rain and mud. Tomac, who came up limping after a crash on the opening lap of qualifying practice that looked almost season-ending, seemed content on a third-place finish until he began stalking Roczen for second and with about two and half minutes remaining came along side him in the whoops. Roczen's fighting effort dropped him in the mud.

"This is the great equalizer. You just have to have the flow," Tomac said after the race showing no ill effects from his earlier crash that resulted from his right hand slipping off the handlebars. "It was fun. Just happy to get up here on the podium you just never know what going to happen in these conditions."

Roczen easily held on for third since he was so far ahead of Sexton who settled on fourth, 45 seconds back of the lead. Barcia lapped fifth place Webb.

Tomac's efforts increase his lead over Webb to 11 in the Championship standings with three rounds left. Sexton sits just 10 points back of Webb in third. Barcia solidified his hold on fourth place with his fifth podium in the last six rounds.

2023 450 Class Supercross Season Standings

  1. Eli Tomac (315)
  2. Cooper Webb (304)
  3. Chase Sexton (294)
  4. Justin Barcia (265)
  5. Ken Roczen (259)

250 East/West Shootout

The 250 class featured the East/West shootout in a weather shortened 12 minute race from the usual 15 minutes. East class privateer Max Anstie from England, who spent much of his career racing the Motocross World Championship (MXGP) series and opened his first year in the states with a second-place in Houston, grabbed the Holeshot and just kept going and going for his first career Supercross win.

Jett Lawrence made it interesting though - and so did RJ Hampshire. Lawrence who competes in the West, started fourth and took nearly eight minutes to fight his way into second-place. While he kept pushing to the front Hampshire stayed with him. Meanwhile, Anstie's 10 second lead with two minutes left began to shrink. With the clock at zero and now two laps left, Lawrence cut Anstie's lead to less than two seconds, almost passed him then fell further back when he interrupted his rhythm by taking off his goggles.

With Anstie in a little more comfortable lead heading for the checkers on the final lap, Hampshire came in hot, hydroplaned and smashed into Lawrence a few corners before the finish in full send and fully failing to pull off a Robbie Madison. Hampshire, his face caked with mud, was unable to get his bike started while Lawrence quickly got back in the race but no chance for the win.

"That was incredible" Anstie said. "I remember watching Anaheim 1 back in (early) 2000s when Ricky Carmichael went backwards on the track because it was so wet. My whole time I've been in America I've been thinking 'I want to do a mud race. I want to do a mud Supercross.' I got out front…from about the 3rd lap in (I thought) I better not screw this up."

Hunter Lawrence finished less than a second behind brother Jett and Max Vohland also a veteran from the MXGPs had his best outing of the season in fourth. Hampshire was credited with 13th after not finishing the race. He falls 39 points back of Jett Lawrence in the West class with two rounds left. Hunter Lawrence rides a 49-point lead over Haiden Deegan in the East class, also with two rounds left. Anstie pulls to within one point of Deegan for second in the East standings.

2023 250 East Class Supercross Season Standings

  1. Hunter Lawrence (198)
  2. Haiden Deegan (149)
  3. Max Anstie (148)
  4. Nate Thrasher (120)
  5. Jordon Smith (120)

2023 250 West Class Supercross Season Standings

  1. Jett Lawrence (176)
  2. RJ Hampshire (137)
  3. Enzo Lopes (118)
  4. Levi Kitchen (112)
  5. Max Vohland (104)

Supercross may or may not dry off on Saturday for Round 15 in Nashville with rain in the forecast.

2023 East Rutherford Supercross