Dirt Bike: First of all, you?re doing really well in this years GNCC series.
Barry Hawk: Thank you very much, I appreciate it. I?ve finally been putting a year together instead of half a year here or half a year there. Things are going good, my Yamaha is working really well and I?m happy.

DB: Is the season going as expected?
BH: Yeah, you always want to be leading races and win. It doesn?t matter really if you?re leading unless you?re leading at the end. I mean, I?m happy with everything and I need to finish the year out healthy and ride smart.

DB:Are you planning on riding conservatively or are you going to be charging for the wins?
BH: No no, at the Rausch Creek GNCC it was really rocky and a lot of people were telling me that I need to ride smart because you can get hurt in the rocks. Before the race I thought, yeah I have to ride smart and I don?t need to win, just need to get a podium. I was riding and it just seemed like my bike was working better than everyone elses and I?m just following and following. With two laps to go I got the lead and thought, well everything is working good and I just ended up pulling away and won by like 45 seconds. It was really good, and everyone said that as good as my year is going that I didn?t have to win, I said hey, I don?t have to, but I?ve just been pouring the steam on. I was going to ride the High Point National this year in motocross, but I figured I wouldn?t have too much to gain and I didn?t want to take any chances. Actually today I just got done riding at my house, it?s like a 4 mile track and I?ve been keeping lap times for about a month and I set the fastest time today on my track that I?ve ever recorded and I beat it by about 15 seconds! If you start thinking slow down a little bit and don?t do anything stupid, that?s when bad things happen. I?m just going to keep doing what I?ve been doing and hopefully I can win the championship.

DB:So what do you attribute to our sudden speed?
BH: Our team with Randy and Jason, last year I trained harder than ever and I?m in as good of shape, if not better, than last year. With the three of us getting along so well, we ride together and it has elevated all of us to be better riders. That?s one thing that?s helped for sure. In past years I?d have a good race and then I?d get like 8th place and it?d just seem like I could never get on a roll. Finally last year right before the Whisp GNCC I crashed and hit my thigh pretty hard. I think I hit it almost as hard as you can without breaking it! I tried to ride at Whisp, but I ended up falling back and DNF?d. Then it was our summer break and I didn?t ride for a month, and then I got back riding. In the past couple of years when I?d be riding I would always b thinking how I could set up my bike better. Things like how I should have adjusted the clickers or something like that instead of truly concentrating on the race. It was like I was testing when I went out to race instead of focus just on riding. When I started riding again last year after I got hurt, the bike felt great. Tires were working good and everything, then I thought you know, why have I been thinking all along that something was wrong? I had a good month and a half of training for the second half of the series and then I got 8that the first race back, but I lost my front brakes and had to change them. So that race, results wise it was where I had been finishing all year, but I really was riding good. The next race was High Point and I ended up winning that, then at St. Clairsville I finished second. At the final round I was riding and hit a lapper, which resulted in a broken chain. Out of four good races I only had two good results. In the winter I got my suspension working really good. After that I just said to myself, quit testing and worry about racing instead of worrying about the bike. It?s paid off so far! It?s all coming together for me, I just need to stay healthy. It ain?t over till the fat lady sings!

DB: You were a seven-time ATV champ. Why did you make the switch to the bike?
BH: Well, I started racing the bike in 1993, and I pretty much started doing that because Steve and Bob Sloan were doing it and they were the top two guys on the ATV back then. They started racing the bike to cross-train and get more seat time. I was third that year and thought, hey if they?re doing it then I should be too. I ended up winning the B class that year and then I just kept progressing to where in the beginning of 1998 I got my ride with Yamaha. I never set out to get where I am now on the bike, I was just doing it for cross-training in the beginning. Luckily, ?98 was the year they came out with the YZ400F and I had the opportunity to ride it. It went OK in ?98, I did a little better in ?99, and 2000 was my first full year of riding the bike. With the ATV, I had seven championships and the last two years it felt like a job and I wasn?t having any fun. I said, I?m young enough that if the bike thing didn?t work out, that I could go back to the ATV?s. I?ve gradually progressed up to winning races. Hopefully I can keep doing that on the bike. Luckily, Mike Guerra really helped me out and gave me the opportunity in ?98. I?ve had a few mediocre years but he and also Randy Hawkins have helped me out and stuck by me.

