Interview: Hunter Lawrence on his podium fight back at Anaheim

Despite late notice that he would be riding 250 West Coast after Jett Lawrence’s crash in late December, Hunter Lawrence improved all day at Anaheim one and really showed his speed in the last half of the 250 main event to come through the top five and almost nick second off Seth Hammaker in the last turn!

Lawrence had reeled in both Marchbanks and Hammaker with the laps winding down after getting by Vince Friese for fifth, and the speed and desire he showed at the end indicated he might be Craig’s biggest title challenger. This is only Hunter’s second season in supercross, don’t forget, and although he got second last season, the learning curve is still on the up. Hunter should only get better from here. This is what the Aussie he had to say in the post-race press conference.

Hunter, you were a little bit buried in the pack at the start of that 250 main event and the chaos that unfolded. What was it like to sit through that, kind of plot for those 15 minutes and a lap to see where you were going to end up, and then to have things come together in those last few laps the way it did?

My start was pretty bad. The gate flinched a bunch of times and, like, seven guys hit the gate. So, I thought it was going to be like a restart because it didn’t drop when it first moved. Then it didn’t. So, I thought, let’s go race. It wasn’t easy, but just pretty much just kept passing guys until there’s none in front of you. The case was third tonight, so it’s okay.

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With the night that we had with just so many guys having crashes, just the chaos of the LCQ’s where factory guys aren’t even making it in in the 450 class, does that weigh on your mind at all while you’re racing? Or is it just once the gate drops it’s time to send it?
I don’t think it’s like send it, in a way. You’ve got to do the best to your ability but try and ride within your limits if you can. obviously, you have to go above sometimes, but it’s never good to see guys get hurt. I’m just focused on myself.

You were the sort of lead Lawrence in GP’s, but whenever you all came to America Jett has kind of taken over that with you getting injuries. I feel like you’ve been a little bit undervalued a little bit. I know you had a solid, good season last year, second and third in the championship. But I feel you have more potential, maybe more potential than others realize, fans and stuff, because they haven’t seen you at your full health. Do you feel that with a ride like tonight coming through the pack that you’re approaching your full potential and America will start to see the full potential of Hunter Lawrence?
Yeah, for sure. It was only third tonight, so nothing to jump up and down about. But I feel good. There’s a lot of rounds to come. We’ll just keep doing my thing and working hard week in and week out and see how we go. It doesn’t really bother me if people think Jett’s better or whatever.

We heard earlier from Seth on that last lap, wish we could have had Garrett do this because this would have been epic to have the three of you talk about it because that was a wild last lap. Let’s hear your perspective. Come two to go, you were three and a half seconds back. So not only did you close that gap and seal a podium spot, but you knocked Garrett off as well and had that tight fight with Seth over that finish jump. Just walk us through that last lap.
It was kind of a “Hail Mary” last lap, to be honest. A little sketchy. I landed on a few Tuff Blox. I didn’t knock Garrett off. I passed him clean. I probably could have dive-bombed Seth a little harder, but I thought that was probably crossing the limits and not necessary. I just gave it my all. In all honesty, I knew I was closing and just really pushed those last laps. I knew I was fitter and stronger. That’s all it was. I was just going with it.

When you say, “Hail Mary,” in your mind, did you just tell yourself podium or nothing? Or was it you wanted to catch those guys and see what happens?
They’re just right there. It’s so close, so why not go for it? it’s not really rolling the dice, because everything we do is a calculated risk. It was so close. You’d be like a p***y to just settle for fourth or whatever. So, go for it.

Image: Honda