Features 22 Feb 2022

Debrief: 2022 Supercross Rd7 Minneapolis

Main event winners Anderson and Lawrence recall seventh round in Minnesota.

It was win number three of the season for Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson at Minneapolis, capitalizing on late-race drama to secure a maximum points-haul from round seven in 450SX, as Jett Lawrence started 250SX East in the best possible way and claimed victory. Both riders were available to the media following the race for this Debrief interview feature.


Image: Octopi Media.

You win the race, but you said you just didn’t find the groove tonight. What’s the difference? I think there’s been two races where you didn’t feel sharp this year… Can you put a finger on what the difference is, even though you did win tonight?

No, I think my speed was good, that wasn’t something I was struggling with. It’s just a track where you had to keep your focus, it was breaking down left and right. There was a three out of the corner and Dirt Wurx didn’t prep the corner, so it just made it really tough on us the whole main event. The whoops, they were basically enduro-cross through them! It was just a tough track, it really was, but speed-wise I felt good – focus-wise you really have to focus and hit your marks really well on a track like this. I think that’s more what I meant when I said I felt a little off.

 It seemed like at about seven minutes in you had almost settled in. Was it a hard track to make up time?

It was hard to make up time and I feel when you were trying to make up time you’re on the edge and I have caught myself in trouble a few times this year, so it’s something, mentally, that was tough for me. Obviously, you want to win and you want to push the whole time. At the same time, I felt like a couple of times I was taking more risk than I wanted to! I want to win, but I don’t want to end up on the ground and get hurt, you want a good result for the long game. I tried to start making up time, but Chase [Sexton] was riding really well and I just trying to keep pace so if anything happened, I could be there. Yeah, it happened, obviously… Just a tough track.

Riding throughout the week, is it even possible to prepare for tracks that break down in this manner? What do you guys do to simulate race conditions?

I feel it’s pretty tough to do if you ride by yourself, but every Tuesday we have been riding the PC [Pro Circuit] track and the crew have had the track dialled for us – all the PC guys go out there and get it torn up as much as possible. Honestly, I’ve been trying to ride public tracks as much as I can, just to try and see if I can ride it really rough, but you can’t mimic what we raced tonight. It’s impossible and, if you did, I don’t think you’d get to the next race!

Have some rougher tracks had you veer away from what you had going into A1?

I’ve been trying to progress my bike, but I keep going back to the same old set-up. I feel like we’re working towards to get some feelings in my bike with other settings, but we’re not quite there yet. It’s a work in progress for us. I think what I have right now is a good base, but there’s still some progress to be made with my bike. It’s tough to find, that magic setting is really tough to find, but we’re working on it.

I’m sure there was some uncertainty when you changed teams. The end goal is a championship and there’s a lot of racing left, but do these wins help with your mindset that you made the right choice?

Yeah, you know I’ve really only been with one team for so long, so any change for me is going to make me nervous. For me, I just want to always make the right decision and have success. Being able to get these wins has been amazing, it’s been refreshing for me, my career and just makes me want to keep going. I think that’s what cool about our sport. Yeah, it will knock you down, but when you get that little bit of success, it will keep you going and that’s what I feel right now. It’s awesome.

You’ve mentioned recently, the uncertainty in the sport, you never know what is going to happen next. What is it like week to week, not to take these wins for granted, but do they make the Monday to Friday grind a little easier?

It’s tough because once you get into a position that I’m in right now in the series, you try and keep your mentality as even as possible. You show up on Monday and always have a goal, to try to ride, improve yourself, improve your bike, try to do whatever you can to be better, but for me, at his point in my career, where I’m at, I’m going to celebrate any win I get! I’m going to feel good going to the track on Monday. I know those tough days when I’m not going to get the result on Saturday are still going to come, it’s just our sport. I’m going to enjoy this while I can and just keep striving to be better.

You know what it’s like to deal with the pressure of winning this title and how difficult that is. Is there a moment this year in switching where you have reset and said, ‘hey, I’m all in’? And whatever that brings with it, it doesn’t seem like you’re worried about red-pate, points-lead – you’re just all in.

To me, until I call it quits on my career, I just want to put my heart out there. I think making that switch and maybe struggling a little bit, whatever the result is I just want to keep striving to be my best. It’s honestly a tough thing to be vulnerable with yourself, be able to suffer and be able to get tired sometimes. For me, I’m just going to try and put it all on the line until I call it quits. I feel like that is a change for me mentally. Changing my team, that’s been refreshing, but most of all just personally, I really feel a lot better, I’m enjoying myself and trying to embrace each emotion whether it’s negative or positive and then I leave the track and go hang out.


Image: Octopi Media.

What are your thoughts on how stacked this class is?

I love it. I mean we got into the sport because of the close racing, it’s not just for the fans, it makes it good racing for us also and we all have so much respect for each other. We know that we will get close to each other, but not try to take each other out. Especially this podium, we have worked a lot of our butts off to get here and I know Cameron [McAdoo] and I are in the same category before west coast with injuries. I’ve got mad respect for everyone in the class, I mean we have got big hitters. It’s good because if you do have a bad start, it’s not like it’s going to be easy to get back up to the podium position like the west coast… the west coast guys have been going good, congrats to Christian [Craig], HJ and [Michael] Mosiman. I’m excited for this year, [Austin] Forkner is looking good, so is McAdoo and even J-Mart [Jeremy Martin) so I’m excited for the season.

