Features 8 May 2024

Input: Lawrence brothers 450SX 1-2

Jett and Hunter Lawrence on historic result in Denver Supercross.

History was made over the weekend as Australian brothers Jett and Hunter Lawrence’s Denver Supercross 1-2 marked the first time siblings have stood on the 450SX podium together. Runaway points leader Jett’s win was also his eighth of the season, tying what Chad Reed achieved over two decades ago. Both riders detailed their races in this Input feature.

Jett Lawrence (Winner):
Jett, just want to talk about the history you’re making right now and how amazing it is. You just tied your fellow Australian Chad Reed for eight wins in a rookie season – how does that feel to you as you go into the final round in Salt Lake City?

I mean, it’s awesome. We always looked up to Chad when we were in Australia because he was the one legend that we had. It’s an awesome accomplishment for me to get that eighth win in my rookie season, but then also I feel like even the bigger topic of tonight is Hunter and I going first and second; the first time it’s ever been done in the premier class. I’m more stoked about that, to be honest.

Did you think about settling for second to preserve points and be safe? At what point did you decide to pass your brother?

Yes, it was the first thing that crossed my mind to be honest. After I felt Eli [Tomac] not there anymore, Hunter was holding a really good pace. It wasn’t like I was getting held up. And a few laps, he gapped me out also as I made some mistakes. It did cross my mind for most of it, and once I got a little bit closer, I was like, “Eh, it would be nice to have the few extra points just to have that bit of a cushion for next weekend.” It kind of just opened up nicely with a little bit of yelling at Hunter also to let him know I was there. It was cool to follow him. It felt like we were at home almost. It felt like we were at the Dogpound just logging laps. It definitely crossed my mind quite a few times to stay behind.

Image: Octopi Media.

The only thing harder than getting a competitive advantage is keeping a competitive advantage. How do you keep improving week in and week out?

I think this late in the season, it’s more so on track conditions to make any big improvements to keep holding it. I think the biggest thing where you can make heaps of gains are just starts. Especially on a track like tonight where it’s pretty one lined, there’s no maximum traction where you can make up heaps of time if you have faster high speed or anything like that. It’s pretty limited I guess you could say, and it makes for close racing but it’s also hard to pass. So the past few weeks, I’ve just been more focused on my starts because a start in the main is a big thing because it can really dictate how your night is going to go. Either fight back through and risk more or being up there and being able to get comfortable first and then kind of go and push.

What was going through your mind on that final lap. Was it points in the championship, was it Hunter being directly behind you? Take us through that part of the race.

The first thing was seeing that white flag and saying, “Okay it’s last lap.” I knew Hunter was right there, it’s just kind of in your head you’re like, “Please nothing go wrong.” Because like it finished, we ended up making history tonight and I think it’s a pretty cool accomplishment. I mean you obviously think of the negative first and you’re like, “Oh please don’t happen.” After that, it was just like let’s get through it safely, do my safe lines that I can make sure I could hit, and it takes the risk out. Going down the start straight, I was looking back making sure Hunter was there and I was already getting amped up.

A 20-point lead with one round left, what does your week look like? Are you business as usual starting to think about outdoors and trying not to think about the championship?

Yeah, go back, golf, same week, starts. I might go hit up James [Stewart] and go golfing with him maybe. Get some smack talk in and put me under pressure a little bit for Saturday. But no, same weekend going in, I think. If you change anything now, it can really go sideways. So we’ll go back and have the same week as this week and log some laps.

Image: Octopi Media.

Hunter Lawrence (Second position):

Hunter, how hard were you going to race Jett? Considering how important those three championship points are for him right now…

It’s obviously pretty easy to see that I’m not going to race him very hard. Even though tonight would’ve been awesome, the championship is not about me right now. I’ll have my time next year as well, and even next weekend. So yeah, great night overall. I got to lead some laps, my start was really good, which we’ve been struggling to execute in the main events the past few weekends. So I’m happy to just put it together.

You told our media team in the pre-season that you didn’t want to set firm expectations because you can set yourself up to fail. But now, all that you’re accomplishing in this class and leading all these laps, has that changed? Do you have expectations now?

I wouldn’t say I have expectations, it’s more things I want. I want to win, and I want to be on the pdoium every week. The same goals I set for myself and same checklist I made for the 250 class. Things that I need to accomplish on the way to get to my goal of where I want to be. So yeah, just another box I’ve checked off tonight. We’re inching closer and logging more data getting ready for outdoors and next year.

I’ve heard you say a few times that you’re trying to build data and things like that. Just give us an idea of what that process is.

I’m more of a rider that gets confidence and mental strength from doing the work. I’m not a guy that can kind of mess around all off-season then come to round one and try and convince myself and belive I deserve to win. I have to put in the laps, I have to put in the work to be able to believe that I deserve to win. Because I’ve done everything possible. I’ve been like that most of my career, everyone’s path is different. I chase number 18 during the week and on the weekend, so it’s just playing catch up from the years off with injuries and he’s the best in the world right now. So I have a great base to keep training and learning off, you know, if Jett wasn’t here in this class, I’d probably be a pretty good candidate for rookie of the year. But number 18 stole that one well and truly. But yeah, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been there to help him when we were younger, but for now the tables have turned over the past three or so years and I’m chasing him, which is cool.

Image: Octopi Media.

Second career podium, you probably hoped it’d come sooner than it did this year. But how important is it that it came at this part of the season as a rookie knowing that you can build for pro motocross and supercross next year?

Better late than never, right? Glad to get it done in the rookie season, for sure. I would’ve loved it to have been a little earlier, but yeah I had to learn more, build more confidence on the bike and within myself and work on a few things. We had a few little setbacks, but just bounced back and kept working. My riding today, I felt was really good and it has been really good the past few weekends, just the result wasn’t quite there. I was seventh three weekends in a row, I was over seventh place man. I couldn’t get away from it, so yeah I’m pumped.

Your first 450 season in Supercross, was it as difficult as you thought it was going to be?

Flashback to Daytona, super grateful I was able to come back as quick as I did, obviously being healthy and lining up every weekend is the first big box you have to tick if you want to have a shot at a championship or be in the fight. So, that’s obviously got a big emphasises on it, and just being there every week and getting in that 20 minute main every Saturday night, it helps build and carries on. You know, not racing, I think it’s hard to keep up with the level of the competition, so that was one of the main things. Just learning how the 450 is in supercross. I didn’t forget how to ride supercross from last year, just the bike acts different, so you have to sack up and trust it and go with it and learn.

Historically, teams that have two riders ahve to be careful not to show favouritism towards one rider over the other. Do you think it’s easier on your team to have two brothers who are probably going to get along anyway?

Our dad has raised us our whole life equal in anything we did and just put the pressure on the athlete to make the difference. That’s just how he raised us, so there’s no need for that. The better athlete will win, and as of right now, Jett is obviously the better athlete. He’s able to do what he’s doing and I’m just trying to catch up. But, the team likes me better, just so you know [laughs].