2023 Gatedrop rider of the year: Jett Lawrence
After years of injury and illness Jorge Prado won his first MXGP title with outstanding poise and precision, Andrea Adamo unexpectedly winning the MX2 world title in his first year as a factory rider and, after a long road, Hunter Lawrence won both the 250 supercross and motocross series, all in their own way deserving of this award but it’s hard to beat Jett Lawrence’s achievements in 2023, this kid won it all and was virtually unbeatable.
At 19 Lawrence dominated his last year in supercross on a 250 before taking control of the 450 class outdoors immediately and winning every single moto in his debut on the big bike in the States and then winning SMX! His speed and style was jaw-dropping, it was like watching Stefan Everts floating across the track, he made it look that easy. But, unfortunately for everyone else, Jett also has the killer instinct of a Carmichael/Herlings. He doesn’t want to give anyone any hope ever. That is a deadly combination!
At the MXoN things weren’t going his way all weekend, he was only fourth in qualifying despite repeated attempts to top the board and had to come from behind in the first two motos, but the speed was there. And, when the pressure was on to get Australia on the podium, Jett delivered a dominant win in the third moto, leaving a lot of people to believe, including Jett himself, that he is the fastest rider on the planet (not including the injured Tomac or Herlings).
Underlining his ruthless streak, Jett then block passed Hunter to win in Paris but (accidently) knocking him down in a rush pass to go with a fleeing Roczen. Jett has the ability to adpat and adjust to whatever situation and find a way to win.
Jett took to the 450 like a duck to water, his style and cold mind under pressure align perfectly and, while we are giving out awards, the pass on Tim Gajser at Ernee is pass of the year, quietly fainting outside while floating on the pegs, Jett jolts left and appears in Gajser’s line without the former MXGP champ even knowing he was there! The intelligence to work that out and then execute to perfectly underlines why Jett is the biggest name in motocross right now.
Lawrence heads into 450 supercross as one of the big favourites, if not the favourite for the title, and he has never even raced a 450 supercross in America yet! The kid is super special and is already well on his way to living in the GOAT realm with Everts, McGrath, Cairoli, Herlings, Stewart, Bayle and Carmichael.
And he’s still only 20 years old!
Cover image: Honda
Article: Jonathan McCready