Interview: Colton Haaker
EnduroCross: You had a good race in Ontario, by finishing second to Taddy Blazusiak, you then had a strong qualifying run with third in Denver. It seemed like things were going really well but then you broke your thumb in Boise. What happened and will you be able to race at the Las Vegas final?
Colton: Yeah it seemed like things were coming around for me I was figuring things out seeing better finishes and learning more and more each round. By the third round of the series and the fourth race I had the puzzle pieces together and finished second. The last two rounds have not been great. I had some mechanical issues in Denver. Then the last round in Boise another rider landed on me right in the beginning of the heat race and I suffered a broken thumb. I’ve got a cast on now and I will be racing Vegas whether the thumb is ready or not…
EX: Give us a quick background on your racing history and how you started racing EnduroCross?
Colton: I started riding mini bikes at seven years old trail riding with my dad, going to state parks and camping with friends and family. My first race was at 12 years old. I started to get into motocross and was doing pretty well with it but by the age of 15 my parents forced me to stop because of injuries. We picked up the sport of moto trials and rode that for a few years with another Endurocross rider, Cody Webb. I won the National AMA Expert 125 title in 2007 and that same year rode my trials bike in Endurocross. They banned trials bikes from EX in 2008 so I got on a dirt bike and have been racing the series ever since.
EX: Your background in Motocross and Trials seems to be a great fit for EnduroCross. Some Trials riders seems to have a hard time adapting to the intensity of EnduroCross and most Motocross riders have a hard time with the obstacles. Which skills do you think are most important for EX?
Colton: I definitely think the mixture is the way to go.. You know your right there’s the trials guys, the moto guys, then the offroad guys. I think you got to be able to do it all. Trials guys adapt to the hard sections really well, moto guys are aggressive and really fast on the rest of the track… It’s cool to see all the different styles of riders. But now with the series growing the sport has gotten really specific people have made practice tracks and the riders, teams and factories are taking it very seriously doing motos, training, lap times, pit boards the whole nine yards.
EX: After riding a Kawasaki 250 Four Stroke the past two years, you went back to a KTM 250 Two Stroke to start the season and then switched again to a KTM 250 Four Stroke. Why the changes and do you feel that you are riding the best bike for EnduroCross now?
Colton: I think the four stroke is the way to go now. You know I thought that the two stroke was at the end of last year because its light and quick but the power delivery on four strokes is so nice and smooth making it easier to ride. Everyone is on four strokes now.
EX: You have raced EnduroCross for the past four years now, what changes have you noticed as far as the tracks, competition and what it takes to be one of the top riders?
Colton: Endurocross has gotten faster the tracks have gotten more moto if you will. We’ve gone stiffer on suspension settings because the speeds have gone up. We are jumping farther and higher off logs, tires, and rocks. EX is evolving and so is the competition. It is a race now instead of a survival.
EX: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Colton: I would just like to take this time to thank my sponsors for being behind me. Lucas Oil, Rockstar Energy, Maxxis, Scott USA and everyone else thank you!
Photos by Drew Ruiz