Features 2 Apr 2024

Conversation: Hunter Lawrence

Team Honda HRC rookie earns career-first 450SX podium.

St. Louis’ 12th round of Monster Energy Supercross saw premier class rookie Hunter Lawrence emerge with a career-first 450SX podium in what he described as ‘wild circumstances’. The Australian spoke to the media and reflected on the milestone in this Conversation feature.

Image: Octopi Media.

Your first year on the 450 and you’ve had some ups and downs, what’s been the biggest surprise and are you happy to finally get up on the podium?

I don’t think anything takes [me] by surprise – there are 18 past champions in the class, so that in itself tells you everything you need to know. We were [going] in the right direction prior to the injury in Daytona, so it kind of back-tracked us a little and we weren’t where we ideally wanted to be. We’re just enjoying working and the new challenges and trying to overcome them. For sure, I’m happy even though it was a bit of a wild circumstance on how things happened after that second moto. I’m still super determined to go make it happen in a conventional main.

In the first race when you were in the lead and crashed out, did you kind of think you had missed an opportunity?

Not really, if you’re good enough, you can’t get denied over and over again – you just keep putting in your best effort, and you’re going to get there eventually. For sure it was a bummer because I was feeling really good and just relaxed a little too much coming out of the whoops. The start was really good, the second one I didn’t execute as well and the last one was better. These Triple Crowns are chaos, you’ve got to be so perfect in every aspect. I’m not going to say I’ll miss them for the rest of the series.

Image: Octopi Media.

It took a while for the AMA to post the results from the second main event, at what point did you realise you had moved into second place after all the penalties?

Right as they called it, actually. I thought I’d be around four or five, and in the back of my head I thought it would be pretty sweet – because a lot of guys jumped on it – and I’m like what are the chances you get closer than fourth or fifth, and then they called out Mr Tomac, then 96 – I was like ‘yep, we’re not asking questions, we’ll go on out’. We’ve been on the bad side of that many times with the red-cross flag – I had eyes like a hawk on it tonight and it worked out.

Do you think Team Honda HRC are going to expect more rides like this out of you?

That’s why I’m on the team – they don’t want me to be in eighth or 10th, or sixth or seventh even. I’m training, I’m learning, and I’m investing so much into this job – to be up here on night like this – or two steps better in the future – that’s just what we’re all out here to do. Everyone’s path is different – look at my brother – his path compared to mine is completely different. My team backs me, and I love and trust them – they have faith in me and we work great together. We’ll get there, but like I said, everyone’s path is different.