Talon Hawkins is a SoCal grom who is making a name for himself on an 85 and supermini. Last week we were invited out to Zaca Station by Shoei Helmets to get an introduction to their latest release, the VFX-EVO. Talon is one of their supported riders, and he and his mom Jules made the trip out to show all the media editors the fast way around the track. I also spent some time talking to Talon and getting an update on what’s new and where we can expect to see him line up again soon.
Racer X: Talon, the last time we saw you was at Monster Energy Cup. You had a little bit of bad luck. Can you talk what happened?
Talon Hawkins: Just wasn’t really the best weekend for me. I felt like I was riding good, but my results didn’t really show that. Just had some bad luck in the first moto. Went down and ended up hitting my ribs pretty hard. I’m pretty sure I bruised my ribs, so I wasn’t going to end up showing up to the second race. Last second, while the 30-second board was up, I showed up to the line and started. I ended up with an eighth in that second moto, so it was all right.
Are you happy with the way you rode there?
I’m pretty happy with the way I rode there. Just how I rode, maybe not placement-wise. I could have done a lot better placement-wise, but if I just would have gotten the starts and stuff like that, I feel like I could have been up there.
The elevated start with the metal grid was something different than normal. What did you think about that?
I did Monster Cup last year. We got a little bit of practice in with it. We made a little sample. We made a little practice starting gate. I’ve started on it before. It’s super grippy. It was pretty fun. It’s nowhere near as gnarly as it was last year, though, from the top of the stadium.
What did you think about the track this year?
I liked the track this year. I liked it quite a bit better last year just because some of the transitions were a little funky this year, and there wasn’t a triple. I really liked the triple last year. I did like the finish line, though. It was super fun. It was like an over and under. It was super sick.
It had a pretty steep landing. You had to really time it right on getting the downside.
Yeah, if you didn’t land it pretty much perfect, if you cased it, you were most likely going to go over the bars. If you overshot it, you were going to hit your nuts.
You’ve been riding Kawasakis for some time now, but you’ve recently made the switch over to Husky, right?
We’re not completely switched just yet, just because the supermini kits haven’t come out for the new ’18 Huskys, so I’m still kind of just riding both. In the supermini races, I’ll ride the Kawi. In the 85 races, I’ll ride the Husky. It just depends on the race. It’s not that hard to transition between them, though.
You feel pretty comfortable on both?
Yeah, it’s not that different.
We’re out at Zaca today and you wanted that extra little power from the supermini so you were riding the Kawi today, right?
Yeah, I was riding the Kawi, but then I just hopped on the Husky and it was pretty fun. The handling is so good on those things.
What do you like about the new Husky compared to your old Kawi?
Definitely the handling. It handles so much better coming into corners and coming out of corners, in the air. It just feels like a more modern bike.
So you recently switched gear companies, too? You’re with Fasthouse now. How’s that?
Yeah. Their gear is so sick. They treat me like family. I’m really stoked to have them, and to be part of their family.
Your kit’s looking pretty clean. Who else you have on sponsors right now?
Shoei, Fasthouse, we got Monster. We got Spy. There’s Alpinestars. I’ve got Hilton Co. FMF, Ethika, Flow, Hawkeye, Dunlop, Etnies, Lucas Oil, Split Designs.
What do you think about Shoei’s new VFX-EVO helmet?
I love it. It’s so comfortable. All the extra material on the inside just makes the helmet just that much better. I like the new shape of it, all the new dimensions, all the little sharper edges and stuff. It just makes this helmet even better than it already was. It already was a 10 in my book.
Do you feel like there’s better ventilation in the VFX-EVO?
Totally. Even just looking at it, you can already tell there’s ventilation. You can tell even more when you’re riding. There’s a lot of ventilation.
What events do you have coming up?
As of today, we’re most likely going to the AZ Open. I think we’re going to leave tomorrow.
What class are you going to race?
Probably whatever class they have there that’s supermini. I’ll probably race two superminis and two 85s.
What’s next after that?
I think if I don’t end up getting surgery on my arm to get my plate and rods taken out, we’re thinking about doing the Ryan Villopoto thing at Pala.
When would you be having surgery?
We were thinking about having it this Thursday, but we probably won’t do that. We’ll probably just wait a little bit longer.
Is your stuff bothering you? What’s the idea behind that?
That’s why we’re kind of debating whether to not do it, just because it’s not really bugging me that much anymore. It was bugging me a lot, but it’s not too bad right now.