Catching Up With…Sean Hamblin

by Kyle Cowling

As many may know, Sean Hamblin is now aboard a factory Yamaha. However, Hambone had a rough time of it last weekend at Red Bud where he dislocated his shoulder a couple of times. We were able to catch up with Hamblin yesterday to see how things were going with the new team, his shoulder injury, as well how long we can expect to see Hambone riding his factory Yamaha.

Tell us how you ended up with factory Yamaha?

First of all, this wouldn’t have been possible without Grant Langston buying me a bike. That was a big deal for me to be able to get away from all of the b.s. and move back to Florida with Langston. Moving to Florida got me going in the right direction with Andy Stacey of Tuff Powersports. You know, I was lucky enough to put in some good rides and things were noticed. Yamaha wasn’t having the best of luck with a couple of their riders being injured and Josh (Hill) was struggling a little bit, so it kind of sucked for them. Needless to say I had an offer during our week off when I was in Canada. I spoke with a few people, and the Tuesday before Colorado I ended up testing the bike. I really liked the bike, and I decided that was the way I wanted to go.

Were you hoping something like this may happen for a second time, or were you content working hard as a privateer?

Kind of both, you know? Obviously I wanted to get back to where I was at one point in my career. However, it’s one of those things where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t (laughs). I definitely wanted to take the opportunity Yamaha offered me and run with it, because I was putting in some good results that I was happy with and Yamaha was happy about.

How is the factory bike compared to what you were riding at the beginning of the season?

It’s weird because it isn’t like it’s whoa different, but there is a substantial difference. Mainly, it’s with the characteristics of the bike, you know? We have different linkages and stuff like that. My previous bike was as close to stock as you could get. Needless to say it was a good showing for Yamaha to have somebody on the track with such a standard bike. Overall, the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is the brakes on the thing! It was insane. I can stop when I want to instead of anticipating when it may happen. That’s pretty cool, you know?

Was there more pressure on you coming into your first race as a factory rider compared lining up at Glen Helen as a privateer?

Nah. For the most part I needed to go out there and do what I’ve been doing. If I did that, I knew my results would come. As long as there is fun involved - that is the best way to look at it. I think a lot of people look at it as pressure, pressure, and pressure; but the only pressure we have is the pressure we put on ourselves. When you’re riding under a tent you definitely want to make everybody there proud of why they’re busting their tails and out there doing what they do. You want to do well for everybody rather than before when I had a three-person crew (laughs). Now I have a few more people involved, so I am just trying to spread love.

How long is your deal with Yamaha?

I just signed on to extend my contract until Unadilla. Obviously with the unfortunate things that happened at Red Bud this weekend, they are giving me an extra race. It’s kind of a good thing and a bad thing, you know? It’s good that my contract is extended, but it’s a bad thing that I may have to carry on the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

What exactly happened at Red Bud?

Well, on Saturday the green flag came out and I decided that would be a good time to hammer down a good lap (I actually took off behind Hill). We were putting in a solid lap and then we came up to LaRocco’s Leap; he (Josh Hill) ended up not jumping it, so I scrubbed it - I came up to it pretty damn fast. When I scrubbed it, my toe caught the lip and it ripped my foot off! Basically, I was still holding onto the bike with my arms, but my legs were a bit off to the side and up above me. I ended up letting go of the bike right at the end, and it put me straight into the face of the third jump. I’m pretty sure my arm was a little bit above my head, so when I came down it popped my shoulder out. I had a few other things that were bleeding, and my cheek was hurting pretty bad. Thankfully the doctors were able to pop my shoulder back into place on the spot. I was looking forward to possibly racing on Sunday and getting away with that. On Sunday, I was only going to run one practice, but I wasn’t happy with my overall time for gate pick, and I wanted to do a little bit better; unfortunately it kind of bit me in the ass. I came off a roller after the mechanics area and I guess my arm was extended a bit too far because it popped out again. I ended up riding over the side of the berm and fell over. I had to wait again for the doctor to come and put my shoulder back in. I saw too much of the Asterisk trailer last weekend (laughs).

Will we see you this weekend at Budd’s Creeks?

Oh yeah! I’ll be there. The good news is that I’m top-10 overall in the points, so I don’t need to ride on Saturday. That can be another day off used to let my shoulder heal up, and hopefully we can look forward to some better results.

Has there been any talk about finishing out the season under the Yamaha tent?

That’s my goal, obviously. As long as I keep doing what I need to do (putting in good results) that’s something that can’t go unnoticed. I am thankful for everything that has happened, and I’m pretty pumped to be under the Yamaha rig for one and to be dealing with some pretty big names within the industry: Keith McCarty, Bob Oliver, and Jimmy Perry. It’s pretty cool, and it’s something that I want keep and hopefully have for next year, too.

How is it working with your teammate, Josh Hill?

We get along great! I think Josh is an awesome kid with huge potential. It’s just like any sport when you’re young; you want to go about things your own way. Obviously this is my second shot with a factory team, so I think I know what mistakes you can and can’t make, but I think the kid is doing just fine. I definitely believe he’ll be one of the riders to represent our sport later on down the road.