TransWorld Motocross traveled halfway across the world to watch our buddy Sean Hamblin race, but we just learned that our miserable trans-Atlantic flight was for naught. Turns out Hamy snapped a couple of bones in his wrist last weekend at a British Championship race, and will not be able to compete at this weekend’s Uddevalla GP of Sweden. Hamblin tried to ride in the first muddy practice session, but was in too much pain. Here’s what he had to say…
TWMX: Give us a rundown on your season abroad thus far…
HAMBLIN: It’s been good actually, especially compared to the two crappy seasons I had in the United States. It’s been refreshing and I have had some encouraging results. Bulgaria was the last GP we raced and I felt great there; really strong especially because of the heat wave that swept through the country. My best finish thus far has been a seventh overall at the Italian GP, and overall it’s been a good change for me. My bike could be a little bit better, but we can work on that for the last half of the season.
Tell us about the Swift Suzuki team…
The team is based in England and all of our team sponsors are English companies. The Banks family has a long history in GP racing, so that’s why we are in the World Championships, but the team’s and the team’s sponsors’ main focus are the British Championships.
How have your finishes in the British MX Championships been?
Pretty consistent. I’ve only had one bad round because I had some problems and couldn’t really ride there. Two weeks ago I went 2-4 and got on the box and that was nice. That was good to show that I have the speed to run with guys like Gareth Swanepoel and Mike Brown. I had a pretty big get-off at the British race last weekend. Thank God I don’t remember it, but it was a big one — the biggest I’ve had since 2004. I broke a bit of my radius off and my scaphoid is displaced in my wrist. I tried to ride practice here in Sweden today but it is just too unpredictable. My hand came off four or five times in the practice session and there is just no way I can race today. It’s too bad because this is the mid-way point in the GPs and not a time to get hurt.
C’mon Hamblin. Cooley and I came all the way here to watch you race! How about popping some more Advils, taping up and going out, just for us?
(Laughs) Oh man, believe me. When I got hurt, I told the guys on my team, “Oh crap. Donn and Cooley are coming to Sweden. They are gonna be pissed if I don’t ride! If I could, I would, bud.
How hard has it been adapting to the faster European tracks?
It’s been a struggle. You have Christophe Pourcel and Antonio Cairoli who are a little bit ahead of everyone else, but from them on back it is so close. In qualifying these guys can go flat out and pin it to get a good qualifying time and that was a bit of a shock. The tracks are not that rough and they are easy to go fast on, so it is hard to make up time. Japan was the roughest by far, with the braking bumps and chop like an American track, but aside from that everything else is fast and smooth.
Where do you hope to be in 2008?
I hope to be here again with the Swift Suzuki team. We’ve been talking back and forth with the team owners. Being a first year team, they know full well that there are some places that they need to do better, and I know where I can improve as well. It’s been a steep learning curve for me, but I know that I can do better.
Has it been tough to adapt to living abroad?
As far as living day to day goes it’s no big deal because I am in England. It’s pretty nice. My wife Robyn and I live with the Banks family. Robyn rides horses with the Banks girls and gets out plenty, so its not like her life is revolving around dirt bikes day in and day out.
So you’ve been too Italy, France, and all over the rest of Europe. You must be in heaven, Hambone; it’s like one giant South Coast Plaza!
(Laughs) No, no. no…. It is for Robyn, though. She’s been able to go out and go shopping and do everything. I am the one who is stuck at home in Englad working and riding all of the time. She’s shopped through Italy while I am racing, which is unfortunate for me, but I still have all of the cool stamps in my passport. It’s been fun!