Features 10 Jan 2023

Conversation: Jett Lawrence

250SX West main event winner on first-career Anaheim 1 win.

Anaheim 1 marked a strong start to the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season of Jett Lawrence, winning upon return to 250SX West and taking hold of the early red plate. The 19-year-old Team Honda HRC standout spoke to media directly following the main event for this Conversation feature.

Image: Octopi Media.

Jett, you were really happy across the finish line jump. Take me through the day and being able to get the job done when it really mattered.

Yeah, you’re always nervous coming to the first round… I’ve said it before, you never know where everyone’s at and that stuff. The big thing with today was always kind of, like, ‘how is the track going to form up for the main?’. After practice it was just about trying to survive and not die. It kind of changed, it was like ‘okay, we’re going to come in and hopefully do good’, but then when practice went out, after the first few laps it was like, ‘okay, let’s try and keep it on two wheels and try and survive today’. The joke all day was ‘I just wanna see Sunday’, there’s always a lot of hype around Anaheim 1, it’s the first round so it’s just built up so big, so obviously I had quite a bit of nerves. I had a bit of rough one in the heat race, the start was quite slippery, but I just made sure I focused on the main and did what I needed to do, I made it the safest way possible for me to, kind of, just go out there and do my laps.

In qualifying you had a couple of falls, did you feel discouraged at any point leading into the night show?

No, those crashes never really wreck my confidence, you know sometimes I make a small mistake and most of the time I know what I did wrong there so its like ‘just don’t do that again’. Today I was almost expecting a few crashes with how the track was, it just bit you so fast without even realising, so I was expecting a couple [of crashes], but I’m just thankful I was able to walk out of here in one piece.

When you come in with so many eyes on you and so many expectations as the title favourite, when you manage a day like today, is it a sense of relief?

I definitely feel like I felt the pressure a lot, but I think the biggest mistake would’ve been to try and go and show [speed] the whole day, I think that’s where I was pretty smart, I just took it how it was and, to be honest, I would’ve been happy with a second or a third – I was just mainly going for a podium today. I just wanted to make it out safe because the track was so sketchy, but, yes and no, the pressure was there a bit. I kind of just focused on what I was doing, I just knew tonight in the main event, with how the track was forming, that whoever was going to make the least amount of mistakes was going to either, bit by bit, get a gap, or close the gap where you’re at.

Image: Octopi Media.

Your bike looked awesome. It sounds a little different from last year, is it any different or any faster? What changes did you and the team make from 2022 to 2023?

Yeah, I think one of the major [changes], is that we switched from Vortex ECUs to Get, it was kind of late in December that we changed and decided to go with them. They’ve been awesome, this is the first time with start mapping, so far it’s been really good with them, so hopefully we can keep it going with the good starts. That’s probably the main thing, we might’ve put a little extra go-go juice in it. Besides that, the bike’s fairly similar, even with suspension testing we’ve kind of looped all the way back around to the same setting. The bike’s handling great, the motor feels awesome, I’m feeling right at home on the Honda this year.

Finally, Feld have done something really cool this year, they have included some 250 guys in opening ceremonies, which I think you guys deserve, what did you think?

Yeah, that was a really cool opportunity that I think Lucas [Mirtl] helped a lot on. We always thought it was a little weird that the 450 guys would do it, but then you have some of the best 250 riders in Supercross, that don’t do anything. So, I think it’s a good opportunity for 250 guys to get more known and kind of make it similar. Yeah, we might not be on as big of a bike as the 450, but we’re still doing the same stuff out there, and a lot of the same rhythms. I think it helps our sport grow a little more for the 250 guys, so I’m pumped we get to do that and hopefully it brings up the 250 [class] a little bit more.