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Jett Lawrence – first adversity on the 450?

Jett Lawrence – first adversity on the 450?
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After dominating A1, it looked like Jett Lawrence path to continued success would keep going problem free. He looked the fastest and won, and admitted he was saving energy for the end of the race that he didn’t even need to use! Lawrence was, as many expected, the man who was changing the guard and the man with aspirations to be King. 71 to go.

But suddenly the mud hit and from there it has been two weekends of very non Jett Lawrence performances on and off the track, and now the rest not only have hope, they have confidence they can win this title, a title they (Webb, Tomac, Anderson, Sexton) have all won before. They know the drill.

To compound his problems after San Francisco, Lawrence, who had said he was motivated to win after his ninth in the mud, cased a jump badly on press day injuring his thumb, more mud followed, as did a terrible start before Lawrence, quietly, had a great ride to get to fourth, keeping him right in the championship hunt with Tomac and Sexton 8th and 9th.

But all that positivity after a tough week wasn’t in the mind of a fired up Jett, who, for some reason, decided to give Jason Anderson an ear bashing for his riding etiquette. Anderson, a rider known for his aggressive passing ability, especially those he has beef with, responded as you would expect, coming back with both barrels. Lawrence made an enemy you do not want to make and Anderson, is not only a title contender himself, but is also a man who can eliminate you from title contention!

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An ongoing social media battle has ensued with Anderson claiming Jett’s agent wrote the apology on Twitter and that Jett himself unfollowed Anderson on Instagram. Anderson is not happy. Jett might just pay the consequences for that in any one of the next 15 weekends! Jason doesn’t forget. And for Jett, it was all so unnecessary.

The irony is only two weeks before as I sat in the post-race press conference, Jett and Jason were talking to each other before the press conference started about how difficult the whoops where, with no malice towards each other. Two weeks later and things are very, very different – things change quickly in supercross! No-one really saw what Anderson did to Lawrence to infuriate him so much, but maybe, looking back, Jett’s aggressive pass on Anderson was an indication of his frustration but, instead of letting things be after that, Jett poked the bear and it bit back.

Maybe it was the accumulation of the frustration of another bad night. Lawrence in his entire career has never really dealt with adversity, even a broken collarbone (his first and only broken bone) at Anaheim as a 16 year old was a positive because he showed he had the speed to win even if Ferrandis got him on the last lap.

Jett went on to win everything in sight. He isn’t used to defeat and isn’t used to things going wrong, especially when he believes he is the fastest and the mud is giving others false hope. So, when you add a small injury into the mix, another mud race that hasn’t went the way Jett wants and second race off the podium, in Jett’s world, it’s a full blown crisis. He is not used to anything but winning, especially on a 450.

Lawrence Honda

Look at his quote heading into this weekend in the press release: “Iā€™m excited to have a dry race again so I can show my actual speed.ā€ That right there could be the core of his frustration, he wants to show these guys he’s still the man to beat, but the mud isn’t letting him show what he believes is the truth, that he’s the best guy out there.

But now after two rough weekends, they believe he is beatable. The momentum has changed thanks to the weather and, after all the hype about Jett Lawrence the last couple of years, there could even be some frustration from the other champions that Jett gets too much hype (See Ken Roczen’s twitter a few weeks ago for proof). For them it’s not the Jett show, they are here to win this title too.

Lawrence has to dig himself out of a hole for maybe the first time, of course, he’s more than capable with his talent and confidence. He will be desperate to win in the first triple crown this weekend to get the momentum back in his favour and three main events in the dry against his motivated competition is ideal time to shut down their hope. But, for the first time in his 450 and maybe entire career, these guys have an opening to take the momentum away from Jett, and they won’t be backing down at A2, least of all Jason Anderson. This is their time to strike on a dry track just as Jett Lawrence tries to show them who’s boss.

It could get spicy!

Words: Jonathan McCready

Images: Honda/ Feld Entertainment Inc.

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