R.J. HAMPSHIRE INTERVIEW: HOT OFF A WIN COMING INTO THE 2020 SPRING CREEK NATIONAL
Maybe it’s been his switch to a new team, new training facility, newly becoming a Dad, or simply a combination of all these, R.J. Hampshire’s 2020 season has been a significant step forward. The Florida native has always been fast, but this season, Hampshire is a consistent win threat. Even though a knee injury sidelined him midway through the 2020 Supercross series, RJ was able to get it fixed and get back on the back in record time to go racing at the season opener which was delayed (in RJ’s favor) due to the Coronavirus. Before his bike blew up in the mud at Loretta’s #2, RJ Hampshires moto scores were 3-2 at the first round and he won the first moto at Round 2. Unfortunately, his bike couldn’t make it through Moto 2 at Loretta’s 2 and he had a couple of tough motos at the Ironman National which took some wind out of his sails. However, the new Rockstar Husqvarna rider turned the double header in Michigan into a good one for the 24-year-old as he took second at RedBud 1 and first at RedBud 2. Although adrift from the title by over 40-points, Hampshire is a solid third in the chase. And, as we all know, in motocross anything can happen. It was late afternoon after the RedBud 2 National on Labor Day when we caught up with a very happy R.J Hampshire.
By Jim Kimball
R.J., CONGRATULATIONS ON TAKING THE OVERALL WIN AT RED BUD 2! Thank you, this overall win is only my second one in my career, so it’s huge. It’s been a couple years since I took my first overall. And this is the first for me with my new team, and my daughter being here. I cannot say much more, but just say thank you to the whole Rockstar Husqvarna race team!
THIS YEAR IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE FASTER OR AT LEAST RIDING WITH SOME NEWFOUND ENERGY. This team has a lot to do with it. It was a blessing getting this opportunity with these guys, and the bike is so good. That has a lot to do with it, as well as the people that I surround myself with during the week. Training with all the guys there (at the Baker’s Factory in Florida) plays a lot in it, and just trying to be a better person, better dad, better husband, and managing everything.
I KNOW YOU ARE FROM FLORIDA, BUT HOW HAS TRAINING CHANGED WORKING AT THE BAKER COMPOUND? We just bust our butts, that is really what it is. In the past you trained as hard as what you know, but it is at a new level now. I now understand what it takes to be the best, and riding with Cooper (Webb), Zach (Osborne), and Marvin Musquin definitely has its benefits. I am just seeing a different side of it now and seeing how hard work pays off.
YOU HAVE HAD A REALLY SOLID OUTDOOR SEASON. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT? It is by far the best I have been. I started off the season with 3-2-1 scores which was awesome, but then second moto at Loretta’s we had bike problems. The bike blew up, as many others did from the mud. So that was a little tough. I ended up sixth overall at Loretta’s, and then actually had a practice crash leading up to Ironman and hurt my hand a little bit. I showed up fine in Indiana, and my hand was feeling better. But then I actually had a pretty bad crash at practice at Ironman, so it just threw me off big time. The first moto there I crashed mid-way but worked my way up to fifth. Then in the second moto, I had two really big ones. So, it was just a day where things spiraled from practice, well actually spiraled from the beginning of the week. I need to be better at that type of thing. I need to be able to recover from that and regroup and not ruin my whole weekend over just one crash. That is just something I need to improve on.
THAT FIRST MOTO RIDE AT RED BUD 1 MAY HAVE BEEN ONE OF YOUR BEST RIDES. Definitely, I have had a couple of those rides at Red Bud in the past and never executed it again in the second moto, so to get that done in the second moto was huge for me, just for an overall podium—I don’t have a lot of those. Each time, it just helps getting me more comfortable, and more confidence in myself. Whenever I am in that mode and can click them off, I feel like I can be one of the fastest. I need to keep hanging in there, knocking off some podiums, and keep building myself up.
TO SUMMARIZE, YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD, RELAX AND NOT LET THESE LITTLE THINGS HAMPER YOU. Yes, definitely, that has been my career so far, one thing will lead to another and then another and then another. So right now, this was a huge weekend for me to bounce back after last weekend. But yes, Red Bud 1 was big for myself, for the team and for people that support and believe in me. I am going to give it my all every time I am out there. I’m taking it weekend by weekend; I am so far back in points. I hope to take another overall win, and keep it on the podium, and we will see where it ends.