Queensland native and newly signed Geico Honda rider Jett Lawrence will make his pro debut at this weekend’s Monster Energy AUS-X Open – a topic we chatted to him about upon landing back in Australia.
Australia. Marvel Stadium. Professional debut – how does that feel?
Yeah it feels really cool, definitely cool to be able to do my pro debut over here in my home country instead of the U.S, so that’s awesome. Racing with the big boys too over here in a stadium as big as Marvel is pretty sick, so I’m keen to get out there and get underway.
You’ve raced a lot of big races, and you were in a stadium for Monster Cup, but I have to imagine that the feeling racing in a stadium is pretty different to an outdoor national…
I think it’s pretty cool because obviously when you hear the crowd go wild you know something’s happened, and I get distracted pretty easy so I want to check out what’s going on! (laughs) But yeah this is a huge stadium, and the roof is closed here so the noise will just echo heaps, so when you hear someone eat it or pass someone it’ll get loud. Hopefully I’m doing most of the passing, so I know the crowd his making noise for me.
You’ve been travelling for a long time in Australia, all over Europe and now the U.S – is it a nice feeling now to have a base in SoCal where you can live and train out of?
Yeah it definitely feels nice, and it’s not really home but it definitely feels more like home now. I’ve been staying at O’Mara’s house recently, kind of like a young kid to them almost (laughs), it does feel nice though to have a ‘home’ as we’ve been travelling as a family for a long time through Australia, Holland, Belgium, France and then to America – so it’s been all hectic, but it’s good to know now that we’ll be staying somewhere for longer than just a year and call somewhere our ‘base’.
Does it feel a bit like ‘about time’ on your pro debut, because you’ve been, as a family, big names for quite some time now even claiming that World Championship in 2012 from memory…
Yeah honestly for a kid it’s the longest process going through all the amateur stuff, especially coming from Australia, so it feels great to finally say ‘I’m pro now’ and make it sound like I’m good at something (laughs). But yeah it’s great; we’ve done all of it with the World Championship and trying to get noticed, then Europe and America, so it’s been a process.
Was it really about making a name for yourself or just going out on your dirtbike and having fun? As a kid all you really want to do is ride a Razor scooter and hang with your mates…
Yeah, I guess a lot of people are trying to make a name for themselves, but I’d always try to keep it fun and I genuinely like to have fun, muck around and talk crap basically – it’s always one thing I’ve always tried to focus on and remember where I came from. I’ve come from nothing to now being known as one of the top upcoming pro riders now, and hopefully the fastest young guy or something like that (laughs), but we’ll see. A few times in Europe we’d stop and ask ourselves the question like, “what would we be doing now if we weren’t over here doing this”, like you always think about that so I’m very grateful with what I’ve experienced so far because not a lot of 16-year-olds have experienced something like this. I definitely appreciate it.
Caption: At 16-years old, Jett Lawrence is on the right path to becoming an AMA Champion.
Talking about the global connection – you think about the U.S kids and their fans are sort of there, in the U.S, you know? Whereas you’ve got fans worldwide from racing across the globe…
Yeah, I’m a bit like Kenny (Roczen), I have followers from countries all over. If you look at the people who follow you, and what country they’re from, I have people from like Australia, Germany, Holland, America – like all random countries which is pretty sick to kind of look at that – it’s not like it’s just all my friends from America. It’s cool to have a fan base that’s so big and wide.
How about being Australian, is that meaningful to you or just more like whatever?
Yeah it means a lot, I feel like in a way I’ve got the country on my back representing them, and that makes me want to do well for them. America is great, but I want people to think that Australia’s full of mad dogs – I just want to make my country proud.