Updated: Apr 29
It was a rocky start to Supercross for Hunter Lawrence once he came to America. He effectively missed his opening two seasons due to injury, but once the injury woes wained, it didn't take him too long to figure things out. And now a year after an early season crash out in Anaheim wrecked his title chances against Christian Craig, the best 250 Supercross rider on either coast this year can call himself Champion at long last, after securing the Main Event win this afternoon in Nashville over Jo Shimoda.
Long Time Coming
This fact has been mentioned a ton on broadcasts over the last two years but Hunter was 100% the guinea pig for the Lawrence Family. He was the first to step into the MXGP ranks, then the AMA ranks once they got settled in Europe with both Lawrence brothers competing in the MX2 and EMX125 classes respectively. Once Hunter got on track for the first time in America, I was thoroughly impressed with his outings in that 2019 Motocross season. He made a ton of mistakes along the way, but you saw some real raw talent on display, and it was just a matter of when he was going to put it together.
Despite making his AMA debut in 2019, Hunter only had two career Supercross starts to his name entering 2020, both at the tail end of 2020 in Salt Lake City. Preseason injuries in '19 and '20 plagued him, but it only took him six Main Event starts to pick up his first win in Dallas. Again, the talent was there, just a matter of getting it all together at once. That's what ended up hurting him last year. If not for that whoops crash in Anaheim, he would have put some serious pressure on Christian Craig by the time the final round came. And as you've clearly seen all through 2023, he has had the pace for sure, but he's made next to no mistakes as well, and that's exactly why he has the 1E plate.
Was pretty easy to get the gist of how Lawrence felt after winning this Championship with his entire family trackside to see it, gratitude. He was quick to thank everyone who had been with him from the jump, in both good and bad times through the years. As previously mentioned, this is a family that has moved around a ton to give Hunter and Jett a chance to be in the position that they are in now. And you can tell that means everything to Hunter, and probably Jett as well.
Is '23 Hunter better than '23 Jett?
Feels natural to compare both of the Lawrence brothers at this stage of the year with Jett likely set to clinch the West next weekend, but I have felt for a while that Hunter has been the better all-around rider in 2023. He's looked just as dominant in spots but has also been able to keep it upright far more than his brother. Jett still has those notable slip-ups every now and then, but he has the uber talent to make up for it. At least for me, I'm more impressed with the way Hunter is getting it done. In any event, hopefully, we can get some good weather in Salt Lake City for one last showdown before Jett jumps up to the 450s for Motocross.
Main Image via Honda HRC