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By Jim Kimball
Not only is Austin Forkner in a highly stacked 250 class, he is with a team (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) full of talent. Still, the youngest rider (age 18) within the team is the one with the highest points in the 250 championship standings. After his third overall at Muddy Creek, we asked Forkner to give us insights to his outdoor season.
AUSTIN, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE 250 NATIONAL SERIES SO FAR? It has been pretty good, and I have had some pretty solid finishes. I had some bike problems at the beginning of the year, which kind of sucked to start off the year that way. But lately, I have been riding pretty well, and getting some pretty consistent finishes. I have not been on the overall podium yet, so to do that at Muddy Creek was really nice. Prior to Tennessee my best race so far had been Thunder Valley. I went two, three, in my motos for fourth overall, which was really good, so I was just hoping for another one of those days.
HOW MANY GUYS DO YOU THINK COULD ACTUALLY WIN A MOTO? There are probably 15 or so guys that are on factory bikes, so that is like 15 guys that could possibly win, whether it is the overall, the championship or a moto. There are a lot of guys that can run up there, so it is tight right now.
IS EVERYONE ON THE PRO CIRCUIT KAWASAKI TEAM IS DOING WELL? We have a pretty solid team this year. We have Justin Hill coming off a 250 Supercross Championship, and Adam and Joey are up there every week, so we have a pretty solid team. Some weekends these guys are the guys that are going to be up front, but you know, some weekends, it is completely the opposite. Everybody is so fast right now that it is hard to predict who is going to be fast at what track.
WE HEARD THAT YOU WERE TRAINING IN OKLAHOMA? Yes, I am in West Oklahoma right now. There are a lot of amateur guys there right now, training for Loretta’s and stuff, so I get to ride with all of them. It is good to chase them, and try to run them down and pass them. I think that is good. Trey Canard is here and he has been riding for the past three weeks. Justin Bogle moved to Florida so we have a pretty small group right now. It is really hot here and it is really humid. The humidity was super bad. You would walk outside, and just not stop sweating. It is definitely been a lot like some of the rounds of the Nationals.
IS THAT SOME TYPE OF HEALING DEVICE ON YOUR ANKLE? ARE YOU INJURED? Yes, I just twisted my ankle a couple of weeks ago. It is not broken or anything; it is just a sprain, but sprains are kind of annoying. I just try to not catch it when I am riding, because if I catch it and re-tweak it, that really hurts. I ice it constantly, doing everything I can to get it better. It is not too painful most of the time. I can ride pretty normal, but I try not to dab it and make any big mistakes. Other than that, I am feeling really good.
THERE ARE SO MANY FAST GUYS IN THE 250 CLASS, HOW DO THEY DIFFER FROM EACH? There are a lot of guys that are fast in the first 15 minutes, but not that good in the last 15 minutes. Then you have guys are not fast the in first 15 minutes, but they are fast for the last 15 minutes. It completely swaps out who is at the front in the beginning of the moto to who is in front at the end of the moto.
DID YOU COME INTO THE AMA 250 NATIONALS WITH A SPECIFIC GOAL IN MIND AS FAR AS AN OVERALL FINISH? No, not really. My goal was to try to get on the podium at every race. That is still my goal. It is pretty unrealistic to think that you can win every race, and even getting a podium in every race has proved to be impossible with how stacked the class is. I’m just trying to have two solid finishes and, most importantly, make it through the whole series.
Photos: Mark Chilson, Monster Energy, Dan Alamangos, Daryl Ecklund