Hunter Lawrence On RedBud Crash And Title Chase - Racer X (2024)

Tough week for the Lawrence brothers. First Jett Lawrence, the 2023 AMA Pro Motocross Champ, was sidelined due to a thumb injury in the week leading up to RedBud. Then his brother, and points leader, Hunter Lawrence went 2-4 for thirdoverall and lost the points lead to Chase Sexton who went 1-1.

A disappointment for sure, losing the points lead, but Hunter, who is a rookie to the 450 class this year, is wise beyond his years when it comes to handling disappointment. In the post-race press conference, he stated:

“I don't know, I've been on the highs and been on the lows, been on the emotional ride and it doesn't serve you well as an athlete," he said. "So, yeah, just self-evaluate everything. Okay, head down, bum up, you go for a good start. Okay, you get around the first turn first. Okay, this is the plan. Second moto you don't get around the corner too great and then you're like, “Alright, this is the, the game plan.” So, it's just kind of always adapting to whatever situation you're put in, you know, and at the end of the day I just do my best and if it's good enough then sweet, but if it's not, we just keep working and hopefully we'll get there.”

Speaking of ups and downs, Hunter was leading the first moto with Chase Sexton right behind him, before having a big get-off on one of the downhills. Somehow, he was still able to get up and finish second.

“Yeah, it happened so fast, and it was kind of weird, like, a lot of things caught me off guard a little bit with hitting a bump or something. And then by the time my wheels were on the ground again, the bike was completely, uh, not directly underneath me! So, I was constantly having to react to stuff to fix it. And yeah, it just kicked and then I tried to gas out of it and dropped the front wheel into the face of one of the really steep gnarly ones and that just like snapped so fast. And unlike the 250 when the old 450 goes, she barks pretty hard. So, you know, strap yourself in for the ride and do your best to save it. But I'm okay, just kind of gave my head a bit of a knock which all things considering we’ll take. It's all good.”

One of the key issues in the 450 class was lappers. Sometimes the leaders would roll up on five or six lappers at a time. As soon as they passed one group of lappers, they were already catching the next group.

“Yeah, the lappers were something else, you know, I think I'd get held up a bit and then Chase would get held up a bit and I even seen some flaggers like, looking and holding the flag and it's almost like they just gave up on waving it at one point and I was like, 'Just wave the freaking thing. Like, what are you doing?' [Laughs] So, that was a little bit lame. I thought the blue flag could have been used a little more aggressively. But I knew coming in it'd be tough to beat Chase at his home race. Obviously, you know, extra little fuel for the fire and I knew he'd be on it. And I was close in the first one until I was upside down. So, thankful to not be hurt and stuff and yeah, it just happened so fast. But that's the nature of the beast.”

In the second moto Hunter and Team Honda HRC took a gamble by going away from the Dunlop MX14 "scoop" tire and going to the more traditional MX34 knobby tire. While the MX14 is better for the start, Hunter (and Jett's) starts have been incredible this year, and the team thought it was possible to still get a good start on the MX34, and then take advantage of that tire's better hard pack performance during the moto. The harder, base soil was starting to come up at the bottom of the ruts for moto two. But, that gamble didn't pay off. Hunter got one of his worst starts of the year, and the tire didn't really help him make up ground after that.

"Obviously hindsight's a beautiful thing, you know?" said Hunter. "And you never line up on the gate and when it's time to go and the helmet goes on, you never go. 'Oh, crap. I wish I did this.' You get up there and you sack up and you, you believe in yourself and you go to execute. So, yeah, next year we'll have more info, you know?"

Hunter also said that he knocked his head in that first-moto crash, nothing serious, but enough of a difference to where he couldn't run his usual pace. He finished off the podium for only the second time in a moto this summer in fourth. Still his 2-4 moto scores were enough to land him on the overall podium for the day with third overall. He is the only 450 rider to be on the podium at every race so far this year.

Not every race is going to be perfect, but Hunter Lawrence is really mastering staying away from the highs and lows, and just focusing on process and results. It's that approach that has made Hunter a 450 championship contender already.

Hunter Lawrence On RedBud Crash And Title Chase - Racer X (2024)

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