Jett Lawrence Secures AMA Pro Motocross 250MX Championship at Dramatic Finale2021-09-13 09:37
Jett Lawrence came into the last AMA Pro Motocross round of 2021 with a 23-point advantage in the 250MX division, and although poor starts and minor crashes made for a dramatic day at the Hangtown Motocross Classic, the 18-year-old Australian kept his head and rode intelligently, securing the title by tallying 8-3 moto finishes for fifth overall. Meanwhile, Team Honda HRC colleague and older brother Hunter Lawrence turned in 3-9 moto results in the hot, dry conditions at Rancho Cordova, California’s Prairie City SVRA, earning sixth overall and wrapping up third in the final standings.
After a poor launch in moto 1, Jett hit a wet patch and went down while trying to make up ground on the first lap. He remounted and resumed his charge forward, only to crash again when he was unable to avoid a downed rider in front of him. From near the back of the pack, Jett rode his CRF250R to 11th by the midway point of the 30-minute-plus-two-laps moto, and although the gaps were larger by that point, he overtook two more riders late in the race, including one just before the finish. This meant that — assuming another moto win by title-rival Justin Cooper — Jett had to finish moto 2 in seventh or better to take the crown. Another subpar getaway and an early fall had him 13th at the end of lap 1, but he was up to fourth by the halfway point. Another pass on lap 11 put him third, where he remained when he reached the checkered flag.
In the 450MX division, Ken Roczen rode an inspiring first moto, leading past the midway point aboard his CRF450R before surrendering one position in the hot, dry conditions. Unfortunately, another rider made contact with the German on the start straight in moto 2. Unable to continue due to pain in his right foot, Roczen was credited with 40th place in the moto and had to settle for a ninth-overall result.
Roczen posted the second-fastest time during 450MX qualifying, with a 2’12.552” lap in the final session. FXR/Chaparral Honda’s Coty Schock was 10th best. Privateers Bryson Gardner, Justin Jones, Dominic DeSimone and Nicholas Nisbet were 22nd, 27th, 31st and 35th, respectively.
Jett posted the second-fastest time in 250MX qualifying, at 2’13.722 2”, with Hunter right behind in third. FXR/Chaparral Honda rider Carson Mumford posted the ninth-best time. Having missed the previous round with an enlarged spleen, Chase Sexton was hoping to return for the series finale. Unfortunately, his condition hadn’t improved enough for him to take part.
Hunter Lawrence wore special Alpinestars gear that was a tribute to Formula 1 driver and fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who won the following day’s Italian Grand Prix.
Jett Lawrence’s title was the first ever by an Australian in the 250MX class. The only other Australian to win an AMA Pro Motocross crown is Chad Reed, and his came in the 450MX class, in 2009.
Jett finished the series six points ahead of second-place Justin Cooper in the final standings, marking the first 250MX class championship for Honda since 2013 with Eli Tomac.
With Hunter Lawrence wrapping up third in the 250MX final points standings, he and Jett became the first brothers ever to both finish in the top three of an AMA Pro Motocross or AMA Supercross Championship. The feat is also rare on other disciplines, although road racers Tommy and Roger Hayden finished first and second in the 2004 and ‘05 AMA Supersport series, and Nicky and Tommy Hayden did likewise in the ‘99 AMA Supersport series.
Following the final AMA Pro Motocross round, series organizers MX Sports Pro Racing presented Christien Ducharme, Jett Lawrence’s mechanic, with the Mechanic of the Year Award.
As Team Honda HRC prepares for the off-season, they bid farewell to Jade Dungey, who departs after having served as Chase Sexton’s mechanic with the squad this season.
With the 2021 season now complete, Team Honda HRC will begin testing and prepping for 2022, with Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence and Jett Lawrence developing their CRF machines.
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Ken Roczen 94
“My weekend in Hangtown was super tough. I was good in practice and got off to a good start in the first moto and led for over half of the race before settling for second, scoring some more points on [Eli] Tomac. In the second moto, there was a bunch of carnage going on at the start and my foot got stuck in somebody’s wheel to where I thought my foot was broken. I decided to go back to the mechanics’ area and get my foot checked out and unfortunately couldn't finish the race. It was a huge bummer, especially since I couldn't hold second in the championship, but we're just going to have to eat that, get some rest now and focus on the upcoming season.”
Chase Sexton 23
“Overall, it was an up-and-down outdoor season. We had some real highs and some lows, but overall I feel like I have something to build on for 2022 and come out stronger. Congrats to Jett and the whole team on an awesome job this season.”
Hunter Lawrence 41
"I’m happy to finish off the season – 8/10 would do it again [laughs]. I got third overall and obviously I would’ve loved more, but considering where we were at the start of the year, then going through Supercross, and making it to every race this year was a huge goal of ours. The past few years have been really tough with injury, so that was a big box that we checked this year. The team getting some race wins, a few overalls, some podiums and Jett’s championship was a good year and something great to build on for next year. I'm looking forward to some time off now to reflect with the team. A massive thank you to them, as they've been awesome; I couldn't have asked for a better team and support all year long. I'm really excited get into next year."
Jett Lawrence 18
“I didn't ride good at all today. The practices were good, but I was 'sleeping' on the first-moto start and then was rushing stuff, but I got a bit of a blessing to come up to eighth. Going into the second one, the mental frame was just to go out there and do my job. I got up from the crash as quick as I could and tried to put on a charge and not override the track, because it was pretty rough. I kind of got a flow and just relaxed and made my way through up to third, which was a lot better than the first moto. It's cool to wrap it up, but I don't think it's actually sunk in yet, realistically; I'm still trying to process it. I didn't come over here for nothing; my one goal was to win a championship and since then I've really been working my butt off to get to where I am today. Thankfully it's all paid off, and I can take a break and get ready for next season.”
“The entire team worked hard this season, and it showed as Jett battled hard to win his first-ever 250MX Championship -- congratulations Jett and Team Honda HRC!”
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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