TALON HAWKINS INTERVIEW // GETTING DROPPED IN THE DEEP END

“We dropped him in the deep end, and we are very happy with Talon’s riding,” said Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory racing team manager Nathan Ramsey to me recently. With an impressive Supercross futures debut at Anaheim 2, Rockstar Husqvarna’s Talon Hawkins got an early call to race in the 250 East Coast Supercross championship. Maybe due to a combination of his third in his Supercross futures debut, and teammate Jalek Swoll’s injury, the team needed a rider in the 250 East series. While Talon has not accomplished his personal goals yet, he has been grinding it out, and giving the team much-needed exposure. I personally like Talon a lot; he is one of the brightest, most enthusiastic rookies I have ever met. This is just the beginning. Talon Hawkins currently resides fifteenth in the 250 Supercross East series.

BY JIM KIMBALL

TALON, HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE DONE IN THE EAST COAST SUPERCROSS SERIES? It has been fun getting my feet wet. I have a lot of stuff that I can improve on. I have been working my butt off during the week to make some changes to my riding, and just how I ride the bike in general, so we are looking forward to each weekend. We are chipping away and trying to get better and better every weekend. I am doing a pretty good job of that so far. I am learning so much, and it has been a good season so far.

WHEN YOU DID THE ANAHEIM 2 FUTURE’S RACE, WAS IT CERTAIN THAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO 250 EAST COAST SUPERCROSS? No, I came into Anaheim 2 just thinking it was going to be a normal race like any other day, doing the Supercross Futures. My plan at that time was to do all the Supercross Future rounds. But then I got a call shortly after, about a couple of days after the race and the team told me that I am going pro. It was sudden after that race, and everything changed.

WERE YOU RACSING EAST COAST SOMEWHAT DUE TO JALEK SWOLL GETTING INJURED? Yes, Jalek got hurt and they said they needed a guy to fill in. They needed a bike out on the track, and that was part of my contract. If anybody got hurt, I am on the track. I was just trying to prepare as much as I could, both mentally and physically.

WHEN ROCKSTAR HUSQVARNA APPROACHED YOU, WERE YOU IMMEDIATELY READY TO GO? Oh, I was super excited. It was a big jump for me, but I was excited and there was no pressure going into it. It was such a last-minute opportunity; I am supposed to be still amateur. There is no expectation to go out there and get top five or be on the podium yet. That will come, for right now, we are just here to learn.

HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH CONSTANTLY TRAVELING ACROSS THE COUNTRY? Just this past week, I got out to the Baker’s Factory, where it is about 90 degrees every day. I just flew into Detroit here a couple of hours ago and got off the plane in my short sleeve T-shirt. Luckily, I had a pair of long pants on, but I walked out, and it was about 35 degrees so that was a huge jump for me. Just a few hours ago, I was sitting in like 70 degrees, early in the morning and jumping off the plane, it is in the 30s, so that was a huge jump. It is different, and we are trying to get used to it.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT BAKER’S FACTOR? I just got out there the week before Daytona. I flew from Arlington to Baker’s Factory, and I have been out there since then.

BEING AT THE BAKER FACTORY AS A ROOKIE MUST BE A UNIQUE SITUATION. I went out there last year for a little bit, but it was just for outdoor training. I had not touched the Supercross track, so it is a different vibe going there as we are all in Supercross. All the guys have been riding there for months, so I got thrown straight into the mix, but it is going well. I am learning a lot and I am glad I am out there. But I am glad I took some time to learn Supercross in California before I went to Baker’s Factory, just so I could get the basics down, and learn how to get around the track. I am glad I am out there now and there is so much I can learn from all these top pro guys that are out there.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING YOU HAVE LEARNED SINCE RELOCATION TO THE BAKER FACTORY? Originally coming out there, I have always had decent fitness but every time I go out there, I go to the next level of how hard I can push, and how long of a duration of time. Obviously, training out at Baker’s during the summer was quite a bit tougher, because of the heat. Even now though it is not 100 degrees with humidity, it is 90 degrees with humidity in the middle of winter. There is not much of a different between summer and winter in Florida, compared to California. I think the heat plays a huge part in the level of training we get. We are all pushing super hard, and that humidity does not help.

YOU ARE A SUPERCROSS ROOKIE, DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA WHERE YOU WANT TO BE WHEN THE SERIES ENDS? I have not really been looking that far forward. I am just looking one race at a time, but I want to get some top ten’s in there. I have been super close and had some good rides. I just must put it together and stay off the ground. Honestly, I am just looking forward to getting some top ten overalls in these races.

WRAPPING UP, YOU DIPPED YOUR TOES IN PROFESSIONAL MOTOCROSS LAST SUMMER, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MOTOCROSS THIS SUMMER? I am excited for outdoors. It is going to be a little change of pace from the past few months of riding strictly Supercross. It is not too far away. I know it seems early now to say but training starts soon here, and we are going to do a couple of days with the outdoor suspension. We do not have too much downtime in between Supercross and outdoors. I think there is a one or two week break between the finals of Supercross and the start of outdoors. We must get moving on that quick. I am excited.

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