U.S Motocross

Jett Lawrence Back On Top At Thunder Valley As Haiden Deegan Goes Three Straight

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Photo of Jett and Jett Lawrence at the third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park. PODIUM
Brothers Jett and Hunter Lawrence mounted the 450 class podium in first and second with Hunter (R) assuming the championship lead with his second place.

The AMA Pro Motocross Championship travelled to the Rocky Mountains for Round 3 of the 2024 season, with an early test in the mile-high altitude of Thunder Valley Motocross Park, which sits mere minutes from downtown Denver.

The landmark 20th running of the Toyota Thunder Valley National saw a variety of weather conditions, from abundant sunshine to rain and wind gusts, which resulted in another captivating afternoon of action.

One week after a big crash ended his undefeated 450 Class record, Australian Jett Lawrence outdueled his brother Hunter Lawrence to capture a bounce-back win and re-establish himself in the early season title fight. In the 250 Class, Haiden Deegan continued his winning ways and emerged triumphant once again to open the summer with three straight victories.

450 Class

The first moto of the afternoon got underway with Justin Cooper leading the field out of the first turn for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, closely followed by Justin Barcia and Jason Anderson. Also giving charge was Aaron Plessinger from fourth, followed by the Lawrences in fifth and sixth, respectively, with entering point leader Chase Sexton in seventh.

After the first 10 minutes, Cooper had opened up a lead of nearly eight seconds over the field, which saw a lot of jockeying for position. Anderson and Hunter Lawrence settled into second and third, respectively, while Jett Lawrence made his way into fourth and kept his rivals within reach. Hunter Lawrence took control of second just before the halfway point of the moto and Jett Lawrence soon followed his brother into third. Behind them, Sexton made his way around Anderson into fourth.

Photo of Jett Lawrence at the third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park.
Jett Lawrence (2-1) returned to the top step of the podium in Colorado. Photo: MX Sports Pro Racing, Inc.

The Australian siblings started to increase their pace entering the final 10 minutes of the moto, which allowed them to chip away at the deficit to Cooper. The Yamaha rider responded and picked up his pace, which helped stabilise the lead, but the Honda duo didn’t relent. With five minutes to go, Hunter Lawrence initiated a battle for the lead, as Jett Lawrence lurked in third. Hunter acted on the first opportunity that presented itself and took advantage of some lapped riders to seize the lead with three minutes to go. Jett followed into second just a few turns later. From there the brothers quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the field, with Hunter asserting his hold on the top spot in the final stages.

The elder Lawrence captured the first moto win of his 450 Class career by eight seconds over Jett, while Cooper followed in a distant third. Barcia parlayed his strong start into a fourth-place effort, with Plessinger fifth. Sexton finished just outside the top five in sixth after late misfortune in the moto.

Photo of Hunter Lawrence at the third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park.
Hunter Lawrence (1-2) just missed out on his first 450 Class victory but now sits atop the championship standings. Photo: MX Sports Pro Racing, Inc

The second and deciding moto started the same at Moto 1, with Cooper leading the field through the first turn to sweep the Holeshots for the afternoon. Hunter Lawrence slotted into second but it was Sexton who was on a determined move forward. The points leader was able to make a pass on both Jett and Hunter Lawrence to claw his way up to second, which dropped Hunter to third and Jett into fourth, while Anderson lurked in fifth.

Sexton then set his sights on Cooper out front, but the Yamaha rider fended off the pressure. From there the field settled in and the pace slowed through the opening 10 minutes. Sexton mounted another attack and looked to attempt a pass on Cooper, but a misjudgment put his bike on the ground and caused Sexton to lose multiple positions. Hunter Lawrence assumed second, while Jett Lawrence moved into third. Sexton remounted in sixth.

At the halfway point of the moto, the top three were separated by just two seconds, with all three riders showing patience. Each rider traded momentum as the moto entered its final 10 minutes, with Hunter Lawrence closing to within a few bike lengths of Cooper at times. However, the Yamaha rider never wavered and sustained his advantage. As the moto wore on, Hunter Lawrence started to lose ground and lost his hold of second to Jett Lawrence. The reigning series champion continued his push forward and began to apply pressure on Cooper for the lead with less than five minutes to go. As they navigated lapped riders all three riders sat within a second of one another, which forced Jett Lawrence to make the move and grab the lead with just under two minutes to go. Hunter Lawrence followed suit and dropped Cooper down to third.

The brothers went head-to-head for the win once more, this time in opposite positions. A half-second separated the siblings as they took the white flag. Jett Lawrence dug deep and carried on to his third moto win of the season by a margin of 1.2 seconds. Cooper finished in third.

Photo of Justin Cooper at the third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park.
Justin Cooper (3-3) spent most of the afternoon out front and earned his first career 450 Class podium result. Photo: MX Sports Pro Racing, Inc

With identical moto finishes the Lawrences finished tied atop the overall classification, but Jett’s second moto triumph (2-1) was the difference maker as it gave him the tiebreaker over Hunter (1-2). It resulted in the second 1-2 finish for the pair through the first three rounds of the season and signified Jett’s 13th career win. Thanks to his incredible starts in each moto, Cooper captured his first career podium result in the premier class in third (3-3).

With his third straight podium finish to open his 450 Class career Hunter Lawrence moved atop the 450 Class standings, highlighted by his distinction as the lone rider in the division to finish inside the top five in every moto. His lead sits at six points over Sexton, who finished fifth overall (6-5), while Jett Lawrence climbed from sixth to third by virtue of his win, 16 points behind Hunter.

