News 13 Aug 2023

Lawrence finalises 450MX title with Unadilla dominance

Ninth 1-1 result of 2023 clinches first premier class title for young rookie.

Jett Lawrence celebrates 2023 Pro Motocross Championship 450MX title

Image: Octopi Media.

Extending his undefeated streak to 18 consecutive motos, Jett Lawrence further etched his name into Pro Motocross Championship history at the 2023 Honda Unadilla National as he clinched the 450MX title in his first season racing in the premier class.

Challenges from Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) and Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) ensured the first moto of the day at Unadilla was a tense one, however it was still Lawrence out front at the conclusion of 30 minutes and two laps.

Though Lawrence ultimately held the lead from the gate drop through to the checkered flag, Sexton kept his teammate within sight all moto long and even nearly completed a pass on Jett’s inside in the early going.

After the two made light contact navigating the heavily rutted track and challenging lapped riders, Sexton stalled his bike and was forced to catch Lawrence again. He steadily made up ground but took a new line to avoid lappers into a corner and found himself suddenly on the ground, with his spinning rear wheel landing on his right arm.

Sexton’s Alpinestars jersey was torn and Ferrandis snuck by into second, but the reigning Monster Energy Supercross 450SX champion remounted and held on to finish third in the moto.

Ferrandis charged dangerously close to Lawrence’s rear wheel in the closing moments but settled for second, 1.69s in arrears of the No. 18 Honda CRF450R as his time ran out.

Adam Cianciarulo was the frontmost Monster Energy Kawasaki rider, especially after his teammate Jason Anderson hit the ground in the second turn. Cianciarulo finished fourth ahead of Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) in fifth. Garrett Marchbanks (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha) held second in the early going and finished sixth, ahead of Harri Kullas (BBL Racing Yamaha), Phil Nicoletti (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha), Ty Masterpool (HBI Racing Kawasaki), and Bryce Shelly (Yamaha).

Justin Barcia’s return to competition with TLD Red Bull GasGas began with a 40th-place result following two crashes, including one in the first-turn that caused a lengthy mechanics area visit while his GasGas team removed his damaged clutch lever. Also of note, Anderson charged into the top 10 after his high-speed crash at the start, but fell again en route to finishing 14th.

Matching his number with an 18th consecutive moto win out of 18 opportunities thus far in the Pro Motocross Championship season, Lawrence captured the 2023 450MX title two rounds early by ending the day at Unadilla 103 points clear of Ferrandis in the standings.

Sexton seemed poised to challenge Lawrence at the front in the first laps following the moto two gate drop, as the Honda duo lapped the extremely rutted Unadilla track with care at first.

Perhaps nursing a sore arm following his crash in moto one, Sexton lost touch of the 20-year-old rookie leading, ultimately taking the checkered flag second, 9.209s back from Lawrence who had already begun an emotional championship celebration with members of his team.

Ferrandis ended the moto third, 24.61s in arrears of Lawrence at the checkers.

Anderson improved from his frustrating first moto to finish fourth in moto two ahead of Plessinger in fifth. Cianciarulo turned a top-three start into a sixth-place result in the race, ahead of standout starter Kullas plus Masterpool, Freddie Noren (Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki), and Marchbanks in the top 10.

The penultimate round of the 2023 Pro Motocross season is next, scheduled for August 19 at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland. With the championship confirmed to be off the table, Sexton, Ferrandis, and the remainder of the 450MX will aim to break up Lawrence’s undefeated season in one of the four motos that remain.

Hunter Lawrence wins 250 class at 2023 Honda Unadilla National

Image: Octopi Media.

Moments after his younger brother Jett secured the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship 450MX title, Hunter Lawrence went to work in the second 250MX moto of the Honda Unadilla National and finalised the overall win with 2-2 moto scores.

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) dominated the opening moto of the day aboard his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing machine, but a thrilling multi-rider battle behind him ensured start-to-finish action.

In one of the many bouts of battling, a four-rider duel between Maximus Vohland (Red Bull KTM), Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki, Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC), and Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) featured multiple passes, partially enabled by slower lapped riders and also due to rapid pace from all four riders.

Kitchen was comfortably up the track by about 4s as this battle took a turn when Hammaker crashed heavily entering the closing minutes. Kitchen was soon being closely pursued by Lawrence after these two dropped Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Vohland, and Deegan in the top five by more than 7s.

Running near the front early before fading outside of the top five, Justin Cooper passed his Star Racing Yamaha teammate Deegan for fifth moments before Deegan suffered a race-ending mechanical failure mere seconds before the white flag.

Kitchen closed out the victory by a margin of 3.211s over Lawrence. Shimoda was a further 16.163s back. Vohland, Cooper, Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM), Ryder DiFrancesco (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), and Dilan Schwartz (BarX Suzuki) comprised the remainder of the top 10.

Following a weather-induced delay, a red flag for a violent crash suffered by Hampshire, and a full restart, the day’s final moto at Unadilla finally got going for good with DiFrancesco out front.

Cooper and Shimoda pursued from second and third while Deegan looked to advance from an early position of 18th following his gate pick of 38 due to his moto one DNF. Cooper moved past DiFrancesco into the lead and quickly built up a gap of more than 6s.

Lawrence soon swiped second from DiFrancesco’s teammate Shimoda who had moved forward while Kitchen circulated behind in fourth following his first-moto triumph.

Cooper closed out a dominant race win just 2s up the track from Lawrence who was nearly caught by Shimoda as the checkered flag neared. Kitchen came home fourth, 33.16s behind Cooper.

Had Shimoda passed Lawrence, Kitchen’s 1-4 moto scores would’ve delivered him the overall, but Lawrence’s 2-2 on the day ultimately put the Honda rider atop the class, with Kitchen and Cooper joining the Australian on the overall podium.

Forkner finished fifth, leading Vohland, Vialle, Hammaker, Daxton Bennick (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing), and Deegan in filling out the rest of the top 10.

Heading to Budds Creek for the 10th round out of 11 on August 19, Lawrence holds a 22-point lead over Cooper in the 250MX standings. Shimoda is a further 13 points back, while Deegan how has 38 to make up to catch Lawrence following his 17th overall result at Unadilla.

Detailed results