By Ryan Cooley. Photos by GuyB.
TransWorld Motocross sat down with Team Sobe Suzuki’s Sean Hamblin last Saturday in Salt Lake City to discuss his Supercross season, as well as his thoughts about the upcoming outdoor nationals. Sean began the Supercross season in the 125 West, but has also competed on a 250 during East Coast events, with his best finish, a fourth, coming in Pontiac, MI. Sean was asked to stay on the 250 for the remainder of the season due to the injuries that Suzuki’s 250 squad have sustained. After crashing hard in his Dallas heat race, Sean came back to a second place finish in his semi, but was forced to sit out the main event due to the lingering effects of his crash.
TransWorld Motocross: What happened in your Dallas Heat Race?
Sean Hamblin: I came up a little bit too far on a little step on part and I still went for the off. I didn’t have enough speed and spun a little bit going off of it and dropped my front end. The front end hit and I ended up going down pretty hard. I came back and pulled second in my semi but I was still having trouble comprehending what was coming at me. I knocked my head pretty good, so I decided not to race the main.
TWMX: Are you surprised about all of the riders who’ve been injured this series?
SH: Definitely… you know our sport’s really, really tough and it’s showing it now. A lot of guys have definitely gotten off hard, so I feel I got pretty lucky in Dallas. I think this is just one of those years that it seems to be showing the most.
TWMX: There are a lot of people who feel that the increased difficulty in track design is to blame. What’s your perspective on that?
SH: I don’t think that they’re that much more difficult, I just think that it’s more of a separation now because everybody’s trying to match Ricky and Chad’s pace. Guys may be riding a little bit over their heads and trying things that they maybe normally wouldn’t do.
TWMX: With the Supercross season winding down, what are your thoughts on how the series has gone for you?
SH: It’s been good… I mean having a really good relationship with Suzuki’s helped out a lot. You know… we’ve got one of the best bikes out there. I think actually the best 250 by far. The 125 team has obviously done well with Branden winning the championship, so everybody’s really happy about that. I think I’ve fared pretty well so far, not quite as good as I would’ve liked to have done, but we’ve got two races left and I feel it’s my time to shine.
TWMX: How’s your outdoor testing going thus far?
SH: Outdoor testing has been going great! Sebastien, Stephane, and Travis are all coming back, and for Glen Helen we’ve got Greg (Albertyn) coming back for just a one-race deal. So it’s going to be good to start riding with those guys a lot more and training and stuff. Roger wants me to start training with Sebastien during the week so that we can help push each other.
TWMX: With all of the boys coming back, you’ll have to share this plush semi…
SH: (Laughs) Yeah… I’ll have to share it, but it’s alright.
TWMX: With Glen Helen coming up, have you done anything to modify your training program to prepare for the longer national moto?
SH: No, not really. Nationals seem to come so much more naturally to me as opposed to Supercross. I don’t necessarily have to work any differently for it. I just go out and do my thing, ride my motos, and go home. I do think I’ll have to work a little bit harder and a little bit stronger though to be where I want to be.
TWMX: You’ve got to be feeling much better prepared going into Glen Helen this year as opposed to last…
SH: (Laughs) Yeah definitely! Last year I didn’t even expect to race it up untiil maybe a week before. So I am definitely going to be more prepared. The bike’s set up a lot better for me and I’ll have more confidence. When I went to that race last year RG3 and Bill’s did a great job of building my bike, and it worked great considering the lack of time, but this year will be much better.
TWMX: Given the success that you had last summer, are you feeling any additional pressure to perform well?
SH: The only pressure that I am getting is from myself. I expect more out of myself than I think anyone else does. Nobody took me serious when I set goals last year and said that I wanted to podium a race before the nationals were over, and I accomplished that at the second-to-last race. So, it’s always me that’s stepping up and setting goals. Any pressure I feel is usually put there myself.
TWMX: If all goes as planned, what do you hope to accomplish by the end of the 2003 nationals?
SH: Top five in the nationals… maybe even top three. Where I belong I think. I don’t think I belong anywhere outside of that. There’re a lot of great riders that I race with, but I think that with me being a little younger, and maybe a little hungrier than most of the guys that are out there, I can succeed. I think a lot of guys are out there just to collect their paychecks and then they go home to their $500,000 houses. Well I don’t have that. I need to work harder so that maybe someday I can.
TWMX: Thanks a lot for your time Sean and good luck!
SH: No worries, thanks!