Give Jett Lawrence the lead early in a race and he will be tough to beat, but the ever-determined Cameron McAdoo never stops trying. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider pressed Lawrence early and then made a pass to get the lead. Lawrence regrouped and went back after him, and eventually got his Honda HRC machine back in front. It was a great battle between the two as they negotiated a tricky track and gnarly conditions, each struggling to handle the toughest rhythm lane on the track. How did the battle play out for them? The two riders explained it in the post-race press conference.
Jett, a lot of back and forth, good battling. Just kind of take us through the way you processed it early, mid, and then late there. It looked like you made some pretty distinct decisions as you went along.
Jett Lawrence: Yeah, I sucked at the start. Cameron was on definitely a lot faster pace at the start, which I could feel that because every turn I could feel him there. I was like, okay, he’s doing obviously something. It was pretty clear he was skimming the whoops. I was already scared! I started jumping at the start [of the race]! I’m like, “This ain’t good.” The whoops were actually not too bad. We had a really good battle. I had fun with that because we had the respect for each other to race clean. Cameron rode so good that even he got me and gapped me out. I’m like, damn it, I don’t like this. I’ve got to get a bit closer to him so I have some type of chance. Those lappers were pretty gnarly tonight. I ended up getting some type of luck with that. I think we both had some good luck and bad luck with lappers and that. So, pretty gnarly. The track was so rutted tonight. We were following each other in a lot of turns just because that was the best line in that turn. So, it was a fun race. I had a blast. I think even if I got second, Cameron rode phenomenal.
That rhythm after the whoops, you were having some problems there about the first half. You had a big one about halfway through. What was that like for you? Lawrence: Yeah. I think we both were thinking if we can at least get that clean each time, because it was so hard to get that rhythm. We know if we can get triple and then get the quad after, there was a good few tenths on each other. I know if one of us clipped it or cased it or not got the quad, there was some good breathing room. I cased it once behind him because I was kind of changing my line because I followed him and got all sketchy and doubled. Then I got out in front and I’m like, okay, I’ve got to get a bit of a safety gap and try it again, and cased it even harder! So I’m like, okay, I guess we’re doing double-three-on tonight. I like the track changing like that. It kind of makes you think a lot more instead of if it’s a more hard-pack track where you can get everything easily each lap where you just kind of click off the same lap times and not have to change anything.
Cameron, what’s the mentality like when you’re chasing, and then you get the lead, and then you start extending the lead at one point? Are you able to keep your cool through that and just race your laps, or do you start thinking about how the race is unfolding and that you might get the win?
Cameron McAdoo: Especially that early on, you really can’t think about the win or getting the win. You’ve got to definitely go through the process, especially with the way the track was tonight with the ruts. It changed so much each lap. So, I think if you start thinking about winning seven laps in when there’s 22 laps, that’s not going to lead to any success. But, like Jett said, the rhythm after the whoops was super critical. Once he got by me, I think I stuck to trying to go three out of the turn too many times and missed it every time instead of just maybe racing the two-three on to the tabletop. That was pretty important. I know one lap he cased the triple out of the turn really hard. I was really hoping I was going to be able to get it and I didn’t. Lappers were tough tonight. We both had to navigate them. Jett definitely navigated them better than I did. But to answer your question, the mentality was just to race forward the whole time and at least put a battle up. We did that, came up a little bit short but I’m going to keep trying.
Jett, I don't think I’ve ever seen anybody come all the way back from a crash in the first heat race and win the heat race.
Lawrence: I can’t really blame anyone on that, because it’s the first turn. Everyone is going in there. Everyone can see the first turn, they think they have it (the holeshot). So, everyone is going hard on me. It was a sucky situation, but that’s racing. I think it kind of helped me find different lines, I could say, coming through knowing I could maybe get someone here. It kind of helped me towards the main in case I had not good starts or went in behind someone. So, I think that definitely helped me out. I was very grateful that I was able to get back to the first position. I think if [Pierce] Brown didn’t crash, I think I would have been second for the heat race. Sadly, Brown went down. It was a bit of Lady Luck for me. Hated seeing that crash. Thankfully, he walked away from that one. That one was pretty gnarly.
Jett, whoops section tonight, you talked about the first couple laps jumping through them and trying to figure out what you were going to do. Cameron is pretty infamous for being fifth gear wide in whoops. He’s really strong in them. What did it take you to get those figured out as the main went along?
Lawrence: I started off with jumping and then once Cameron got around me skimming, I’m like, okay. Damn, I better do this now. I wasn’t quite sure how edgy they were. But, I watched him go through and he was hitting them really good consistently. I’m like, okay, obviously that’s the line. I kind of followed him for a few laps and found the same line. I was like, this is a good line to take, if you have no one in front of you. Everyone knows Cameron is in the fifth gear giving the berries through the whoops. You can tell. He gets that whoops speed up. It makes it more fun, I feel like, for me because there’s not as many people very fast in the whoops on a 250 because it is so difficult. I think definitely Cam and I are up there for the faster whoops 250 riders. So, it makes it more exciting. You could say I had to grow a set and kind of skim through the main after jumping the first few laps.
