Photo: Luis Torres/Motorsports Tribune

Webb Holds Off Sexton for Thrilling Win in Seattle

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

SEATTLE — A battle until the absolute bitter end that had Lumen Field shook with excitement.

Both Cooper Webb and Chase Sexton, hungry in still being in the 450SX championship fight, put on an absolute barn burner in front of 58,000 fans in Lumen Field. Any mistake could make a difference of either being on the top step of the podium or feeling dejected after the main event.

When the muddy dirt stopped kicking, it was Webb who ended up victorious by 0.592 seconds over Sexton, marking the seventh closest Supercross finish in the four-stroke era.

A key factor to Webb’s success in Seattle was being able to jump the wall efficiently near the sand section where he was able to click until taking off on the surface became a burden later on.

“It was an incredible challenging track. You know, I think we say it every weekend, but this truly was just brutal. Every lap we’re all making mistakes and it was really tough,” said Webb after scoring his 24th career win. “I had a good line there jumping the wall and it was working really well.

“Then the lip kind of went away and, uh, then it was a struggle city from there. I felt like I really struggled there after that. I just stayed clean, but we all made mistakes, but maybe I made the least mistakes and put myself in a good position for sure.”

Over the years, Seattle is known to be one of the most treacherous venues on the Supercross calendar, Saturday’s 450SX main event was no different. Thus, every rider have to be flawless to be in the mix which wasn’t easy and Webb admitted the performance wasn’t up to par in terms of entertainment value.

So much so, Webb described the main event being right up there as the most demanding race of his Supercross career because of how the conditions gradually changed throughout the day.

“80% of the time we come here is very difficult, but Saturday was probably all-time,” said Webb. “Ruddy just conditions like ever changing. You couldn’t even sometimes do the rhythms, right?

“We probably looked like amateurs out there with how gnarly it was. So it’s always tough, there’s gonna be rain and it was great that it wasn’t a full on mud mudfest, that was nice. It’s a different beast for sure.

“Especially like we did, at least for me, I did the hot lap and I’m like, ‘Man, there’s not a smooth line out here.’ It was gonna make for a tough main event. It surely did.”

After an epic duel, both racers gave a handshake as Webb’s win marked his third of the season while Sexton felt heartbroken. He had to be consoled by a crew member as the reigning Supercross champion wasn’t able to hold onto the lead he had for most of the main event following the hole shot advantage.

Photo: Luis Torres/Motorsports Tribune

“I had a good race, but made a lot of mistakes,” Sexton on his runner-up result. “But I think with this track it was super hard to stay clean and ended up stalling it again, which I have no idea why I did that in the heat race and I did it again in the main.

“I actually missed the double, which was supposed to be the triple before the sand one lap. I kind of lost a little bit of ground obviously, and I was probably three, four seconds back and I honestly just put my head down.

“I knew I had really good speed if I could put in consistent laps and got back to Cooper. And then the last two laps, I knew I was close and I didn’t really have a specific idea where I was gonna make the pass. I was good, on the on/off and then into the sand at the end I was doubling into that hole, which was really hard.

“Just that last turn or second to last turn before the finish line,” Sexton continued. “If he went inside, I kind of went outside and then maybe he was gonna go across the road and like block me, but he went inside and I kind of squared up and tried to get alongside of him.

“(Cooper’s) definitely a smart rider, so he is not gonna fall for that stuff. Overall I just tried to ride as hard as I could no matter what the circumstances were.”

Lost in all the fierce battle was championship leader and rookie sensation Jett Lawrence, who finished third.

Lawrence entered Seattle with five wins already and after setting the fastest qualifying time, the 20-year-old Australian was poised of ruling the Pacific Northwest.

It didn’t end up that way as a crash in the second half while chasing down Webb derailed his chances of winning the main event.

With a sixth win out of reach, it became a frenzy for the rider of the No. 18 Honda HRC as he was able to recover from the crash. Even setting the fastest lap of the race by over a second and a half over the rest of the 22-bike field.

“Most of the first kind of half I was definitely charging. I had a really good flow and kind of caught up to Cooper and Chase,” Lawrence on his seventh podium of the season. “Kind of roughly ran halfway and just kind of got too confident one time.

“Ended up clipping the back of Cooper and I ended up bending the rubbers in my triple clamp pretty good and riding on a track kind of tweak clip triple clamps ain’t the best.

“Just kind of was tried to get going again, trying to get a flow back again and just kind of had a left of stop in front of me and in a right that I got stuck in behind him.

“Then I also stalled it. I think I stalled it before I crashed. Stalled it one time to him. I’m like, ‘You know what, that’s enough signs for me to know tonight’s not the night and we’re just gonna go with it with a third place and just bring it home.”

Photo: Luis Torres/Motorsports Tribune

After 11 rounds, it’s still Lawrence leading the championship standings. However, his lead is now 16 points over Webb with six rounds remaining.

Following a physically and even mentally taxing race, Webb explained the challenge of pushing himself and know how to get himself into a rhythm. Each trait that could pay off in the long run as momentum is on his side going into next Saturday’s round in St. Louis.

“We’re pushing pushing a new level, I feel like right now. It’s definitely physical, but you get to a point, at least for me, where it was like, you try harder and then you get worse a little bit,” Webb explained. “That’s where you almost gotta slow down to go fast.

“I think that was a little bit of what you had to do was just push where you could jump the rhythms every lap, try not to make mistakes, get clean laps, get away from the lappers. If a line changed and wasn’t working, you just had to be open-minded to moving around a little bit.

“I think that’s kind of what you have to do in these type of races, they’re always physically demanding. But I think at the top it does become a mental battle for sure.”

Coverage of the 12th round commences at 7:00 p.m. ET on Peacock. Marvin Musquin was last year’s race winner in the Dome at America’s Center.

2024 AMA Supercross Seattle 450SX Main Event Results

  1. 2 – Cooper Webb
  2. 1 – Chase Sexton
  3. 18 – Jett Lawrence
  4. 7 – Aaron Plessinger
  5. 94 – Ken Roczen
  6. 3 – Eli Tomac
  7. 96 – Hunter Lawrence
  8. 32 – Justin Cooper
  9. 51 – Justin Barcia
  10. 21 – Jason Anderson
  11. 27 – Malcolm Stewart
  12. 67 – Benny Bloss
  13. 55 – Mitchell Oldenburg
  14. 9 – Adam Cianciarulo
  15. 125 – Vince Friese
  16. 12 – Shane McElrath
  17. 29 – Ty Masterpool
  18. 52 – Derek Drake
  19. 81 – Cade Clason
  20. 200 – Ryan Breece
  21. 148 – Justin Rodbell
  22. 82 – Mitchell Harrison

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a three-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.