DB: Do you feel that you are still getting faster on the bike?
BH: It?s been really rainy back here, so the track was really good. But I do feel right now that I?m faster than ever before. I still have room to get better, because you can always improve. I?ve been riding with Jason Raines and Randy, I spent three months in South Carolina at Randy?s, and just riding with eachother has helped me tremendously. Being behind those guys and seeing how they approach a section compared to me is great for me. I just need to knock on wood and hopefully everything stays the same as far as my riding is going.

I still have fun when I ride ATV?s, and just recently I was able to ride the new Yamaha down in Texas. I rode it for two days and I didn?t want to get off of it! I guess they?re available now, but I definitely want one. I don?t have any intentions of racing it, but just to play around on. That ATV is better than what I raced on back then. ATV?s have gotten better, but this new Yamaha they came out with is above anything else than I?ve been on before. Even though it is a four stroke, it?s better than any two stroke in my opinion. Yamaha has done their homework and it?s definitely a sweet ATV for sure.

DB: Would you ride an ATV at a GNCC event again?
BH: Yeah, from riding that new Yamaha it has crossed my mind. I think if something ever came about, like if I were to win the championship this year early, then maybe at the last race I could go out and race it. But as for right now, I don?t have any intentions of doing anything until this bike thing is over with. If the championship goes down to the last race then it?s not even going to cross my mind. I believe I could get on that Yamaha ATV right now, other than putting a twist throttle on it, I could go out and finish in the top five overall. That?s my opinion on it, whether I could or not I don?t know, it?s that good of a four stroke for sure.

DB: This year the east coast has been getting hammered with rain, and you seem to shine in the muddy conditions. Do you consider yourself a good mud rider?
BH: In 2000 we had a bunch of muddy races that year, and I was never very good in the mud. When it rained I would just tell myself that I wasn?t a good mud rider even going up to the line for the start. Then, in 2000 the first mud race I finished on the podium. I said, man this mud is pretty good! In fact, all three mud races we had that year I finished on the podium. Ever since then I feel really good in the mud. But then last year High Point was a dust bowl, but I won in the dust and in the mud and in the sand in Florida. A lot of people thought I was just a fair weather rider, but to win championships you have to ride well everywhere. Back east here we haven?t had more than two days without rain in two months.

DB: You have one more race before the GNCC series takes a break, but what do you plan on doing over the break?
BH: Well there are a few Enduros that I plan on doing. I was going to race all of the Enduros, but a week before Missouri I hurt my shoulder playing softball. It was my first year playing softball in five years and it was my first game and I was swinging at the ball, but I must have strained my shoulder. I figured that I had better take that week off and not ride in Missouri, and the week before the Ohio Enduro I was stretching and I pulled the muscle in my back! Randy started teasing me saying that I just didn?t want to ride the Enduros, but I also had to sit out at Ohio. With missing those two races, there isn?t any way I can win that series, so I might go to a few just to have fun. Actually, we have a cruise planned during the summer, but other than that I?ll probably ride a few local races. You can?t take the summer off, you just have to keep riding and training. I kind of hate to have the break because I have a lot of momentum going, but there isn?t anything I can do about it.

DB: Do you think anyone will give you fits the rest of the series as far as points go?
BH: Mike Lafferty is second in points, so he?s still close. Rodney Smith has had some problems and has DNF?d quite a bit, so I think he?s out of it. Basically, it?s my championship to lose. I?m not worried about myself except for myself. I just go out and ride my own race and hopefully things turn out good.

DB:Last but not least, who would you like to thank?
BH: Yamaha, Mike Guerra, Randy Hawkins, Jason Raines, my mechanic, who in ?98 had the opportunity to go with another team for more money, but he stuck with me. Also my wife for supporting and sticking behind me. I think she wants me to win the championship more than I do! (laughter) Also MSR, Bridgestone, Factory Connection, FMF, Renthal, Cycra, Cycle Gear, Smith, GPR, Hinson, Cytomax, Zip-Ty, Pro Clean, Cornwell Tools, Ceet, Yamalube, Silent Sport, Motion Pro, AmPro, Boyesen, Cti, and Morgantown Yamaha. I think that?s it, hopefully I didn?t leave anybody out.

DB: Thank you very much for the interview
BH: I appreciate the interview, and thank you very much!


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