Former top schoolboy rider Luke Hawkins showed just what he was capable of at Farleigh Castle!.
Hawkins has had a difficult couple of seasons through injury. But at Farleigh he showed a glimpse of his potential and left a few wondering what might have been if it hadn’t been for injuries thwarting his progress in the last couple of years.
Hawkins led the first two races at the famous old circuit and battled the front runners hard each time. After a year of learning the 450, it appears that Hawkins has finally got comfortable. The Phoenix Tools Honda rider will undoubtedly take a lot of confidence from his performance as he goes into the winter.
We thought we would speak to Luke to see just where that performance came from and get his thoughts on the 2013 season.
Today’s performance came out of nowhere! Two holeshots and you looked really comfortable out front…
I don’t know really! I just have been working on my starts a lot lately because that is what I needed to improve on. The first race I got out of the gate really good and I felt strong the first few laps. The track is so rough and I wasn’t used to being at the front so I got some arm pump at first. I relaxed a bit and put in some good laps through mid race then my arms were dead! I tried to still push as hard as I could but Brad and Nico came past so I was fourth.
The second race I knew I could get a good start. I got a good jump again and came round first. I knew I had to push hard and held Kristian off for a lap maybe. I tried to follow his lines but he was riding really well and it was hard to follow him.
I was pushing hard and then my arms again… I don’t know if I was nervous up front. I dropped back a bit then stalled it and ended up 11th. But my speed is there at the start of the race.
The last race I missed a gear off the start and got caught in the first corner pile up. So the last race was a bit of a bummer.
Overall your season on the 450, how would you sum it up?
I struggled a bit because it is my first year. But now I feel so good and I think next year when I get a bit of winter training in and get stronger and fitter I think it could be good.
You were one of the top schoolboys coming into the adults and a lot of people maybe expected you to be knocking on the door of the top guys but injuries have set you back. How hard is it to make that jump from schoolboys to the adults?
I don’t think people realise how fast the top people are going. Kristian this year has been so good- no one has been able to touch him. For me to come back after being injured for two years was hard, then to learn to ride the 450 which I had never been on was tough. I think next year we will have stuff sorted and we will be there.
Interview by Jonathan McCready
Photo by Elliot Spencer