At just 16 years old, South Australia’s Alex Larwood has amassed a pile of state and national motocross championships to his name and is about to embark on his professional career as he enters the 2020 MX Nationals season.
South Australia has hardly been the hotbed of motocross in this country over the years. Sure, they have produced some great riders but when it comes to winning championships, riders based on the eastern seaboard have done a lot of the damage in recent years. In fact, with the exception of Kirk Gibbs in 2015, you could narrow it down to just two states where the majority of championships have come from, New South Wales and Queensland.
But, South Australia might be set to return of the glory days of the Metcalfe’s brothers, Kirk Gibbs and Luke Arbon as Alex Larwood has made the huge step out of juniors and is ready to make waves in his first full senior year. The Kadina resident is anxious for the gates to drop and ready to establish himself in the major leagues of racing in Australia.
Out of limelight in South Australia means Larwood didn’t always capture all the media attention as he progressed through juniors. In his last two years of juniors he racked up three Australian Junior Motocross Championships, a Rookies Cup, a handful of state championships in both Victoria and South Australia. He has the runs on the board. And for his first senior event, he chose none other than the bright lights of the AUS-X Open where he made his debut for the WBR Yamaha team and put his YZ250F in the main event in a field full of experienced, international competitors.
“The plan wasn’t actually to make that my first race in seniors as I was going to do the junior rounds in the ASX and just wait until 2020 before I raced seniors. But, with the cancellation of the junior classes, we talked it over with both Yamaha and WBR and felt just jumping on it at the deep end would be a good option.
“I was as nervous as, the crowd was huge and I was lining up against guys I had watched on TV, so it was a bit intimating. But, my goal was to just get to the main event and gain as much experience as possible and I was able to do that, so I was happy.
Larwood has been a product of Yamaha’s Junior Racing program and been in the system since 2013. Working closely with the SA YJR Team Manager and former pro racer, Shane Metcalfe, Larwood has been able to build his speed and technique over the years despite not always having local competition to push him along.
“Shane has been great to me and my family over the years and dedicated so much of his time to helping us. Because most of my competition lived interstate, it meant I had to work hard during the week as there was never anyone to gauge against on the weekends. I only really got to race guys like Jett Lawrence, Blake Fox or Levi Rogers a couple of times a year. Even for the last part of my junior years, we spent a bit of time racing in Victoria as well against better riders and on different tracks.
And his long relationship will continue with Yamaha as he will fly the flag in the MXD class at the MX Nationals with the WBR Bulk Nutrients Yamaha Team and is a living example of Yamaha’s step up program.
“At the 2019 AJMX, my family and I sat down with Travis from WBR and put things in place for 2020. It was awesome to know that Yamaha and WBR were excited to continue and it was great to have the deal done so early and we could just focus on racing.
“I just wish we were racing now, but I understand what’s happening and we need to be patient until we are safe to race again. But, I will be prepared and ready to go and hopefully we can get as many races in as possible before the year is out,”
And when quizzed on his preference between motocross and supercross, Larwood shared the love equally.
“I like both in different ways. Motocross is what every young kid does and how we start in the sport, its tough and demanding but really rewarding when things go well. But, I love the atmosphere at supercross. Riding at night, with a crowd on the fence and the hype of it is exciting. I want to do more and be good at both, so my options are open as my career develops,” ends Larwood.