- Premier-class rookie goes 1-1 to secure his third title of the year
- Chase Sexton takes third in points despite a moto 2 fall
- Hunter Lawrence withdraws following symptoms from hard practice crash
At the finale of the inaugural SuperMotocross Playoffs, held at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Team Honda HRC put an exclamation point on what was already an incredibly successful season, with Jett Lawrence taking home the first-ever SuperMotocross 450 Championship and earning the $1 million prize. The squad had already swept every professional AMA Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross title that had traditionally been available, with riders Chase Sexton, Jett Lawrence and Hunter Lawrence collecting the crowns in 450SX, 250SX East, 250SX West, 450MX and 250MX. For 2023 however, organizers added the three-round SuperMotocross Playoffs, which represented an opportunity for Honda's factory race team to accumulate even more laurels.
Following the first two rounds, the team was positioned well in both classes, with Chase and Jett sitting in first and second in the 450 points standings, and Hunter leading the 250 title chase. However, with triple points being paid in Los Angeles, success was anything but guaranteed. Jett took his CRF450RWE to the first moto win, while Chase finished third. Chase led the first part of moto 2, but a hard fall at about the midway point allowed Jett to move into the lead, which he held to the finish. Although Chase wasn't able to finish, he still took third in the final points standings. Unfortunately, Hunter Lawrence was forced to withdraw following qualifying practice, having aggravated a back injury incurred during Friday's free practice.
A native of Landsborough, in Queensland, Australia, Jett did a stint racing as an amateur in Europe before moving to the U.S. to race for the Honda-supported Factory Connection squad. He turned pro in 2020, earning AMA Rookie of the Year honors, and the next year saw him advance to the factory CRF250R with Team Honda HRC. He earned the '21 and '22 AMA Pro Motocross Championships, as well as the '22 AMA Supercross 250SX East Region crown. This year saw him take the 2023 250SX West Region title before moving up to the big class for outdoors and taking the AMA Pro Motocross 450 crown in his rookie season, winning an incredible 22 out of 22 motos. This SuperMotocross 450 crown continues an amazing trajectory for the 20-year-old, whose popularity with fans is exploding.
"On the track it's a one-man show, but behind the scenes it's so many people," Jett said after today's race. "The team is awesome, and that's what allows Chase, me and the other riders to have the best equipment we can. That also goes for my trainer O'Show [Johnny O'Mara], my dad was a big key, and also my brother—every day we were grinding to try and be better. To go out and get that [championship] is not only a massive achievement for me; it's a big thank-you to the people who support me and helped me get to where I am now."
The timing was perfect for Honda to achieve such unprecedented success, as 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the company's first production motocross bike, the CR250M Elsinore, aboard which Gary Jones rode to Honda's first AMA Motocross 250 Championship, in 1973.
"Honestly, we were already ecstatic after the completion of the 'normal' season, and to expect anything more almost seemed greedy," added Brandon Wilson, Manager of Racing and Experiential Marketing at American Honda. "That said, we were absolutely focused on continuing the trend, especially with this being the inaugural year for SuperMotocross. We're excited for the future of this series, and we hope it has a long future with many champions. Even if that's the case though, there will only ever be one first, so it's nice to put Jett and Honda in the record books in that way. Although I'm bummed that Chase and Hunter weren't able to end the season as they would've liked, I'm super-proud of the entire team for what we've accomplished this year."
About American Honda
American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides in the United States. American Honda's Power Sports & Products Division conducts the sales, marketing and operational activities for these products through independent authorized Honda retail dealers. For more information on Honda products, go to powersports.honda.com.