In the middle, the whoops were pretty rutted. I tried jumping because I thought it might be pretty laid down where I can kind of get that forward momentum, but just skimming them at a decent pace was apparently still the faster way. Cameron had a really nice line on that far left side that I seen. I ended up following him on that line. it was just kind of picking where was the safest. If I’d get a little off balance, where is my go-to safety line? Couldn’t end my night with hitting a tuff block or missing a whoop.
|1||Jett Lawrence||21 Laps||0:44.925||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|+05.945||0:44.691||Sioux City, IA||Kawasaki KX250|
|3||R.J. Hampshire||+34.906||0:46.259||Hudson, FL||Husqvarna FC 250|
|4||Pierce Brown||+35.304||0:46.032||Sandy, UT||GasGas MC 250F|
|5||Mitchell Oldenburg||+38.915||0:46.643||Alvord, TX||Honda CRF250R|
Jett, when Cameron passed you in that main event, what’s your mindset? How do you stay cool and not over-ride it and panic and make a pass into something worse and crash out?
Lawrence: The mentality kind of changes to, what’s he doing better here now? Even once he got me, I made a few more mistakes, with casing that three in, and casing another triple. So I was a bit all over the place. I made a couple mistakes. But, once he got me I was kind of seeing, where is he better at and where am I better at? To kind of know if I can just get close enough or just put a front wheel, show a fender somewhere, to where it might put him off his fast line and more into defending. When I was up front, I was more focusing on hitting my lines, but once he got me it was kind of more to where is he better at? That’s probably what I was mainly thinking of. Then obviously once I found out where he was better, where I was better, it was kind of just figuring out how to make a pass happen in the sections I’m better and then where he’s better than me.
Jett, last year in this stadium you had some big crashes and it sort of knocked you out of the championship hunt for last year. Then after the turn one crash, were you getting up thinking, “This is not my stadium?” It was kind of trending the wrong direction.
Lawrence: No. I didn’t think. It was probably more so, “I’m going to make this my stadium.” As soon as you think that, “This is not my stadium,” it already defeats you mentally. Last year sucked a lot here, but I think you’ve got to have those lessons. They’re harsh, but I think it just shows that I wasn’t ready last year for a championship, where Colt and Christian were. They were a lot more smart with their decisions. This is also a place where I felt like it turned me to stop being an idiot, because otherwise you’re going to end up in a hospital bed either every weekend or maybe for life.
Cameron, some great progress the last two weeks. You finally got a jump and a start with Jett. You’re halfway there. What’s missing to finish these mains out? McAdoo: Well, If I had it [figured out] exactly, I would have done it tonight! Honestly, just being able to navigate through better towards that midway. We caught into lappers so early. Like you guys saw last weekend, Pierce and I got benefit from the lappers. It’s tough to get by those guys. They’re battling for positions, as well. Just navigating those guys better and just hitting the main lines every time. Once Jett got by me, I was really struggling with the rhythm lane after the whoops. That was pretty critical to be good in. He stayed locked in really well from nine to thirteen minutes of the main, and that was kind of the deal-breaker where I kind of let him get a little bit of some breathing room. I’m sure he could kind of see me coming out of the 180s and knew that he had some space and could ride his lines and stuff. I just need to come through those guys better and stay in it every single lap.
With the short lap times, knowing lappers were going to be an issue, even RC mentioned this on the broadcast, did you pass Jett too soon?
McAdoo: No. You’ve got to pass when you can pass, especially with how well Jett is riding. If I had an opportunity to pass him, I needed to take it and I did. I honestly probably tried a little too early – I don't know if everyone saw. After the triple when I went inside, and I should have known better than that. He was going to cut back underneath me. I was honestly pretty bummed and embarrassed on myself.
He caught you so bad he was looking back!
McAdoo: Yeah. That was honestly the first thing Mitch [Payton, team owner] said when we got back to the truck. He was like, “What were you doing there?” I was going down the straightaway thinking, “What was I doing there? That was not smart.” He really outsmarted me. That was dumb.
Cameron, can you talk about the challenge of not ending up on the outside or stuck by lapped riders?
For sure. There’s certain areas of the track where you know you can get by them pretty easily, probably one being the whoops. At the same time, like Jett said, in the very middle, the first three whoops just had straight ruts in them. So, it was really hard to skim them there. Most of the lappers that we got into, we would get into like three at a time. They’re battling for a position and they’re doing their best, but they’re also trying to get out of the way. A lot of it is just picking your spot and staying in your line and hoping that the lapper does stay in their line, too. Sometimes it’s not by choice. I’ve been lapped before and been sketchy, too. It’s a lot about just sticking to a line that is doable fast every time. I think I was trying to do the best line, the fastest line, where I should have just maybe done what I could do consistently each time.
Watch the full 250SX post-race press conference below: