During the AMA Pro Motocross series finale at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Hunter Lawrence wrapped up his maiden National Championship with a careful 5-9 moto performance in the 250 class aboard the factory CRF250R. Lawrence had entered the weekend with a 22-point advantage and was able to race conservatively to earn the Gary Jones Motocross Cup with a fifth-overall result.
Amazingly, this was Team Honda HRC’s fifth professional AMA crown of the year, continuing an unprecedented season for the squad, which has swept every AMA Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross title available. Also today, Hunter’s brother and teammate, Jett Lawrence — who had clinched the 450 championship two weeks ago — completed a perfect season in AMA Pro Motocross as he notched his 11th 1-1 moto sweep in 11 races. This is only the fourth time that a rider has posted a perfect record in the series and the first time it has been achieved by a rookie.
Hunter, who turned 24 earlier this month, is a native of Queensland, Australia, and he started his career Down Under before racing in Europe. In 2019 he moved to Factory Connection (then American Honda’s satellite team) to compete in the U.S., and he was promoted to Honda’s factory effort two years later. Hunter enjoyed success in 2021 and 2022, but he also faced adversity with injuries and bad luck. This season has seen him rise to a new level, as he took the AMA Supercross 250 East Championship and increased his AMA Pro Motocross overall win total from one to eight on his way to the 250 National Championship.
Hunter joins other Red Riders to have earned the AMA Pro Motocross laurels in the “small bike” class (which is currently campaigned with 250cc four-stroke machinery but used to be for 125cc two-stroke motorcycles); past Honda champs include Marty Smith, Johnny O’Mara, Ron Lechien, Micky Dymond, George Holland, Mike Kiedrowski, Doug Henry, Steve Lamson, Trey Canard and Jett Lawrence. It was Honda’s third consecutive crown in the class, boosting the brand’s total in the category to 17: two more than the next manufacturer on the list.
The Lawrence brothers’ 2023 AMA Pro Motocross Championship sweep marks the fifth time that Honda riders have accomplished that feat, although it had never been achieved by a pair of siblings. This follows a 2023 AMA Supercross series during which Hunter and Jett took the 250SX East and West Region crowns respectively, while teammate Chase Sexton (second overall in the 450 class in Indiana) collected the 450SX championship. It all comes during a year when Honda marks the 50th anniversary of its first production motocross bike, the CR250M Elsinore, aboard which Gary Jones rode to Honda’s first AMA Motocross 250 Championship in 1973.
“It’s good, man — I’m so honored to thank the team,” Hunter said after the race. “Five championships, and the year’s not done. It’s unreal. Everyone — Honda, Australia, all my crew — this is it; we did it, baby.”
“Honestly, it’s becoming difficult to put this incredible season into words, but that doesn’t mean we’re not ecstatic about Team Honda HRC’s performance,” said Brandon Wilson, manager of racing and experiential marketing at American Honda. “Everyone at Honda is absolutely thrilled for Hunter Lawrence earning his first AMA Pro Motocross Championship; the way that he has elevated his game this year is inspiring. We’re in awe at the accomplishments that the team has tallied this year. The fact that Hunter, Jett and Chase have all earned professional AMA titles in the same year speaks volumes about the level of our rider roster, the capabilities of our crew and the competitiveness of the CRF Performance family. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone involved.”
Team Honda HRC also earned the Team of the Year Award; Honda won the Manufacturer of the Year Award; Lars Lindstrom took the Team Manager of the Year Award; and Cameron Camera and Christien Ducharme (Hunter Lawrence’s and Jett Lawrence’s mechanics, respectively) received the Mechanic of the Year Awards for the 250 and 450 classes.
Team Honda HRC will soon have an opportunity to add even more triumphs to its 2023 success. After a well-deserved weekend off, the riders and crew will take part in the inaugural SuperMotocross Finals, a three-race series that combines aspects of supercross and motocross.