・Jett Lawrence takes championship and continues perfect season
・Strong ride leads to second overall for Chase Sexton
・Hunter Lawrence takes 250 overall win, extends points lead
Continuing what has been a historic start to his 450 career, Jett Lawrence clinched the AMA Pro Motocross 450 Championship two rounds early with another dominant showing, this time at Upstate New York’s Unadilla MX. The Australian (who had just turned 20 five days earlier) also maintains a flawless rookie 450 season that has seen him top every moto so far. Chase Sexton challenged his Team Honda HRC colleague in the first moto and took a commendable second overall, while Hunter Lawrence not only earned the 250 class overall win, but greatly extended his points lead, from 3 to 22.
The first 450 moto featured more perfection by Jett Lawrence, who scored the holeshot aboard his CRF450RWE and led every lap. That said, Sexton put up a fight after moving into second place on lap 2. He closed to his teammate’s rear fender and made a pass attempt, but he avoided what could have been major contact and lost some ground. The Illinois native recovered what he had lost, but with three laps remaining, he went down and was passed by Dylan Ferrandis. Jett won, and Sexton held on to finish third. Moto 2 saw Jett score another holeshot and establish a cushion, and while Sexton rode smoothly in second, Jett raced to his first title in the 450 class.
Hunter Lawrence’s first 250 moto of the day was a masterclass in race craft, as he balanced aggression and calculation while recovering from a ninth-place start. He was up to fourth place by the one-third mark and was in second place at the two-thirds point, having navigated lapped traffic while making his way through a list of top riders. In the end, he finished three seconds down on moto winner Levi Kitchen, but ahead of his main title rivals. Following a restart, the second moto saw Hunter cross the holeshot line in 10th place, but he advanced quickly and secured second place just five laps in. At the finish, he was two seconds behind moto winner Justin Cooper, but he earned the overall win and is in a much better place in the title chase than he was just a few hours earlier.
All three active Team Honda HRC riders–Jett Lawrence, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence–took part in media activities on Friday, conducting interviews and getting in some track time.
Honda was the title sponsor of the Unadilla National, and several managers were on hand from the Power Sports and Products headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Outdoor Motor Sports (a dealership in Amsterdam, New York) set up a pop-up activation booth in the Team Honda HRC pits, where they displayed five CRF models and engaged with fans and customers.
Motocross pioneer Gunnar Lindstrom served as the official grand marshal for the Unadilla round. Gunnar is the father of Team Honda HRC manager Lars Lindstrom and is himself a former manager of the team.
As has been the case for much of the series, Jett Lawrence and Chase Sexton were the fastest riders in the 450 class during timed practice. In addition, Hunter Lawrence notched the best time in the 250 ranks.
Unadilla is known for its rocky soil, and both Lawrence brothers elected to run Cycra handguards on their race bikes for the motos.
Team Honda HRC ruled the 450 class lap times in the motos, with Jett and Chase going 1-2 on both motos’ time sheets. In addition, Hunter had the fastest lap in the first 250 moto.
With Jett’s 2023 success, Honda extended its lead atop Unadilla’s 450 moto-wins list (formerly 250 two-stroke), with 22 to Kawasaki’s 17. Honda also closes the margin to 450 overall-win-leader Kawasaki, 10-9.
Jett joins other Red Riders to have earned the overall win in the 450 class at Unadilla, including Mike LaRocco, Ricky Carmichael (twice), Kevin Windham (twice), Ken Roczen (twice) and Chase Sexton last year. Meanwhile, Hunter joins other Red Riders to have taken Unadilla’s overall win in the 250 class (formerly 125 two-stroke), including Steve Lamson, Trey Canard, Eli Tomac, Jeremy Martin and Jett Lawrence.
Jett’s 450 career remains literally perfect, as he has won all 18 AMA Pro Motocross motos that he has entered (as well as the Open class at the 2022 Motocross of Nations). Hunter’s 250 overall win was the 13th of his career.
All three active Team Honda HRC riders participated in the post-race press conference.
Next up for Team Honda HRC is AMA Pro Motocross round 10 next weekend at Budds Creek, Maryland, followed a week later by the finale at Indiana’s Ironman Raceway.