Historic Dominance for Team Honda HRC at Thunder Valley National
- Third-straight 1-1 result for Jett Lawrence in premier division
- Hunter Lawrence once again first overall in 250 class
- Chance Hymas posts career-best moto and overall results
Jett Lawrence enjoyed yet another impeccable performance at Colorado’s Thunder Valley National, continuing a thus-far flawless beginning to his 450 career, as he qualified fastest and led every lap of both motos. It was a record-setting day, as Lawrence bettered the four-moto-win debut mark set by Jeff Ward when he was a premier-class rookie in 1985. In the 250 division, Hunter Lawrence took his third-consecutive overall win, this one coming with an impressive 2-1 moto tally that was even better than his showings at the two California events. Riding at what was essentially his home race, Chance Hymas shrugged off a nasty, multi-rider crash at the start of moto 1, and then turned in the best performance of his young professional career, notching his first podium moto finish and his first top-five overall finish.
Jett nailed the holeshot in the first 450 moto and immediately set sail on his CRF450RWE. Riding smoothly and calmly, he steadily grew the gap on second place, eventually winning by over half a minute. The second moto saw more of the same, although his margin of victory this time around was “only” 12 seconds.
The first 250 moto started with a start-straight pile-up that slowed Hunter and put Hymas on the ground, leaving them 10th and last, respectively. Hunter was up to sixth after one lap, and he proceeded to pass some of the class’s top riders, arriving to third by lap 6. Getting around Haiden Deegan took some time, but Hunter was able to do so without falling. By then, the leader was too far ahead to catch. Meanwhile, Hymas put on an inspiring charge through the pack, eventually finishing just outside the top 10 on a track where passing was difficult. The second outing saw both Red Riders start much better, with Hunter’s CRF250R third across the holeshot line and that of Hymas sixth. Lawrence was into the lead by the end of lap 1, and he rode expertly to win by nearly five seconds. Fourth after lap 1, Hymas passed Jordon Smith four laps later and held strong to the end for third, the best result of his young career.
- For the second race in a row, Chase Sexton stayed home, recovering from the effects of a concussion incurred in a testing crash. The team looks forward to having the Illinois native back with them soon.
- Team Honda HRC riders Jett Lawrence, Hunter Lawrence and Chance Hymas all took part in media-day activities on Friday, giving them the opportunity to get some time on the tricky, rutted track.
- Thunder Valley is notable for its 6,100-foot elevation, presenting challenges for teams, as the thin air robs horsepower. Team Honda HRC brought Bob Reichmann and Gil Lujan (engine technicians that don’t attend every round), and the riders reported being pleased with their bikes. Of course, the elevation also tests rider fitness, although the relatively mild temperatures (68 to 72º Fahrenheit for the motos) helped in that regard. There was a bit of precipitation, but not enough to cause serious mud problems.
- Greenwood Village dealership Fay Myers Motorcycle World set up a pop-up activation booth in the Team Honda HRC pits, where they displayed powersports products and engaged with fans and customers.
- Once again, Jett Lawrence posted the fastest 450 qualifying time in morning practice. In the quarter-liter ranks Hunter Lawrence was second-best, while Hymas was sixth.
- Jett had a scary moment during practice, when he struck a trackside safety light. Though the contact caused him some pain, he was fortunate to avoid serious injury.
- Jett posted the fastest lap times in both 450 motos, and Hunter had the best time in the second 250 moto.
- Between them, the Lawrence brothers led every lap in three of four motos at Thunder Valley, or 45 of 61 laps. Even more impressively, Jett has led every one of the 92 laps run thus far in the 2023 AMA Pro Motocross 450 series.
- Jett’s success moved Honda into a tie with Kawasaki and Suzuki for most 450 overall wins at Thunder Valley, with five each. Other Red Riders to win the class at the venue include Ken Roczen (three times) and Ivan Tedesco. This is the fourth year in a row that Honda won the 450 class at Thunder Valley.
- Hunter joined four other Honda riders to have taken the 250 overall win at Thunder Valley: Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac, Jeremy Martin and Jett Lawrence.
- Jett has another overall win at Thunder Valley, as last year saw him go 2-2 for the 250-class victory.
- Hunter extended his career tally of 250 overall wins to four, his moto-win total to 10, and his moto-podium mark to 31.
Motocross Action test rider Josh Mosiman finished a respectable 34th overall on a CRF450RWE test bike, posting 31-34 moto finishes.
- Jett now enjoys a best-possible 150-point tally, already putting him 34 points ahead of second place with only three rounds having been run. Hunter’s 137-point total gives him a 16-point lead of the next-best 250 rider.
- Once again, both Lawrence brothers participated in the post-race press conference.
- Following the race, most of the Team Honda HRC members headed to dinner to celebrate the wins and the birthday of Engine R&D Technician Gilbert Lujan.
- Round 4 of the AMA Pro Motocross series—the High Point National—takes place next weekend in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, where Team Honda HRC will attempt to extend their dual win streaks.
Jett Lawrence 18
“My bike continues to get better and better each week, as I get more and more comfortable on the 450. It’s nice to know that if I need to push hard, the bike will be a huge help. I was pumped on my starts all day; making sure to stay out of the roost is a must at this track. The track was super-slippery all day too, so getting out front early let me look around for different lines without worrying about losing too much time to people in front of me. I’m happy to get out of here with another win, and I just want to keep building on what we have here.”
Chase Sexton 23
Did Not Race
Hunter Lawrence 96
“It was a really tricky track compared to last year, with all that moisture underneath. All the bumps and ruts had a bunch of super-spongy areas, which made it tough to keep the bike upright. I’m happy I was able to keep the bike upright and grab another win. Obviously, I would love a 1-1, but as long as I keep putting myself in good positions, good things will continue to happen. I’m really excited to go to High Point. It’s one of my favorite tracks in the series, and it’s the first East Coast round.”
Chance Hymas 832
“This weekend was really good for me, even with the first-turn pileup in moto 1. Coming back from dead last to 11th gave me confidence going into the second moto. I got a fifth-place start, worked my way up to third, and got to battle for second place. I wish I had made the pass, but I’m pumped on getting my first professional podium.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager
“Wow, another perfect weekend for us! The start of the outdoors has been incredible so far, and it’s honestly starting to feel normal to win—which I don’t like, because to win these races is such a special thing to do and so difficult. After every win, I try and stress to the team that we need to appreciate these days, because we spent many years winless, which was rough with all the work we were putting in. It was really great having Chance under the podium tent after his third-place second-moto finish; I think it will be a huge confidence booster for him.”