American Sean Hamblin has been working hard in Europe, trying to come to terms with the new lifestyle, new circuits, and new competition. Known for his professional approach to racing, Hamblin has made a lot of friends in the Grand Prix paddock. While he sits in twenty-first place in the world with just forty-one points, he continues to improve. At the second round of the series, he failed to qualify but came back in round four in Italy and finished 8-9 and was actually racing with his competition (in the previous rounds it looked more like he was surviving). We sat down with Hamblin and asked him a little about his European experience.
Sean Hamblin: Things are getting better. I had the weekend off before Italy, and I rode against all the 450cc machines. It was fun, and I finished second overall. I was fourth or fifth fastest in my heat. You know Mantova was a little one-lined, just one quick rut. I don't see that in many of the tracks so far, but in Mantova there was just one quick rut. It's a shame because Mantova had good potential.
What about living in England? Are you having any trouble with the lifestyle change?
I would say the transition for me has been like stepping into another part of my family. The Banks family [owners of the team] have been really great. Obviously, being based in England has been the easiest thing for me; I mean, if we had been based in a country, like Italy, it might be different. All in all, my transition has been easier.
I wish Ryan the best. I know he can still put in some good rides, and I know he still knows that. The only time I talked to him was at the races, and he did say it was a little tough. I mean, just buying stuff from the grocery store is tough. He had his trainer here, but apart from her, he didn't have anyone else. All in all, it was difficult for him.
Why has you situation been different from that of Ryan?
For me, I moved into the Banks house, even if my wife is gone, it’s still nice. We have our group we hang out with. My mechanic, Elliot, Mark Banks and his kids, John Banks, and Mary his wife. It’s actually really special. The last few weeks, just going riding and having them helping me out to try and make me go a little quicker. It's a real incentive to make me go faster. It's like a big family instead of a team.
I mean, I moved to Canada when I was 17 and lived there all by myself, so I know how it is. When you’re 17 and you move to a different country, it’s hard. I know this time for me is one of the most fun. Overall, it’s been great.
What are your goals for the next few months?
I don't see why I shouldn't be going for some top-tens, then some top-fives and finally some podiums. That’s what we’re here for, and that’s what the team deserves. It's been an uphill battle, coming to all these new tracks, but it's been a great experience. I go riding with my mechanic a lot, and that’s a plus. Having the family atmosphere is also really great. This team, as far as the way it’s run, is similar to the Suzuki factory team in America. Of course, it doesn’t have the Suzuki factory backing, but they all work hard and it’s very professional. Overall, it's a great experience. I would like to stay a couple more years here in Europe.