Interview: Austin Forkner

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Austin Forkner has had an eventful time of it in 2020 Monster Energy Supercross, despite the fact that just two rounds have passed, but he got back on the straight and narrow in St. Louis. A clear win in Missouri was a significant boost in confidence and his first victory in almost a full year. How big a deal was that? Forkner was clearly elated during this exclusive MX Vice interview from The Dome at America’s Center.

MX Vice: After last week, which was eventful, to have kind of a perfect day, that’s pretty much exactly what you want. I guess you are pumped. 

Austin Forkner: Yeah, definitely pumped. I was pretty much flawless all day. No big mistakes or anything, and no big crashes. Coming off of last weekend – and a pretty chaotic day – I was really happy. Today just felt a lot more mellow on my body. Being sore after last weekend, this is kind of the weekend I needed. Not an easy weekend by any means, but just a nice and smooth weekend. Everything went good in practice. I won my heat race, my main and holeshot both of them basically. I just got it done, man. Each of the races was smart and consistent. I am definitely happy to bounce back like this after last weekend. 

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Sean Ogden

This is a little bit of a monkey off your back as well, because your last win was a while ago now. It’s just good to get that first one out of the way. 

Yeah. The first one since the ACL was tonight, so that was good to get that off my back and just kind of prove to myself that I still got it. After last weekend, I knew that I still had the speed. I just needed to put it together better and to put it together tonight… I’m happy.

Is the whole putting it together thing playing on your mind a little bit now? In practice, rather than focusing on going fastest by three seconds, are you just like, “Second or third will do. Let’s just nail this thing and go onto the night show?” 

Yeah. I think now people are kind of figuring out… Last weekend I qualified sixth. This weekend I was third. I’m there come night show though. I think people are starting to figure that out but as far as me… That kind of gives me confidence knowing that it doesn’t really matter if I’m the fastest or not in practice. It’s more about just how I feel going into the night show. I felt good tonight. I felt like I had a win in me.  

People are probably going to say, “Austin is just saying that because he crashed in practice last week.” I’m guessing that was already on your mind going into A1, however, which made the crash last week even tougher to take?

Yeah. I was pretty down on myself honestly, between practice and the heat race last weekend. I was just sat in the trailer and was just like, “What are you doing?” Literally that was what took me out of it last year, doing that in every practice. It was just a simple mistake in the whoops – I just crashed. It is not like that is so typical me. It was just a simple mistake.

I was pretty bummed last weekend. Obviously, I just don’t want to keep doing that to my body. I want to feel good and feel healthy, and when you crash a lot you just don’t. I was definitely happy to rebound this weekend. I would have been happy with a podium, but I was happy that I got it done. Those guys know that I’m still here.

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Sean Ogden

The track was pretty technical this weekend. You were, I think, the first 250SX guy to go triple, triple, triple and then single in that first rhythm. What prompted you to take that line? I thought it was way faster.

Yeah, it was faster. It was pretty far to go out there though, so if somebody was behind me then they could potentially run it up the inside and make a move. Come race time, not a lot of guys were going out there, so it was not really getting a good groove in it. In practice guys were going out there – it was becoming more usable and just easier. More people were taking it but not enough to where it would get chewed up. It was just enough to get it to the point where it got a good lip and a good line.

Not very many people were taking it in the race, so it was a little bit slick and not perfect. I didn’t take it in the race. I don’t think hardly any 250F guys did, if anybody. I saw a few of the 450F riders were, but if I would have been in a race position where I was trying not to follow then that was an optional line. Luckily, I was out front to kind of do whatever I wanted to. I was kind of managing the race. I just ended up sticking to the inside and just playing it safe.

This is just your second race back from a torn ACL and people forget that. There were also some other things going on in the off-season. Do you feel like you are one hundred percent now or do you feel like there is more to come?

Today I felt like myself, just smooth with good speed. Last weekend definitely I did not feel like myself, not even a little bit. This weekend I was back, feeling normal and feeling good. If I have still got more in the tank and tonight was a win, then I’m really happy. I felt good, so as long as I can keep doing what I did tonight then I’m happy.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Sean Ogden