Courtesy of Youthstream
When the dust settled on the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship season, two young Australian men stood on top of a Grand Prix podium. At the Gran Prix of Pays de Montbeliard, played out at the Villars-Sous-Ecot circuit in France, Hunter Lawrence and Jed Beaton made Australian motocross history.
Finishing second and third in the GP behind American Thomas Covington, the two Aussies had done what had never been done before, not when Australian motocross legends Jeff Leisk, Chad Reed, Andrew McFarlane or Dean Ferris rode Grand Prix motocross.
All four previously mentioned Australians all won at Grand Prix level, but none stood on a GP podium with a countryman by his side. While both Lawrence and Beaton win a Grand Prix, you get the feeling 2018 might change all that, and who knows, maybe that double podium can be duplicated again this year.
For Lawrence the final two races of last season showed what we can expect in 2018, as he finished second in that final Grand Prix of the season in France, winning a race and being just four points off winning the French Grand Prix. He then turned up at the 2018 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations and pulled off a big shock, by winning the MX2 class against American 250 champion, Zach Osborne.
“I am looking forward to the season,” Lawrence said. “Pre-season doesn’t mean much, and a lot can change when we get to round one, but it gives us good direction and something to work on, and I am going to just keep my head screwed on for the rest of the series. Any win changes your confidence, that is normal. I mean that is how it is. That was cool (MXoN performance), and it was a weekend I will never forget, but I didn’t feel like I rode over my head or anything. I just think I pulled that ride from nowhere, but really, after Germany last year, or even Valkenswaard, things were going in the good way. Then I hurt my back in Russia and things went off a little, but we went to the end of the season and we got two more podiums.”
As for Beaton, his 2017 season was very up and down, and his EMX results not really what he expected, but once he picked up a ride on the HRC factory bike, he showed what he was capable of, finishing third in that very same French Grand Prix that his fellow countryman finished second. Two Aussies on a GP podium, and Australian motocross history made.
“Yes,” Beaton said. “It was pretty cool (getting on the GP podium). It didn’t actually sink in until after the podium, but when it did sink in it was pretty special. I didn’t take any notice of who else was on the podium, afterwards Hunter said he thought it might be the first time two Aussies were on the podium, so it was nice to make some Aussie history. I don’t know, I have been working hard and I will be competing in a new class (for a full season). I came early to be better prepared, much better than last year. So, on that side of things. Obviously, it’s my first full year in MX2, I have done some races, so I know what to expect. I am looking forward to it and same goal as last year, see where I am at in the early rounds, and take it from there.”
Now onto Argentina, for the opening race of the 2018 MX2 championship. Standing in the way of the two Australian youngsters will be defending World MX2 champion Pauls Jonass, on a Red Bull KTM Factory machine. If they can top the Latvian in Argentina, then they could be heading to something else no other Australian has been able to achieve on the Grand Prix scene, and that is a Motocross World Championship.
Copyright: Photo: Bavo Swijgers