News 14 May 2024

Podiums the highlight in Hunter Lawrence's first 450 campaign

Fined by AMA race direction following Salt Lake clash with Anderson.

Image: Octopi Media.

A pair of podium results in St. Louis and Denver came as the highlights of Hunter Lawrence’s first season in the 450SX division, eventually landing ninth in the final Monster Energy Supercross standings following a dramatic Salt Lake City finale.

After winning the 250SX East and 250MX championships last year, the 24-year-old elder Lawrence brother was rewarded with a full-time position in Team Honda HRC’s 450SX program for 2024 and has largely delivered on his promise this season.

Despite missing Birmingham’s ninth round with a shoulder blade injury sustained at Daytona, Lawrence rebounded for P3 on the podium by round 11 at St. Louis and then backed that result up with second at the penultimate race in Denver.

Salt Lake saw the Australian caught up in drama after he was taken down by Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) for the second time in three weeks, later fined by AMA race direction for what appeared to be retaliation in deliberately checking up while being put a lap down, forcing Anderson wide and almost off-track. The latter didn’t crash, but it proved costly on his way to fourth after challenging for P3.

The AMA has since declared that the elder Lawrence brother had violated the sport’s code of conduct in his response to Anderson’s tactics and he too received a written warning, in addition to the fine that he was given. Former 450SX champion Anderson, meanwhile, was himself handed a written warning for ‘aggressive/reckless riding’.

“It was a good day of riding,” Lawrence recalled, now turning his attention to a first Pro Motocross campaign in the premier class when the gates drop at Fox Raceway in two weeks time. “It turned out to be a practice race for me after that incident in the main event, but now we’re on to a blank slate for this summer.”

Lawrence’s debut in 450SX at Anaheim 1 saw him miss the main event after finishing 17th in his heat and fifth in the LCQ, but 17 rounds later he has qualified quickest on one occasion in Philadelphia, plus won his heat races in Seattle and Nashville, alongside the aforementioned podium efforts in St. Louis and Denver.