JETT LAWRENCE INTERVIEW: “I WAS TAUGHT TO RESPECT EVERYONE, BUT FEAR NOTHING”
Coming into the 2021 AMA National Motocross Championship, many people expected Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin or Justin Cooper would do the deed. We expected Honda Racing’s Hunter and Jett Lawrence to be near the front, but also knew that they were still fairly new to the AMA Outdoor circuit when compared to the others. Early on, at the second race of the season, Jeremy Martin suffered an injured wrist from a crash at Thunder Valley and although he came back quickly, he suffered another injury at Ironman that put a nail in the coffin for his 2021 season. Justin Cooper had a healthy lead in the Championship, but momentum quickly shifted into Jett’s favor at Unadilla and that ultimately led to Jett Lawrence going into the final race at Hangtown with a 23-point lead. At this point, many of us expected Jett Lawrence to easily take the Championship. But with a few crashes in the first moto causing him to finish eighth, and his rival Justin Cooper earning the first moto win, things got much more interesting as his points gap dwindled to 11 with one moto left. Although Justin Cooper won the second moto, Lawrence got the job done with a third-place finish, making it a six point lead on Cooper, allowing Jett to take his first 250 AMA National Championship at only 18 years old. We caught up with the young Champion while he celebrated with his team for this interview.
By Jim Kimball
JETT, CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING THE 250 MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP! HOW ARE YOU FEELING? Thank you much! Today was a rollercoaster of emotions but thankfully we sealed the deal, and it is an awesome feeling. I couldn’t believe how terrible I was riding, but I tried to take a big breath, and focus on moving forward.
YOU HAD SOME ADVERSITY THROUGH THE SUMMER, BUT YOU NEVER SEEMED TO PANIC OR GET STRESSED. That is just how I was raised. When you get pressure put on you, don’t really back up; you go push through it. That is the Australian way. That is how the main Australian animals, like the kangaroo and Emu operate. They cannot physically take a step back, so when we are up against a wall, the only way is to go forward. We have been brought up like that, and I’m sticking by that mantra for my whole career.
OBVIOUSLY, YOU HAVE BECOME SUCH A FAN FAVORITE, HOW WAS IT HAVING THEM LINE THE FENCES THUS SUMMER? All I can say is the fans are awesome! They made racing outdoors ten times better, that is for sure. I’m just having fun and being myself–and thinking of the days when I was a fan going to watch the pro riders. Too many other riders just don’t like talking or take things too seriously.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE GOING ON NOW THAT YOU’VE WON THIS CHAMPIONSHIP? I am taking a break. I have worked my butt off for the last two years. I am going to take a break. It may not seem like it, as you don’t really see us during the week training, but we work a lot. Our trainer Johnny O’Mara pushes us hard. That is for sure what I am doing, but after that it’s time to get ready for Supercross.
THERE HAS BEEN A RIVALRY BETWEEN YOU AND JUSTIN COOPER, HOW WAS IT TO BEAT HIM? He is an awesome rider, and I had an awesome year battling him. Maybe we had few jabs at each other previously, but that’s in the past. He is a great racer, and I just had a lot of fun racing this year, and I gained a new level of respect for him. Even when he beat me, I thought “dang it,” but it was a good year racing him. I truly did have a lot of fun.
YOU RESPECT YOUR COMPETITORS; DON’T YOU? Yes, for sure. I got taught when I was very young to respect everyone, but fear nothing, and I stand by that. I respect everyone. Maybe I don’t really like everyone, but I respect them a lot because where we are at now and to be at our level, we must put a lot of time and sacrifice in. It is not easy, so I respect all the riders out here that do this.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SEASON? It was a bit of a roller coaster year. We had some high points, and then we had some low points, but it is good that we kept digging, and came out on top this year. It’s really been a dream come true.