Ryno Power’s powerhouse teams of motocross, mountain bike, BMX, and other professional athletes are world renowned. As with every sport, we are always on the lookout for the next crop of the world’s fastest racers. Motocross racer Hunter Lawrence (Factory Connection Geico Honda Motocross Team, #196) is just that talent. Hailing from Australia, Hunter’s story isn’t your typical road to success. In fact, his story is still being written. We sat down to chat with Hunter to find out a little more about what makes him #ChargeLife.
Ryno Power: We last saw you out at the Cal Classic a couple weeks ago, at the Fox Raceway in Pala, CA. How was the race? Good to get some action before your pro debut?
Hunter Lawrence: It was alright actually, we wanted to do some preseason races. In Europe we always have pre-season races,… 2-3 pre-season races before your season opens. It’s a great experience, because you can ride at a practice track for the whole offseason, and you can be killing it and feeling great, and feel that the bike is really good and that you’re really good, and then you come to the first race and everything is different. Your bike doesn't feel the same, it doesn't handle the way you want it to under race conditions, you’re forced to take other lines that you’re not familiar with on some laps for passing, and your bike may not handle as well, or yourself, …you may not handle it well. So, it’s great just to get some gate drops before the season starts.
That was the goal of that, and it was good. It’s different. You know, the short intense races. The tracks not really rough, to an extent to where I can stand out heads and shoulders above the other guys, but it was good. I was happy with it. Everyone was fast there on that track. It was cool!
RP: Good to hear. That’s one of those cool events where you get all these regional area pros from SoCal coming out to compete. There’s obviously a big difference between the regional pros, to your typical Lucas Oil Pro Motocross pro racers. Still, at the end of the day, getting gate drops (as you said) is the most important thing.
"Racing is the best practice."
HL: Exactly, there’s no better practice than racing, you know? Practice and Racing... you can’t beat it. You look at the (Aldon) Baker’s factory and they just replicate races each time. Just from what you see there’s always like two guys next to each other when they are about to do a practice moto or whatever it may be. Racing is the best practice. It was good for us to evaluate our bike as well. We actually went back to Pala Tuesday [after the event]--as if I didn’t spend enough time there that week! We went back for a test and made even more progress on the bike, which I’m really happy with. We got to test our bike in race conditions, and it gave us even more direction in what we needed to do and what we were looking for. It pointed us in a good direction. I was happy with it. I felt good. Just the same as everyone else in pre-season. Everyone feels great, fit and strong.RP: Are you anxious to see how you’ll stack up? You really won’t know until Hangtown. You take everything you’ve learned over the offseason and apply it. But until you get that first Moto 1 at Hangtown...
HL: Exactly! Every pre-season interview sounds the same. Everyone’s stoked on their bike set up, and they’re stoked on how fit and strong they feel. Everyone feels great, but like you said… after the first round, or first couple rounds even. You start to figure out who’s in the game.
RP: Obviously you’re using Ryno Power full time, which we love to see. What kind of products have you been using personally and what is your favorite that you take on a consistent basis?
HL: I’m happy to be running the Ryno Power products! I was buying it in Europe for nearly 3 years. My teammate at the time, Dylan Ferrandis, was using it. Obviously, that caught our eye. We were so new at the world of being a professional athlete. We were trying to learn from everyone we could. We saw them, super fit and highly recommended it. Heiko (Ken Roczen’s dad) suggested it as well.
I’m pumped to be on the program here in the States. I love the Hydration Fuel, on riding days and race days, you know. Just to keep yourself fueled. I find it makes a big difference, just with hydration. As opposed to drinking five water bottles to two Ryno Power bottles with Hydration Fuel. It [feels like] the same equivalency, almost. That helps out a lot
I use the protein powder. I use it for cooking, in a protein shaker bottle. I use it for snacks for when we’re making oatmeal or porridge. I’ll do porridge with a scoop of vanilla protein powder in it, and that’s awesome. Oats are a just bit of carbs and not really high on protein, so it’s awesome to add the Ryno Power in that as well, and it tastes awesome. It’s not you feel like you’re munching away on some creatine protein bar or something that tastes like ****. It’s enjoyable and at the same time it’s carbs and protein. It’s good fuel to replace your muscles that you use when you are riding or training.
Those ones are probably my favorite. After a heavy day I’ll use the Recovery capsules. I mix that in with my protein drink at the end of the day. It’s just easier. I just crack the capsules and mix it in with my protein powder in my drink. It goes all down and gets in my body as quick as possible after a training day.
