ON THE RISE:
Chance Hymas has been mightily impressive since making the move up onto the 250 last fall, performing well in his first outing on the big bike at Ponca. The Team Green Kawasaki rider nearly had a perfect record in Oklahoma, winning five out of six motos in his 250cc debut on his way to a pair of number one plates. The Idaho native was eager to get on the big bike and was putting a little bit of extra work in during his own time getting prepared which obviously paid off. He continued in the same form at the AZ Open by winning all three of his classes in fairly commanding fashion, helping to build his confidence even more heading into the 2020 racing season. Hymas claimed two more number one plates at Spring A Ding Ding and finished no worse than 2nd position in any moto throughout the weekend, firmly establishing himself as one of the dominant forces in the B class this season. We caught up with Chance to chat about his desert riding spot in Idaho, training with Jake Weimer, and being his own mechanic.
What have you been doing lately to keep yourself occupied and active during the quarantine?
Obviously all the gyms are closed and I have a trainer here at one of the local gyms here in Pocatello, but I have a rowing machine and a spin bike at home, so I've been doing long distance on those and I added my work out, just doing push-ups, sit-ups, ab workouts. I'm trying to make sure I stay in shape and I pretty much rode every day for three weeks when I got back from Texas.
Tayler (Allred) mentioned she comes up there quite a bit to ride with you. What's your riding situation like at home?
When she comes up we usually go out to Amerian Falls, there's a desert out there and we've been making tracks over the last ten years or so. They're really gnarly and we've just been doing motos out there. We've developed new tracks, so we've just been inviting people to come up so we can get more bikes on the track and make it develop better. Tayler's been comin' up a little bit and me and her have been doing motos out in the desert.
So you pretty much have a giant sandbox to make whatever kind of track you want?
Yeah, it's awesome! I never get sick of it. I've ridden out there since I was five-years-old and I've never gotten sick of it.
Do you feel like that training out in the desert prepares you for the challenging conditions at some of the high profile amateur races?
Yeah, of course. I think riding wet sand is better than riding a rough, regular track. Wet sand ruts up and if you're on a rough track out in the desert it's going to be way more valuable than riding a regular track with jumps and stuff.
There's something to be said about being able to go out there and switch it up instead of hitting the same lines over and over at a training facility.
And with sand tracks the lines are always changing so you always have to make new lines, change your lines up -- go outside in this corner or go inside in this next corner.
What have you been doing to occupy the free time that you've had when you're not riding or training?
I'm either working on my bike 'cause I don't have a mechanic, so I've been doing all my bike work, like the oil, air filter, and sometimes the tires. Other than that I've been doing school work. It's not as crazy right now, you're not trying to work ahead so you don't miss anything going into a race. It's mellow right now so that's nice.
What do you do to relax and unwind when you have downtime?
Here or there, I play some video games but I mostly watch Netflix or something and I'll usually watch TV and then go work on my bike. Usually, I don't just sit around and do nothing.
That's pretty gnarly that you're doing all your own bike work. There are a lot of kids your age that probably don't know how to change an air filter.
Yeah, I've been doing my own bike work for probably six years. I've done it ever since I was on 85s, just a couple of days ago I was getting my supermini ready to sell and I swapped out the motor in it.
You probably have to change the air filter after every ride out there in the desert, eh?
Yeah, I change my oil and air filter every ride. It's gnarly, I need to order some Maxima and get restocked up.
Do you guys get a decent amount of rain there or what are the conditions like most of the time?
During spring it's so hit or miss. Yesterday, we got eight inches of snow. When we left it looked like winter again and then we got here last night and there was no snow. My friend I've been riding with for a while, he said out where we ride it hasn't snowed out there. We were hoping it had and it was warm enough to melt it 'cause it makes the sand wet, but it didn't even snow. It's really dry on top but it's wet underneath.
It sounds like those conditions are decently similar to what you experienced out at Underground during Spring A Ding Ding. How'd your weekend go there this year?
The event is one of my favorites up there with Loretta's...like I just love the way the track develops. I love the sandy soil and I love how it rained, it made the dirt really deep and it felt like I was riding out in the desert. The race was really organized and I like the longer motos.
What do you think about the qualifying?
The qualifying was awesome. I wish there weren't as many people out there because even if you started out front you were always in a battle with somebody, but if you waited in the back you were always in traffic. So it was like either get out front and be roosted or be in the back messin' with lappers, but that's part of the strategy. I loved having a timed qualifying.
It's nice to see where everybody is at on practice day before racing starts as well.
It's nice if you're the fastest guy and you get first gate pick and not thirty-eighth gate pick. It's way nice. (laughs)
What do you think about the track prep and the way things break down at Underground?
Yeah, all the big jumps were safe. Off the start; that big quad, even if you made a mistake off that it was like a tabletop, even on the triple step up, you could case it but the landing was like a mile long. I really like the booters there and it was fun to throw whips off of 'em. If you have arm pump, you can go over them and loosen up a little bit.
