Welp, there was this thing going before the first Monster Energy Supercross Triple Crown race of the season, back at Anaheim. Jett Lawrence, somehow, had never won a Triple Crown before, so there was all this talk about that, and then Jett went out and crashed a bunch of times and indeed did not win that Triple Crown. It’s the only race Jett has not won this year.
So, when the next Triple Crown popped up, in Arlington, there was talk about Hunter Lawrence in the format. As if the Lawrence brothers are identical twins who feel each other’s pain and have the exact same traits.
But wouldn’t you know it, Hunter’s win streak ended there, too! He ended up 1-3-5 in the scores after a nasty first-turn crash took him from overall leader heading into the third race, to having to fight to salvage a podium.
“Yeah, it’s always really cool when you’re under a bike in the first turn,” said Hunter. “Thankfully the bike was good enough to finish the race, the clutch, the bracket was broke so I didn’t have any clutch. Don’t stall it was first priority. Then obviously don’t push it and make up a bonehead mistake and then be worse off. Just kind of damage control and bring it home.”
Hunter explained how the crash happened.
“I was sitting pretty good, just behind Jordon [Smith] going in, and I just ran out of real estate I guess,” said Hunter. Nate [Thrasher] came in in front of him, so he had to turn tighter, and I was just a little bit pinched. That was about it, really. Then Max [Anstie] hit my bike pretty hard, but luckily I didn’t really get hit.”
This was the second incident for Lawrence on the day, after he and Thrasher collided on a jump in race two. Looked like a nasty cross-jump from Thrasher at first glance, but Lawrence didn’t see it as anything bad.
“It’s just kind of how the race line went,” said Lawrence. “There was a guy in front of Nate which I wasn’t really focused on. It’s just kinda how it went, and it was best-case scenario from what it could have been. If I had had a holeshot, it probably wouldn’t have happened, so I’ve just gotta be better at starts.”
That’s how Hunter is taking things in these days. Even the rough moments, like crashes with other riders on jumps, or first-turn crashes that cost him a win, don’t bother him that much. He even found a ridiculous positive to take out of not winning the race.
“If you read between the lines, it’s a positive. The guys who couldn’t win them last year ended up with the championships,” he joked, refencing 2021 champions Jett and Christian Craig not winning Triple Crowns. “Hey, when you lose your visor on the first lap, you learn to look into the positives!”
Just about at the time when Hunter’s night turned bad, things started to look good for Jordon Smith. On the career comeback trail with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing, Jordon hung on to win race two after fourth in race one.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve really won anything!” said Smith. “It feels good to get that win, and whenever I ride up front right now I feel like a rookie almost? It’s been such a long time. I didn’t really ride good in that main, not as good as I do in practice and stuff. I definitely have to get better at riding looser and riding my own race. But like I’ve said before it’s been such a long road for me. So many heartbreaks. In this stadium two years ago, I was on a PC [Pro Circuit] bike and I dislocated my shoulder. I was going to be out for six months. It was just the low point in my career. To come back and get a race win and second on the podium, it’s just awesome.”
This put the overall at play going into race three, especially since it turned crazy. Lawrence was down with fellow contender Max Anstie in turn one, then Smith got collected with Michael Mosiman.
“I was doing math,” said Smith. “After I fell with Michael in the tunnel there, I didn’t know who got around me. It was pretty easy, if I wanted to win, I had to get ahead of Nate, but I was stuck in the tunnel with Michael there. I knew Nate was up front, so I was trying to look around. I knew the only riders that were close were Hunter and Anstie. I was trying to look at the board to see if Anstie was in front of me or not. I wasn’t sure…I saw a reddish color up ahead but that was [Tom] Vialle.”
With all the crashing, Trasher was in position to cruise to the overall, but then he crashed, too!
“Then I saw a red jersey down in the whoops and it was Nate, so I was like, “Well, if I get him, I win.” [Laughs] I was just trying to push, I was maybe a second or so back,” said Smith. “I tried to make a good run through the whoops on the last lap and I ended up going down. It was pretty chaotic out there, track was really gnarly and it was breaking down a lot. They were prepping it a lot, but the lines underneath were still there.”
This left Smith second with 4-1-5 scores. He’s not down about it.
“We’ve had a lot of positives,” said Smith. “I feel like throughout the day, practice, I’m riding the best I ever had. The bike is great, throughout the day we’re making very minimal changes from race to race. Starts are good, on the podium two out of three rounds is good, so there’s been a lot of positives. We just had an unfortunate end to Tampa and didn’t get to finish the race [due to a mechanical problem]. That was a bummer, but it’s been good. We’ll keep building and see if we can get to the top step. Now we’ve got two seconds, so we’ll try to get that win.
“The last few years have been tough for me, really a lot of low moments. It’s good to go out here and get one of the race wins today and finish second [overall]. You try to forget about that, but then you get in here [press conference] and I’m talking to all you guys again and it’s nice to be here. It’s taken the whole team to do it, my family my friends, doctor’s, therapists, everyone to get up here. I couldn’t do it without any of them. I’m just really happy to be here and still racing a dirt bike.”