We take [The new Mana Protein Superfood bar] for riding. It’s an easy snack to take on a cycle. Tastes great. Chocolate and peanut butter.
That’s my “go-to” Ryno Power program!
"...it’s not you feel like you’re munching away on some creatine protein bar or something that tastes like ****."
RP: Since you’ve been working with Ryno Power product for a few years, what do you see personally with Ryno Power compared to other supplement companies that stands out.
HL: I think the biggest thing that caught me was that I feel like you could go and find a protein powder or recovery supplement anywhere. But what stands out to me about Ryno Power is that it’s a brand built around our sport, which I don’t have to worry about any issues with it. Like having steroids in it for example—I’m not worried about anything being on the WADA substance banned list. It’s safe. It’s everything specific to what we do and what we need as athletes in this sport. Everything’s simple and easy. It’s not some big body building dude on the protein powder bag telling you you’re going sleep better, lift heavier, and the like. Honestly, the thing that really caught me was that it's a brand built around our sport. The stuff doesn't bulk you. The way I use it, it doesn't make me bulky. I know I’ve had some protein powder from other companies that made me feel bulky. They puff you up a little bit. I take my protein with water and I enjoy it.
There’s a lot of stuff out there that helps with recovery or this and that, but obviously it’s got banned stuff in it. A lot of stuff out there for the normal day-to-day gym goer or fitness freak that couldn’t care less about the WADA banned list. That’s a big thing. Whenever you’re looking at stuff, you’re like “oh gee what’s on the list… oh, I don’t know it’s a little bit iffy”
The fact that the guy who started Ryno Power (co-founder Ryan Hughes) was a racer himself so he’s been through all of it before. he knows the highs and the lows. Or when your body’s feeling smashed after a big day. It’s great. I highly doubt that a guy who’s a personal trainer in the gym could make a brand as good for a motocross athlete. As Motocrossers, we need to be lean and theoretically as light as possible.
RP: What’s really cool to us, and what we want to get into a little more with you, is to see both you and your brother (Jett) race in the same class. That’s really awesome! We want to know more about your story. Your background more so. We obviously know you’re from Australia, but more about your hometown, what got you coming to the states?
HL: [Cal Classic] was the first time me and Jett raced each other. That was cool… Glad I beat him! Couldn’t have little bro beating me. There was a little pride on the line at that race.
My little town in Australia, Landsborough, in Queensland. it’s a small town. Not really in the city, like 35-40 minutes away from the beach.
Dad rode. He was actually originally into drag cars (racing). At the time, when I was a baby, I couldn’t drive a kid’s top fueler, but I had little kid’s dragster. You couldn’t drive one of them until you were 12. They bought me a little bike, and we just did it for fun, you know? Camping trips and stuff like that. Going to ride parks like Pala, but not as good in Australia obviously, but they’d have a ride park kind of thing – camp, doing Euro trails, you could ride the moto track and stuff like that. That was honestly all we did, until like I was 12, then wanted to do it for real.
And then it took off! We got looking into it trying to just get better. You do the whole thing – you go to coaches, and stuff like that, riding schools. We just tried to get better and better. Just kept looking and setting goals. We started racing in the B’s for the Junior World Championships. That opened our eyes up a lot. We were fortunate enough to get a chance to get selected to race for the Junior World Championships for Australia. Obviously, we got older, we got more competitive. The want and the drive lit the fire more and more. Long story short we wanted to be in America. That was the end dream.
"We thought that there was something obviously needed to be learned in Europe for us to stand a chance in America, to even be able to stay there."
We looked at all the Australian racers that went straight from Australia to America and they just didn’t quite make it. Whereas Chad Reed, Michael Byrne, Brett Metcalf, they all went to Europe first, and then to America. The boys that went to Europe and then to American had a lot higher success than any other Australians or New Zealanders that went to America. [Ben Townley] went to Europe won a world title, he ended up in America. He’s done really well here as well. Josh Carpenter went to Europe as well. They’re all extremely good riders. We thought that there was something obviously needed to be learned in Europe for us to stand a chance in America, to even be able to stay there. We tried that. That was the one thing with the Jr World Championships.
