Hunter Lawrence Interview
By Todd Jarratt
Hunter Lawrence is a name that has become quite prominent in the Australian motocross scene over the last few years, and for good reason. Just this week it has been announced that Lawrence will represent Australia for the fifth year running at the Junior World Motocross Championships, and after his recent run of perfect finishes at the 2015 MX Nationals we thought it was a great opportunity to catch up with the likeable young Queenslander and get his thoughts on his career to date, and what we can expect to see from him in the future.
Todd Jarratt: So Hunter, for those crazy people who don’t know much about you, or live under a rock – can you please give us a brief run down of who you are and how you got into motocross?
Hunter Lawrence: “I’m 15 years old and I live on Sunshine Coast, QLD. I got into racing through my dad, as he was a weekend warrior and just enjoyed riding. Like most kids I started riding on a PW 50 and then progressed onto the KTM 50 where I began racing some local club events. Some friends at the track advised us to get into the South East Queensland series (SEQ’s) so we did, and after about a year of getting smoked at the SEQ’s riding around at the rear of the field, I began to take it a little more seriously. I started riding a bit during the week and dedicated time to training, which from memory is when I started doing well. We picked up a few sponsors when I got into the 65 class and started travelling around a bit more which meant dad had to give up his racing. Not long after, Jett my younger brother got his first bike and I guess that’s how it all went.”
TJ: Now you said you had a fair bit of success at a young age, and that’s carried on through your junior career to this current stage?
Hunter Lawrence: “Yeah, my first Junior Australian Title was at Coolum in 2007. I had the speed to podium but ended up on my head more than once in each of our moto’s so that didn’t end up going too well. (Hunter eventually finished 7th overall in the 50cc 7-u9 years class). The next year was in Western Australia where I finished 3rd in the 65cc 7-u9 years division and I was really happy with that result just because the whole event was such a big experience for me and it was my first national podium. Then in 2010 at Lakes Macquarie, I won my first Australian title in the 65cc 9-u11 years class and finished 4th in the 85cc 9-u12 years class.”
TJ: So winning that first title was a big turning point for you I guess?
Hunter Lawrence: “Yeah absolutely, once I got a taste for winning I didn’t want it to stop and I guess that’s why I train as hard as I do now. In 2011 I won both 65cc 11-u13 years and 85cc 9-u12 years classes at both the QLD Titles and Australian Titles, so that was a good year! Then coming forward a couple of seasons to last year at Appin in NSW I won the 250cc 13-u15 years class and was hoping to win the 125cc 13-u15 years class as well before a mechanical DNF forced me out of contention.”
TJ: So that’s your domestic success in one big breathe, what about your experience racing internationally?
Hunter Lawrence: “I’ve been representing Australia at the Junior World’s since 2011. My first year I finished 3rd on the 65, then in 2012 I finished 13th in the 85 class with a broken growth plate in my shoulder (that he sustained while training in Belgium only one week prior to the event). Then in 2013, at Czech Republic I finished one point off the world championship, which was a bummer after winning the second moto. Then last year unfortunately I broke my wrist in the first final of the 125cc class while coming through the pack so that didn’t really go to plan, but I was comfortable where I was at before the crash that’s for sure!”
TJ: Moving on to the current year, you’ve been selected to run the green and gold for us again – an obvious choice by Motorcycling Australia!
Hunter Lawrence: “Yeah so this year the Junior World’s will be held in Spain and I’ll be competing on the Yamaha YZ125. If I can get some good starts and stay healthy I know I can be up front, so at this stage that’s what I’m hoping for.”
TJ: After finishing 2nd at the Junior Worlds in 2013, and your younger brother Jett winning the 65cc World title in his debut year last year, you “Lawrence brothers” have really made a name for yourselves, not only on the domestic scene but globally. What sets you and Jett apart from your competitors?
Hunter Lawrence: “I think it’s our work ethic to be honest. We always have in our minds that this may be our last chance to go racing, so each time we get the opportunity we work our butts off to ensure we do our very best. It’s not a common thing to make it to those kinds of events, and obviously it’s a big commitment financially, so with things being the way they have been for Mum and Dad the last few years I think we have grown to appreciate and work for every opportunity that comes our way.”
TJ: At the most recent round of the 2015 MX Nationals (remember Hunter is currently only 15), you were competing in the Rising Star Rookies class. This event is only seen to be a support class, but your lap times in comparison to the three championship classes were faster than the entire MXD field, equal to the top three in the MX2 class and sat within the top ten of the MX1 ranks. That’s pretty impressive for a kid still trying to learn the art of pick up lines at high school.
Hunter Lawrence: (laughs) “I grew up riding rough and rutted tracks, so I think the riding style I have developed over the years is a direct product of my environment. My lap times were up there with the fast guys yes, but not as consistently as I would’ve liked. That’s the kind of thing I look at – I don’t pump myself up on the good things, I look at my weaknesses and work on those when I get home so that I’m better for next time.”
TJ: With that maturity and long-term focus, where do you see Hunter Lawrence in the future?
Hunter Lawrence: “At this point in time I obviously want to finish out my junior career here in Australia winning, then step up to the MXD class next year and in a perfect world win that too before moving on to Europe for 2017. I know it’s a quick step, but I see Europe as being the place to be, not here in Australia. I want to get into the EMX250 class and do well there. I say that because over in Europe, the tracks and the teams and the whole vibe just make you want to work until you’re at the top. It’s a completely different world over there and now that I’ve witnessed it a few times, I want to be there full time! I’m willing to work every day until I’m there and I think that’s what it will take. Then, depending on how things go in Europe, the next step would be to chase the dream in America, and hopefully if the opportunity ever arose I would have the resume behind me to get there.”
TJ: Well I tell you what mate, from your results so far in your career and the progress you’ve been showing in the last 18 months there is no reason you won’t achieve those goals!
Hunter Lawrence: “Thank you very much, I’ll just keep doing my thing and working hard so that I give myself the best chance to make it all happen!”
TJ: That’s it mate! I’ve definitely thrown enough questions at you for one day, so thank you very much for your time and we will be sure to keep everyone up to date with your progress throughout the year.
Hunter Lawrence: No worries at all it was my pleasure; I hope everyone enjoys the read!
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