News 18 Jun 2023

Lawrence overcomes High Point adversity to extend streak

Hunter turns 3-1 into fourth 250MX overall in 2023.

Jett Lawrence remains undefeated after 2023 High Point MX national

Image: Octopi Media.

History continues to unfold in the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship as Jett Lawrence turned the High Point National into proof that he can overcome significant competition and crashes on a rain-affected track and still leave with his perfect win record intact, while his older brother Hunter won a moto en route to his fourth overall victory of the year.

The Team Honda HRC sensation’s day is reflected on the official results as 1-1 moto scores, but that far from tells the story of the daylong headache Ken Roczen provided in his one-off outdoors appearance with Progressive Insurance Ecstar Suzuki.

Additionally, heavy rain in the days leading into the Pennsylvania event heightened the difficulty of the High Point Raceway track, perhaps contibuting to the heavy crash Lawrence suffered while leading the opening 450MX moto.

At that point, Roczen and Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha representative Garrett Marchbanks got by, but Lawrence caught and passed both to extend his season record to 7-0 — though he gave up the distinction of leading every lap of the year.

Struggling to change his line while approaching a lapper on the muddy track late in the first moto, Roczen hit the ground and lost considerable time as he worked to kickstart his machine while on a hill. Marchbanks’ second-place start and strong moto paid off as Roczen dropped from the front and the ClubMX rider returned to the second position. Marchbanks finished there, 26.205s back from Lawrence.

Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) was next, followed by two Kawasaki KX450 bikes: the Monster Energy Kawasaki-prepared ride for Adam Cianciarulo and Ty Masterpool’s privateer entry, which was smoking in the closing minutes after a fall.

Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) reached sixth after an unideal start and led Roczen, Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM), Derek Drake (BarX Suzuki), and Romain Pape in completing the top 10.

Looking to exit the season’s fourth round with his perfect record intact, Lawrence faced another severe challenge en route to his eighth moto victory of 2023 in the day’s concluding moto.

Roczen led early with Cianciarulo trailing him and Lawrence working to quickly catch both. Lawrence cut into Roczen’s lead until the 11th of the race’s 16 laps, at which point he returned his No. 18 Honda CRF450R to its familiar position of first and closed out another 1-1 moto result.

Roczen settled for second in the moto and also was second overall after his seventh-place result in the opening moto. Ferrandis overcame Cianciarulo for third, but fell short of the overall podium with 6-3 moto scores. By finishing fourth in both High Point motos, Cianciarulo earned his first podium outdoors thus far in 2023.

Plessinger, Webb, Masterpool, Marchbanks, Grant Harlan, and Freddie Noren (Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki) comprised the bottom half of the top 10 in the event’s final moto.

Lawrence has amassed the maximum possible sum of 200 points through four rounds, and heads to the fifth event — the FMF Redbud National — with a 49-point advantage over former series champion Ferrandis. KTM’s Webb and Plessinger are third and fourth in the standings, 53 and 62 points back, respectively.

Hunter Lawrence celebrates win at 2023 High Point National

Image: Octopi Media.

In the quarter-liter class, an unideal first moto at High Point saw 250MX points leader Hunter Lawrence recover to finish third, which he paired with a win in moto 2 to extend his streak to four overall victories through four rounds in the season thus far.

Multiple significant mistakes for RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) hindered his charge toward race leader Haiden Deegan in the opening moto, but time after time he reeled the young Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rider back in, setting up a final-lap charge.

Hampshire was successful and defeated Deegan by a margin of 2.669s. Including the all-important final lap, Hampshire led eight laps to Deegan’s seven, having controlled the opening half of the race before hitting the ground and watching Deegan go by.

Points leader Lawrence, representing Team Honda HRC, may have factored into the battle for the win if not for his involvment in a large pileup in the second turn. Instead, Lawrence stormed from about the middle of the pack to third at the end and took the day’s first checkered flag 22.449s in arrears of Hampshire.

Jalek Swoll ran a strong third aboard his own Rockstar Energy Husqvarna before the charging older Lawrence brother swiped the final podium spot in the closing minutes. Ryder DiFrancesco (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) was more than a minute back from the leaders but completed the top five aboard his Kawasaki KX250.

The day’s concluding 250MX moto took a turn right from the start when first-moto leaders Hampshire and Deegan faced early trouble. Hampshire came together with his teammate Swoll on the opening lap following the strong opening moto for both Husqvarna riders.

At the same time, Deegan was scored in 18th while Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing), DiFrancesco, and Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC) engaged in a battle for the lead as the race began to unfold.

Lawrence worked the first lap near the bottom of the top 10, but soon got by DiFrancesco for third, securing the day’s overall victory as they ran. Kitchen and Hymas were next for Lawrence in his bid to extend his streak of winning every second moto thus far in 2023.

The Honda rider was successful in passing both riders, taking control of the race, and winning by a large margin: 18.64s.

At the end, Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) and Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) got the best of Kitchen and Hymas, slotting into the moto’s final two podium positions and strengthening their overall results.

After Kitchen and Hymas in fourth and fifth, Deegan was sixth, having charged toward the front throughout the race along with Hampshire, who finished seventh.

A post-race penalty for jumping under red-cross flag conditions subtracted seven championship points from Lawrence’s total, but he maintained the day’s overall victory with 3-1 moto scores.

Hampshire was second overall at 1-7, while Deegan’s 2-6 outings earned him the final step of the overall podium. Shimoda and Vialle were fourth and fifth overall thanks to their charges at the end of the day, ahead of Hymas, DiFrancesco, Swoll, Kitchen, and Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM) filled the remainder of the overall top 10.

Even with his penalty, Lawrence holds a 28-point lead over Deegan in the 250MX championship standings. Hampshire is third, a further 14 points back.

Following a weekend off, the Pro Motocross Championship heads toward the Michigan-Indiana border for the FMF Redbud National on Saturday, July 1.

Detailed results