Rider Spotlight: Austin Dehaven

NEWS May 3, 2012

Rider Spotlight: Austin Dehaven

Photo by Brian J. Nelson

AMAP: Where are you from?
AD: I live in San Fernando Valley, which is in Los Angeles pretty much. I grew up in North Ridge, which is very close as well.

AMAP: Do you get to do any other forms of motorcycle riding?
AD: I have actually ridden a dirt bike probably three to four times since I started riding. I’m not much of a dirt bike rider. If I had a one, I’d probably go riding much more, but during the off-season, I’m more focused on training. Once you factor school in, it keeps me really busy.

AMAP: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
AD: It’s kind of a funny story. My grandfather and father both raced cars back in the day. When I was born, I was around it. So, I remember being young and waking up really early in the morning to head to the racetrack. I always wanted to get a go-kart, and told my dad multiple times how bad I wanted one. When the time finally came, it was Christmas of 2006, I got a little pocket bike. It was like a bike, but not. Laughs. I then asked him when I was going to race. We finally got out to race in a MiniGP racing club, and I finished fifth after racing in the rain on slick tires. After that, I was hooked and progressed up to the Red Bull Rookies Cup. The series really helped me grow as a racer. Many people asked me if I started off on dirt bikes, but I’ve always been on road racing.

AMAP: Some people might not know, but you were the 2010 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Young Gun Champion..
AD: Yeah, it’s kind of weird because I only did about five races throughout the entire season, but then I did the double-header weekends with good results that added up.

AMAP: What would you describe the transition going from AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport to GoPro Daytona SportBike has been like?
AD: It’s been pretty difficult. The field is much deeper than SuperSport, but if you look at many of the riders that rode in SuperSport when I rode in it, many of them that I raced with are in the same class. You’ve got Joey Pascarella, JD Beach, Cameron Beaubier, Huntley Nash.. Everyone’s faster now.

AMAP: What’s it like riding with riders like Jason DiSalvo, Tommy Hayden and Martin Cardenas?
AD: It gives you something to look forward to, as well as, something to achieve. They’re your main competition you want to be, because they have the most experience. You want to show that the new kids are just as fast as or faster than the more experienced, older guys. We want to be like the new up-and-coming fast generation rather than the old guys taking over the new kids. I think there are a lot of fast young riders in the paddock right now. It’s going to come down to how many teams and what their budgets are.

AMAP: KneeDraggers.com Triple Crown Industries posted a video from your test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Tell us about your involvement with film. (Click here for video)
AD: I’m really into film. That’s the reason why I’m still at a normal high-school, to be part of the film program. My dad and I make the videos, so it’s nice to get the comments and feedback to add to my film resume. I go to a school in SoCal, and the program is probably the number one film program. Last year, I won a national film award, and this year I won a bunch of commercial film awards and went to many film festivals.

AMAP: So you enjoy racing motorcycles and film… Do you see yourself being able to put those two things together more often?
AD: I definitely see it. That’s where my plans are kind of coming from. I want to keep racing part of my life, but it’s kind of difficult right now, with the economy and what not. If anything were to happen, I could incorporate film into racing. It’s been pretty good.

AMAP: You raced overseas last year. How’d that go?
AD: Last year, I raced in the European Superstock Championship in the 600cc class. It started off well, but we had some fall out in communication with the team, as they spoke Italian. I didn’t really know the tracks, and was 16 years old living in Europe by myself, so that was really hard. It was just a combination of things that didn’t really add up. I wasn’t riding to my potential, and between the communication barrier and crashing, I was honestly lonely. I know that’s a big part of Americans going overseas. They don’t have the support like they would here in the states. Factor in time differences and being alone at a really young age, it made things difficult.

AMAP: This year, you’re back in the U.S. and have a great team (KneeDraggers.com Triple Crown Industries). Are there any goals that you’re setting for yourself for the rest of the season?
AD: I think the team and I are working on getting the communication down. We’re a new team, so we’re trying to organize the structure in order to move forward. I really think the team can be towards the front, so it’s going to come down to me getting my head in the place it was before I left for Europe. As far as my goals go, I would like to get back into the top-10 and stay in there. I want to work with the team this year to build a structure that works so we can get to the front of the grid.

AMAP: What would you say is your favorite racetrack?
AD: That’s a really tough question, because there are so many great tracks out there. I’m going to have to go with Miller Motorsports Park, Mazda Raceway Laguna-Seca or Brno. Miller and Brno are very smooth and flow well, whereas Laguna-Seca is tight and technical. In my opinion, when you get it right, it can flow well like the other two tracks. That’s why I like that track.

AMAP: How did you like riding at the Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta?
AD: Road Atlanta went ok. We were having some issues with the motors on our teams. In first practice, I crashed in turn-six and am pretty sure I fractured my hand. All weekend, I was struggling trying to keep the swelling down, but I think I did well for the situation.

AMAP: Ouch.. we know the ‘esses’ are known for putting a beating on riders’arms.
AD: It was pretty bad. It wasn’t excruciating, but it was definitely hard. Especially towards the end of the race when you have arm pump and are exhausted. You always want to do better though. As Ricky Bobby says, “If you’re not first, you’re last!”

AMAP: What career aspirations are you setting ahead of you right now?
AD: Racing. That’s my number one goal. As for a secondary plan, it’d be film. Racing and film are my two biggest passions, so I hope they work out.

AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
AD: Probably the passion for riding and the community. It’s probably not the same answer as everyone else, but every time I get done racing, I want to go riding again. I like the community because everyone’s so close. You walk through our paddock, and everyone’s so friendly.

AMAP: Who would you say is your racing hero?
AD: That’s a difficult one. I don’t exactly have a specific hero, but I do have people that I’ve looked up to since I was on 125s. I’ve looked up to Casey Stoner and Gary McCoy. Stoner because he seems very determined, and when he rides, it’s as if he’s on the edge, yet very controlled. And for Gary, he brought a new style to MotoGP, and just how he rode. One person that’s helped me a lot would be Keith Code. Before I started riding, I didn’t understand what I was doing or why I was doing it. He brought that technical understanding to me on how everything worked while learning how to change and adapt to different situations. I’ve looked up to him and respected him a lot since I started racing.

Click here to see photos of Austin Dehaven from the 2012 season on AMA Pro Road Racing's facebook page

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