Barry Hawk is once again in a familiar position. The ATV-turned motorcycle champion is leading the point standings, just like he did last season. We caught up with Hawk as he was packing up and heading for Morgantown, North Carolina for round four of the GNCC series. Here?s what ?The Hawkster? had to say.

Barry, you?re in a familiar position again this season. You?re leading the point standings after the third round and already have one win to your name. You?ve got to be pretty happy with the way things have gone so far this season.
Actually, I went into Texas just trying to come out of there with a good finish. Of course you want to win all of the races, but I never really raced in Texas and I wanted to come out of there with a podium, so I was content with that. Then in Florida I came out with a win. It was one of the hardest races that I?ve raced in a long time racing with Rodney Smith, so I was really happy to win. Then in Georgia I caught the flu a few days before the race and I didn?t feel very well at all. After two laps I was in second but I started struggling and getting weak. I fell off the pace and actually fell the last two laps and ended up in eighth.

Are you surprised by anyone in particular?
Well, the guy that really surprised me was Jason Raines from coming back so quickly. He broke his shoulder in Texas and a few days before Florida he went to the doctor and was able to race there. He got a third place and then a win in Georgia. It didn?t surprise me that he would be fast; it just surprised me how quickly he came back. Scott Summers also rode really well in Georgia, getting second. And Robbie Jenks passed me a few times in Georgia. He?s come along pretty strong and I told him that after the race. It?s going to be a tough year, but I?m just going to keep plugging away.

Will Jason Raines be your toughest competition?
I can?t say he?s going to be the main guy, because they?re will probably be four tough guys to compete with. Jason and my bike are identical and we don?t keep anything from each other. He knows that I work and train hard, and I know that he does too. When it comes down to it, it wouldn?t surprise me if it came down to Jason, Freddy Andrews, Rodney Smith, myself, and maybe Scott Summers.

Before last season your mindset must have been different from what it was coming into 2004. Can you tell us about it?
If you go back to the end of 2002, that?s when my results picked up. I had a second and a first right before the end of the season and that?s when I started my upswing of riding. I didn?t change anything this year and I?m not treating this year any differently from last year. I don?t worry about carrying the number one plate or let the pressure get to me; I?m just trying to podium at every race.

What would you say accounted for your upswing in results?
If you go back to the middle of ?02, right before the summer break I crashed really hard at home practicing and hurt my leg pretty badly. I tried to ride the last race before the break in Maryland but my leg hurt too bad. I ended up DNF?ing the race and I stayed off the bike for a month and a half. All year I had been worrying about stuff like my bike and competition. After I hurt my leg, I took a month and a half off, and when I came back everything felt good. I didn?t worry about my tires or my engine or my suspension set-up. I asked myself, ?What is my problem?? I mean, once the flag drops you can?t change anything anyway. That?s when I started changing things around and told myself that I could do well and to stop worrying about things I couldn?t change.

What will it take to win this year?s title?
Well, I had to do what I did last year with winning a bunch of races [laughter]. I?ll have to do as best I can and get on the podium as much as I can. There are a bunch of fast guys racing out there. There were only a couple of races where I didn?t finish on the podium last year and I won by quite a large margin in the point standings, but this year will be tough.

Rodney Smith is hovering nine points behind you in the standings, but he hasn?t had very good consistent finishes. Do you personally take each race at a time or do you look at the bigger picture of winning the title?
Truthfully, I don?t know the points spread. I do know that I?m leading and Rodney?s in second. I don?t worry about points, I just go to the race and do as best I can. If you talk to Rodney or Scott Summers, I?m pretty sure that?s the way they look at it too. I used to really worry about points but that?s when I was finishing fifth, sixth, and seventh place. That?s when I paid attention. I thought if I got a third for a race then maybe I could get sixth place in the point standings. Towards the end of the series, that?s where I start to look at the points. At Kentucky Jason won the race and I finished second, and I knew if I finished third I would win the title. But that?s the race that I really wanted to win, but Jason flat out beat everyone that day. He was riding really well, but I was disappointed that I didn?t win the race and the championship at the same time.

Thank you very much for the interview, and good luck the rest of the series.
No problem at all, thank you for the interview.


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