5 Minutes with...Sean HamblinFriday, October 3, 2008 | 10:49 AM
Sean Hamblin was a Cinderella story throughout the summer, landing himself a factory ride with Yamaha after starting out the season as a privateer with help from Andy Stacy and Tuf Racing. He had some fantastic finishes, but he also had some misfortune, from popping his shoulder out (twice) to getting banners stuck in his wheel—and that was just Red Bud! Throughout he persevered, but when the season ended, so did his time with Team Yamaha.
But that’s not why he called Racer X yesterday; he called to tell us that he was getting ready to help a fallen friend, Canadian motocross (and snocross) legend Blair Morgan, who was paralyzed two weeks ago at the Montreal Supercross. Hamblin is organizing a riding school in Canada on October 18, with all proceeds going to Blair for his family and rehabilitation. Sean Hamblin is quite a man.
Racer X: Sean, first of all, how’s the off-season going?
Sean Hamblin: Well, it’s been a little rough, obviously, with the way teams are and stuff this year. There’s been a lot of downsizing, and it hurt quite a few guys, as far as rides go, and then some teams are waiting for outside deals to get done. So right now I’ve just been in limbo, and hopefully I could get something going here shortly.
That’s right. It’s been about 48 hours since I decided to go forth and do a charity riding school/ride day up in Canada while I’m up there in the next few weeks. It’s been amazing. I know a lot of people have been touched by Blair Morgan and his presence, whether it’s on a snowmobile or dirt bike or just him in general, and it’s been overwhelming of how many people have offered their support, donations, and things like that to help out. So right now I’m just trying to get back to every single person that sent something over or wants to be in the school itself, and it’s truly, honestly amazing that all these people really want to have something to do with it.
Well, I think that it goes without saying that Blair is a legend when it comes to all of the things that he’s done for motocross in North America, let alone snocross.
I think he’s one of the most versatile athletes that has ever stepped onto a dirt bike or snowmobile. There are not very many guys who have the accomplishments of what he has and what he’s done. My first year in Canada he kind of took me under his wing, and he’s one of the guys that took me riding on a daily basis and made sure that I was more than taken care of in certain instances. So for me to be able to do this and to give back to him, especially in a time of need, it just fits the mold.
I can remember the first time I saw one of those Slednecks videos, and all of a sudden Blair’s name flashed up on it, and he did this inside whip off the side of a mountain—I mean totally laid out! I was like “How in the hell?” And this was the point where the top guys weren’t doing much more on bikes. It was one of the coolest things that I still remember to this day.
Definitely, and Blair has always brought that flair and style. Any time he ever entered a room or anything, that was just Blair. He’s a very easy going farm boy that has followed his dream and has done very well doing it. Like I said before, it’s unfortunate what happened, but no matter what, Blair will never change as the person we know him as and he’ll fight this all the way to the end. I know that he has always had a fighting personality in a sense. He may be a very easy going guy, but when the helmet is on he doesn’t leave anything behind and always puts his heart into what he’s doing. It’s amazing to be able to try and help him out now, and I look forward to seeing him.
Where and when is the school?
We’re trying to schedule it on the 18th of October. I’ve been talking to the owner of MotoPark in Canada, and he’s not going to be able to be there at the time, but we want to stick with the 18th because we already sent everything out and there’s a lot of people that want to fly in and do it, and plans have already been made for them.
So on the 18th of October. We’re going to do a riding school from 9 a.m. to 12:30 in the afternoon, and then we’re going to have some barbeque for about an hour, then at 1:30 or so we’re going to open the track for an open practice for everyone who wasn’t able to make the riding school. After we’re done we’re going to have a raffle and have everybody kind of sit around and hang out.
Nice. Well, we’ve got some stuff here that I’d like to donate.
That’s awesome. Also, there’s going to be an online auction that I know Blair’s brother-in-law is dealing with, as well as Kristen Oehlhof. I know on Blair’s website, which is www.bmrt.com, he has some stuff up there and people can go on that and donate. It’s going to go to a great cause, and I know that Blair is going to give back to one of his charities that he set up for spinal research. I’m also trying to get quite a few things for an auction, and anything that anybody wants to donate would be awesome.
Where should people go for more information on the school and how they can participate?
The most traffic I’m getting now is on a Canadian motocross forum—www.mxforum.com. That’s Hammertime’s website, as you know, and I think it’s easiest to get in touch with me there. If not, just email me at [email protected].
I also saw where you’re going to be doing the Open House at Tuf Racing coming up here soon.
Yeah, that’ll be in November, and I’m looking forward to it. Andy has been a really big help for myself, my wife, and everything, and he really helped me out last season.
Yeah, definitely. He was one of the first ones there to help me out—the very first one being Grant Langston, who got me a bike to go to Florida and do the video with you guys. Andy was the guy who made everything happen to get me out there racing, and he has offered to do the same thing for me again if things don’t work out for me to be on a bigger team. He’s behind me no matter what.
I know that you had some up and downs this year; you and I actually got together on the track at Red Bud.
[Laughs] I didn’t think I’d ever get to have that kind of excitement on the track with you before…. It was a bit awkward!
Yeah, we’ve had a beer before, and we bench raced before, but that was the first time we ever worked on a motorcycle together.
[Laughs] In the heat of the moment, too. I think the adrenaline was flowing a little more so than ever before, trying to get that banner out of my rear wheel.
Did you see James Stewart at the des Nations had a course worker come over and help him start the bike? Now all these people online are saying, “Oh, he should be disqualified!” It’s like, come on…
I think everybody is saying that because then they think they could win the des Nations due to somebody having a problem. It’s always a double standard in that sense; every year it’s the same shit, just a different day, with some of the people on the message boards. I think those forums are a good way to reach out to a lot of good people, but also sometimes it’s just unfortunate that no matter what we do—no matter who goes over there and does what—we’re always under that microscope of watchful eyes. No matter what we do it’s never good enough, and if we say anything other than what they want us to say, it’s always the wrong thing. It’s unfortunate, but it goes with the territory of us having some of the best guys in the world racing, and us having a target on our back going to the Motocross des Nations.
Speaking of having a target on your back, I see you online on Motodrive/Vital MX message board, and you blog right there in the open. It’s very interesting to read, but my God, how many replies do you get a day?
[Laughs] Right now it’s been off the hook. Like I called you earlier to get a few things out on your website, but right now it’s insane. But I do my best to answer them all…
Well, get ready for a whole bunch more. Sean, you’re a class act: Whether you’re a privateer or factory rider, racing in Canada or Europe or the USA, you’ve always been top shelf. This is a really cool thing that you’re doing, especially when you’re looking for a job, too.
Like I said, it’s just the least I can do to give back to somebody that helped me out quite a bit before my career was even started. It’s nice to get in touch with more people and fans and make everyone award that Blair is going to make it through this. He’s the real class act.
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Check out THE MOTOCROSS OF 40 NATIONSin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
The 2013 FIM Motocross of Nations at Teutschenthal, Germany, hosted teams from a record forty countries. Here’s how it played out for each of them. Page 90.