The US Open this weekend, perhaps more than being the best paying event for riders to attend, was a very clear marker for the current state of the professional motocross racing scene. Budgets are being cut back, some teams are shrinking while others have completely disappeared, and of course the first group to be affected is the riders. Roaming around the pits you will find that the majority of the pros, save for a few notable names, are currently out of a full time gig. Usually by this point in the silly season, most racers already have contracts signed and are adjusting to their new teams and machines. But this time around, due to our shrinking economy, teams are waiting to the last minute to get budgets worked out. Wil Hahn is one of those riders being affected but he is not letting that stop his preparation for next year. A former team manager of Wil’s once said the young Texan is mature beyond his years; a 40 year old in 20 year old’s body. Using that maturity, Hahn thought it would be wiser to come out and race the US Open instead of sitting on the bench waiting for someone to call. While it was good exposure for Wil, he did have some bad luck as well. Here, Wilbur tells us how his weekend went and what he has been up to lately.
This weekend you showed up on a Kawasaki and you looked really good in practice, but you ran into some bad luck.
Yeah, next year is up in the air, and it’s that way for a lot of people. I came here with a one race deal with MDK and SPR MX, and I can’t thank them enough for wanting to help and see me ride this weekend. I just wanted to do one more race before the long off season, so I was ready to race when it came around and at the last minute we threw this together and came out. My practice times had been good at the Supercross track, and unfortunately I got put in a bad situation in my LCQ. Someone crashed in front of me in the first turn and I had nowhere to go. I have a dislocated elbow, so I fly to Dr. Ting tomorrow and we’ll be rehabbing this and then get ready to race next year.
Friday night you joked that you didn’t want to race James heads up, but you drew his name out of the hat for the one-on-one race. You were able to keep him in sight, so that has to be a confidence booster.
Yeah, it was cool. It’s always fun to ride with him, and it was amazing to see his corner speed and the way he hits some sections. The way he rides that 450 is a huge motivating thing for me and it makes me want to work harder. I think coming this weekend was an amazing opportunity to get on the track with James, Davi (Millsaps), and everyone else that was here this weekend. It shows me what I can do to ride better for next year, so now I feel like I’m on the right track, aside from a few setbacks. But we can come back from this and be back before too long.
You had some good rides this season; a good sophomore year in the pro ranks, wouldn’t you say?
Yeah, I had some good rides on my KTM and things went well in my second year on the pro tour. I got a top five, which is was my goal at the beginning of the year, had some good rides, and almost got my first win at Jacksonville as the Supercross season ended. To do that in my second year was awesome, because I never expected that to come so soon. This means I’ll have higher goals for next year, and I want to be on a good team going for the championship, and that doesn’t seem too farfetched. The Outdoors went well, but I got injured about halfway through and that slowed down my progress.
You were hurt midway through the Nationals and we didn’t see you at a few of the rounds. What was it that you injured?
At Millville I went down and separated the AC joint off my collarbone and broke my collarbone at the same time. I got it fixed and took the time off to heal. I came back and raced, but I wasn’t 100 percent yet. I only rode a little bit and tried to finish out the season, and I came back okay but I was a little off the pace.
So before this injury, did you feel back up to pace or were you still picking up where you left off?
I feel really good, my speed and endurance felt 100 percent again and things were coming easy. Tommy has been helping me out the past month, so I think once this is healed I’ll be able to run up front when race season comes.