Rider Spotlight: Huntley Nash
NEWS April 19, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
AMAP: Where are you from?
HN: I’m from Marietta, GA. It’s right outside Atlanta, and I’ve lived there my whole life.
AMAP: That’s got to put you pretty close to Road Atlanta, huh?
HN: Yeah! I’m barely 45 minutes from the track. It’ll be nice to sleep in my own bed and then head out to the track for a change. The area’s good where I live, because I’m close to many of the racetracks in the southeast. I don’t have a lot of track time at Road Atlanta, though. They don’t have a lot of track days there, so you don’t get much extra seat time in. It’s a good area for riding because you can head down to Florida to ride in the off-season.
AMAP: Do you consider Road Atlanta your home track?
HN: Road Atlanta is the closest track to me, so I consider it my home track. I have a lot of friends and family coming out to cheer me on, so I’m pretty pumped about it.
AMAP: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
HN: My dad and brother got a couple street bikes when I was younger, and I would go out and watch them ride at track days. I did some schools and a couple track days when I was old enough to ride. I then tried out for the Red Bull Rookies Cup, went through their selection process, and ended up making it. It was a really good opportunity.
AMAP: Since the Red Bull Rookies Cup, how do you feel you’ve progressed as a rider in AMA Pro Road Racing?
HN: I think pretty well. I did one year in 125cc and got some good results. For 2009, I moved up to AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport. The following year after that, I won races and came up second in the championship. For the past two years, I’ve been competing in GoPro Daytona SportBike and with a small team effort, but I think we’ve done really well. This year’s already looking up, as last year, I had a lingering injury that hindered my progress. For 2012, I’m back on track and running up towards the front.
AMAP: How did starting your season at Daytona International Speedway go?
HN: Daytona was really good. I got my ankle fixed, which helped out. I rode better than I’ve ever ridden there before and was in the top-10 consistently in practice sessions and qualifying. I had my best qualifying, as I was in fifth, but then my motor blew a head gasket, and I had to pull in at lap 10. It was a good weekend though, because we made a lot of good progress on the bike. I’ve been training hard, and it paid off. I’m excited for Road Atlanta.
AMAP: Are there some goals that you’re setting for yourself at Road Atlanta?
HN: I’m hoping to be up in the front pack. I know there’s going to be a big front pack, but I’d like to run up front. I’ve got a lot of people coming to see me, and it’s my home race, so I want to finish top-five or podium.
AMAP: What would you say is your favorite racetrack?
HN: I would have to say Road America. It’s got a lot of 6th gear straight-aways and hard braking corners. I’d say my strength is getting in and out of the corners. I don’t like the ‘lay it over at high speed’ corners. Road Atlanta has a lot of long straights, so we’ll see.
AMAP: What motorcycle do you like to ride the most?
HN: I’ve ridden a Suzuki before, but I’ve mainly raced on Yamaha YZF-R6s. I think they’re a great bike, as our whole team uses them, and they’re great for everything we do on them.
AMAP: For the rest of the season, what expectations are you setting for yourself as a rider with LTD Racing?
HN: Since we have more rounds this season, I think I’ll be able to make better goals. I’m hoping to get a couple podiums this season. I know we can run up front, as we have a good pace, and have good things going for us.
AMAP: How do you like riding in the GoPro Daytona SportBike class?
HN: It’s pretty tough. In SuperSport, if you’re having a bad weekend, you still qualified 6th or top-8. But now, you’d qualify top-20. If you’re having a good weekend, you can be a second off and be in 10th place. The times are just so close, you can’t take your position for what it is. It’s a learning process too, as there are so many top guys in that class, you really have to fight for your positions.
AMAP: It has to be cool riding in a class with so many top riders in it. With names like Zemke, DiSalvo and Hayden to name a few..
HN: My first year, I was 15 years old, and I saw those top riders, and never thought I’d be as good as them. I got a picture with all of them, which was cool. Now, I ride in the same class as them, and it gives me a boost of confidence when I can do what they do.
AMAP: What career aspirations are you setting ahead of you?
HN: Right now, my goals are to ride up front, get on the podium and show myself off to the bigger teams to get a ride. A lot of people underestimate me, because I did all my top finishes and wins in SuperSport, but I want to show people that I’m capable of running up front. My end goal is to get a factory ride and make a career out of it.
AMAP: How do you like having M1 PowerSports coming back to promote some of our races?
HN: I think it’s great! I’m pumped to have them bring back so many things including the jumbotrons. Since they’ve been promoting, I’ve had many people call me up and talk to me about the race, because they heard about it through M1. It’s great that they’re bringing back the fun to the races. There’s always something for a fan to do.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
HN: I don’t really have a hero, but I have some people that have influenced me. My crew chief, Gary Medley is really laid back and still knows when to be serious. He was Scott Russell’s crew chief, so I think I have a lot to learn from him.
AMAP: We know you’ve got to have all the fans from Georgia come out and cheer you on!
HN: Yeah, there’s not a lot of us from Georgia, so it’s nice having fans come out and root for the Georgia guys.
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