Jett Lawrence announced Red Bull signing with flair

Jett Lawrence Red Bull

The Supercross debut of Jett Lawrence was dramatic, but Red Bull upped the ante when he signed to ride for them in 2021.

The 2020 season was to be the highly celebrated debut of Lawrence until a violent crash with 4 minutes on the clock in the second race at Anaheim changed the trajectory of the Australian teenager. It gave Lawrence a new attitude and left him with something to prove.

Midway through the A2 race, Lawrence had a comfortable 11-second lead over Dylan Ferrandis until a momentary loss of concentration in the whoops caused the leader to lay down his bike.

He climbed back aboard and maintained the lead, but Ferrandis sensed weakness and closed the gap. Ferrandis grabbed the lead and put Lawrence on the offensive. In just a few moments the race changed from a near-certain victory to an epic battle.

It didn’t take long for it to change again, this time to disaster.

Pushing too hard, Lawrence endoed hard into a jump on the final lap. His bike followed him into the crash scene and slammed into his back.

At the conclusion of the night, the team announced Lawrence suffered a broken collarbone. If not for a long break to deal with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Lawrence would have missed the rest of the Supercross 250 West season.

Instead, he returned for the final races in Salt Lake City and earned his elusive first podium.

“I knew I was supposed to be up there in the top three,” Lawrence told NBC Sports. “It took me a while to finally do it, but once I got my third-place podium, I felt more comfortable about a lot more things.

“I couldn’t get any higher than that in the last round. It wasn’t my best showing, but I came back more confident and wanted to prove I learned from my mistakes.”

Lawrence finished fifth in his final Supercross race last year – a 250 East/West Showdown event that featured the best riders from both divisions.

The reputation that secured Lawrence a full-time Honda ride in 2020 was built on precision. His ability to ride a very tight line is what put him in position to win in only his third Supercross race, but it took some time to regain his rhythm and readjust his riding style to apply those hard-earned lessons.

“[The A2 accident] showed that I had to make sure I focused a lot more,” Lawrence said. “It definitely was a slap in the face. It just made sure that I was more careful and didn’t take anything for granted. In the whoops, I relaxed too much and it ended up biting me. It definitely woke me up. It made sure I stayed focused on a lot more things that I normally relax on.”

Adaptation is critical in supercross and motocross. The unexpected turn of events gave Lawrence an opportunity to redefine his reputation. Instead of being known as a precision racer, he had the opportunity to show he can also charge hard when necessary.

“I can do both,” Lawrence said. “I can be really precise and smooth, but if I need to go and charge hard, I can. I can drop down a fast lap time when I need to, or I can use the least amount of effort and still go the same speed.”

Lawrence proved as much by scoring his first professional win in the final Motocross race at Fox Raceway in October 2020. He won Moto 1 and finished second in Moto 2 to secure the overall win.

“I had been trying to get a podium for the entire outdoor season and to do it in the final round was sick—and to go and win it was a good point to leave the 2020 season on,” he said. “It points me to 2021 and it’s a good confidence booster knowing I was on top of the box. Now I hope I can start the Supercross season off the same.”

With his new well-rounded skillset established, Lawrence signed to ride for Red Bull.

But Lawrence is still one of the most precise riders in the field, so when it was time to announce his contract, the team wanted to do something unique – something dramatic

They took an existing course and shaved it to about a third of its normal width – about the width of Lawrence’s handlebars. That was not challenging enough, so they asked him to race it at night with lighted rails to mark the edge of the course.

“Once I heard that I was pumped,” Lawrence said “I couldn’t wait for the day to actually come so I could run a Red Bull helmet because I wasn’t able to touch a Red Bull helmet until I did the shoot. Once we got there and started to cut the track down, I just had a grin on my face the whole time. And to see the final product coming out was unbelievable.

“[The darkened course] made it more challenging. I was blinded by some of the lights, but to get the right shot we could only do some things with the light for that perfect look. It was challenging to stay focused with the lights and the cameras. It was a mental challenge.”

It only takes a few minutes of watching the video embedded below to see what had Lawrence smiling so broadly.

Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

Larson High Limit Eagle
High Limit Racing - Twitter

It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway