Catching Up with…Shawn Maffenbeier
By Billy Rainford
In case you missed it in last week’s Frid’Eh Update…
Week #15 goes out to Swift Current, Saskatchewan rider, Shawn Maffenbeier. – Bigwave photo
Welcome to week #15 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Husqvarna Canada. For 2016, #15 will belong to Swift Current, Saskatchewan’s Shawn Maffenbeier. Shawn has been a staple on the Canadian scene for a long time and most people forget he’s only 23 years old. We got to know him very well back in 2009 when a certain Buick Electra Estate Wagon traveled from coast to coast. We found ourselves, more often than not, parked beside the Maffenbeiers in the pits and on the road, and the stories and memories from that summer will not fade any time soon.
Shawn has won MX2 overalls and knows that it takes to win. When things went well for Shawn last summer, they went very well. Unfortunately, some bad luck pushed him down the results sheet too many times and he finished the season a distant 4th.
Shawn will move over to the Big Steel Box Redemption Racing Fly KTM team for 2016. We just spent some time with Shawn out in California and it seems like he’s got all his ducks in a row. Expect to see him at round 1 in Kamloops fresh, prepared, and ready to go. With two-time champion, Kaven Benoit, now moved up to the MX1 class and Jimmy Decotis staying stateside for the summer, this should be the year we see Shawn step out from the shadows and make his mark in the light.
We grabbed Shawn for a chat. Check out what he had to say. – Bigwave photo
Direct Motocross: Hello, Shawn. Let’s back up to last summer. Can you take us through how it went for you?
Hey, Billy. Last summer was a frustrating one for me. After dislocating my shoulder in late March, I was immediately put behind the 8 ball and I knew I was going to be playing catch up all year long. I got back on the bike 3 weeks before the first round and did all my testing and team stuff in that time and came into Kamloops with as much prep as I could fit into those 3 weeks. I used the west rounds to get myself up to speed and more or less salvaged it as best as I could before a small break before the east where I could catch up on some shoulder rehab and bike testing. On the east, I think I showed, once again, that I belong on the podium and that I’m a front runner.
You raced MX1 a few years ago now. Is your goal to go back there or are you happy in MX2.
I think MX1 is the ultimate goal and is the premier class in Canada. I see myself in MX2 this year and possibly next. I ride a 450 well and can see myself moving up if the right opportunity arises.
You finished 4 last summer. What’s isn’t going to take to get you into the top 3 this year?
Like any year, the combination of being consistent and being on the podium every weekend is what will win the championship.
With Kaven moving up and Jimmy Decotis not returning, is your goal winning races this year? Was it the same last year?
The goal is always to win races. We have some new names in the class this year [Cole Thompson and Jacob Hayes, to name 2], so I think it will be just as tough as last year. The goal is to keep focusing on myself and my program and when the first races comes we will see where we’re at.
Even after this crash, Shawn had his best overall in Deschambault. – 2nd place. – Bigwave photo
What was the highlight of last summer for you?
Walton was the round I felt like I raced my best race. I didn’t win it or anything, and people might look at the results and say you did better at other races, but on that day I truly felt like I rode my best and put together my best performance. And in the end, that’s my goal every weekend, to ride the best I am capable of riding, whether it be 5th or 1st.
What track are you looking forward to racing in 2016?
I’m a bit bummed that they took out a few of the rounds that they did for this year. With that being said, it will be nice to go to some new places. I’m always excited for my home province race in Regina. It brings me back to being a kid and racing the Supermini class at the national and hanging over the fence watching the national the next day.
What did you get up to after Walton?
After Walton I needed some downtime. My shoulder still wasn’t 100%, so I took some time and let it heal up and strengthen up properly. Then, I started to prepare for the Arenacross tour in the fall. OTSFF and I had worked out a deal in the summer to race the new Arenacross series that was going across Canada. Unfortunately, I got a call about a week from the 1st round saying that the team went over budget in the summer and we weren’t able to race the Arenacross stuff. It was a bit of a let down as I had been preparing for it and was putting the time and money in to race it.
So, after I got that that news I sat back and had to make some choices for next season. André (Laurin)and the team wanted me to move to 450 and were no longer going to field a 250 rider. After some thought, I decided I needed some changes and started talking with a few of the other teams. KTM, Redemption Racing, and I started working on stuff in November and were able to work out a deal.
With no Arenacross and my focus on KTM and working out a deal, I had some time to work with the family business and learn a lot more about my dad’s company and how everything works. It was a full winter, to say the least!
You’ll be racing on the Redemption Racing KTM team this year. How did that come about?
I had been talking with KTM for a few weeks and they had been bouncing around a few ideas on how they were going to go racing this year. They wanted me involved in the KTM program. Josh snider and the Redemption Team have very close ties with the KTM guys and it just seemed to all fall together. It took some time to get all the details sorted out but I’m confident that I’m on a good bike and have some great support behind me right now.
Shawn will be racing for the Big Steel Box Redemption Racing Fly KTM team in 2016. – Bigwave photo
Where have you been training this winter and how has it been going?
I’m back down in California right now. After rooming with (Matt) Goerke all summer, I had a good relationship going with him and wanted to keep it going into the winter months. Goerke was coming off a shoulder injury and we both started riding about the same time in February. We have been riding together along with Keylan Meston and Dylan Wright. The four of us have been pushing each other and so far I think it’s been going really well.
Can you ever relate how your winter is going compared to other years? Are you doing anything differently?
I could give you the standard answer and say that I’m having the best winter I’ve ever had and I’m going fastest I’ve ever gone type of deal, but who really knows from year to year. I know I’m older and wiser every year. I always try to learn from previous years, and tweak my program to better myself all the time.
With the new bike, I’m learning how to set it up and get it to where I want it. I think surrounding myself with Georke has brought some more intensity to our practice sessions and taught me some new things. I think anytime you’re doing the same thing and expecting different results your going to drive yourself insane. The moment you stop progressing and learning is the moment you will stop doing better. So, I guess you could say I’m doing somethings different this year!
Will you race anywhere before Kamloops?
For sure. My plan is to start racing this weekend in California. I think it’s an important part to put yourself in a race situation pre-season to work out any jitters or kinks in the bike. Racing and practice are two different things and I’m afraid the kids of today are getting too good at practicing and not learning how to be a good racer.
Thanks and have a good couple months heading into round 1. Who would you like to thank?
A big thank you to Josh Snider and Scott Jeffery from Redemption Racing. They have been unreal to deal with. JSR from KTM, Big Steel Box, Ryan Lockhart for the support of Mobius knee braces and 100% goggles, Fly Racing, SIDI boots, Dissent Labs, and everyone else that supports the team! The list will be much bigger closer to nationals.