Jett Lawrence has rapidly become a global fan-favourite in the sport of supercross and motocross, but at just 16 years of age, why does everyone love him so much?
He soared in popularity over the last 12 months, making his Pro Motocross debut in 2019 before stealing the show in the 250 Futures race at the Monster Energy Cup, where you might remember him digging into some doughnuts on the podium.
A lot has happened since then, including making his Monster Energy Supercross debut, crashing out with injury, and even claiming a career-first podium, and in doing all that, he’s amassed an incredible 208K Instagram followers.
And to put that massive fan-base into perspective - fellow Supercross rookies Jo Shimoda and Jalek Swoll have followings in the 35-45K mark, so Jett has already positioned himself with a following that sits amongst some of the sports’ most established riders, and he has just six Supercross starts to his name.
So how has this Australian teenager made such an impact on the fans of supercross and motocross in such a short period of time? Well, here are three reasons why:
I think the first reason why everyone loves Jett Lawrence is because of his unwitting personality.
We all love to see personality in the stars of our sport, and it’s often something that a lot of riders hide or suppress to avoid unwanted attention or to keep themselves out of trouble with their team and sponsors.
But it’s always the outspoken ones or the riders who just show who they really are that end up winning the love of fans, and Jett has done exactly that.
It probably comes down to his age and experience, but the 16-year-old just speaks his mind - if you’ve watched any of his interviews, he says exactly what he’s thinking, and that makes for some of the most interesting podium or press conference speeches.
But it’s not just limited to how he speaks - I mentioned before the Monster Energy Cup last year where he became known for eating a doughnut on the podium, which is something we’ve never seen before, but it was just him showing his character and being entirely himself.
And I think that’s the key reason why we love him so much - he isn’t trying to be the next Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, or James Stewart.
SPEED & TALENT
So the second reason I believe Jett Lawrence has become such a hit with fans is because of his raw speed and talent.
Most riders entering the pro ranks in the modern era of Supercross are typically a 2-3 years older than Jett, and it’s been years since we’ve seen someone of his age and experience jump into the discipline and immediately mix it up with the fastest guys in the 250SX West class.
Obviously his consistency hasn’t been there, but that was always expected, although he clearly has the speed and talent to win races and championships in the years to come.
I think his ability to be in the mix with the title contenders so early on his Supercross career has earned the respect of fans - everyone loves an underdog that emerges with some impressive performance, and while there was plenty of hype around Lawrence coming into the season, there were no expectations for him to be challenging guys like Ferrandis, Craig and Forkner.
So for him to be in the frame of racing those guys for position, he’s really showed the potential he has, and there’s also the fact of simply watching his style.
It’s crazy how he’s seemingly adapted to Supercross and already looks really comfortable with an epic style, and that’s something we can all get around and appreciate.
A CAREER DEFINING MOMENT
Now the third reason Jett has earned so many fans is because of a career-defining race at Anaheim 2’s third round, which has to be one of the craziest main events ever.
Jett managed to work his way into the lead, crashed as the carnage was unfolding behind him, but still remounted before becoming under threat by champion Ferrandis, only to get passed on the last lap before crashing heavily in a desperate attempt to regain the lead.
The crash resulted in a broken collarbone, but the respect from the global fan base of Supercross was overwhelming for the Geico Honda rider.
Here are just a few comments I grabbed from social media when the incident happened:
“I can’t remember when we’ve had a kid come through at his age where the world shows nothing but love for a rider.”
“The kid won my heart, gonna be a fan of him for a long time!”
“This kid is a legend! Can’t wait to see him back in the future!”
Now these are obviously just a few comments out of thousands, but the general feeling from everyone chipping into the comments section is nothing but love, which is usually the opposite from normal - it’s normally largely negative, and that says something about how the fans feel about the teenager.
From that weekend, I think almost everyone became a fan of him, and it will be a race and moment that will be talked about for years to come when you mention the name Jett Lawrence.
So it’s a combination of those three things that I believe have earned Jett the adoration of the industry all around the world, and I have to say it’s hard not to love him and I’m excited to follow what I anticipate to be an illustrious career.