There probably is no doubt, Chad Reed is currently the greatest Australian motocross/supercross rider of all time, as he holds two AMA supercross titles in the premier class and a 450 AMA motocross title too.
Not to mention that Reed took a GP victory and finished second in the world in the 250cc class of 2001.
However, what we have seen recently, Reed’s record will, without question, come under fire in the coming three or four years.
Jett Lawrence already has two AMA 250 motocross championship and is currently the red plate owner of the AMA 450 motocross championship.
While the 250-championship outdoors are not even close to the importance of the two AMA 450 supercross championships of Reed, if Lawrence can win his third major motocross championship in three years, then it’s hard not to place him as the greatest Aussie of all time.
Let’s remember, Reed won his first AMA title when he was 22-years-old, but he did have a guy called Ricky Carmichael to battle.
Lawrence could win his third major AMA outdoor title at the age of 19 (if he wins the 450 outdoor title before his birthday on August 9). There is no question that Lawrence might have five or six major AMA titles by the time he is 22.
We have been lucky enough to witness the careers of Aussie riders such as Jeff Leisk, Stephen Gall, Craig Dack, Glen Bell, Brett Metcalfe, Micheal Byrne, Dean Ferris and of course Chad Reed, and we can now feel excitement for Lawrence and his career.
When Chad Reed arrived on the Grand Prix scene back in 2001, it was obvious this guy had bucket loads of talent and had he not been born into the same era as Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart, he would without question have maybe five AMA supercross championships and a couple of extra outdoor motocross titles to his credit, so bad luck for Reed in that sense.
When Reed arrived in America in 2002, there was no doubt that he was more talented than Carmichael and not far off that amazing talent of Stewart and he showed in that 2003 season in the premier class when he battled Carmichael and had it not been for that ridiculous desire by RC, Reed should have been the 2003 AMA supercross champion.
RC demanded victory on every single race and that is maybe where he nicked Reed on so many occasions, and the main reason he won all those championships and the Aussie got just two indoor titles.
Now, while Reed had amazing talent and technique, Jett Lawrence takes it to another level and the ease at how he races is 100% like that of French rider Jean-Michel Bayle or Belgian legend Stefan Everts and that is something that will extend his career easily into the next decade.
He has learned not to crash and just take his time, let the race come to him, and just like his brother Hunter Lawrence, safety first seems to be the approach, but at the ease that he wins races, like that second moto at the AMA nationals last Saturday in California, it’s frightening.
Reed was very similar, not pushing to the edge and that was where RC had his number, but in this current era, there is no RC to push the young Aussie and Chase Sexton has a very similar approach to Lawrence, so either guy riding over the edge seems unlikely.
When Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings arrived on the scene in Europe, you just knew it was just a matter of time before he took over from the dominant Italian Antonio Cairoli. As good as Tony Cairoli was, the Italian was also not a risk taker and, while his race craft was among the best, riding over the edge wasn’t something Cairoli did. Herlings, on the other hand, doesn’t mind pushing the boundaries.
Now with Jett Lawrence possibly the man in the AMA 450 class, that battle between the Aussie and Herlings is a must for the near future. Hopefully, when it comes to Ernee, France in early October, that is something none of us can wait to witness.
The Dutchman is now entering the final years of his illustrious career, but still with ridiculous speed.
Australian has never won the Motocross of Nations and a big performance by Lawrence would go a long way in seeing that happen.
So, while we enjoy the 2023 AMA Nationals to see who comes out on top between Lawrence and Sexton and we watch to see if Herlings can pick up his sixth World motocross championship, we should have one eye on France and the MXoN in October.
THE PHOTO: Photo used here is really rolling back the clock … Australian high-flyer Hunter Lawrence (Kawasaki letter L) leads Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis (Kawasaki No.44) at the New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals near Huntly in 2010. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
Word by Geoff Meyer
© Photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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