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5 Minutes with...Sean Hamblin

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At the beginning of the nationals, I interviewed then-TUF Powersports-backed Sean Hamblin. He was coming back from Europe and trying to resurrect his career with a some bikes from TUF and his buddy Grant Langston, entry fees paid for by Jason Lawrence, mechanical help from his buddy Ryan, and support from the Active8 truck. With some gritty rides and flashes of his old speed, he managed to catch the eye of Yamaha when they needed a rider to take over Langston’s bike. Sean moved into the factory truck and, more importantly, onto a factory bike and continued to put in good showings. I thought an end of the season interview was also in line. Actually, this interview happened because I was just telling Billy Ursic that I spoke to Hamblin on the phone, and Billy suggested that maybe I should've recorded it, so I had to call Sean back and have the same conversation.

Racer X: Since Steel City, what’s been going on with Sean Hamblin?
Sean Hamblin: Not too much - kind of been chilling out since the race ended on a Saturday. We flew home on Sunday and then spent that Monday on the beach. Since then we’ve been hanging out down there and got back, went to the river with my buddy Ryan and the wife. We met the Millsapses down there. Just been taking a little R&R, you know? Had some fun just hanging out.

  • Hambone on the factory Yamaha
So what is going on with you in this season of silliness?
To be honest, I wish I knew. Obviously, this is probably the latest that anything’s happened in our sport. The deals are still going on right now. Usually, things get buttoned up by July and August, but not this year. It’s one of the weirdest silly seasons that anyone is going to see. I think there are still some long weeks to go before everything’s done and wrapped up. It’s definitely stressing me out!

Do you think you might stay at Yamaha, or did they repo everything from you already?
No, I’ve still got a bike from them and everything. It’s pretty cool that they let me have that for the time being. You know, it’s somewhere where I want to stay. I like everybody there and the bike is unreal. It’s just a matter of them making room for me and accommodating both sides. It’s not like I’m going to be one of the most expensive riders out there - I don’t want that much money to start with, and I think a lot of these guys are going in the wrong direction to start with. They are asking for a lot of money up front and you get guys getting hurt or not living up to what they get paid, and that’s unfortunate for the teams.

{QUOTE}Do you think some teams are scared off by you not racing supercross recently?
No, there’s no problem at all with that. It hasn’t been that long. Obviously, the last two years before I went to Europe weren’t very good, but I can do it – 2003 and 2004 were really good years for me on Suzuki. I can race SX fine. I put in some good rides with some heat-race wins and stuff. By no means am I an outdoor rider only. It’s just all about going out there and making it fun and putting in the time to make sure that myself and the team are enjoying it.

So what do you think about your outdoor season? You had some ups and downs, huh?
Well, I think it was good. At Glen Helen I told you that if the season ended and I was in the top ten, I would be happy with that. I accomplished that goal, but on the other hand, I feel like I should’ve been there where [Michael] Byrne was if I didn’t mess up my shoulder a bit. Somewhere around four, five, or six shouldn’t have been an issue, but with the circumstances of me hurting my shoulder, it set me back a bit. We had some unfortunate luck at Washougal with a rear wheel, but that’s just racing, and it’s not the end of the world. I still finished in the top ten, and that’s not too bad.

Are you doing any SX racing overseas?
I’m not sure. I was just talking to my wife about that. I think I’ll ask Yamaha for some suspension and try to do a few. I also need to get on a supercross track and start practicing. Maybe I’ll get on a track with Josh [Hill] and try to get my rhythm back and hopefully get some offers to go over there. You can make some good money over and it’s not like you’re gone for that long. You just go over for a weekend.

What did the Sean Hamblin of 2008 learn that maybe the Sean Hamblin of 2003 did not?
It’s weird, because everybody wanted to know what special thing that I was doing, but I think I just went out there and redefined myself as a person and as a racer. I think that I went out and had a lot of fun and made sure I enjoyed the hell out of it. I went out and rode every lap like it was the last. At the beginning of the season we talked and you told me that it was a make-or-break year for me and I needed to make things happen. I feel I did take some pretty big steps, not just on the dirt bike but off the track as well. I don’t know … there wasn’t one thing I learned. I feel I learned a lot. I did learn that I don’t want to leave home ever again and go to a foreign country!
       I really like everybody around our industry and our kind of clique that we have over here. Not to take anything away from the European guys, because I made lots of friends over there, it’s just the language barrier that happens over there. A lot of guys don’t speak English and that hurts communication and the ability to get to know people. Oh well, shit happens, and you just move on, I guess.
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