TALON HAWKINS CALLED INTO BATTLE: INTERVIEW

TALON HAWKINS CALLED INTO BATTLE: INTERVIEW

I had the privilege of meeting Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rookie Talon Hawkins last year when he raced the Moto Combine amateur series, and I immediately took a liking to him. It was easy to appreciate his enthusiasm and willingness to talk. I’m not 100 percent certain what Talon and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s plan was for 2023, but I don’t think it initially involved turning pro for both Supercross and Motocross. I believe it originally included doing the amateur Supercross Futures and Moto Combine races and eventually turning pro for the last couple of AMA Pro Motocross rounds. Nonetheless, when pro-teammate Jalek Swoll was injured prior to Supercross, Hawkins was moved up. Was Talon 100 percent ready? Maybe, maybe not, but what would you do if you were suddenly offered a huge job promotion and were uncertain if you were ready? Talon jumped at the chance. While there may have been some growing pains, Hawkins has steadily improved. He is now consistently near the top ten in a field of almost twenty factory riders. every time he is on the bike, he appears to get better. imagine what he can do next season after learning the factory rider ropes. Talon may not have a contract yet for next year, but I’m hoping the Californian will find a home within one of the Austrian brand teams. I believe Talon did his part. We caught up with Talon before heading into the final three AMA Pro Motocross rounds.

 BY JIM KIMBALL

2023 WASHOUGAL NATIONAL // FULL COVERAGE


Talon has been consistently around the top ten, having one of his better results of 11th overall at Washougal.

TALON, IT SEEMS MOTO BY MOTO, RACE BY RACE, MAYBE EVEN LAP BY LAP; YOU ARE IMPROVING ALL THE TIME. It has been going well. As you said, I am getting better every weekend. It is just little things that I must chip away at. I need to get better starts. I have seen the speed that the front guys running. I just must get there, do it, and get used to running near the front. I’m slowly chipping away out of the Baker’s Factory and working on it.

YOU KEYED ON IT; THE START IS ALWAYS CRITICAL. Everybody is fast out there. It is not like amateur racing anymore. Everybody is fast, and if you must come through the pack, it is not easy. It is a fight every single time.  

DO YOU THINK THE STARTING GRATES HAVE CHANGED THINGS? I think the grates add the fact that everybody is a little more, even at the start, just because it is very predictable. But it means higher speeds coming into the first corner and more crashes. I think it is a mix of good and bad, but I love the grates, so I would be fine with them keeping them.

Talon Hawkins 2023 Thunder Valley National-0925 In his first full outdoor season, Talon has much more on his plate than the average rookie. 

YOU ARE FROM CALIFORNIA. ARE YOU AT THE BAKER’S FACTORY THESE DAYS? I have been at the Baker’s Factory for a couple of months now.  We are steadily chipping away, riding that sand. However, I returned to California to ride hard tracks in order to prepare for Washougal.

I WOULD ASSUME THAT THE FLORIDA HUMIDITY IS A BIG CHANGE. Yeah.  I have ridden West Coast my whole life, so it has definitely been a change-up riding on the East Coast tracks.  We got some sandy ones coming up. I am looking forward to it.  I just have to keep plugging away. 

HOW IS EVERYTHING WITHIN THE ROCKSTAR HUSQVARNA SEMI?  IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ALL GET ALONG PRETTY GOOD. I am super cool with all my teammates. Me and Jalek (Swoll) have gotten close over the past couple of months of being at the Baker’s Factory.  Me and R.J. (Hampshire) are also super cool. We are in the same rig together, so we shoot the breeze occasionally between motos. I love all the guys on my team. Malcolm (Stewart) and Christian (Craig) are good too.  We are all a solid team.

Talon Hawkins 2023 Hangtown National-8405Highs and lows, improvement is something Talons does best, and as he starts to get more comfortable with the top riders, his results are starting to show.

YOU WANTED TO BE TOP TEN IN SUPERCROSS. WHAT TYPE OF GOAL DO YOU HAVE FOR THE OUTDOORS? I think we are going to run with the top ten. I want to get a top ten in Outdoors.  We have gotten really close. I did finish top ten in a moto, and I think my best overall is an eleventh right now. We are getting close. I have gotten better and better every race, so I am hoping to put it up there this next race.  

ARE YOU TALKING AT ALL WITH THE TEAM ABOUT NEXT YEAR AT THIS POINT? Not any real talks yet, but I want to get better and better every weekend. That is the goal for me and the team. We just want to keep improving and go from there.

Talon Hawkins 2023 Thunder Valley National-8278Talon eyeing up the long start straight at Thunder Valley earlier this season.

OBVIOUSLY, I’M NOT ON THE TEAM, BUT I HEAR THEY ARE HAPPY WITH YOU, AND YOU WERE SOMEWHAT THROWN INTO THIS LAST MINUTE. This was a last-minute decision to race pro in 2023. Supercross was last minute. Outdoors, I was not expecting to go into it at all the rounds, but I am trying to show up and prove my point.  

ANY FINAL THOUGHTS, TALLON, ABOUT THE REST OF THE SUMMER? I am excited about some good racing coming up. We have some gnarly tracks. A few tracks I have never been to, so I am ready to hammer down.  

2023 WASHOUGAL NATIONAL // FULL COVERAGE

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