EUROPE. Mum to two superstars, Emma Lawrence has kindly agreed to update us on the progress of her lads as the battle their way across Europe – 18-year-old MX2 Grand Prix racer Hunter Lawrence and 14-year-old Jett, who is competing in the EMX and ADAC series.
“We are now into the mid part of the season and just like every year, we are still learning there is more to this sport than just being able to ride a bike, more to being successful than just getting to the races or being on a team.
The first GP round at Argentina was on a very picturesque track and venue, but it wasn’t a favourite track for Hunter as he likes more technical, rutted tracks but this one is very fast and flat with big jumps. Hunter had a very surprising time qualifying only .635 off Jonas and .268 off Prado so he was 3rd again normally this isn’t his strong suit punching out one fast lap – last year we once saw him qualify 16thfastest then finish in the podium!
Hunter hadn’t been feeling well in Argentina, and obviously, with all the flying you pick up some wondrous things, but we got fourth in the qualifying race so had a good gate pic. On Sunday Hunter took his first good start and was able to make the pass into first on American Saneyei, then he continued to lead for about 10 laps until he hit a wall. The virus he had picked up really fatigued him and he did everything he could to hold on for second but he had spent himself. So in the second moto he got a bad start and pushed his way up to fourth only to once again have fatigue set in towards the end of the moto. He got passed at end of the race coming home in sixth, but it was enough for the team’s first podium!
With our preseason races Hunter knew he had speed but never accounted for all the things going wrong this season, and this was where it all started.
Valkenswaard was the next round for Hunter, who had been so ill in between these rounds he couldn’t ride for two weeks, then once we got to the rough tracks our suspension became an issue – Hunter just got through the weekend and finished sixth – not ideal, but it was points. This virus hung on and we headed to Spain to another fast, flat track and Hunter hadn’t spent any time there like most of the teams testing over winter. They were chasing bike set-up all weekend and he was still fatiguing at end of his motos, but salvaged two top-five results for fifth overall.
There was a two-week break before Italy and Hunter was happy for that as he got to ride finally, he was very keen to race but bad luck struck as we were still dealing with suspension issues and he went over the bars in timed qualifying, breaking his first metacarpal. He tried to ride qualifying race but it was too painful and he didn’t want to risk further injury. Hunter was gutted as he was in a comfortable fourth overall in the championship. Long story short – four weeks off the bike again.
Finally, we came back at Latvia GP and to our surprise, he got third in the qualifying race which is quite a shock given all our down time.
But feeling good on Sunday he got a good start and was in fourth but had a big crash which ended our weekend.
Hunter wanted to ride Germany next weekend as this was a track that was special to him and he got his first podium there last year with a second place, but the doctors wouldn’t give him clearance. He thought he could at least practice there, but whilst practising his hand was quite sore and the riding really made it worse so after Germany he went to get an X-Ray and he had broken another bone in his hand! He rested in hopes to ride at Matterly Basin GP.
At the UK GP he surprisingly again ended up fifth in the qualifying race with the fastest lap of the race, just two weeks after his broken hand. But they say bad luck comes in threes and in the first moto he had a first corner crash and got run over.
He was pretty banged up, but he was determined to line up and finish the next moto. It wasn’t his best race as his hand couldn’t cope after 10 minutes but he managed to still get some points.
Which brings us to this weekend at France. Still, only a week after Matterly Basin so his hand is still not healed, but nonetheless, lots of positives to take away.
Hunter qualified ninth but the track was brutal. Sharp-edged downhills which of course puts a lot of pressure on the hand, but thankfully there was rain on Saturday night which slowed the track down and made it more technical, so that helped.
Free practice went well and for the first time ever he was the fastest, but in the first moto another rider ran into his back wheel and caused them to crash down the start straight. Hunter passed through the field up to a comfortable sixth place with around 30 seconds on seventh, so when he hit a wall with his hand at about 23 minutes he just managed the race until the end. Second moto didn’t go as well, after an error on the first lap, so he charged again, up to behind Jonas, but made a few mistakes and finished tenth overall which is a step forward after so much bad luck and no ride time. He is still struggling with set up as we haven’t been able to do any testing, but we will take the positives out of this weekend, as we finally finished a full GP weekend, for the first time since Round three back in March.
Even though we are halfway through the year Hunter has only competed in five Grands Prix, so it’s hard to play catch up. We will keep trying till we get there. It may sound like a lot of excuses but until you live the life over here, not many will understand all the difficulties that arise.”
Tomorrow we travel with Jett (by Jett?), and find out what the younger of the two gun Aussies has been up to this year.