Talk about managing that, you had Austin pretty close for a while, everybody is saying that how gnarly the track was. Was that full pace or were you trying to manage it a little bit?

I would say probably just trying to manage it, because as most of the guys said the track got pretty chewed up, and it could cost you with any slight mistake – just missing a line, especially in that long rhythm where we were three in, that’s a really big stretch for a 250 and through the transitions, it got some little ruts at the bottom. It was kind of just focussing on staying your line. Yeah, Forkner was keeping me honest, I would look back and be like ‘dam I still see green’, so I had to make sure I stayed on my toes there, and both the boys, I could see them and they were riding well and keeping me honest, I kind of felt like this is a really good race, I had a good flow, track was really gnarly, but I kind of found a way how to ride it. I was pretty happy with my pace and how felt – all-round was a pretty good race with the boys.

You looked comfortable on press day and throughout the day as well, take me through your weekend as far as bike changes and what you contributed to your comfortable feeling today.

Bikes changes… it was pretty good. I came in with the bike feeling really well, it was just a matter of a few clicker changes here. I mean the biggest change was probably more so engine, we went with a different primary from the practice to the heat race and the main event, just because the start, I was little too aggressive on that. Coming in, press day I just took my time, I could see on track walk, just looking at the track it was pretty notchy and peaky, so I think it was just taking my time, and I felt like this year a lot of the guys weren’t rushing into sending big rhythms, everyone was kind of feeling it out. Same with practice, I feel like some guys were sending it, but other ones were just taking their time getting used to, getting a flow, nothing crazy. I felt like that was a little different for me, because I am usually that dumb guy to go and send it, try to do those hero lines, but I think it was a lot calmer day coming in, bike was handling awesome and, like I said, only a few clicker changes which was great, and I think that is what kind of helped in the main event, having that calm day all day.

You were going to race Anaheim 1, things happened and you are here now. Was it weird to get in the mindset of, ‘yeah I’m going to racing today’, when it’s a day time race, you are pitted inside the stadium and there’s no interaction with the fans?

I mean, I was totally oblivious to that to be honest. I was excited to go racing, I was a little kid at a candy store, each time coming off the track I was like, I want to go back out again and do more laps. It never really crossed my mind much of getting a mindset of ‘we’re going to do the race and stuff’, it was kind of more so just having a great time, I think Christian Craig said this on the West Coast of just kind of being present and enjoying, because you can never know what will happen in the future, it could put you out pretty early. The biggest think was I was just enjoying it today, I was having fun and talking to riders. The last few years I have been a real pain in the but, I’ve been real focussed on myself, and I think its not the way to go, I think Colt [Nichols] was kind of really good about that last year, we were just both talking to riders because we are going out there and doing the same thing, I think that kind of creates that bit of extra respect for each other. I mean, I had a great day today, I had fun, and even without the win I had a fun time riding my bike, it was good, so I think it was more so being excited to race again.

To follow that up, so many guys – Christian is 30 years old and he is now realising be in the moment, Jason [Anderson] is 29 – be in the moment. You are a teenager and you are finding that out, so many people don’t realise that until later in life. So good of you to understand that now and what was it that kind of made you sink that in? Then after the three of you park on the triple, there’s a level of respect that hey we are going to go at this, but be respectable about it.

That’s because Dazzy [Darren Lawrence, Jett’s father] beat the information into me [laughs]… not really. I think maybe just being more mature and just kind of learning from other riders. There’s a lot more other guys out there that know way more than I do and with way more experience and I think it’s stupid if I don’t listen to those guys and learn off of them. So, just listening to the west coast guys, the 250 class and even the 450 class, just learning what they say. I’m pretty sure even this year I’ll probably learn something off of Forkner or Cameron. So, I think it’s always just got to stay listening and just learn from other people’s mistake and hopefully that you don’t go through the same thing.

Do you feel like you have a target on your back? You’re going to have this red background going into next week with the Triple Crown or do you kind of feel like maybe the battle and success you had from Pro Motocross kind of feels like you can withstand this pressure, kind of having that target? What is that like having these guys looking at you and trying to knock you off, specifically?

I think just having the red plate you always have that bit of a target on your back because obviously that guy has the points lead. At this point in time, you’ve really got to make sure you stay on it because the points are very close. But as long as I just keep doing what I’m doing and putting in those good results, if I lose the red plate next weekend, I’m not going to be too worried. As long as I’m just there on the podium each weekend and keep putting in good races and race like how I know how to ride, I think I should be okay. It’s definitely going to have a target on your back with the red plate. It could be on anyone and they’d want to go after that guy because they’re the main guy right now. Hopefully, everyone just has a really good race and gets some really close racing and has fun just like tonight.

How are you going to go celebrate tonight?

I’m going to go probably celebrate, it’s probably already past my bedtime. I’m already in bed probably playing Xbox or something like this. I’m probably just going to get some good tucker and get some good shuteye and hopefully go back to the chalkboard and keep working.