Those jumps are probably a lot more fun on the 250 as well. How has the transition been to the bigger bike?
It's been good. I've been riding a 250 and just practicing a little bit for the last year or so and then when I got the opportunity to swap from the supermini to the 250 I knew I was ready for it. Most of the kids that went from a supermini to 250 just did like three weeks ago and I had been on it all year, so I figured out the engine braking and how to shift it better, just the little key things about the four-stroke compared to the two-stroke.
It definitely requires a different riding style. Was it tough for you to change those riding habits you've had your whole life?
Yeah, it was kind of weird at first because on my supermini I was used to kind of revving it out a little bit and on the 250 it was weird because you have to click up an extra gear, ride in the mid-range. I struggled with that for a little bit but once August came around, right after I broke my arm and got back up on my bike, I felt really good with the shifting and just the style on it.
What do you think about the competition in the B class this year?
Yeah, the competition is gnarly this year. At Spring A Ding Ding, you didn't have Jett (Reynolds), Nick (Romano), or Matt (LeBlanc) but Nate (Thrasher) was there, Hunter (Yoder) was there, and so was Levi (Kitchen). You can take three of those dudes away and there's still another three that were all the same speed. It really comes down to whoever puts the most work in, we're all so close in speed that it's whoever puts the most work in and gets the start. I don't think I would've won (at Spring A Ding Ding) if I didn't get the starts that I did.
Was that something you were focusing on a lot while training this year?
Yeah, I was focused on it because on my supermini I was always like 7th place off the start, getting roosted and I was over it. I spent a lot of time on my starts and Jake Weimer has been helping me with my form on the start, squeezing my bike, and where to put my body positions. I give a lot of credit to him because he's been helping me a lot with that, especially on superminis.
Superchunk probably isn't the best nickname to be having when you're trying to get good starts on mini bikes. (laughs)
Yeah, the Superchunk thing...I didn't like that. (laughs) I don't really know how it started but I did not like it. Ever since I was young, my friends called me Chunk, like that's my nickname so I'm fine with that but Superchunk was not ideal.
Well, you've definitely outgrown it now so we can put it to bed. How's it been working with Weimer?
Yeah, it's been really good. Obviously he's won a supercross championship and ridden for a factory team. It's awesome for him to be that close to me 'cause I can use him as my mentor and he can teach me all the little tricks that he knows. Obviously the start he helped me with a lot, but my riding form -- being on the balls of my feet, elbows up, -- just bike positioning and bike setup he's helped me with a lot. At this local track that's about an hour away from me, he's done these camps there and at the end of the day he'll follow me around. I'd go do twenty-minute motos at the end of the day and he'd chase me around, do my pit board and give me lap times. It's cool working with him.
As you said, it's nice having a former 250 Supercross Champion in your corner.
Yeah, I've been working with my dad and I've never had a trainer or anything, but we've been working with Jake a little bit. He only lives about an hourish away from me and we went out and rode practice at the track in his hometown. He had his 125 when I was still on superminis and we were like even speed, so he'd just chase me around and it was fun. We were coming down this straight away and he roosted me with a rock, it hit my collarbone and made a huge bump on my collarbone.
We're in a weird situation because we don't know exactly when we're going back to racing. You guys don't want to not be ready, but you also don't want to burn yourselves out. How have you been approaching that?
A few weeks ago I crashed and my shoulder is still kind of sore. The first week I was aching to get back on the bike, but then I realized there's no racing going on. My hands are just full of calluses and honestly, this might just be a blessing. Take this time off to get rehealed. I haven't stopped working out, I just haven't been on the bike, so it's not like I'm out of shape. Not riding isn't really going to affect my speed but if I stopped working out then that would be a problem, so I'm not worried about the no riding situation.
What's your opinion on all these races getting pushed back and what's going to happen with Loretta's?
I still like doing Regionals and going to Loretta's. Obviously, it's a privilege to race Loretta's with the best forty-two in the country. I don't really like the idea of everyone just showing up and doing timed qualifying for the fastest forty-two, I honestly wouldn't really like that. It's not like they want to do that either, if they could they would still be doing Area Qualifiers and Regionals.
You're still pretty young in the B class right now, what're your plans at the end of this season?
Yeah, my plan was to do another year in the B class but I really want to start racing A class. The people I'm racing right now are going to move up to the A class so I don't want to stay B another year while everyone I'm racing is going A and have to race different people. They're still going to be fast, but they're not going to be as aggressive because they're going to be fresh off superminis onto the 250. I would like to go A after Loretta's -- I wanted to win Cal Classic, win Mammoth, and then obviously win Loretta's, then hopefully I could go A after that. But obviously I'd be fifteen and I really don't want to go pro when I'm sixteen or seventeen, I would have to do A like two or three years which would be weird. I was thinking of doing B after Loretta's through AZ Open and then when SX Futures comes around, I could start getting some points but it's really going to depend on where I'm at with speed and whatever (Ryan) Holliday really wants me to do.