Chase Sexton ends Jett Lawrence’s win streak, Haiden Deegan wins 250s

Thousands of spectators basked in the sun as they lined the winding race course nestled just south of Highway 50 Saturday. Enduring high temperatures was worth it for those at Prairie City of Highway Vehicle Area (OHVA) as they witnessed one of the most thrilling finish to take place in recent years at the Michael’s Reno Powersports Hangtown Motocross Classic.

Competing in what was the 55th edition of this local classic, La Moille, IL rider Chase Sexton swept the motos in the Hangtown Motocross Classic to  end Jett Lawrence’s perfect Pro Motocross Series winning streak. Sexton made the first moto victory look easy, but crashed on Lap 1 of Moto 2 where he fell back to the 40th position and charged his way through the field to take the helm of the race in its final moments.  Sexton only led four laps of the final race of the day, however, it was the most important ones that everyone wants to win as he took the checkered flag. 


“It was the dumbest thing I could have done,” said Sexton, 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship 450SX Champion, referencing his early crash that appeared to most as the end of his hopes to win the prestigious  Hangtown Motocross Classic, a race that he was sidelined from previously. “I slid out all by myself, which made it even worse. But it was one of the best races I’ve ever had. I knew I had to send it to get back to where I needed to be. I had a few hairy moments down the hills, probably like two, so those get you back into the realization of what’s going on. I was just really comfortable with my bike today, even though my starts are still pretty bad. We got the bike working really well and I was able to really push to my limit. I haven’t really gotten that in the last year, and I was happy about that. I was bummed to see Jett go down, that’s not how you want to beat somebody. This track was really gnarly, he’ll be back.”

Saurday’s win came for Sexton as he competes in his first year with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team. With the victory, he emerged as the series leader in the 450MX title race following 2 of 11 rounds, and importantly signaling his intentions to fight for a maiden Pro Motocross Championship this season.


“That was a year and a half built up,” Sexton told Peacock’s Jason Thomas from the top spot on the box. “I slid out on the start. I was dead last, and I was like, ‘This is going to be a hard moto. That was wide open from the start to the end. That was the best ride of my life.” 

Hunter Lawerence finished second place in the overall results on Saturday, Lawrence rode to second iplace n the first moto and fourth in Moto 2 to finish second overall.  He scored the holeshot in Moto 1 and led the first 14 laps but didn’t have enough to keep up with Sexton on his pivotal run in the final Moto that had Saturday’s crowd cheering on their feet around the entire race course in what will go down in history as one of the greatest comeback victories the Hangtown Classic fans have seen. 


“Today was one of the tough days in the office,” Lawernce said. “That’s about it. Stoked for the team and everyone who helps out.”


Hamilton Ohio’s Aaron Plessinger joined Sexton and Lawrence on the podium Saturday afternoon as he landed third overall, after finishing fifth and second. A rider that is always known for his animated celebrations and post race interviews on the tour, the Hangtown fans erupted when he took the stage for post-race celebrations alongside his teammate Saturday, roaring seemingly loud enough to be heard all the way to Folsom’s Sutter Street and even louder than those during opening ceremonies when the beloved Painted Ladies of Folsom Pro Rodeo rode into the arena in their patriot way.

“My teammate’s riding great,” Plessinger said. “Shoot; I don’t even know how I got up front, I pushed as hard as I could and I figured I could back it down just a little bit, but these guys are riding really good. I’m riding good too, but I couldn’t seal the deal. Chase was riding unreal.”


While Sexton’s charge from the back was the talk of the race, the second aspect was that it ended the win streak held by Jett Lawerence, a hardship that also came by factor of a hard crash on lap one of the first Moto Lawerence struck the ground hard on a downhill section of the course and took a while before regaining his feet. Repairs were made to his bike before the final Moto, but the bike was not 100 percent after the incident and neighter was he, as he road the rest of the afternoon in pain after suffering a leg injury. 

In the 250 division, Haiden Deegan crashed out of the lead of Moto 2 but had enough of a gap to Levi Kitchen that he finished second in that race. Along with his win in Moto 1, Deegan scored the overall victory for the second straight week.

“We missed the suspension change a little bit, obviously,” Deegan said. “I went for a helicopter ride but it is what it is. We got going, we got the overall. and we salvaged.”

On average, some 20,000 spectators have been known to pack the grandstands and line the tracksides at Prairie City each year and organizers are hoping that trend continues when the gates open for pro competition Saturday. Over the course of the event, ticket holders normally witness more than 1,000 riders take to the dirt from the amateur level to the pros over the three day sting. While final counts are still underway, 2024 seemed to be in alignment with those of the past. 

The Hangtown Motocross is managed by the Dirt Diggers North Motorcycle Club and has organized the competition at Prairie City since 1979. The race was originally held near Placerville, then in the small town of Plymouth, which it outgrew very quickly. 

The club spends more than $200,000 annually to stage the competition. The club recruits sponsorships for the event each year, a necessary component to keep the affair running, considering that insurance alone today is well over $20,000 for the event and is just one of the many costs the club takes on to put the event on.

One aspect that many may not be aware of is that the Hangtown Motocross event benefits local charities each here. Throughout the years, the club has assisted various charities, among those is the locally known non-profit Friends of Folsom. The local charity group provides volunteer support for the event year after year, including setting up the course in the weeks ahead of it, managing parking on race day and helping with hospitality and vendor needs throughout the course of the event.  

Each year, it is the funds donated to the organization from this event that kick starts the charities annual turkey drive funds where they provide holiday meals to over 10,000 families in need.  Additional profits from each event then go back into enhancing the facility for future events in a self-sustaining business model where more people win than just the guy on the podium.

55th Hangtown Motocross Classic Saturday results

Results 450MX Class
1. Chase Sexton (USA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda
3. Aaron Plessinger (USA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
7. Justin Barcia (USA), GASGAS
8. Malcolm Stewart (USA), Husqvarna
10. Christian Craig (USA), Husqvarna

Standings 450MX Class 2024 after 2 of 11 rounds
1. Chase Sexton, 90 points
2. Hunter Lawrence, 82
3. Aaron Plessinger, 69
8. Justin Barcia, 61
9. Malcolm Stewart, 57
12. Christian Craig, 33

Results 250MX Class 
1. Haiden Deegan (USA), Yamaha
2. Tom Vialle (FRA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
3. Levi Kitchen (USA), Kawasaki
6. Pierce Brown (USA), GASGAS
9. Julien Beaumer (USA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
10. Casey Cochran (USA), Husqvarna
15. Ryder DiFrancesco (USA), GASGAS

Standings 250MX Class 2024 after 2 of 11 rounds
1. Haiden Deegan, 97 points
2. Levi Kitchen, 84
3. Tom Vialle, 81
7. Pierce Brown, 55
8. Julien Beaumer, 48
13. Ryder DiFrancesco, 35
16. Casey Cochran, 28

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan has over 25 years of professional journalism and content creation experience in which he has earned 37 professional awards. He is the co-founder/publisher of Folsom Times an All Town Media LLC product.