In St. Louis, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider, Austin Forkner picked up where he left off last year and won his first race of 2020 at the St. Louis Supercross. In doing so, the Missouri native also moved into second in Championship points. Behind the scenes we talked to Forkner about his win, and breakthrough 2019 season before injury sidelined him.
BY JIM KIMBALL
WAY TO GO ON GETTING YOUR FIRST WIN IN 2020 AND AT YOUR HOME RACE! Yes, this is my home state race. I am from this area originally, so this was a bucket list race. I raced it one time before but did not get it done. I led a lot of the race but did not end up winning, so I was really happy to get it done here. It was the second race of the 2020 series, so I am happy to bounce back from last weekend with that not being the greatest race, so I am happy.
I HAVE SEEN A LOT OF COME FROM BEHIND WINS FROM YOU, BUT HOW WAS IT LEADING START TO FINISH? It is a good feeling, and that shows that starts are important. I knew that starts on tonight’s track was going to be important. I got a decent little gap, and whenever you get to that position, you start thinking a little bit, and that is what I started doing like half-way. I started thinking too much about it, especially since last weekend was not the greatest race. I just told myself “don’t do a repeat of last weekend”. I tightened up a little bit, but then loosened up more towards the end. That is what you have to deal with whenever you holeshot and lead every lap; you just have to silence the overthinking stuff.
I was more dominant last year than I expected, or than what I think anybody expected.
LAST YEAR LOOKED TO BE YOUR TIME TO WIN A 250 SUPERCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP. YOU WERE THE DOMINANT GUY IN YOUR CLASS; DO YOU AGREE? Yes, it was good to be there because this is now my fourth year of being a pro. 2019 was my first somewhat dominant year as a pro, and where I thought I should be since I was an amateur coming into the pros. I was where I thought that I could be, and where I should be. It was also what the team thought. So, it was good to get there last year. I was more dominant last year than I expected, or than what I think anybody expected. It was definitely a break-out year, and above my expectations. Obviously, it is going to be hard to top that, but I am going to do everything I can to do so. Overall, last year was just a good year to know that I can be that guy, and I can do it.
BEING SIDELINED FROM RACING HURTS YOUR IMMEDIATE SEASON, BUT DOESN’T IT SLOW DOWN YOUR ENTIRE CAREER? Yes, in this sport it sucks taking a year off at any time. That was the entire outdoor series, and the last two or three rounds of Supercross. But almost every pro has been there before, anytime you do a shoulder, a knee or anything like that, you are going to take a long time off. It does suck when you have to take that long off, but it is just part of it. You could stress about it, and probably drive yourself into a hole just over-thinking “what about the rest of my career? What about 450’s?” But when you are doing that, you are not thinking about getting better. So, I just tried to focus on getting my knee better, trying to keep my confidence up. I tried to maintain the good mindset I had after last year and bring it into this year.
DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU LOST ANY OF YOUR RACE CRAFT WHEN YOU RETURNED TO RACING AT ANAHEIM 1? I started out at A1 not very good. During practice, and even the heat race, I was a just a little off. Maybe it was nerves, or jitters. It was obviously my first race back, and I was just edgy throughout the day. But later in the main I was riding good. I feel like I would have won that race if I had not made the mistake crashing into the tough box. I wish I could have obviously finished it off, and won, but that was still a good race for me. I felt like “hey, I still got this.”