Features 18 May 2023

Countdown: Lawrence brothers Supercross highlights

The standout moments of Hunter and Jett during season 2023.

This season saw Hunter and Jett Lawrence set the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship alight on their way to making history. They became the first siblings to ever win 250SX East and West regions in the same year, as well has helping Team Honda HRC claim all three titles. In this edition of Countdown, MotoOnline looks back at some of the best moments as the brothers controlled their respective campaigns.

Image: Octopi Media.

7. Jett begins campaign with a statement ride:
Last year’s east coast winner Jett Lawrence opened his 2023 account with a convincing win at the west series opener at Anaheim 1. After qualifying P2 and having to come through the pack to second in his heat, the 19-year-old turned up when it counted, with a commanding performance in the main event. As one of his anticipated main rivals – Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner – crashed out on the start straight, Lawrence quickly jumped to the front and never looked back. Jett led every lap and took a 5.3-second win from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s RJ Hampshire, starting his season in the best possible way.

6. Hunter puts in a commanding Daytona performance:
On the hunt for his first 250SX title, Hunter Lawrence put on a class performance at the infamous Daytona International Speedway. Coming through the first turn in fourth, Hunter made quick passes and moved into P2 before half a lap was even completed. Not happy to settle, he made a pass on Levi Kitchen that left the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rider on the ground in the sand section, and he set about distancing himself from the rest of the pack. Hunter would stretch out a convincing nine-second lead by the time he hit the finishline and captured his eighth supercross win.

5. Jett cruises to fourth-straight 250 championship:
Having already built a 39-point lead, there was no pressure on Jett entering the penultimate round of the series at Denver, where he only had to finish 10th or better to take his fourth-straight AMA title. An average start saw him placed P10 in the main event, but he steadily moved his way up to third, where he settled. He might have finished a distant 21 seconds behind race winner Hampshire, but with little to gain and everything to lose, it was a mature ride that saw Jett clinch the championship with a round remaining. After crossing the line he saluted the crowd and the bike itself as a clear send-off of his 250 career.

Image: Octopi Media.

4. Jett breaks his Triple Crown curse:
One of the only real chinks in Jett’s armour over the years has been the chaotic, frenzied Triple Crown format, but he sent those demons packing at Glendale’s 12th round. While many of his rivals crashed at some point over the course of the evening, Jett stayed relatively out of trouble on his way to a 1-3-1 result and a satisfying round win. Later in the campaign he said his performance at Glendale was the one of the highlights of his season, as he could finally call himself a ‘Triple Crown guy’. For the rest of the field, it signalled the beginning of the end for the title hunt, as Jett would continue to dictate terms for the rest of the season, and one of the only chances to make any ground up on the Australian had disappeared.

3. Hunter claims first title at Nashville:
Having built a near insurmountable 49-point lead heading into the second-to-last 250SX East round at Nashville, Hunter only needed to collect one point to take his first title. Not content to take it easy, the Sunshine Coast-born rider stalked early leader, Jordon Smith until the sixth lap, when the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rider made a mistake and left the track. Hunter pounced and took the lead, and was never challenged, as he sailed to a 3.8-second lead and realised his lifelong dream of becoming an AMA Supercross Champion. Making the moment more special, Hunter seized his title just an hour’s drive from Loretta Lynn’s, where he came close to calling it quits after crashing out of the Pro Motocross Championship three years prior.

2. Hunter wins Tampa thriller:
Arguably the best performance this year came from Hunter at the Tampa round, as he refused to give up until the bitter end. A poor start from the 250SX East points leader had him fighting his way through the pack while Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Nate Thrasher quickly established himself at the front of the field. Hunter dug deep, and with some aggressive passing manoeuvres, eventually clawed his way onto the back wheel of Thrasher. The two diced fiercely late in the race, but a spectacular move in the final turn before the finish line saw the Honda rider slide into the lead and take the race win by a mere 0.134s – the closest margin of victory in eight years.

1. Jett’s perfect Salt Lake City send-off:
Having already wrapped up the championship and with a rookie 450MX campaign looming just two weeks later, there was zero pressure on Jett to perform at the final round at Salt Lake City. However, that didn’t stop him from catching and rubbing plastic with early leader Hampshire in the main event, as he charged into the lead and set off for the chequered flag. Jett would eventually win by almost five seconds, putting an exclamation mark on his history-making 250 campaign and ensuring he’ll be remembered as one of the most successful 250 class Supercross and Pro Motocross riders of all time.