We didn’t have any money; we couldn’t afford to race overseas. That was the only way because Motorcycling Australia would cover my plane tickets and travel and stuff like that. We were fortunate enough at that time we were with KTM Australia (Yamaha Australia later) on that they had good enough contacts that they could organize a bike for us overseas which was a perfect scenario. It really helped us out a lot. We just tried it and see what happens. I think it was like 2015, I rode a stock Yamaha YZ125, I got 3rd in the Jr world championships against the factory KTM boys, and the factory Yamaha kid, and all the other junior factory prodigy kids coming through on the European factory teams. That opened up some eyes because very rarely do the Australian 125 riders perform so well on a world stage. [Australia] have had pretty good results in the past, but because of the environment we’re at in Australia, as opposed to the environment kids are in overseas. They train like a pro. They live like a pro basically. It’s what we lacked.
We still accomplished a lot, a lot more than we thought. But that’s just me being complacent and hard on myself. So after the phone call, they were ready for us to come over whenever. I was ready to go the next day, obviously. But as you can imagine a 15 or 16-year-old kid that just got a phone call from France telling him that we want you to come ride for the Factory Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 team for the World Championships.
It was either, “Do we stay the same financially because we got nothing to lose and go chase our dreams.” Or “stay the same financially and follow the sheep of the Australian motocross scene.”
RP: That is gnarly! We generally knew your background, but we didn’t know it was this far in-depth. We’ve had a lot of respect for you as an athlete, and your brother Jett. But this brings a lot more to the table with where you came from and that's awesome to see. You’re very lucky to have parents like that who are willing to sacrifice to allow you to be able to reach for your dreams.
HL: Sure. It was one thing that was a big factor in it. We never really had any money. We struggled to put food on the table for weeks. We nearly lost the house when dad was struggling with work. A bunch of builders went broke on him. If we had money, if we had the house, if we had nice things that might have been something holding us back. It was either, “Do we stay the same financially because we got nothing to lose and go chase our dreams.” Or “stay the same financially and follow the sheep of the Australian motocross scene.” We went for our dream. Unfortunately, we still went backwards when we moved over [to Europe], financially anyhow.
In one point of view, it helped the mentality aspect “to make it or break it.” On your tough days, there’s always the thought of “oh I can just go home”. This is home now. This is our life.
RP: What a tale your life is becoming! You’re really creating that story now. Tell us about on your feelings on how you feel your Pro Debut will be at Hangtown. What involved in your cross training off the bike? How’s it all going?
HL: It’s different over here. In Europe it almost feels like you can train more since it’s so cold in the winter. It feels like your body can take more of a workload I feel in the cold. Or at least I feel that way. I’m enjoying it, not having such a wet winter. Not cold and freezing my ass off all the time!
It’s easy to get caught up at the practice track. Or everyone’s worried about what everyone else’s doing. I’m just doing my own thing.
It’s good. I’m happy. The lead up to Supercross was a bit of a heartbreak sort of thing with being injured, but that happens. That’s part of the sport. That’s part of the experience, a rollercoaster. You got to fall down to learn sometimes. But I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced. The last time I raced was at Nations last year, so I’m excited. I just wanted to get into the season. I don’t really have any expectations. I’m just focusing on myself. It’s easy to get caught up at the practice track. Or everyone’s worried about what everyone else’s doing. I’m just doing my own thing. Me, my dad, my mechanic, and Jett as well. We just work together. We know what we’re doing and when I’m riding, my dad can tell. And I know myself, you know when you’re riding well, and your speed’s good and stuff like that.
Off the bike’s been good. I’m doing the same sort of stuff I did in Europe. There’s not much to say. Working hard and smart. Trying not to burn out before the season. Give ourselves a good amount of room to build, and peak in the season, not before round 1. I’m excited to get underway
RP: We’re excited for you, happy to be working with you as a part of our program. You’re a great individual and awesome for our brand. We’re looking forward to seeing you line up at Hangtown with the Factory Connection Geico Honda team!
HL: Appreciate it! So am I! I can’t wait! It’s been a long off season so I can’t wait to get going and get racing back under my belt. It should be awesome!
I’m super pumped. It’s a dream team. The facility, the workshop, the team members, my mechanic, the owners Jeff and Ziggy, those boys have been awesome to me. It’s been like a family. I can’t say enough about them. Same with Lucas Mirtl (agent from Wasserman). Lucas made the transition for us to America has been so great. From taking care of visas to helping us with housing, etc.
Watch Hunter in his pro debut at Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento, California on May 18th!
Photo: @cudby, @shirkyyy