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Shop Rag: 2024 Pro Motocross Southwick Research

By Trey Stire

We’ve got your weekly key stories ready for you! Note that all Garage members can always get the latest on a venue’s history via the 2024 SMX Race Center. The Race Center also features a compilation of each race winner throughout the 2024 season.

Tony DiStefano ripped through the Southwick sand in 1976.

Welcome to The Wick MX338!

The sandbox of the Pro Motocross circuit, Southwick takes its name from the quaint southern Massachusetts town (population < 10,000!) where the course lies. Known for its rough and treacherous conditions, The Wick 338 is the track where locals shine the most. Its origins date back to the early 70s when a group of dads from the American Legion Post 338 carved out a course for their children.

Click the link for All-Time leaderboards, Winners, and historical race results…

Jett’s Engine is Roaring Again

Jett Lawrence has won the last three motos and is 5 of 8 for the season, but he’s still third in the championship. Lawrence sits eight points back of his brother and two points back of former teammate Chase Sexton.

At High Point, he was the fastest qualifier once again. He has now claimed the top spot in qualifying 14 out of 15 times in his 450 Pro Motocross career, but what sticks out is that he was only the second fastest rider in each moto. On the podium following the second moto, Jett even said, “That was [Chase Sexton’s] race for sure.”

Jett may have struggled at round 4 in Pennsylvania, but he still won both motos and his 450 Pro Motocross career continues to be incredible.

Jett Lawrence’s 450 Pro Motocross Career

*Fastest moto = rider who was fastest in a specific moto. Fastest overall = rider who had the fastest lap of the entire day of racing.

He’s now won 93% of the overalls and 90% of the motos. For perspective, he’s outpacing anyone in history.

450MX: Through 30 Motos/15 Overalls, Top 5 All-Time Win Percentages

*scroll chart to the left for much more info!

“The GOAT” Ricky Carmichael finished his career with an 86% (76 of 88) overall win percentage and 80% (141 of 176) moto win percentage.

Through his first 30 motos and 15 overalls, he was at 60%. It’s tough to compare a rider to the best the sport has ever seen, but Jett has been that good in the early stages of his 450MXclass career. There’s still a long way to go and, as we saw in Hangtown, anything can happen in motorsports.

Jett rips a tear off (High Point 2024)
Jett Lawrence wasn’t the fastest rider on track Saturday, but he still claimed both moto wins and gained back a chunk of points. (Photo: Garth Milan)

450MX Lap Leaders

Jett Lawrence may be tracking to all-time win percentages, but that’s not keeping the competition from trying to stop him. Last season, Jett Lawrence led 92% of the laps and 17 of 22 motos wire-to-wire. He was dominant.

2023 450MX Laps Led

That’s not been the case this season. He’s only led 44% of the laps and 2 of 8 motos wire-to-wire. He’s not been the same dominant rider.

2024 450MX Laps Led

Most importantly, we are just four rounds into the season and there’s already been 6 different riders that have led laps – one more than the entire 2023 season. He clearly still has the speed (see 4 of 4 fastest qualifiers), but the injured shoulder is keeping him from performing at 100%.

Chase Sexton-High Point 2024
Chase Sexton added three to his 2024 MX laps led total. Can he get back to the top step of the podium at Southwick? (Photo: Garth Milan)

Deegan Dominates Again

How can we say that Haiden Deegan dominated again when he didn’t even win the second moto or the overall? It’s simple. He set the fastest two laps of moto 2 on the last two laps AND he gained 29 positions across 2 motos. He didn’t own the day, but he made a twofold statement:

  1. He can win even with a bad start.
  2. He has the fitness to run full speed the entire day.

These statements might be more powerful than him winning the first three rounds of the season, simply because it demonstrates that he doesn’t appear to have a weakness.

Moto 2: Last Two Laps Comparison

While the end of race is not always the best comparison (re: riders not battling will slow their pace considerably), it’s incredible that Haiden was 3-5 seconds faster than Ty Masterpool on the last two laps and nearly 7.5% faster than some of his championship rivals.

It’s one thing for him to be fastest qualifier and the fastest in both motos, but it’s another to put in the fastest two laps of the final moto on the last two laps!

It wasn’t like he made it easy on himself, dealing with issues at the start of both motos. He rounded the first lap in 14th during moto 1, and 18th in moto 2. He had to come through the pack to battle for the wins.

Position Change

Note that +29 positions on its own as a statistic is not entirely special. Since 2019, there’s been 22 different 250 riders that have +29 or more position changes on a Saturday.

What is spectacular and rare is that Haiden’s 2nd place overall is the best of any of them (the next best was RJ Hampshire’s +29 at Fox Raceway 2023 for 3rd).

