Features 22 Jan 2021

Debrief: 2021 Supercross Rd2 Houston

Main event winners Tomac and Lawrence recall second round in Texas.

The second round of Monster Energy Supercross was full of action, but in the end two new winners emerged at NRG Stadium. Reigning 450SX champion Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) bounced back from a 13th place finish at round one to take his first win of the season. While Team Honda HRC’s teenage sensation Jett Lawrence took his first career victory in the 250SX East Coast class. They were both available to the media post-race for this Debrief interview feature.


Image: Octopi Media

Eli, it was a crazy night. You obviously saw the crash that happened in front of you, but once you got out front, did you have any awareness of the things that were going on behind you? There was chaos. There were battles. I don’t know if you could hear the crowd or not, but there was a lot going on that entire main event. Were you aware or were you kind of checked out in your own world?

Mostly in my own world. I mean, I was, I was aware of the guys behind me, the stuff up front. I mean, it was, it was wild to see two crashes in the same spot. Right. I mean that sand, there was almost like a little rut or an edge that kind of was coming up out of the sand. It must have been hiding under there, and I think that bit both Chase and Adam, that way. So yeah, that was a gift that way. But after that, it was just trying to try to maintain. Zach was coming in strong and I was kinda pacing myself, you know, up until halfway, and then I tried to go harder. After that, I’m like, ‘I gotta get going. He’s catching me.’ Then he made a mistake too, so it was one of those nights, and [having] that many laps, you know, Dylan was coming on strong too. But, uh, clean air was huge tonight.

Were you worried at all? You were pretty good in practice today, but you weren’t top of the board and obviously I’m sure round one was a disappointment. Were you worried at all or did you feel like everything was under control? If he got things just rolling on your way and let it come to you?

I was stressing out to be honest. I was stressed out. 16 points is horrible after round one, right? Like that’s, that’s a terrible hole to be in. So, I was pulling my hair. I was kind of pulling my hair all day, even in practice, you know, I was still a little bit behind. I practiced better at round one, but then obviously we had different results in the races. Yeah to be straight up, I was pulling my hair, so that was so huge for us. The start was so huge for us that time, so yeah, we needed that.

It’s gotten to be fairly cliche to say, man, this fields so deep, but right now we’ve got a whole lot of healthy guys. Is it possible that we could see huge turnover from week to week on results? I mean, it was great to see you get the win tonight, and it’s quite a bit different from the results on Saturdays. So what’s it going to be like this season?

Yeah, that is the truth. I mean, it’s said every single year that way, but it’s going to be hard to come through the field this year, really hard. Especially if we keep all the guys in there It’s tough. I don’t know, it’s like everyone’s getting a little bit faster and everyone’s getting a little bit closer to each other. You know, if you just look at the times in practice, how close 10th is, right? Like everyone’s on the same second, right? You look down the list, it’s like 12 guys that are in the same second. In the past, you know, there were maybe two or three guys that really have the next level. So you know, as we saw tonight, a whole different podium, that could easily be the case this season.

You said that you were pushing the pace there at the halfway point of the moto, and that was pretty true because we could see your bike starting to smoke and everything like that. How much has the pace changed when you knew that you were going to do 29 laps tonight? Was that something that you guys had in mind?

All I know is like the opening laps were crazy fast, Chase was going really fast. Adam was going really fast. I’m just like, ‘this is going to be insane for 29 laps,’ you know? They both made mistakes, but that pace was pretty wild early on. And then in the middle it was kind of trying to manage that. And then Zach, he was creeping a couple of tenths a lap on me, and I couldn’t really figure out where I was losing the time. I got to say four or five minutes, I shouldn’t have said halfway earlier, I should have said like five minutes left. I’m like, all right, I have to go now. And I pushed a little bit harder and that’s what really got me through to the end.

Eli, um, any changes to the bike from round one to two for you. And, uh, and, and what did you change it and how did it help?

Yeah, I made a fork change between round one and two and that was it. And it really just a fork change and I’m trying to figure out some things, and why I rode so poorly and really just terrible at round one. So I got some comfort back and that was it. I was it just looking for that, that whole moto comfort.

Will you ride this week?

That’s weather dependant and finding the right spot to ride. So we’re just watching the weather right now.

250SX East Coast

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Jett, you know, everybody’s been really hyping you up, obviously just your personality and the way you ride the bike. Have you been feeling any of that at all before tonight? I mean, I know you like to keep things kind of loose, but have you felt any of that pressure just knowing that the industry has been kind of hyping you up and kind of waiting for this moment, have you felt that at all before tonight?

I’ve kind of tried to keep away from that because obviously you can blow your head up pretty big. And obviously when you don’t do what they expect you to it kind of can mess with the mental a bit. But, no, I’ve known I kind of had it in me for a while, but it’s just like they say, it’s just when’s it going to happen? When is the night gonna all click together? And yeah tonight was just that night.

I have heard of a heel clicker, one hander, fist pump, all these things. What was that called when you did after your heat race, man? What do you call that?

Um, that moves called the ‘I don’t know what to do move’. It didn’t really click in that I won the heat race until I hit the jump. I looked at the crowd and I’m like, ‘What do I do?’ I don’t feel like I should fist pump because it’s a heat race. I just did like this bar hump. So let’s just go with that for right now. The Jett Bar Hump.

Jett, congratulations. Obviously huge support from Australia. Can, can you believe that you’re a winner in Supercross and where to from here? Obviously more wins is the goal, can you challenge for the title?

Yeah, it’s definitely a good to get this first win. I think I’m third in the championship now, which is good, going from six in the first round. And I’m think I’m four points off. I’m not a hundred percent sure. Yeah, it’s really good to get this first win win out of the way. They always say the first one’s the hardest one to get. The rest are definitely not going to be as easy, but they’re definitely going to be not as hard as at first or not much of a long wait. It’s really cool. It’s special because obviously A2 was 366 days ago. So it was really cool to kind of do it around the same time as there and it definitely meant a lot.

I was trying to get a look at the bikes in the pits with you guys rolling by and I noticed what looked like maybe a sensor or some lights on a thing. Are you guys running kind of traction control or anything new you’re testing on the rear?

Yeah. That’s still under the radar. You know, that’s some HRC stuff that we didn’t really get it at Geico. I got no idea, you’re asking the wrong guy for the for the testing part. I just go and ride the bike. All I got to know is that it has two wheels and they’re a circle.

Did you change anything major on the bike or was it just a mental thing? What changed for you coming into today?

Yeah last Saturday, the bike setting was still not there. The rear was really overpowering the front end. We made a few changes today and were still kind of changing the clickers until the last practice. We ended up finding the right setting when they brought the red flag out. From there, I just felt like I was just at the practice track, felt like I was flowing really good. Honestly, to get the heat race win, it obviously does change your mental a lot more than getting a second or third. But no, I just came in with the same mental as Saturday, just confident in my setting on the bike and just thought, no matter what I do, and I know I’ll do good. Just the same old me, nothing really has changed, I just really gelled with the track today and yeah, just clicked off my laps.