- Australian becomes first-ever rookie to win his premier-class debut
- Jo Shimoda makes late rally to finish fourth in 250SX West
- Hunter Lawrence determined to bounce back after difficult night in 450SX
Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence made history at the highly anticipated opener to AMA Supercross’s 50th anniversary season, becoming the first rookie to win in his premier-class indoors debut. Meanwhile, in his first official ride aboard the factory Team Honda HRC CRF250R, Jo Shimoda fought through the pack to finish fourth in the 250SX West division. The Anaheim 1 Supercross was not as kind to Hunter Lawrence, as a series of misfortunes prevented him from advancing to the main event, but he’s determined to come back strong next week to show his true potential in San Francisco.
Jett came out swinging in the 450SX main event, with an impressive holeshot aboard his CRF450RWE. The 20-year-old Australian sensation led every lap with his signature smooth, collected style, perfectly managing the gap to the riders behind him and crossing the finish line with a 7-second margin. Also impressive was Dylan Ferrandis, who finished in the top five in his debut with Phoenix Racing Honda.
In the 250 main event, Shimoda got a good jump out of the gate but was shuffled to the outside of the first turn and found himself out of the top 10 early on. The Japanese rider remained calm and settled into a good pace, working his way forward throughout the main event to eventually threaten for a podium position, although he ultimately settled for a close fourth place when the checkers flew. Other Red Riders to finish in the top 10 were SmarTop/MotoConcepts racers Mitchell Oldenburg (eighth) and Carson Mumford (10th).
- Both Hunter and Jett Lawrence were featured in Friday’s pre-season press conference, as was Team Honda HRC manager Lars Lindstrom. Afterward, Jo Shimoda joined his teammates for a riding session on the new track.
- Anaheim 1 was the debut of the new Lawrence Brothers Supercross VIP experience, which was sold out. Included is early VIP check-in and privileged entry to the Lawrence Factory Fan Zone, a meet-and-greet with the Lawrence brothers, a track walk, lunch and more. Additional information is available here.
- To recognize his status as reigning SuperMotocross 450 Champion, Jett ran a purple number plate with a fluorescent-yellow number 18 on his CRF450RWE. The Australian will run the yellow digits all season, although the background will switch to red next week in San Francisco, designating him as the series points leader.
- Huntington Beach Honda, a popular Southern California Powerhouse dealer, set up a pop-up activation booth in the Team Honda HRC pits, where they displayed a Talon side-by-side and engaged with fans and customers.
- Team Honda HRC was pleased to host Doug and Elva Lawrence, grandparents of Hunter and Jett Lawrence. The elder Lawrences were finishing up a two-month stay in the U.S. that included a trip to the Grand Canyon and a Mississippi River paddleboat ride, as well as helping out at the Dog Pound compound where the brothers train. (I always taught Dazzy it’s important to earn your keep, and that came back to bite me,” Doug joked.) Anaheim 1 was their first AMA Supercross. Also on hand were Jo Shimoda’s parents, Yoichi and Ai.
- Jett Lawrence notched the fastest time in free practice and both qualifying practices. Hunter Lawrence was eighth, and Jo Shimoda was fourth-quickest in 250SX West qualifying. Also of note was Phoenix Honda’s Dylan Ferrandis, with 11th in 450SX, while SmarTop/MotoConcepts Honda riders Mitchell Oldenburg and Carson Mumford both qualified in the top 10 in 250SX West.
- NBC’s opening show included a feature on the Lawrence family, with Team Honda HRC manager Lars Lindstrom interviewed live.
- During the opening ceremonies, reigning SuperMotocross champ Jett Lawrence was introduced with a boxing theme, including audio by prizefighting announcer Michael Buffer. Wearing a boxing-style robe, Jett descended through the stands before mounting his bike and riding onto the field.
- The first 450SX heat race saw Hunter Lawrence get a strong start, only to be taken down by another rider in turn 1. By the time Hunter remounted, he was at the back of the pack, and he ran out of time to get into a qualifying position before the checkered flag flew. Jett Lawrence took the heat-2 holeshot but was quickly overtaken by Cooper Webb. Jett conceded ground in the early laps but then closed back up to Webb near the end, only to tip over and lose a spot to finish third.
- Other 450SX Red Riders to qualify through the heats were Phoenix Racing Honda’s Dylan Ferrandis, Fire Power Honda’s Dean Wilson and SmarTop/MotoConcepts Honda’s Vince Friese. In the last-chance qualifier, Hunter Lawrence got a poor start and ended up just failing to qualify.
- Shimoda sat in sixth place after the first 250SX West heat-race start, but he tipped over on the first lap and was near the back of the field. After remounting, he advanced through the pack and moved into qualifying position before the finish. Also advancing through the heats were SmarTops/MotoConcepts Honda riders Carson Mumford and Mitchell Oldenburg, as well as STR Racing privateer Lance Kobusch.
- Jett Lawrence turned the fastest lap time in his heat race and the 450SX main event.
- With his premier-class victory, Jett joined a long list of other Honda-mounted Anaheim winners, including Marty Smith, Donnie Hansen, David Bailey, Johnny O’Mara, Rick Johnson, Jeff Stanton, Jeremy McGrath (four times), Ezra Lusk (twice), Mike LaRocco, Ricky Carmichael (three times), Kevin Windham (twice), Ken Roczen (twice) and Chase Sexton.
- While Jett is the only rookie to win in his debut, there are 10 other riders who earned their first premier-class wins at Anaheim: Gaylon Mosier, Kent Howerton, Donnie Hansen, David Bailey, Johnny O’Mara, Damon Bradshaw, Chad Reed, Josh Grant, Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson.
- Jett participated in the post-race press conference.
- Next up for Team Honda HRC is AMA Supercross round 2 this Saturday in San Francisco.
Jett Lawrence 18“It’s an unreal thing to grasp, winning my first 450 Supercross. With how many years the sport has been around, you’d think someone has done it before, so I’m definitely grateful and happy to do it for Honda; it’s an awesome feeling getting into the history books for them. The season’s off to a great start, and hopefully we can keep doing the same throughout the season.”
Hunter Lawrence 96“That obviously wasn’t how we planned for my 450 debut to play out, but there’s only one way to go from here, and it’s one I’m very familiar with: put my head down and get back to work. Bring on San Francisco!”
Jo Shimoda 30“The last time I was here [in 2022, when he suffered a scary heat-race crash], I went to the hospital, so this is a much better finish. I made things tough on myself; that mistake in the heat race cost me a lot–you won’t do much with the 18th gate pick. I felt like I had the pace all day; I just couldn’t get to where I needed to early. I’m happy to show that I had the speed to catch the top guys. This week we’ll work on getting to the front quickly, and be ready for next weekend.”
Lars Lindstrom Team Manager“It was good to get the first race out of the way after all the anticipation for A1, and I think all of our guys had some nerves that they had to get through tonight. It was a bit of an up-and-down day. It’s not what we were looking for with Hunter–getting taken out off the start in his heat race and getting a bad start in the LCQ–but we know what we need to work on to turn that around. It was an absolutely epic night for Jett to win his first 450 Supercross. Everyone here is so proud of him and excited to start this series with a win. It was good to see Jo get a decent start after a poor gate pick, plug away, and catch those top guys. We’re looking to be more comfortable next week, and to keep building.”