News 31 May 2024

Will Hunter Lawrence be the one to beat Jett’s 24-0 win-streak?

Runner-up on debut in 450MX at Fox Raceway a convincing sign.

Irony. It’s known to play a part in sports, and when you consider Jett Lawrence is on a 24-0 win-streak in the 450MX category of Pro Motocross, it would be somewhat ironic to see his unbeaten run ultimately broken by elder brother and Team Honda HRC teammate, Hunter Lawrence. P2 on debut at Pala in the 2024 season-opener proved he’s very much in the ballpark.

With reigning 250MX national champion Hunter stepping up to the premier class this season and after earning two 450SX podiums as a rookie in a mixed Monster Energy Supercross campaign that ended strongly, he immediately made an impact at Fox Raceway last Saturday with 2-3 finishes for second overall.

Image: Octopi Media.

Hunter kept Jett in sight throughout the duration of the first encounter and then holeshot moto two. Jett quickly took charge, with the battle going on to intensify further from there, and Chase Sexton also factored at the front, before Hunter took the checkered flag a distant third in the end.

Complete with custom gear from Alpinestars in honor of the late Formula 1 icon Ayrton Senna – 30 years on from his death at Imola in May of 1994 – there’s now a sense of belonging for 24-year-old Lawrence on the factory CRF450RWE, taking on title rivals Jett and Sexton head-to-head. It was Sexton who Hunter replaced upon his defection to KTM at the end of last year.

“It wasn’t bad, a good day,” a typically modest Hunter mentioned post-race. “Had a pretty cool gear set collab, so you always want to do a little extra good in that so you’ve got a little power to convince Astars for some more one-off kits, but yeah, it was a good day. I’m not too fond of this place, but it’s been pretty good to us.”

Image: Octopi Media.

While he wasn’t outwardly displaying any form of being overly excited in finishing runner-up on debut in 450MX, it was a sure confidence boost that he will build upon in the coming rounds, beginning with Hangtown tomorrow. The Lawrence way is to keep working, keep improving. Their approach is measured, regardless of any immense success on-track.

“I know what my ability is and obviously I train with [Jett] during the week for the past however many years, so we know where the bar is and we know where we can improve and stuff,” Hunter explained. “We missed the mark a little bit in the second moto, but that happens.

“It’s up to the rider to make the difference and not just point the finger at the bike. We look at ourselves a lot and I think you see that in our results… we always hold ourselves accountable and give the best we can do, regardless of the track, the bike. All we can do is give our best and that’s what we try to do.”

Image: Octopi Media.

Team Honda HRC manager Lars Lindstrom was impressed with both Lawrences, of course, but left round one with added hope that Hunter will be a primary challenger all season long: “A lot of people were wondering where Hunter would be in the pecking order, but I was sure that he would be a solid third-place guy in his rookie 450 MX season

“I just didn’t know exactly how he would stack up to Jett and Chase. He blew us all away, with his incredible starts and speed that showed that he’ll be a top contender in the 450 class!”

So, could it realistically be Hunter Lawrence who manages to break Jett’s streak? It won’t be simple for anybody, and neither will it be straightforward for Jett Lawrence himself to remain trouble-free for a second consecutive perfect season in Pro Motocross. The truth is, few would now be surprised if it is in fact Hunter who puts a stop to the 20-year-old defending champion’s dominance after all.