In the 2022 AMA Supercross series’ first of two 250SX East-West Showdowns, the Lawrence brothers put in an impressive and emotional performance, with Hunter topping the main event and Jett recovering from an early crash to finish third.
Shortly thereafter, CRF450R-mounted Chase Sexton finished a strong third in the premier division despite a time-robbing fall.
Both Lawrence brothers enjoyed strong starts, and they had their CRF250Rs running near the front on the first lap. Jett then lost his front end after a whoop section and went down, remounting in 15th. Hunter dogged the leading Jo Shimoda until passing him in the sand section on lap 4. Christian Craig also moved by Shimoda and pursued Hunter for much of the race, but the Australian held off his West Region title rival to notch an emotional win. Meanwhile, Jett had mounted an incredible charge through the pack that landed him in a third position with two laps remaining, and the brothers celebrated their shared podium finishes with nose-to-nose burnouts on the Atlanta Motor Speedway asphalt.
Sexton emerged second from turn 1 in the 450SX main event, then got by the leading Justin Barcia in a rhythm section on lap 2. Unfortunately, the subsequent lap saw him fall in a turn after the sand whoops, and he had dropped to sixth place by the time he rejoined the race. Turning the fastest lap times of anyone, the 22-year-old worked his way forward, moving into a podium position with two laps remaining and staying there to the end.
All three active Team Honda HRC riders – Chase Sexton, along with Hunter and Jett Lawrence – participated in Friday’s Media Day activities, getting the opportunity to try out the long circuit. Hunter suffered a hard crash over a long triple but avoided serious injury.
The Atlanta round featured a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital theme, and the Team Honda HRC bikes wore special graphics that included artwork from Tayde, a St. Jude patient. In addition, the bikes’ Renthal handlebars and sprockets were purple. Following the race, autographed bike parts and other memorabilia were donated to be auctioned to benefit the charity. The auction opens April 25, when fans will be able to bid, and runs through May 9.
American Honda has a large number of Powersports Division staff based in Alpharetta, Georgia, many of whom were on hand for the Atlanta round.
Ken Roczen made the drive from Florida with his family to cheer on Team Honda HRC. The German, who has been focusing on his health since the Daytona round, is planning to return to action for the AMA Pro Motocross series.
After a long period of being grounded by Covid-related Japanese travel restrictions, HRC had two staff on hand for the Atlanta Supercross – off-road chief Taichi Honda and technical support representative Toru Yukawa.
Atlanta was a Supercross Futures round, so Honda’s Chance Hymas was in action. The Idahoan dominated, topping all three of his qualifying sessions and then leading every lap of the main event aboard his CRF250R.
With rain Saturday morning, the schedule was shortened to just one qualifier for each class (450SX, 250SX East and 250SX West). Sexton was fastest of the premier division, with SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Justin Brayton ninth and SGB Unlimited Honda riders Jeremy Hand and Cade Clason 15th and 20th, respectively.
Jett Lawrence was also fastest in his qualifying session (250SX East), with a margin of over a second. Red Riders took three of the top four positions, with MCR’s Mitchell Oldenburg and Fire Power Honda’s Jordon Smith third and fourth, respectively. Fire Power’s Jarrett Frye was 10th, and Phoenix Racing Honda’s Cullin Park was 14th. In 250SX West, Hunter Lawrence was third, with MCR’s Vince Friese ninth and Concrete Plants’ Maxwell Sanford 17th.
Sexton was untouchable in the second 450SX heat race, assuming the lead on the second full lap and winning by nearly 10 seconds. The Lawrence brothers were challenged, with Jett going down early in the 250SX East heat and finishing fifth, whereas Hunter notched a runner-up result in the West Region heat.
Hunter’s victory moved Honda into a tie with Yamaha for most support-class Supercross wins in Atlanta, with 11. It was also two wins in a row for Hunter, his third 250SX win of the season, and the fourth of his career.
This marked the second time that the brothers had both finished on a 250SX podium, although the positions were swapped from the 2021 Salt Lake City East-West Showdown, where Jett won and Hunter was third.
All three Team Honda HRC riders took part in the post-race press conference Saturday afternoon.
As the top-finishing 250SX East rider, Jett Lawrence extended his points lead to 47. With just two rounds remaining, the Australian could clinch the title next week in Foxborough. Hunter Lawrence is second in 250SX West, 23 points back with two races left. Sexton is tied for sixth in 450SX points.
250SX East Standings
|1||Jett Lawrence||18||Team Honda HRC||Honda||168|
|2||Rj Hampshire||24||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||122|
|3||Cameron McAdoo||48||Monster energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||114|
|4||Pierce Brown||44||Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing||GASGAS||107|
|5||Mitchell Oldenburg||54||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||103|
|6||Enzo Lopes||80||Muc-Off FXR ClubMX, IAMACOMEBACK, Yamaha||Yamaha||100|
|7||Jordon Smith||90||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||95|
|15||John Short||72||Volkswagen of Waco, Jones Powersports||Honda||44|
|19||Jarrett Frye||39||Fire Power Honda||Honda||26|
|20||Kyle Peters||52||Phoenix Racing Honda||Honda||25|
|25||Jeremy Hand||63||SGB Unlimited Honda||Honda||16|
|28||Lance Kobusch||194||STR, 100%, Dunlop, Canvas||Honda||15|
|39||Aj Catanzaro||330||Moto Academy||Honda||1|
250SX West Standings
|1||Christian Craig||28||Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha||194|
|2||Hunter Lawrence||96||Team Honda HRC||Honda||171|
|3||Michael Mosiman||29||Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing||GasGas||158|
|4||Vince Friese||62||Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda||Honda||127|
|5||Jo Shimoda||30||Monster Energy ProCircuit Kawasaki||Kawasaki||125|
|6||Nate Thrasher||49||Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha||Yamaha||112|
|29||Mcclellan Hile||503||Team BWR, HD Supply, L-Tec, SSI Decals, Fly Racing||Honda||9|
|31||Maxwell Sanford||162||Concrete Plants Inc||Honda||7|