Well, that was one hell of a night in Los Angeles, California. Although the opening two Motos were by far the better racing product, the fact we got to see live racing in the Coliseum for the first time in decades was incredible. We also saw two first-ever SuperMotocross World Champions crowned in Jett Lawrence and Haiden Deegan, and we saw plenty of riders secure some big paydays. But we're here for the new Champs, so let's get into it.
Haiden Deegan: 250 SuperMotocross World Champion
Let's roll the calendar back to late January and the weekend of Anaheim 2. Deegan was in that night's Supercross Futures race, and it was an objective disaster and unremarkable ended up in fifth. One (1) weekend later, Deegan finished fourth in a far tougher 250 East field in his pro debut, and he hasn't looked back since. Second in 250 East Supercross Points, fourth in 250 Motocross in a season where he held the red plate, and now this. This was the only SMX round Deegan won of the three, and while the injury of Hunter Lawrence helped out, he controlled what he could on Saturday.
Deegan also did so in a venue that has meant a lot to his family over the years. Brian Deegan's famous Ghost Ride 125 Main Event win was here, and later, he went on to win multiple X Games gold medals at the Coliseum in both Freestyle Motocross and Rallycross.
Interestingly enough, however, despite being a California native, Deegan caught a notable amount of boos up on the podium, clear enough through the broadcast anyways. Unironically saying the term "hater" is simply not it, but I don't have any issue with Deegan taking the "Heel" mantle from guys like Justin Barcia and Dylan Ferrandis. Having villains is good, and it makes things far more interesting in any medium of entertainment. Safe to say the teenager is only getting started, so be ready to watch him for a while, whether you like him or not.
Jett Lawrence: 450 SuperMotocross World Champion
Not a perfect day for the Jett by any means. He looked like he was struggling to find grip and balance for the bulk of both Motos, and he was hanging on by the end of both. Years from now they won't ask how he got it done, but rather, how much he won. $1,000,000 to be exact in just the Championship purse pool alone, then an additional $210,000 in race winnings these last three weeks.
What impressed me the most on Saturday is that Lawrence was able to improve, albeit slightly, on a more true Supercross-style track after what happened in Charlotte. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but compared to two weeks ago, it might have well have been. His starts were much better, and he gave himself much more breathing room, even if he ran out of the lead for good stretches of time. Also, that quad he hit to try and get by Kenny was nuts.
Even when Sexton went down, Lawrence wasn't out of the woods by any stretch. Ken Roczen was running him down, and while it's hard to say if he would have passed him if not for that lap traffic, we would have never known. Again, not the cleanest or flashiest way to get it done, but a bald man who appreciates family once told me that "Winning's winning." And Lawrence did a ton of that this year.
Main Image via Honda HRC