Interview: Taylor Hammal on getting back to the GP’s and Gabriel SS24 KTM

It was a long time for Taylor Hammal to be away from the racing as after getting a chance to race the MX2 World Championship with DRT Kawasaki a wrist injury kept him away. The good news is that Hammal has signed a deal with the Gabriel SS24 KTM team for this year and has raced the first two rounds of the British Championship.

Hammal now heads to Portugal this weekend to race his first MX2 World Championship of the year and will also race another seven rounds which is great news.

We caught up with the young Brit ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix to get his thoughts…

The decision to race the MX2 GP in Portugal this weekend….

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We had planned for a while to start our GP run this year at Portugal, not sure why that was the first one but that was Simon the boss’ decision. I did want to start at Arco to get things rolling but it wasn’t in the original plan but either way I’m really happy to be getting back to the GP’s. 

It’s been a while since you’ve been in the GP paddock, how do you feel heading into Portugal?

Yeah, it feels like along time ago since I last did one which was July 2021, so 21 months ago. I’m really happy and excited to get back into them which was my goal all along since when I crashed, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to just get the chance again. I feel okay heading into it, I would be lying if I said I feel back up to speed and 100% confident. I’m feeling good but I’ve only had 2 British championships races since I started racing again and I’m just a bit rusty around the edges still but it will come back the more I’m racing. It’s almost like the Herlings situation with him coming back, you don’t just go straight back into where you left off. I just need to get that edge back I had but it’ll come and doing the GP’s should help.

You obviously had a big wrist injury and at one stage it looked like you might not race again so you must feel great to make this comeback…

Yeah,  it feels strange really when I was out injured it felt like it was never ending and just ongoing but now I’m back racing again it all feels quick. The doctors never told me I can’t race again but for a very long time they didn’t have an answer for my injury and at the time as Covid so they didn’t want to help, and then the ongoing problems having multiple surgeries. So to think back at what happened it just feels really nice to be able to be back riding again and somewhat close to where I was before and have the opportunity to race GP’s, it’s all I wanted when I was injured.

Image: Scott Dunne

Expectations for Portugal this weekend…

I think to get some points would be a good goal to start with, but either way just to ride my best.

Anymore GP’s in the schedule?

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Yeah, so, the team has planned 8 GP’s this year, 7 after Portugal so we will stay out and head to Spain the following week.

How’s everything going with the new team on the KTM and working with Shaun Simpson?

Yeah I love it working with the team. It was a nice change for me after the injury and fresh start almost. We all get on in a laid back environment between Paul, Simon the boss provides a really well run and professional team as well as Paul, Ewan and my mechanic, Gaz. Shaun is a great person to be around and helps out with sorting my entries and all that stuff so less stress for us just a shame I can’t ride with him as he’s far away up north. I am enjoying the KTM although it is different which most say about the 23’s and after riding a Japanese bike for the last 4 years I need to feel a little more comfortable or used to the front end and chassis, but all is good and enjoying it.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Images: Scott Dunne