“Going into that second moto my legs were shot, but I dug deep and just kept telling myself to stay there [with the leaders]. I capitalised on a mistake by Hunter and kept going after JCoop. I didn’t necessarily expect to be up here, but it feels awesome after last weekend,” Jett Lawrence said.

Photo of Haiden Deegan at the third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park.
Haiden Deegan (1-2) captured his third straight win of the season. Photo: MX Sports Pro Racing, Inc.

250 Class

The opening moto began with Deegan at the front of the pack to grab the MotoSport.com Holeshot, with pressure coming from Tom Vialle in second and Chance Hymas in third. The lead trio eventually settled into their respective positions as the field started to spread out through the opening 10 minutes.

Deegan and Vialle traded momentum early on as the lead hovered around two seconds, but as the moto approached the halfway point Deegan’s consistency allowed him to inch away and build his advantage up to almost four seconds. With their exceptional pace, Deegan and Vialle pulled away from Hymas and the rest of the field to make it a two-rider battle. As they entered the final five minutes, both riders picked up the pace as they tactfully navigated lapped riders. That saw the distance between them fluctuate, which worked to Deegan’s advantage as the lead grew to more than three seconds. However, Deegan slid out and went down briefly, which allowed Vialle to make the pass for the lead. Deegan recovered quickly and remained within striking distance for the win.

A fierce battle ensued over the final stages of the moto as Deegan searched for alternate lines. As they came to the white flag Deegan took advantage of an inside line to push Vialle wide and reclaim the lead. Vialle battled back and made one final pass attempt that saw the two riders make contact and put Vialle on the ground. That allowed Deegan to bring home his fourth moto win of the season by 5.8 seconds over the Frenchman, who remounted quickly, while Levi Kitchen followed in third. Hymas was fourth, with his Team Honda HRC teammate Jo Shimoda fifth.

The final moto of the day began with Hymas and Deegan side by side coming out of the first turn, from which Hymas earned the Holeshot and grabbed the early lead. Deegan slotted into second while Kitchen began the moto in third. Vialle started in fifth.

Photo of Chance Hymas at the third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park.
Chance Hymas (4-1) enjoyed a breakout afternoon with a runner-up effort. Photo: MX Sports Pro Racing, Inc.

With the clear track ahead, Hymas seized the moment and was able to open a lead of more than five seconds over the rest of the field through the opening 10 minutes. Deegan settled into second while Kitchen suffered a tip over that caused him to drop from third to sixth. That allowed Jalek Swoll to move into third until Vialle made the pass to join the top three just before the halfway point of the moto. Shortly after, Vialle had a brief crash that saw him drop from third to fifth, which moved Swoll back into podium position.

While the lead pair enjoyed a comfortable margin over the field, the battle for third intensified between Swoll and Shimoda, from which the Japanese rider prevailed with the position. From there the top three went unchanged.

Hymas stormed to his first career moto win with a wire-to-wire victory by a margin of 3.8 seconds over Deegan, with Shimoda in third. Vialle recovered to finish fourth.

Photo of Tom Vialle at the third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park.
Tom Vialle (2-4) finished on the podium for the third time this season. Photo: MX Sports Pro Racing, Inc.

Deegan’s 1-2 effort easily secured his third straight overall win and extended his points lead. Hymas’ moto win capped off a career-best performance in the runner-up spot (4-1) for his first ever podium, while Vialle rounded out the top three (2-4).

“I got a good start [in Moto 2] but Chance was ripping. I had to look at the big picture. We had the overall and now we have three in a row. The hard work is paying off,” Deegan said.

With his win streak, Deegan enjoys a 23-point lead over Vialle and Hymas, who both moved up the championship standings and now sit tied for second.

The 2024 Pro Motocross Championship will continue next Saturday, June 15, with the fourth round from legendary High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania.

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)
1 Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda (2-1 // 47)
2 Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda (1-2 // 47)
3 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (3-3 // 40)
4 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (4-6 // 34)
5 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., KTM (6-5 // 33)
6 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (5-8 // 31)
7 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (10-4 // 30)
8 Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Husqvarna (7-7 // 30)
9 Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Honda (8-9 // 27)
10 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Husqvarna (9-10 // 25)

450 Class Championship Standings (Round 3 of 11)
1 Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda – 129 Points
2 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., KTM – 123 Points
3 Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda – 113 Points
4 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 109 Points
5 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 100 Points
6 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 97 Points
7 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 95 Points
8 Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Honda – 89 Points
9 Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Husqvarna – 87 Points
10 Freddie Noren, Lidkoping, Sweden, Kawasaki – 68 Points

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
1 Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (1-2 // 47)
2 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda (4-1 // 43)
3 Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM (2-4 // 40)
4 Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Honda (5-3 // 37)
5 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Kawasaki (3-7 // 35)
6 Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Triumph (7-5 // 32)
7 Ty Masterpool, Paradise, Texas., Kawasaki (8-6 // 30)
8 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (6-9 // 29)
9 Julien Beaumer, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., KTM (9-10 // 25)
10 Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Yamaha (11-11 // 22)

250 Class Championship Standings (Round 3 of 11)
1 Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 144 Points
2 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda – 121 Points
3 Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM – 121 Points
4 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Kawasaki – 119 Points
5 Jo Shimoda, Suzuka, Japan, Kawasaki – 99 Points
6 Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Triumph – 93 Points
7 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS – 84 Points
8 Julien Beaumer, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., KTM – 73 Points
9 Ty Masterpool, Paradise, Texas, Kawasaki – 69 Points
10 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Triumph – 60 Points

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