History-Making Lawerence: Jett Wins in 450SX debut in Anaheim, Hampshire Grabs 250SX

By Dylan Spaulding

In the 50-year history of Pro Supercross, no rider had won in their debut at the top class until Saturday, when the 20-year-old Australian phenom Jett Lawerence was able to win one of the crown races in Anaheim 1.

For the younger Lawerence, it wasn’t a clean track to get to the podium, dealing with a mishap in Heat #2, allowing for Cooper Webb to grab the victory.

But, Jett was able to practically cruise to victory for Team Honda HRC, winning by a solid margin, even with some late races pushes from Jason Anderson.

This win for Jett Lawerence means many things for what a historic season could be not only for the Aussie, but for the sport, being that Jett is tabbed as being the next big superstar in motorcross racing.

Even though Jett is the big story of the night given the magnitude and impact his win has among the sport, there are many storylines coming out of A1 that make fans looking forward to what’s to come in the west coast swing.

Tale of Two Lawerences

Heading into the weekend, the Lawerence brothers were the talk of the town.

Obviously, Jett was able to grab onto his potential and shoot to the stars in his first 450SX race of his career, but the same can’t be said for older brother Hunter.

Hunter Lawerence’s expectations weren’t maybe on the same decibel to his younger brother, but Hunter still had high expectations given his success last season in the 250 class.

For H. Lawerence, the weekend just had nothing favorable.

From the big chaos that happened in Heat #1, to being behind the eight ball early in the LCQ, and failing to reach the Main Event by inches, Hunter just had no luck going into the weekend.

With Anaheim being a tricky track, it wasn’t a shocking thing to see for any rider to find their mojo, but, for how much hype both Lawerence brothers had coming in, it is disappointing to not see both of them make it to the main.

Next week, with the series heading to Oracle Park for the first time since 2010, many of these riders will be experiencing a new track at hand, including Hunter Lawerence, which could help.

But, one can only hope that the older Lawerence brother can find his rhythm going forward, getting a bit of glimpse towards the tail of Saturday’s LCQ.

A Fresh Start

For muchos de los nuevos driver-team combos, success came early, a positive sign for things to come.

We mentioned Jett with his new 450 ride, but Cooper Webb jumping over to Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha seems to have been a good move, riding in the Top 3 until a hard crash late in the Main Event.

Webb, who had two wins in three races last season, looked to be back in his prime form, being quite aggressive in his Heat and Main Event races.

With Eli Tomac in his rebound process from his injury last year, Star Racing may be relying on Webb to handle business for the team while Tomac continues to get back into full force.

Other riders who impressed with their new teams include Dylan Ferrandis, who finished 5th in his race and Chase Sexton, who took 3rd from the former KTM rider Webb, who was replaced by Sexton.

Truthfully, Cooper Webb is going to be someone to keep an eye on this season.

While Jett will be the hottest talking point throughout the year, don’t discount Webb and what he can do on track in what could be a championship-caliber resurgence for the 2-time Supercross Champion.


Restless RJ 

In the 250 class, RJ Hampshire was dominant.

Similar to Jett, Hampshire truly did not have to deal with much competition behind, holding a steady lead throughout the majority of the Main Event.

Hampshire had to pass some of the early leaders after the gate drop, with former Jet Ski racer turned Supercross rider Julien Beaumer leading things early and impressing, but, it was smooth sailing from there.

For Hampshire, a three-time winner in the 250SX class, this year could be his chance to finally grab a 250SX championship.

With a handful of riders in contention for the 250 West crown, it may not be easy to get to a championship, but Hampshire has a great opportunity more than ever to make that happen.

Yes, people who pick guys like Levi Kitchen or Jordon Smith will be up there for a shot, but, RJ has all it takes to go out and win, especially without having the overly hungry Lawerence brothers.

Final Thoughts 

Overall, it was a great start to the opening of the SMX season.

Leading up to the season opener, we all knew what this race could be and I think it delivered.

The battles for the lead in both of the Main Events were relatively quiet. However, there was enough movement going on throughout the races that made it intriguing with some of the stories coming out of the weekend.

Now with the series fully in swing, riders and teams will begin to prep for a return to San Francisco at Oracle Park for an 8:30pm EST start time, with many unknowns impending with the track being new for many of these riders.