Defending West coast supercross champ, Justin Hill, has had a lot of changes this off-season.
Hill has left the Pro-Circuit Kawasaki team to join the JGR MX factory Suzuki outfit and also moved to North Carolina to be close to the team. Hill also gets the security of a 450 ride on the team next season but how is he finding the change?
Our man at Anaheim, Doug Turney, caught up with Hill to get the lowdown on his move and his guitar skills!
Hey Justin, any anticipated pressure running the number one plate this year?
No not really, I think it is just an average start to the year. It could go awesome, could go average, it could go bad you just never really know. You just have to try as if you didn’t have any of that stuff, it’s just a number and a plate and memories that I have been able to do it before. If anything it is probably a help because I have won it before so I should be able to win it again, right? I feel better than I did before so I am approaching exactly the same way.
The plate is not the only thing that is new, obvisiouly a different team, routines, management, how has it been adjusting to the new team?
I really like it, I fit it well with the team and workings and how everyone is together. We are based out of N. Carolina so I have spent a lot of time up there, I have bought a home up there, I live there now so fit is a big change but it is something I have been wanting. I am happier overall as a person, there is nothing wrong with the change. It is not a huge jump compared to what I have always done day to day, I stilll do the same type of things, it’s just a little easier now and I am happier doing it. I definitely like the bike, the bike is a great change. The chassis is exactly what I have been looking for, so it’s all thumbs and green light for that. I have no issues with what has gone on and I am excited about where I am at, I think it is all positive.
Is there one thing that surprised you about this team that made you happy switching?
Many things (laughs), the team is a well-oiled machine in many ways and he way I describe that is just people working well together. It’s a great team, they are happy, nobody is slacking off but it seems everybody enjoys it. I surprised with how well everyone was working together, it was a great change of pace for me to see that.
The resources, man I blown away when air see what the6 have – it’s an empire over there! Between the xfinity, us and the cup shop, man there are so many resources over there it’s incredible p. We have access to everything, I was surprised about that even though I had an idea because I had been told, but until you see it for yourself it’s not the same.
I surprised about the facility we have, the track we have out there are just awesome. We have everything we need, probably most of all I am surprised about how much I like the area ( laughs). I was optimistic but as soon as I went I just fell in love with the area, I love Charlotte, I love Huntersville where we are. I’m happy that I made that decision.
With the team based on the East coast and you doing the West coast, it seems odd you aren’t racing East coast.
Well we wanted to defend the championship and run the number one plate plus I am from the West coast and I have things that I can do well when I am out here, I have a little bit of resources but not a lot. It is definitely better when a I am on the East coast but I would say it’s because I won West, if we had won East we sud probably be doing that one. We have the number one plate and the value behind that, but really it’s not a big deal we could have done either one, it’s not a big deal to us.
It’s just something that was already set for us kind of thing but it is definitely easier when we are on the East coast where everything is up that will come into play a little bit later when we do the shootout in Indianapolis and I will be at a lot of those East coast races supporting my teammates and when we get to the outdoors it will be even better because we won’t be driving as far to the races so it will come in handy at that time.
I have to ask the obvious question, who do you think will be your biggest challenges this year?
I think you have usual suspects, my buddy Shane and AP ( Plessinger) they’re great guys and great riders with a solid head in their shoulders. To me the guy with the mindset is the guy with the biggest threat, the guy that knows he can do it, that wants it, those guys both have that sand proved that last year against me already.
But then you have a couple of other guys that are coming in, Joey and Adam are coming in and they are both solid guys, you have a couple of amateur kids that are coming up, Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper, the competition is who is there with me at the front because that is where I want to be, whoever it is it doesn’t matter.
That’s being said I would probably rather battle with my buddies like we did last year, that was a lot of fun, we had a lot of fun races together. It was all good and clean and it was a fun time, I would probably like those same guys to be up there again, even though it might be harder because I know how solid there are! But we will see who’s up there.
I saw you out there practicing on the track, what do you think of it for A1?
It’s so easy it’s unreal! Everybody had everything wired in three laps, which is pretty standard for a practice track but racing normally takes a little bit longer than that, but there are a couple of sections we didn’t really do maybe because they aren’t finished yet.
It’s press day and it’s hard to tell, they are a couple of things out there that might make the difference and might not but we will see, I hope they hold the whoops bigger than they ever have! That would be nice but either way it’s fine, a track is a track and we just have to figure out how to go faster around it. I would like to see them out some more difficult things in the mix but but it is what it is so we will see.
So who’s the guitar playing going?!
It’s going great, I love music and I get to do a whole other thing on the side which is fun, it takes me away from this a little bit (racing) I have been making music now for a while an injust put some of my original songs on ITunes and been chasing that. I wasn’t really doing anything with it and then I showed my family they said, ‘ wow that’s good, you should put that out,’ Si I had all this pressure to put it out, but it’s fun, I like doing it, I like playing and what comes along with it.
Will we see you playing the guitar on the podium this year?
We will see! I have been telling them I will play the anthem on the guitar for a while, but we will see how it goes. You have so many people trying to orchestrate the whole thing that it is not as simple as you would think. I know couple of people over there and talked to them a little but I have to focus on racing. I would have liked to do it an East coast round, just be there, okay the guitar p, watch and support the team. That’s optimum for me, we will see how that pans out but that would be a lot of fun.
Interview and pics: Doug Turney