At the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX East Region race, it was Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence who struck first. The Australian got the holeshot but was quickly challenged by AMA Supercross rookie Tom Vialle, who took the lead. On the third full lap, Lawrence made a pass for the lead stick, as the #96 Honda machine went on to lead the final 16 laps and claim the first main event win of the new championship. However, it was not always a guarantee for Hunter, who had small—but significant—injuries early in his time in the U.S. That changed in 2022, as Hunter stayed healthy and got the ball rolling, clicking off race wins and podiums.
Now, with Jett Lawrence leading the 250SX West Region standings after the first three events of their season and Hunter now leading the standings after the first East Region race, both brothers are in the lead of their respective championships at the same time.
After the race, Lawrence spoke to the media via the post-race press conference.
Hunter, first question, is the goal to win title or would you rather beat your brother in an East/West Showdown?
Hunter Lawrence: I’d say both!
There was a scary moment off the start, you got pushed off the track over a triple by Tom Vialle. What happened there?
I got pretty lucky, normally when you go off the track, you wash the front on the boards or the concrete or something. I think I got pretty lucky on that one. It was cool to pass the Euro guy in the sand section. [Laughs] That did feel good.
Take us through the day. You were okay in qualifying but you seemed to get better as the night went on, and into the main. So how did you plan your day. Where you trying to establish yourself early?
I’m not trying to go out and establish myself, I know what I can do on a bike. And I know where I could have been better last year, so I’m just trying to do that. But qualifying was a little rough. If you put all my best segments together I could have had a pole lap, but I just couldn’t seem to do all my best segments all in one lap. Happy to execute. We worked on our starts, had good starts in the heat and the main. It was a pretty good day.
Have you thought about the idea of you and your brother winning both the East and West titles?
Yeah, it’s cool to think about it but we’re still nine races away from Salt Lake [City], anything can happen. We gotta tick off the boxes. You can ask that question then, or maybe you can’t!
What is your strategy this year to try to win this championship?
I look back at last year, the first few races, my starts weren’t amazing, and then obviously the crash at A3. That’s pretty much it. After that I won everything except the last one by a bike length. The second half of the season was really good. So we worked on our starts. Then, it’s tough to say, but you go into every race feeling like you gotta win. But recognizing one night where you’re like “Maybe a second is good.” Not taking a risk you don’t have to and ending up on the ground. But it’s tough because you don’t want to just roll over. So that’s where the experience comes in, and you saw it last year with Jason [Anderson] and Eli [Tomac] at a lot of the races.
|Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Your last two years in supercross have been very good, but before that there was a slew of injuries. Do you even remember that now? Is it so far in the past that you almost take for granted the feeling or winning supercross races?
No, absolutely not. These boys up here understand it here as well. We’ve all had super crappy days. You’re leaving the track and you see the results and you see who is on the box, or who is winning and who is carrying the red plate. You look at yourself and that seems like a lifetime away. We enjoy this stuff as much as we can, because it’s only for the next 10-15 years that you’re going to be able to feel that. The nerves, the adrenaline, the feeling you get, you’ll miss it. So we work hard, but we enjoy every moment of it.
We all saw what happened with Tom Vialle there, you ended up off the track. Were you mad about that?
No not at all. We all make mistakes…actually it wasn’t even a mistake, really. It was just closing the door and he didn’t want to give up the position. So I moved over a little where I thought it would be safe, so we didn’t touch, and next thing you know I’m facing the next rhythm lane. So I was like, “Okay I’ve got to handle this.” But no, I wasn’t mad. There was no reason to be.