The High Point National kicks off the annual east coast slate of MX rounds this year, and the big news this week is that we would be getting Ken Roczen for a surprise appearance right before he heads overseas to run WSX. We weren't expecting him to line up at all this summer in a non-stadium environment so this was some great news at a time when the 450 field is as depleted as it's been in decades with injuries. The 250 class hasn't been much better in their own right after last week, with Gulliem Farres and Jett Reynolds going down hard, as well as Tom Vialle, but he was good to go after a rough fall in Moto 1. Still, the question remains, can anyone stop the Lawrence Brothers?
Daytime Program/Injury Notes:
- Some rain during the week made things pretty damp in qualifying, specifically in the second sessions. As you could imagine, all the fast laps ended up happening in the opening sessions.
- Justin Cooper had a massive get-off in qualifying, leading to him missing both Motos on the day.
- We should be getting Chase Sexton and Jason Anderson back imminently.
- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 238 Haiden Deegan (2:20.801) (Danish Rider Matti Jorgensen ended up in P2 a little over two-tenths back of Deegan)
- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 94 Jett Ken Roczen (2:21.066) (Was over three (3) seconds faster than any other rider in the opening qualifying session)
250 Class Recap
1st - No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (Honda HRC) (3-1) (Seven Point Penalty)
In the span of about three hours, we went from Lawrence winning, to losing, and then winning again after we had found out he had been penalized for jumping on a red cross flag. I Can't say I saw it because I had to bounce for a moment passed the halfway mark, but the penalty the AMA settled on (seven-point deduction) is consistent with what they gave Chase Sexton after Detroit Supercross. As far as the racing, Lawrence was exactly one (1) Jo Shimoda going down in the opening corner away from probably going 1-1. The lack of a Moto 1 win was certainly not for the lack of effort, as Hunter had to grind to simply get into the final podium spot. You can find plenty of gritty rides from him like this all year, a big reason why I'm a fan.
2nd - No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) (1-7)
I've said it before and I'll say it again; R.J. Hampshire is the most entertaining man in Moto today. You don't know exactly what is going to happen, but he's going to do something always. Take Moto 1 for instance. Despite going down and coughing up the lead, he was able to catch back up to Haiden Deegan, then proceeded to bully him out of first and win with just a handful of corners to go. Need to work on these second Motos luck-wise, but speed is not the issue here, far from it.
4th - No. 30 Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) (7-3)
Outside of the opening lap fall in Moto 1, which took another dozen-plus rider with him, costing Shimoda a top-five run, it was another solid day for the Agenda™, but another day of what ifs which is becoming all too familiar. The speed is there for Shimoda too, which is infuriating. Something new seems to happen every week. If for nothing else, he was dynamite last year at RedBud, and after an off week, he has a chance to repeat at the biggest National on the calendar.
5th - No. 128 Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) (11-2)
I don't think it's a coincidence that Vialle puts up his best outing in the States on the track with the most character four rounds in. The thing is that he probably ends up on the podium comfortably had he not gotten caught up in the first-turn madness with a dozen other riders. Especially happy with that second Moto, given that he was in a decent amount of pain at Thunder Valley.
250 Class High Point Top 10
1st No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (3-1)
2nd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (1-7)
3rd No. 238 Haiden Deegan (2-6)
4th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (7-3)
5th No. 128 Tom Vialle (11-2)
6th No. 832 Chance Hymas (8-5)
7th No. 75 Ryder DiFrancesco (5-8)
8th No. 38 Jalek Swoll (4-11)
9th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (12-4)
10th No. 34 Max Vohland (6-12)
250 Class Points After High Point
1st No. 96 Hunter Lawrence (182 Points)
2nd No. 238 Haiden Deegan (147 Points)
3rd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (133 Points)
4th No. 30 Jo Shimoda (129 Points)
4th No. 32 Justin Cooper (121 Points)
6th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (115 Points)
7th No. 34 Max Vohalnd (107 Points)
8th No. 128 Tom Vialle (100 Points)
9th No. 832 Chance Hymas (92 Points)
10th No. 75 Ryder DiFrancesco (92 Points)
450 Class Recap
1st - No. 18 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC) (1-1)
I genuinely don't know what else I can say at this point. It doesn't matter if he hits the deck and losses eight seconds on the leader, doesn't matter if he gets jammed up on the start and takes a bit longer than usual to find his groove, Jett Lawrence's raw talent is just that good where a win is hardly ever unobtainable. Not his sharpest wire-to-wire outing by any means, but he was on absolute rails in that second Moto. To point out, on lap 11-of-16, Lawrence ran a 2:16.066. Not a single rider ran anything faster than 2:18.679 on that same lap, just a preposterous late-race pace. Oh yeah, first rider to start a 450 Motocross Championship 8-0 since James Stewart (so good btw) in 2008.
2nd - No. 94 Ken Roczen (HEP Progressive/Ecstar Suzuki) (7-2)
Not only would I say that Roczen matched my expectations coming off the couch this weekend, but I would also go as far as saying he was the best 450 rider on Saturday. Is it a guarantee that he would have caught Lawrence at the end in each Moto if not for the fall in Moto 1 and lappers in Moto 2? I don't think so, but I would absolutely have given him a puncher's chance. Those lappers in that second Moto absolute killed him, costing him four seconds on Lawrence with three to go, and then he cut that gap to under 2.5 seconds by the end. Hope to see KRoc at least a couple of more times after a run like this. The fans at High Point seemed to enjoy him being out there anyway.
4th - No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) (6-3)
It definitely went under the radar in that second Moto until the very last moments, but Ferrandis was the fastest guy on track those last five laps, and that nearly got him second place at the buzzer. Also going under the radar in the grand scheme of things is the fact that the 2021 Champion ended up making it up to sixth to kick things off on Saturday after a start in 21st. Saw Kris Keefer mention that his bike wasn't looking too hot, but based on Ferrandis' second Moto run, you would never tell.
6th - No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha) (2-8)
If a run up to eighth in Moto 2 after spending the opening laps in the mechanics' area isn't enough to impress you, I don't know what can. Very impressed with Marchbanks in these opening two 450 rounds for him.
450 Class High Point Top 10
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (1-1)
2nd No. 94 Ken Roczen (7-2)
3rd No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (4-4)
4th No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (6-3)
5th No. 2 Cooper Webb (3-6)
6th No. 36 Garrett Marchbanks (2-8)
7th No. 81 Ty Masterpool (5-7)
8th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (8-5)
9th No. 78 Grant Harlan (11-9)
10th No. 53 Derek Drake (9-12)
450 Class Points After High Point
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (200 Points)
2nd No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (151 Points)
3rd No. 2 Cooper Webb (147 Points)
4th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (138 Points)
5th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (134 Points)
6th No. 81 Ty Masterpool (92 Points)
7th No. 103 Lorenzo Loucurio (85 Points)
8th No. 47 Freddie Noren (81 Points)
9th No. 53 Derek Drake (79 Points)
10th No. 78 Grant Harlan (78 Points)
High Point PulpMX Industry Idiots Fantasy Team
450 Class: Ty Masterpool (All-Star, +6), Luca Marssalisi (+11), Kaeden Amarine (+11), Jeremy Smith (+16)
250 Class: Hunter Lawrence (All-Star, No Handicap), Matti Jorgensen (+16), Preston Killroy (+14), Jalek Swoll (+3)
FFL: Jett and Hunter Lawrence (Both Successful)
Points Total: 375
Next Up: RedBud (Buchannan, Michigan) (Bye Week next weekend)
Main Image via Honda HRC