SMX Things to Watch in 2024: Why Jett Lawrence will continue to dominate
Circumstance contributed to the best possible 450 career start for Jett Lawrence but as soon as he found his comfort level, he was unstoppable.
When Lawrence graduated to the premiere class with the start of the Pro Motocross season at Fox Raceway in Pala, California there were questions that needed answers, the most notable of which was whether he would need a race or two to find speed on a new bike. The answer was ‘no’, but it was a qualified no as several of the riders who dominated the Supercross season were either missing or still slowed by injuries at the end of that season.
The healthiest competitor was the reigning 450 Supercross Chase Sexton and he challenged Lawrence throughout the weekend and was on his back tire when the checkered flag flew to end Moto 2. And then in the week that followed, Sexton was injured in a practice crash as his team stayed behind to get a little testing done at Fox Raceway. The rider who seemed impervious to injury during the Supercross season was now included among the walking wounded.
Dylan Ferrandis finished third in each moto at Fox Raceway. In Round 2 of the Pro Motocross season, he improved to second in Moto 1 and was third in Moto 2 for second overall, but when asked he was forced to admit he was not riding at 100 percent. Lawrence had breathing room and he went on to score the first perfect Motocross season ever for a rookie rider.
Another question surfaced as the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship unfolded. Lawrence would now be challenged by tracks with more Supercross elements. He was no longer in his comfort zone and it showed when he guessed wrong on the setup at zMax Dragway and struggled to finish fourth behind Sexton, Ken Roczen and the ever-resilient Ferrandis.
What happened in the next two weeks is why his fans can safely believe he will pick up where he left off at the end of 2023.
Lawrence dominated Moto 1 at Chicagoland Speedway, a track that had a much more motocross feel than supercross. He was leading handily in Moto 2 before waving Roczen by in a mis-calculated effort to cost Sexton points. (Riding second, Roczen had the tiebreaker in the event that he and Sexton tied that evening.)
Lawrence went to the season finale as the favorite to win the SAMX Championship and with a sweep of the motos at the Los Angeles Coliseum, he was back in familiar territory.
With that title victory, Lawrence collected his sixth straight championship. He won the 250 Pro Motocross division in 2021 - 2022 and took top honors in 250 SX East in 2022 and West in 2023 before claiming his perfect record in the outdoor season on the bigger bike.
Since climbing onto a 450 bike, Lawrence has only been beaten once in overall competition and just three times in a moto. Perfection is difficult to achieve and it’s unlikely Lawrence will show the same level of performance as he did in the outdoor season, but it’s going to be difficult to bet against him when the Monster Energy Supercross season begins January 6, 2024 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
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