Features 6 May 2024

Debrief: 2024 Supercross Rd16 Denver

Main event winners Lawrence and Shimoda discuss 16th round.

Jett Lawrence tied fellow Australian Chad Reed on eight wins as a rookie in the premier class with his win in Denver on Saturday, and he had even more to celebrate with his teammate Jo Shimoda also grabbing the win in 250SX to complete a Team Honda HRC sweep. Both riders spoke with the media following the race in this Debrief feature.


Image: Octopi Media.

Jett, just want to talk about the history you’re making right now and how amazing it is. You just tied your fellow Australian Chad Reed for eight wins in a rookie season. How does that feel to you as you go into the final round in Salt Lake City?

I mean it’s awesome. We always looked up to Chad when we were in Australia because he was the one legend that we had. It’s an awesome accomplishment for me to get that eighth win in my rookie season, but then also I feel like even the bigger topic of tonight is Hunter and I going first and second; the first time it’s ever been done in the premier class. I’m more stoked about that to be honest.

Did you think about settling for second to preserve points and be safe? At what point did you decide to pass your brother?

Yes, it was the first thing that crossed my mind to be honest. After I felt Eli [Tomac] not there anymore, Hunter was holding a really good pace. It wasn’t like I was getting held up. And a few laps, he gapped me out also as I made some mistakes. It did cross my mind for most of it, and once I got a little bit closer, I was like, “Eh, it would be nice to have the few extra points just to have that bit of a cushion for next weekend.” It kind of just opened up nicely with a little bit of yelling at Hunter also to let him know I was there. It was cool to follow him. It felt like we were at home almost. It felt like we were at the Dogpound just logging laps. It definitely crossed my mind quite a few times to stay behind.

The only thing harder than getting a competitive advantage is keeping a competitive advantage. How do you keep improving week in and week out?

I think this late in the season, it’s more so on track conditions to make any big improvements to keep holding it. I think the biggest thing where you can make heaps of gains are just starts. Especially on a track like tonight where it’s pretty one lined, there’s no maximum traction where you can make up heaps of time if you have faster high speed or anything like that. It’s pretty limited I guess you could say, and it makes for close racing but it’s also hard to pass. So the past few weeks, I’ve just been more focused on my starts because a start in the main is a big thing because it can really dictate how your night is going to go. Either fight back through and risk more or being up there and being able to get comfortable first and then kind of go and push.

What was going through your mind on that final lap. Was it points in the championship, was it Hunter being directly behind you? Take us through that part of the race.

The first thing was seeing that white flag and saying, “Okay it’s last lap.” I knew Hunter was right there, it’s just kind of in your head you’re like, “Please nothing go wrong.” Because like it finished, we ended up making history tonight and I think it’s a pretty cool accomplishment. I mean you obviously think of the negative first and you’re like, “Oh please don’t happen.” After that, it was just like let’s get through it safely, do my safe lines that I can make sure I could hit, and it takes the risk out. Going down the start straight, I was looking back making sure Hunter was there and I was already getting amped up.

A 20-point lead with one round left, what does your week look like? Are you business as usual starting to think about outdoors and trying not to think about the championship?

Yeah, go back, golf, same week, starts. I might go hit up James [Stewart] and go golfing with him maybe. Get some smack talk in and put me under pressure a little bit for Saturday. But no, same weekend going in, I think. If you change anything now, it can really go sideways. So we’ll go back and have the same week as this week and log some laps.


Image: Octopi Media.

Jo, what does this mean for you, your family, and your team in general? How cool is it to give this to them with this win?

Oh for sure. It simply feels good. On a new time, I finally got a win for me and for them. I appreciate their work and for sure I want to get another one. We’ll keep working.

We asked Lars and the Lawrence brothers what it’s like to win on Honda. Is this a big change from where you were at the beginning of the year, or is it just that you finally got a good start?

Steady progress on the starts, but definitely getting the holeshot and leading the first few laps is where you can make a good gap. That helped me a lot and that’s probably the biggest thing.

Do you feel like you rode better other nights where you maybe got a fourth compared to tonight where you got a start and were able to cruise out front?

Personally, I feel like my riding has been the same all year. The 250 class, they prep the track before the main events, so the first few laps if you’re up in front like 1-2-3, those guys just get away from you really quick. Honestly, it’s a big difference if you’re in first place or second place you know. So I think with the starts, it’s a big thing.

It’s been three years since your first win, does it feel like three years ago and did you ever doubt yourself that you’d get back to the center of the podium?

For sure I was doing a lot better outdoors. That last time that I won in Supercross was that long ago, so like I said, it’s been steady progress. I’m stoked on the riding and not just the result.