Features 10 Jun 2024

Debrief: 2024 Pro Motocross Rd3 Thunder Valley

Winners Jett Lawrence and Haiden Deegan recap their days at Thunder Valley.

Jett Lawrence (450 class) and Haiden Deegan (250 class) collected big wins at Thunder Valley for different reasons in each of their quests towards the championship. Both of them spoke with the media after the race in this Debrief feature.


Image: Octopi Media.

Jett, you gave props to Doc G [Rey Gubernick] today. Everybody saw the crash last week. It wasn’t just a hard crash, you got clipped too. You got punched in the face first, then it threw you down, then it spiked you afterwards. But you relax a little bit and got some therapy this week I’m sure and my goodness, you come out here and you turn the tables 180.

Yeah, it was a rough one last weekend for sure. But during the week, we had what we like to call a stiff kitty throughout the week in therapy. I couldn’t see G too much during the week because I was in Florida. I had to do some testing and try some other things in the suspension. We got here Thursday, wait until Friday, G landed and came straight to the hotel. He did his magic, got me feeling better. Even Friday before we saw him, we did press, and it was looking rough. I can tell you that. But G has those magic hands, and it helped a lot. I’m super happy and grateful. It could have been way worse, and I got lucky with it, so I’m definitely thankful.

I thought you were going to let the race come to you, but it seemed like you rode the position you were in, and when you were ready you made the typical Jett move.

In the second one more so, my legs were already shot. So, I had a bit of lazy riding at the start. Any outside that was flat, I was just sitting and kind of bouncing on the bumps a bit. I knew I had to keep Hunter close because he was right there in front of me. Chase had a charge at the start and ended up going down, but I just knew I had to stay there. Midway through that second moto, I was like, “Oh do I just stay here for third? But I’ve got to try to make the points up. I’ll just stay in third and see if someone comes up.” Then Hunter made a small mistake, and he relaxed in that section, and I was able to get him there. Then I was like, “Okay I’ve got to get Justin because otherwise Hunter is going to get me back.” I sprinted and ended up getting Cooper with a few laps and it was just head down, keep on charging. It was an all around pretty good day I’d have to say.

How much pain were you still in from last weekend and how did you manage that throughout the day?

I think a lot of riders agree with this, but once you get the adrenaline going, it kind of helps a lot. The biggest problem for me on the riding side of things was my shoulder. I just had no strength. Doctor G taped it up for me to try to hold up a bit, so it doesn’t give out in those impacts. My leg was actually pretty okay, it was more so my hip. It was good enough obviously to ride and I just knew if I could keep my head down and focus on my riding, I can kind of mentally block out that pain. It helped a lot, but we’d much rather be 100% and kind of use all of my skills. It’s a little sucky holding back with a few things. Like not getting back [on the bike] on some stuff and I just bounce on my butt. It’s definitely a lot better than last week, I can say that.

You were obviously riding your own race, but did you know at all what was going on with Sexton in that moto or did you try to keep an eye on him?

Not really, I was more just focused on the people in front of me. Chase was riding hard at the start, and I was thinking in my head, “He’s pushing a little bit, but he might pull it off.” And then he ended up going down. I think he clipped a foot peg when he jumped up. I haven’t seen the crash, but you don’t want to ever see that. It kind of helped not focusing on him then because it would have been another guy I would have had to pass. So then I was just kind of focusing on Hunter and Justin but most of the time I was just more focused on myself where I can try to find the smoothest line and flowing line that I can hit every time. Obviously, the traction wasn’t the best so you’re kind of looking for the easiest spot to take that’s going to make sure you’re not going to wash the front or wash the rear out.


Image: Octopi Media.

Haiden, three rounds in, three wins. We talk about pace, conditioning, desire, and it seems like you’re putting all those pieces together right now. One or two mistakes here or there but the big picture is, you’re in the driver’s seat right now.

Yeah, definitely. Three rounds in and three wins is definitely a dream scenario for me. It’s awesome. Today in the first moto, I was leading and went down with a stupid mistake. Those bumps in that off-camber turn are so slippery if you trust the front end, and I trusted it a little too much. I got back up and I’m like, “Tom is not beating me again. That is not happening.” I just rode my heart out, got the pass, and got the first moto win. Obviously, Chance is riding very well. I didn’t have the speed in that second moto for him. He rode very well, but we got the overall.

It’s a really tough concept for some riders to grasp, but it seems like you’re starting to understand a bit when to slow down to go faster. Is that something you’re working on?

Yeah, definitely. I think just consistency and bringing that back, I feel like I had that really good last year as a rookie. Not as good as what’s going on right now, but I had good consistency. I feel like just bringing that back where you’re winning the first moto and not winning the second, don’t stress over trying to get to the lead. If you’ve got to push a scenario, don’t do it. Be safe and obviously it’s about the long picture. That’s kind of the thing is that the long picture and winning championships is my goal obviously. Doing stupid stuff is not what I want to do.

Now that you’ve pushed it to the limit, are you pretty much where you need to be, or are there still things you learned for the bike to improve going into round four?

My bike is pretty solid right now. I definitely think when me and Tom were up front, we were on like a whole nother pace. We gapped all the other dudes pretty far. My bike is pretty solid right now. Maybe there are some things we can tweak round but honestly you just kind of have to adapt to it. These tracks are so gnarly, it’s not much you can really do.

What’s High Point like for you? What are your expectations?

I enjoy High Point. It’s another track where I’m super confident. Last year, me and RJ [Hampshire] battled down to the last lap, and he got me with like two turns to go which is unfortunate. Second moto, I crashed and got ran over on the start. I came from 40th to sixth. It’s a good track for me. I can go really fast there. I only went there and rode once before my first outdoor National there, but I enjoy that track a lot. The hills and elevation is very cool.