The 40th annual Paris Supercross is happening this weekend and what a night it was for the first night (of two) on Saturday! The premier off-season SX for so long now, Paris doesn’t fail to deliver on the quality of riders and racing. For this 2023 edition, it followed suit of so many others.
Making his “SX” debut was Jett Lawrence on the Honda HRC, making his 450 debut was Hunter Lawrence, making his Honda HRC debut was Jo Shimoda and then you added in the King of Paris last year, HEP Suzuki’s Ken Roczen, the veteran Justin Brayton and making his return to this event, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Cooper Webb. Quite a field for sure and lots of subplots going into the night.
Well, night one is done, and we saw a repeat of what we saw all summer long in the 450 Class of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship: Jett Lawrence swept all three main events but it was perhaps a tad harder than what we saw this summer. Lawrence took off with the first main start to finish, in the second main he used a last lap/last turn dive to the inside of his brother to take the win.
The third main event, the longest of the three, saw Jett go down while leading when he washed his front end out in a left-hand turn. He had his work cut out to catch Roczen, who had gotten quite a gap on the #18. Well, then Jett got busy and whittled what was a 2.8 second lead to less than a second in just a few laps before they swapped spots a couple of times. Eventually Jett dove to the inside before the sand and grabbed the line. That was it, Jett Lawrence led the last couple of laps to complete the sweep, but it was some very impressive riding to make up that time.
It’s just an off-season race, Anaheim 1 is weeks away, but he looked…great. You’ve all been warned.
Hunter Lawrence had that win taken away by his brother in the last turn and then had a scary crash in the whoops late in the third race that if the inflatable Tuff Block wasn’t there might’ve ended his entire weekend. Hunter Lawrence went left to right across the whoops and went face first into the block. He got up to finish and is second overall with one more night of racing.
Roczen was in front of Lawrence in main two after chasing the kid for the entire first main in the runner-up spot. Things looked okay for Kenny when he washed his front end out in a right hand turn before the whoops. He was slow to get up and kick start his bike. He brought it home in sixth and like we said, he was in the running for the win until late in the third main. On the podium Kenny said he’s not happy with his riding on the day and has to be better tomorrow.
Webb was a distant third in the last two races after a strong qualifier that saw him remain in the top spot until late when, who else, Jett Lawrence got him. Webb’s speed in the whoops and really everywhere looked better than last year when he was here on orange. Webb never came close to getting the starts he needed to run with the front guys.
Unfortunately, Justin Brayton suffered a shoulder injury in practice and although he tried to go in the first main, it was too much for him and he called it a night.
In the SX2 it was the Jo Shimoda show even when it wasn’t. The newest signee to Honda HRC, Shimoda was fastest in every session and barely broke a sweat in taking the first two main event wins. He looked very steady out there but in the third main a bad start and then a mistake in the second rhythm lane left him 13th place after lap one. Shimoda got busy and rode very well to grab third by the end of the main and maintain a solid hold on the Prince of Paris crown. It was a great ride and one that saw him ease his way on a narrow track through a lot of riders that were quite slower than him.
Tom Vialle thrilled the French fans by taking the win in that third main but his first main was ruined by a crash. Privateer Jace Owen, on a Yamaha and a former Prince of Paris, charged hard all night, gave Vialle some fits here and there sits four points up on Vialle in the runner-up spot on the night to Shimoda. Tune back into MXGP-TV.com tomorrow to watch the action and check back later tomorrow for a night two recap.