Jordon Smith's Take on His Dream Supercross Season
The Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM rider now has two wins to his name and is in the hunt for his first Supercross championship.
Jordon Smith’s entry to the pro ranks did not go smoothly. Injuries limited him in his first two years, and as 2017 approached, the once prized amateur announced he was switching teams, from GEICO Honda to TLD/KTM/Red Bull. It could have been the beginning of an all too familiar story.
A highly touted amateur gets to the pros on a top-tier team and things start falling apart. Instead of competing up front, the once can’t-miss prospect finds himself bouncing from team to team until he’s parked in the back of the pits selling “barely used” Dunlops and batting cleanup with podium girls.
Thing is, Smith didn’t let that happen. Instead, he’s taken control in 2017 and after winning two races so far, is smack in the middle of one of the most competitive 250SX championship brawls in years. Here’s how he’s made it happen.
While Smith has nothing bad to say about his old team, he can’t seem to say enough positive things about his new home.
“They’ve been able to do a lot for me this year, and they’ve helped me feel really comfortable on the bike and at the races,” Smith says. “I trust them a lot. Everyone at KTM works really hard to be better, and even the teams in Europe all share input to come up with the best settings we possibly can. I feel a lot more comfortable here.”
“I came into 2017 healthier than I’ve ever been. I didn’t have any setbacks in the off-season and was able to progress coming into the year. I think that showed at the first round [Smith notched a career high, second, at the first race of the season].”
“I’ve had a rough couple years. I’ve had to tell myself I’m still the guy I was in the amateur ranks, and I can still win races. There’s more confidence now [after the first win], but you still have to come to the line each weekend with the same mindset. You definitely want to win the race, but you don’t want to throw it away either.”
Adrenaline and a boiling heart rate can make for some pretty poor decisions, but Smith has been able to keep his head and avoid making unnecessary enemies, despite this being one of the roughest 250SX seasons in recent years.
“You have to be smart. If you’re the faster guy and you have to make an aggressive pass and you can run away, that’s good. But if you’re not faster, you don’t want to make the other guy too mad to the point where he cleans you out and ruins your night.”
If you don’t have speed, you’re not going anywhere. Fortunately for Smith, he’s packing plenty of fast this year. He’s won two races, scored two additional podiums, and sits just six points back of points leader Joey Savatgy with two races remaining. While Smith says being in the championship is “an element I’ve never experienced,” he’s not rattled, and says being in this situation has amped him up for the rest of the season.
As far as the championship itself, the math is simple — if Smith wins the final two races, he’s the champ no matter what. But whether or not he closes out the season with his (and the team’s) first championship, there’s no question Smith can consider this season a success.