Sean Hamblin opened the eyes of a whole bunch of people during the 2002 outdoor season as a 250-class replacement for the injured Sobe Suzuki duo of Travis Pastrana and Kevin Windham. Since he’d run up front in the big-bore class so often during the summer, a lot of people were surprised when Suzuki announced that Hammy would be moving to a 125 for all of 2003. (Maybe it shouldn’t have been such a big shock, since Suzuki added Stephane Roncada and Sebastien Tortelli, and are expecting Travis Pastrana to return.)Regardless, all across the web, people started tossing around opinions about Suzuki’s decision. We caught up with Sean at Spy’s Ride Day at Elsinore, and got his take on whether the move from the 250s to tiddlers was a step down, or a step forward.
TransWorld Motocross: A lot of people have weighed in with their opinions on which class you should be riding in 2003. What do you think?
Sean Hamblin: “(Sobe Suzuki Team Manager) Roger (DeCoster) had a pretty legitimate reason for me to be on a 125, so I stuck with it. I feel that the only place I’ve proven myself so far is outdoors on a 250. No one’s seen me ride a 125, and no one knows that I’ve ridden a 125 five times as much as I have a 250. I still have to prove myself on a 125 now, and maybe after this coming year I get to show everybody what I get to do on a 125, and then move back to the 250s and keep succeeding on those. “I respect Roger’s decision, and I think it was a really good one, actually. In supercross I think it’s fine for me to be on a 125. Everyone knows I’ve proven myself on it, but now I just have to prove myself on a 125.”l’m really looking forward to riding the 125. Everything’s gone really well in testing, and I feel we’ll have one of, if not the best bikes out there. We’ve been working really hard, and everyone at Suzuki’s been putting in a lot of time in trying to get this stuff ready. My hat’s off to them for getting them ready and having one of the best bikes out there.”
TWMX: What have you done in past seasons in supercross?
SH: “Nothing, really. I didn’t have a supercross track to ride on. Now I’m pretty fortunate to have one. I’ve been riding one nearly every day.”
TWMX: Before you got hooked up with Suzuki, what would you use for supercross practice?
SH: (Chuckles) “An outdoor track. I’d go find a little supercross section and that was about it. I’m pretty happy that I have a supercross track now and basically take up as much time as I can on it…use it to my advantage.”
TWMX: Will you ride East or West coast?
SH: “We don’t know yet. It just depends on how testing goes and how everything else pans out. Hopefully I’ll ride West, and I still need to talk to a few people and see if maybe I can do Daytona on a 250. That’d be good. We’ll see what happens.”
TWMX: Is there anyone in the 125 class that you particularly want to race?
SH: “Everybody wants to say Bubba, you know? He’s the main guy to beat right now, and everybody’s preparing really hard right now. Everybody’s at every supercross track, day in and day out, putting their time in. I think it’s going to be a really big eye-opener to see a lot of guys step up. Maybe everybody thinks Bubba’s going to dominate, but I think maybe a lot of guys are going to be a lot more prepared, too. They know what they’re up against, and they know how fast he goes, and what kind of mistakes he makes when he’s pressured. “For sure he’s going to be the guy to beat, hands down. He’s just phenomenal. But I think a lot more guys are going to surprise people, too. “I don’t think some people were as prepared as they should have been this last year. I didn’t do supercross, so I can’t say anything.”
TWMX: Was it hard sitting in the stands last year?
SH: “I didn’t go to one supercross. I watched a few on TV, that’s it. Other than that, I didnn’t care. I could have cared less who won…who got third, fourth, fifth, whatever…it didn’t matter.”
TWMX: Was that just because you weren’t involved in it?
SH: “Yeah, basically. I hate going to the track when I’m not racing. That’s one of the worst things. I just kind of blew it off the supercross season and stayed home so I could do my homework, and hopefully pick up a ride, which I did. Things works out really good.”