After two 16-lap main events and two different Major League Baseball National League West ballparks, Seth Hammaker of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki race team finds himself tied for second and with two straight podium finishes in the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Championship 250SX West.
Hammaker, the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Rookie of the Year award winner, has cast himself as a young supercross specialist who wants to make serious run at this year’s AMA Pro Racing title. And with the Angel Stadium and Oakland Coliseum rounds of the ’22 season now done and dusted, the Hammaker will now pack up his gear bag and look at yet another Major League Baseball stadium when he lines up Saturday evening inside of Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.
Q: We are now two main events and 32 laps into the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Series and you’re right there fighting it out atop the leader board of the 250SX West Region. So far, so good?
SETH HAMMAKER: Yeah, I’m right there. I’m up there in the mix with everyone, and I just want to stay consistent. Obviously I want to get a couple of race wins to put myself in a stronger position and catch back up to Christian Craig, but as long as I keep on staying consistent and doing my thing, I think I’ll be right there at the end.
Q: You were runner-up to Christian Craig at Anaheim 1 by +05.625. You placed third to Craig at Oakland, +09.954 behind when the checkered flag fell at the conclusion of lap sixteen. Craig has enjoyed good starts and been able to clear off pretty quickly in these 250SX West main events. What’s your take on him thus far?
SH: Yes, I definitely knew that Christian was going to be good coming in. He always starts off the season pretty strong, so I think what Craig has done hasn’t been a huge surprise, but I’m going to have to get right there with him. I’ve been getting good starts, but I need to charge and bring up my intensity a little bit more in the first couple of laps to hang with him, because that’s what he is good at. If I do that, I feel like I can learn a lot from Craig and beat him. It’s just going to take some experience, and some learning from him.
Q: The first two Saturday nights of 250cc supercross racing have been pretty frantic, haven’t they?
SH: It was really crazy, man. There was a lot of carnage that happened all night at Anaheim. The track was pretty challenging for the first round, and there were just people going down. But I was glad to get out of there with a podium finish, and to also just learn a lot from the first round. There is so much hype going into Anaheim 1. Being in the West Region has been good so far. It’s a change from Pennsylvania, for sure. For what we do with supercross, though, it’s good to be out here. You’re around everything, and I really enjoy being around he team more and everything like that. It’s also nice to be based out here when I’m on the west coast.
Q: How do you like being teamed with Jo Shimoda as you two guys represent the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team in the 250SX West?
SH: Yeah, me and Jo are cool. It is good to have him as a teammate. He’s a good guy and we get along pretty good. He had a rough night in Oakland with that crash, but I think he’ll bounce back.
Q: And both you and Hunter Lawrence have been in close proximity to one another in these opening 250SX West rounds, haven’t you?
SH: Yeah, Hunter Lawrence seems like a good guy. He’s a good competitor and he seems like he wants to do well. He has mind made up that he wants to win. That’s cool, and I think it’s fun racing all of these guys. I’m just happy to be where I’m at, and I want to be competitive. All of the guys out there are strong. It’s crazy. We’ve got some fast dudes on the west coast and it’s awesome for the racing. I enjoy racing all these guys and just improving myself every weekend. It’s a lot of fun to be doing this.
Q: You were a very solid and fighting third in the Oakland main event. How did you feel about your overall performance in Oakland?
SH: Yes, I was pretty happy with my Oakland performance. There are a few things that I can definitely clean up on. I’d like to be a little bit better in the whoops come main event time when they get a little bit torn up. I also need to be better in the first couple laps of the main events with intensity to stay closer to the leaders if I don’t get a good start.
Other than that, I was happy with Oakland. I rode solid laps and put in some good laps early on, and just maintained through the race. Hunter Lawrence ended up getting me at the end after I made a mistake in the whoops, and then I tried to learn from him when he passed me. I wanted to see what he was doing better than me. I was happy with it all to come away with a third, and I just want to keep building on the season so far. I’m happy with where I’m at, but I’m definitely always looking to see where I can be better and improve. I want to be the best self I can be out there every time, and looking back at video after the race and seeing where I can better is always a good thing. I’m just always chasing to be the best that I can be every weekend.
Q: It’s only your second year with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki outfit. How do you like the team and being a part of it?
SH: We’re all working to get better and they’re always giving me the opportunity to do well and giving me everything I need to go out there and perform, so it has been just awesome working with the team. With this being the second year with the team, I definitely want to be more of a leader of the team. I want to be up there in the front and getting some wins for the team. It awesome working with everyone, and my trainer Ivan Tedesco has helped me out a ton. It’s been really good working with him. We go back and analyze the races after the weekend and we work on stuff to get better.
Q: Yes, you and Ivan strike me as a racer and a riding coach and mentor that would work very well together.
SH: We do. Ivan isn’t the type of person to come back and say everything negatively, you know? We work on stuff that we need to work on, but he’s also like, “Here’s what we did good and what we can take positives from.” He’s really cool, because I’m hard enough on myself. Ivan knows I want it, and it’s really awesome working with him. Him testing the bikes is also really good, as well. He can help me with bike setups, and that’s really cool.