Seth Hammaker: The Next Big Thing?
In professional sport, identifying and arguing your case about “the next big thing” has long been an occupational habit. And in professional motor racing, it’s fair to say it’s an obsession – for everyone from armchair experts to race fans to team managers to former Pro riders to media to TV commentators. Until a rider has unequivocally ‘made it’, however, the conversation about who’s destined for greatness – and who isn’t – is always divided.
But every now and then, a rider comes along whose combination of raw talent, focused demeanor, and instantaneous race success forces almost everyone’s opinion into alignment. Case in point: Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider, Seth Hammaker’s debut win at the first of three Arlington rounds of the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series last weekend, after which everyone seems to have climbed aboard the Hammaker bandwagon.
And why not? In what was just his third professional race, this 20-year-old rookie rides and races like a seasoned Pro, and seems to have the same sort of confident, consistent and calculated approach that’s common to so many of the sport’s top riders. And rather than appearing star-struck on the podium, Hammaker looked composed and like he belonged up there.
“Where do I even begin?”, Hammaker asked rhetorically after the Main event. “To be standing up here on the top step of the podium is truly a dream come true. If people only knew what the past two years of my life looked like to get to this point, it is truly unbelievable. My teammates didn’t make it easy on me tonight and really made me earn that heat race and main event win. It truly felt like the longest race of my life. I definitely didn’t think that by the third round I’d have a main event win. I knew I could eventually get it done, but to be this early is pretty awesome. I’ve learned so much already. Just stoked to get the first win.”
Seth Hammaker had shown glimpses of his potential at the opening two rounds of the 250SX West series, but was let down by his speed through the whoops. So it was interesting that, during the Arlington #1 TV telecast, the kid was featured with Jeremy McGrath in the ‘Kawasaki Science of Supercross’ segment, where the two – yes, you guessed it – worked on improving Hammaker’s speed and confidence in the whoops. Yep, the winningest AMA SX rider of all time (and arguably one the sport’s best whoop riders) sorted the kid out.
And come race time at Arlington, Hammaker was as fast as anyone through the whoops. Hammaker was joined on the Arlington #1 podium by Australia’s Hunter Lawrence (who, incidentally, went on to win the Arlington #2 250SX Main the following Tuesday – joining his brother, Jett, in claiming their career first Main event win this season), and his Pro Circuit Kawi teammate, Cameron McAdoo. Hunter Lawrence’s win also push him to the top of the 250SX West class’s points standings – which, if we’re not mistaken, makes Lawrence the first Aussie to run the red plate in the 250cc class since Chad Reed way back in 2002.
Check out the three-minute highlights package of Hammaker’s super-impressive wire-to-wire win in last weekend’s 250SX West class at Arlington, Texas.