Typically, you like to see everything, and I mean literally everything, go your way. It's hard to have things go more your way than they have for the American branch of Honda HRC in 2023. Chase Sexton and both Lawrence brothers swept all three Supercross titles in late April/early May. Now Hunter Lawrence secured his first 250 Class Motocross Championship, while Jett Lawrence reached Motocross immortality on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Indiana. 22 Motos, 22 Victories, and now the 20-year-old phenom officially joins Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart (so good by the way) as the only three men in the over 50-year history of American Motocross to complete a perfect season.
The Hard Way
Hunter Lawrence's path to the 250 No. 1 plate was anything but easy. Multiple DNFs popped up in the middle of the season, and he lost the points lead after Southwick for the second year in a row. Safe to say he did not let that stretch run in 2022 come back to haunt him this year. Before Ironman, Hunter won three of the final four Nationals, with seven finishes of either first or second. He wasn't home free after Budds Creek but was as close as he could have been with Justin Cooper being far enough back and Haiden Deegan having issue after issue pop-up.
We saw today what happens if you try to go a bit too hard when you don't have to, with Austin Forkner going down hard, but Hunter stayed the course all day. A win wasn't necessary, to begin with, and Cooper going down immediately in Moto 1 was a borderline godsend. All Hunter had to do was ride smart to fifth place, and he clinched the title one Moto in any way. So, although that second run was a formality, I can't blame him for not pushing the issue when there was no shot he was winning the overall.
For a couple of years now, it's been a ton of what-ifs for Hunter. Last year especially with the late season collapse in Motocross, and that Anaheim 2 Supercross crash in the whoops that more or less cost him any chance to besting Christian Craig in the 250 West title hunt. This year, you saw a guy in Hunter Lawrence who was absolutely on it both indoors and out and was probably one of the most enjoyable riders to watch in either class. He's more than deserving of this 450-class promotion coming his way in 2024.
Going back to May, there were surely at least some people thinking that Jett Lawrence would win the 450 Class Championship as a rookie. I don't think anyone could have anticipated him not only going undefeated but doing it in such a dominating fashion. Talk about the injuries and guys taking the summer off all you want, there were more than a handful of performances where he was just unstoppable. Southwick jumps out right away, Unadilla probably being another, and certainly in that stretch of Sexton-less rounds before High Point.
It's hard to say if this was a better or worse run than either one of Carmichael's or Stew's perfect seasons, but the bottom line is this, Jett ran 22 Motos and won every single one of them. For a 20-year-old kid who was 19 for a large chunk of those Nationals, that's unbelievably impressive. Let alone the fact that the only two other riders to do this are the near-universal consensus No. 1 and No. 3 riders to ever live.
The best part of this was simply Jett's reaction once he secured that final Moto win. It takes a lot of skill and luck to even be in that position and the gravity of what he just did hit him the second he took the checkered flag. Doesn't feel like we get reactions like this often, so this was a nice change of pace. Simply a spectacular run for the No. 18 all summer, and he might have an extra million dollars calling his name in a few weeks in Los Angeles.
Main Image via Honda HRC