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Fast Fact: Jett Lawrence’s Rookie Year is (almost) Over.

By Brett Smith

Jett Lawrence 2023, LA
Jett Lawrence won the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship. Photo: Garth Milan

It’s tempting to say it’s already over. Is it not? The package is wrapped, the sundae is made, the house is painted…

Jett Lawrence is now just searching for the bows, cherries and a fresh paint brush for the finishing touches.

It feels like he’s already completed the greatest rookie year in 450 history. With 21 wins in the 30 MX-then SMX-then SX races run since May 27, 2023, and a 20-point lead in the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, this envelope just needs a stamp.

Jett Lawrence, Denver Supercross, 2023
Jett Lawrence on his way to an 8th 450SX win in his 16th start. He left the Denver Supercross with a 20 point lead. Photo: Garth Milan

But that’s not how this works. Number one plates are the ultimate barometer and Lawrence is still 20 minutes +1 lap away from being crowned 450SX champion as a 20-year-old rookie. He’d be the youngest since a 20-year old rookie named Ryan Dungey won in 2010.

And he’s +20 points over a man with a torn thumb ligament (UCL). Cooper Webb, the only other rider in mathematical contention, can barely hang on to his handlebars. He’ll give it one last grasp in Salt Lake City.

While Lawrence can’t surpass The King of Supercross, Jeremy McGrath in 450SX rookie wins (10), or Chad Reed in 450SX rookie podiums (14) he’s already the winningest premier class rookie of all-time.

Jett Lawrence 450 Rookie Year Stats

(on mobile? slide table left to reveal more info)

Jett Lawrence, Pala, 2023
Jett Lawrence at the 2023 Pala Pro Motocross, his first 450 win (and first try). Photo: Garth Milan

You can even throw out the still-new SMX Playoffs, (which the legends before him didn’t have on their schedules), and Lawrence has 19 wins in the 26 races leading into the Salt Lake City finale. In 2010, Dungey won 16 450SX/MX races in 29 starts.

The tables below detail notable rookies and their first year (or season) in premier class racing. Keep in mind that some riders (like Carmichael, for example) chose different paths.

Ryan Dungey won it all in 2010, the first rookie to win both premier class Supercross and Motocross. Photo: Steve Cox.
Ryan Dungey won it all in 2010, the first rookie to win both premier class Supercross and Motocross. Photo: Steve Cox.
Ryan Dungey’s 2010 Rookie Year Stats
Jeremy McGrath had a lot of starts like this in his career. Jett Lawrence is taking a page right out of MC's playbook. Photo: Paul Buckley
Jeremy McGrath at the 1993 Daytona Supercross. Photo: Paul Buckley
Jeremy McGrath’s Rookie Seasons

Jeremy McGrath rode the 125MX class in 1993 (and won two overalls) and didn’t move up to the 250MX (now 450) class until 1994 where he finished top three and won two motos.

Jeremy McGrath at Anaheim Art
Jeremy McGrath at Anaheim art
The Jeremy McGrath at Anaheim art: $39.99
Ricky Carmichael, 1999 250SX Supercross rookie.
Ricky Carmichael, 1999 250SX (now 450) Supercross rookie.
Ricky Carmichael’s Rookie Seasons

The Goat maybe borrowed from Jeremy McGrath’s playbook by moving up to the 250SX (now 450) class in 1999 and continuing with 125MX. RC won a third consecutive title in 1999. In 2000, after completing his second season of premier class Supercross, Carmichael rode a KX250 in motocross and dethroned Greg Albertyn (15 moto wins, 9 overall wins)

Chad Reed won Anaheim 1, 2003, accomplishing a feat even his idol, Jeremy McGrath couldn't do: win the opening round of his rookie season.
Chad Reed won Anaheim 1, 2003, accomplishing a feat even his idol, Jeremy McGrath didn’t do: win the opening round of his rookie season.
Chad Reed’s 2003 Rookie Year Stats
Bob Hannah’s 1976 Rookie Year Stats

In 1976, Hannah was hired by Yamaha for the explicit goal of winning the 125MX series and dethroning Honda and Marty Smith. Everything was gravy and Hannah swam in the gravy, too. He ran a bit of everything but only completed (and won) the ’76 125MX title.

Bob Hannah’s 1976 press photo.
Damon Bradshaw’s 1990 Rookie Year Stats

After the seven-race-long 250MX (now 450) series wrapped up in July, Bradshaw dropped down to the 125MX class (even though Yamaha still made a YZ490 in ’90, the factory didn’t run it in motocross).

Damon Bradshaw, 1990 San Diego Supercross
Damon Bradshaw #8 led early in the 1990 San Diego Supercross before crashing out. Cycle News Archives
James Stewart’s 2005 Rookie Year Stats
Ryan Villopoto’s 2009 Rookie Year Stats
Ricky Johnson 1982
17 year old Ricky Johnson at the 1982 Anaheim Supercross. Photo: David Dewhurst. Find Dewhurst’s coffee table book in the We Went Fast Shop!
Ricky Johnson’s 1982 Rookie Year Stats

After one season of 125MX (and three 250SX entries), RJ moved up to the 250MX class full-time in 1982 as a 17-year-0ld and came within three points (and a broken front wheel at the final round) of winning the motocross title.

If Lawrence clinches this weekend, he will join Dungey as the only rider in history to win both premier class titles on the first try.

McGrath stayed in the 125MX class when Pro Motocross kicked off in the middle of his 10-win Supercross rookie season. When he won the MX opener in Gainesville, it seemed like he would dominate that series as well. In the end, he won 2 overalls and took 3rd in points.

In 2003, Chad Reed scored 24 more points through 16 rounds than Lawrence has in 2024 (360 vs. 336). Like Lawrence, he had eight wins but was on the podium in 14 of the 16 races.

Chad Reed Anaheim 1 2003
Chad Reed won the opening round of the 2003 Supercross series (and the most races) but came up 7 points shy of the championship. Photo: Simon Cudby

Yet he STILL lost the title because of ‘rookie’ mistakes that any other rookie, in any other year, would have gladly taken: two sixth place finishes that were -10 (each) off the winner’s points haul.

Reed finished second to Ricky Carmichael, whose worst finish was a 4th.

Reed competed against Carmichael again that summer, finishing 3rd overall in 450SX with four podiums.

Lawrence hasn’t failed to win a championship since he locked up his first, the 2021 250SX Pro Motocross title. He’s already a:

  • Two-time 250SX champion (1E, 1W)
  • Two-time 250MX champion
  • 2023 450MX Champion
  • 2023 450SMX Champion
Jett Lawrence, Ironman 2023
Jett Lawrence celebrates win #11 of 11 and a perfect 22-0 season in 2023. Photo: Garth Milan

Another number one plate this weekend would be his seventh in a row.

Additional reporting by Trey Stire.