Haiden Deegan charged through the field on Saturday, gaining ten seconds on Ty Masterpool and Chance Hymas at the end of Moto 2. (Photo: Octopi Media)

Masterpool’s Masterful Day

A privateer who got his second shot at factory equipment delivered a monumental achievement – the 300th win for Pro Circuit Kawasaki. (You can read all about that here.) It was Pro Circuit’s 123rd Pro Motocross win and Ty Masterpool’s first career victory.

Amazingly, Ty never had a top five overall in his previous 33 starts. His best was a 6th overall two different times, most recently in 2022 at RedBud, when he went 8-8 in the motos.

He led laps in four motos prior to High Point but never fully demonstrated winning speed and skill prior to this weekend. Previously, he’d only held on for a moto podium once (3rd at RedBud in 2020). His stamina was not as strong as the speed.

That all changed this past weekend in High Point when he went 2-1 for 1st overall, thanks to two great starts and back-to-back moto podiums. Now the question is, can he beat Haiden Deegan when Deegan gets a good start?

Ty Masterpool celebrates his first ever overall win, and the 300th win for Pro Circuit at the 2024 High Point National. (Photo: Octopi Media)

Kitchen Fire?

Through the first five motos of the season, Levi Kitchen was in contention to win the title and just 18 points behind red plate holder, Haiden Deegan. Fast forward 3 motos, and he’s finished 7th, 10th, and 9th. He’s now a full 50 points behind Deegan, and his starts and speed seem to have disappeared.

Levi Kitchen’s Performance

Headed to Southwick this weekend, he’s in desperate need of a rebound ride. While he’s had some success at the venue (8-2 for 4th overall in 2022 and 5-9 for 8th overall last year), he needs a lot better than that to stop Haiden Deegan, Chance Hymas, and Tom Vialle from building more of a series lead.

The week off could give Levi Kitchen time to regroup after struggling at Thunder Valley and High Point. (Photo: Octopi Media)

Locals Advantage

Of all the tracks on the circuit, Southwick tends to favor local knowledge. Through the years, there’s been a long list of riders that have made an impression on some of the best in the world.

There’s been riders like Jimmy Decotis, who was the fastest qualifier in the 250 class last year and you can’t forget Michael Sottile doing the same in the 450s back in 2011. Both set their times in the B qualifying groups when the track is nearly a highway, before it becomes one of the toughest, most grueling tracks on the circuit.

John Dowd & Doug Henry

These two are not only New England legends with deep history and success at Southwick, but they’re also champions.

  • John Dowd won the 1998 125/250 West Region Supercross title. Notably, he finished 2nd in the 250/450 Pro Motocross championships in 1994 (behind Larocco) and 1997 (behind Emig).
  • Maybe most impressive is Dowd’s 48 premier class motos at Southwick – the most of any rider at any venue – and the most by A LOT! It’s 16 more than the next most, which is… John Dowd at Unadilla (32) and 20 more than Mike LaRocco (28) at RedBud.
John Dowd @ Southwick
Cycle News image. First turn of the 250 class. John Dowd and Dough Henry out front.
John Dowd and Doug Henry with a great start at the 2001 Southwick Pro Motocross national.
  • Doug Henry won the 1993 125/250 East Region Supercross title, the 1993 and 1994 125/250 Pro Motocross championships, and the 1998 250/450 Pro Motocross title.
  • Be sure to read (or listen to on the podcast channel) “Doug Henry and the Dam” and learn more about this AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame member and motocross national treasure.
Doug Henry @ Southwick
Another Southwick legend is Doug Henry, pictured here in 1992.
Local Legends

There’s a lot of local New England riders that have lined up for a Pro Motocross national. Here’s those that have finished in at least the top 5 in a moto or overall.

  • Keith Johnson, current track owner, has raced 26 career motos in the premier class, 5th most of ANY rider+venue combination and 2nd most to Dowd at Southwick. His best Southwick finishes…
    • In 2001, Keith went 3-7 for 4th overall in the 125 class.
    • In 1998, Keith went 4-9 for 5th overall in the 250 class.
  • Jo Jo Keller also had some incredible finishes at Southwick. In 1980 he went 3-1 for 2nd overall and in 1981 he went 3-3 for 3rd overall.
  • Tony Lorusso, owner of New Hampshire Motocross Park, has the most motos (36) started at a venue in the 125/250 class. His best Southwick result was 8-11 for 7th overall in 2003 but he also finished 3-16 for 8th overall in 1996.
An unknown rider rails a berm at Southwick in the 1970s