Interview: Lars Lindstrom – US HRC team manager
It has been the dream season for HRC Honda in the US, so we took the opportunity at the MXoN in Ernee to talk to team manager Lars Lindstrom, about the season, managing Sexton and Jett outdoors, the MXoN and even team Sweden!
Watch or read below:
Lars, quite the weekend, it all turned out good in the end but it was a bit of a topsy-turvy weekend for you guys!
Yeah, it didn’t start out the best with Jett hitting the fence and crashing and starting last. Really happy with Hunter, he was able to get two relatively good starts against the 450s, so that was the goal, to get him a good start. Jett was able to come back and gets sixth that first moto but he should have been more towards the front, but we knew it would be difficult to beat France and they rode just as well as we thought they would.
For us to get second. It was the best Australia could have done and the best Australia could have hoped for, I think. I was actually with team Australia in 2011, and that was the first time they had ever been on the podium, I was with team Australia in ’14 and that one didn’t go so good! And then last year, I was mainly helping team USA when Australia got third and this year they got second. It’s cool, it’s fun to be around with them, I have been around a lot of Australian’s in my career and I feel a connection with them.
You were with Chad Reed, Hunter and Jett their mentality is so good as well, their confidence and ability, Jett almost had to win that last one to secure a podium and went out and delivered again.
Yeah, they are totally different types of people between Chad and the Lawrences but yeah, the Australians, they have a never say die attitude and they work their ass off. They do have that in common with Chad and they have a lot of belief in themselves. It’s fun to be around them, and the whole crew from Australia, Darren Lawrence and Michael Byrne, it’s a really fun crew to be around and good people.
Can you talk about this year as Honda USA, you won everything, it’s beyond a dream in some ways! You got the supercross title with Chase, which I think was a 20 year wait and then like buses, everything came at once with the Lawrences so dominant. For a team manager what is that like stressful or can you enjoy it, because a mistake and the title can go down the drain!
I think the supercross season with Chase, when we were trying to win the championship, with Eli going out , that was the second to last race, up to that point, it was a lot of stress. The summer before that with him, a lot of stress, because we trying everything we could to win and we just desperately wanted to win a 450 championship. After we won that championship (450 SX) everything else was like icing on the cake. To win the the two 250 championships, that wasn’t stressful because the riders were so dominant, it felt like we had control of the whole season, that didn’t stress me out.
The 250 championship in outdoors with Hunter was difficult because we had some issues with the bike at Southwick and Hunter had the crash at Red Bud and hurting himself a little bit. Him dealing with basically injuries the entire summer, luckily with the injuries he was able to ride, so that was another stressful one. Coming here, to me it was to have fun, do our best to get a podium, second or a win was the goal, and we got second.
How was it managing Chase when Jett came into the 450s and started winning because Chase was the guy and then Jett became the guy and then they were racing again in SMX! From a team manager view is it difficult to manage two riders of that stature?
Yes, it is, but at the same time we never really had any issues because Jett and Chase got on pretty well with each other. Chase had a motorhome for a lot of the races so they didn’t really hang out a lot together but, at the same time, they both have a good mentality and personality that they are able to get over those things. At Charlotte when Chase won, Jett was pissed off because he wanted to win but at the same time he was happy for Chase but he was definitely motivated. There was never any big feuds or anything like that and I think that was because they were good friends before that, and they respect each other. It ended up being not a big problem, but it can be for sure.
Next year both Lawrence brothers will be on the 450, their technique and talent we all know, are you excited for what both brothers, not just Jett but what Hunter can do next year in 2024 supercross?
Yeah, we have a lot of things next year that will be interesting. I am excited for that and trying to do everything we can for both Hunter and Jett to be successful, yeah.
Were you able to keep an eye on team Sweden, it was dramatic with the B final!
Yeah, I always try to keep my eye on them and talk to my friends that I have been friends with for a long time that help team Sweden so it was unfortunate that Gifting got injured but then it was cool for them to get in through the B final, I think they went 2-3. But yeah, I wish Freddie (Noren) would have been here, I think he could have helped them out quite a bit but it was cool to see all the guys and talk to them over there.
On the atmosphere of this event, there are almost no words, you really have to experience it in person, the crowd is mental!
Yeah for sure, especially here in France. The design of this track and everything, it really allows for an incredible fan experience on the hillside. MXoN especially when you come to Europe and different countries and feel the whole vibe and all the different things that we experience coming from America to here is really fun. Me and the boys, we had a great time hanging out together, having dinner and checking out the local town that we are staying in and the whole experience here (at the track), it’s something we love to do. Even after this long, grueling season that we had, it didn’t seem like it was hard to come here, it was cool.
Just regarding that grueling season, how long do you guys get as mechanics and team manager get to take off before supercross starts, do you get a proper break to mentally relax?
Not exactly, we don’t take like weeks off or anything or things like that. It’s more like now we can have weekends off – that sounds good to me! Yeah, so it’s a little bit brutal but at the same time, we kind of take it when we can. When we know there is nothing coming or we know there is an event coming up or something we want to do with family, as long as we plan that ahead of time, we can take some time off, so yeah, it’s not easy but we make it work.
Interview: Jonathan McCready