|IRVINE, CALIF. (October 11, 2018) – It’s been an exciting season so far in the 2018 AMA EnduroCross Series. Two former champions find themselves locked in a battle for the championship, and after bowing out of the series last year in his title defense season, Colton Haaker is ready to take back the number-one plate.
After nursing an injured elbow back to health last year, Haaker spent the off-season training hard and was quite obviously back on point heading into round one. We caught up with him to chat about the season so far, taking on his archrival Cody Webb and what it’s going to take to come away with his second championship.
You had a big win in Costa Mesa, which was your first EnduroCross win in about a year. Did it feel like you got the monkey off your back at that point?
Yeah, I felt like I to get the monkey off my back. But if you stick with something long enough, pretty much, you can make it happen again. Like a never-say-die attitude. I made a comeback after a year and a week since I won again. I had all those other races in Europe which all went… well, I guess I won motos there, but I didn’t win overall.
It felt really nice, especially having Hannah (wife) and London (daughter) there. That was really special and cool. One of the races to remember, for sure.
Speaking of London, now that you are a father, how has that changed you?
Yeah, it has. The perspective change is that I don’t sweat the little things anymore. I used to really sweat the little stuff, like the little mistakes and I let imperfections kinda fester and bother me. But since having her and feeling like there’s a bigger picture, it’s helped me be a little more relaxed and levelheaded. Perspective, really. My perspective’s a little different, just like it’s not the end of the world. I really don’t let anything bother me too much.
That sounds like a positive change.
It’s been going okay. [laughs]
So far this season, are you happy with the way things are going?
Yeah. I don’t think you could ask for anything more in a championship at this point than to have the two top guys be tied halfway through is really exciting for the sport in general. So that’s great. To feel like I’m riding back to my form, back to when I was having more successes and winning, like my last championship. So that always feels nice and I think too, when you’re riding confident like that, it just leaks out in to the rest of your life. You just think positively and live positively. It’s a lot of things on the bike have to do with how the rest of life is going. Or maybe it’s vice-versa. [laughs] Maybe the rest of my life is going good and it’s making my riding good! [laughs]
Last three rounds of the series are going to come pretty quickly. Are you going into that feeling ready and confident?
Yeah, I feel great. I know that this last month in between right now and Denver was like the last real push, training wise, so made some more progress on the bike, even just with testing. Made a couple percentage difference there, little percentages here and training wise and just knowing what to work on and knowing what’s coming up next. We have experience with Denver, Everett and Idaho. So we know what to expect and racing there so many years, as well as racing against Cody in those places. We know each other’s strong points and weak points. So I’m just trying to optimize my strong points on those races.
Speaking of racing with Cody, three rounds in but there was really only one round where you two were really bar-to-bar. Do you think we’re going to see more of that this season?
It’s hard to say. I definitely feel like, over the years, I’ve definitely been more of an instigator on the bar-to-bar stuff. He tends to like to ride pretty clean, and if I can ruffle some feathers, I don’t stray from it, usually. But every track presents different opportunities and we’re just going to stay in the moment and race with our head down and charge as hard as we can, regardless of the situation. I don’t want to call anything or say there’s going to be fireworks or anything, but the championship is on the line and money. At the end of the day, we’ll just do the best we can and do what we do and see what happens.
Also with the points chase being super tight, it really puts an emphasis on those single points available in the heat race and bracket race. Is that something you think about?
Those are important, but the big thing is race wins because you get the most points out of the race win. Even if you collect all of the heat races… theoretically, if Cody and I are in different heat races and we both win heat races each time, that cancels out. And going in, that’s what I’d have to assume would happen. But, of course, I did miss a No Joke Lane, so [laughs] that kinda cost me a few points. Those small points add up, but at the end of the day, it’s who wins the race that’s going to win the war at the end of the championship.
The season picks up on October 20th in Denver, Colorado where round four will take place at the National Western Events Center. Visit www.EnduroCross.com for more information and the latest news!
Riders can sign up for the remaining races here: https://secure.tracksideprereg.com/endurocross/.
You can watch all six 2018 AMA EnduroCross events on beIN Sports on the Thursday following the event at 9 pm EST. Get more details at www.beinsports.com.
Mark your calendars to see one of these events in person and get tickets here: https://www.endurocross.com/buy-tickets