Wil Hahn | Going Green
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We first spotted 2013 East Coast 250 Supercross Champion on a Kawasaki KX450F several weeks ago, but the official release that the likable kid from Kansas had been signed by the Monster Energy Kawasaki team was not released until today. Hahn will join his training partner and good friend Davi Millsaps on the factory Kawasaki team, as four-time Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto has elected to head overseas in search of a FIM MX1 World Championship before he calls it quits on an amazing career.
For Hahn, RV’s decision to head to Europe came at just the right time, as his contract with the GEICO Honda squad had just expired. We caught up with Hahn at Milestone MX Park last week in between motos to chat about his first full-factory ride…
You had a disappointing debut 450 season because of injury, yet here you are…BAM, with a factory contract!
Yeah, it’s pretty dang cool to be laid up all summer long with an injury, but realize that there are still people out there who believe in you and what your potential can be.
Were there any sleepless nights, wondering if you’d get a ride?
Oh there was plenty of that! The whole time, the off-season is a game of second guessing. Up until I put my name on a contract, it was nerve wracking. I mean, motocross is my livelihood, and to be able to race for a living is a blessing and to get an opportunity like this is amazing. I’ve always given it my all, and even when I get hurt and am forced to sit out…for some reason people still like me. Everyone except for you…so I’m lucky I guess.
The Kawasaki is the largest bike out there and you’re a little guy. Is it kind of like holding on to a mechanical bull out there?
See. That’s what I’m talking about. As soon as we are having a good conversation, you have to go there and pick on my size.
The Honda is a compact bike with small ergonomics. The Kawasaki is large and roomy. Was there a tough transition?
I think for some reason, the bike fits me nicely. It doesn’t feel heavy or big. I love it.
You look great on it. Much more comfortable than you did on your Honda.
You’re just saying that. Jacking with me as always.
No, really. You look very comfortable on the Kawasaki. Comfortable and fast. Does Mike Williamson have the footpegs in the higher position?
I don’t know, man. I just get on it and ride it! What do you mean, anyway?
Kawasaki’s are the only bike with two footpeg position settings. It comes stock in the higher setting, but I noticed that Davi’s are in the 5mm lower setting…
Stop it. They gave me a bike and I love it.
Was it easy to adapt? Sometimes, it’s hard to switch from one brand to another…
For the most part. It’s a pretty big change, though. The motor is much different and the chassis is a lot different. But it’s a comfortable bike and it has been really easy to get used to. I’m very happy. The bike has so much power, though, it’s unbelievable.
I know one thing you must like better…when you’re loading your bike into the back of your truck, you don’t have the left sidepanel bulge from the dual mufflers hitting you just when you’re stepping up from the bike stand into the truck bed…
[Laughs] Dude. You know I can’t load a bike by myself anyway, so I’ve never noticed that.
Will Mike Williamson be your mechanic then?
I actually have no idea yet. They have not decided whether I will have Mike or Dana Wiggins.
So about the contract…one year? Two years?
It’s for two years with an option for a third if I perform.
That’s gotta be a nice relief, to know you don’t have to wonder for two seasons. You can continue making payments on that Benz.
You know what? I think I am gonna get rid of the Benz. I think I’d rather invest in a second house or a rental property.
Are you stoked to be teammates with Davi Millsaps?
Yeah, I am! It’s funny how that all came about because we trained together all summer while we were both coming back from injury.We joked about it several times about how cool it would be to be on the same team, and then it came to fruition. We haven’t had the chance to ride Supercross together yet, but I am looking forward to learning from him and I think we will be a good combination.
I can only imagine how much shit I will get at the races when I come to the Monster Energy Kawasaki rig…
Yeah, you might as well not even come to our truck. It will be a never-ending rip fest. [Laughs]
So what are the goals and expectations for next season?
Obviously, being on this team changes things. I didn’t have big goals last year and I just wanted to get my feet wet, but I think that this year I should be a top-five guy. That is what the team expects of me and that is what I started to touch on this season right before I got hurt. I was doing better every weekend and feeling more and more confident. I want to make 29 races next year, that is the main goal.
You did still win a championship this summer, right? You were smashing the Super Sport class at the Over the Hump mountain bike races…
I didn’t win the championship! I didn’t hit all of the races, but I was undefeated at all of the ones I did attend. But I moved up to the expert class at the last round of the year and got my butt kicked. There’s some room for improvement there.
Well, it’s great to see you on a new bike and going so fast, Wil.
Do you mean that? Or are you jacking with me?
Okay, last question… Serious, now. What were your first thoughts when you learned that you would be number 48 next year?
Well, there were a few things. First, my good friend Mitchell Oldenburg wanted 48 last year really bad and he got real close. And then my brother Tommy ran 48 when he won a National. And then there’s you. I knew that you would want to copy me and run 48 right away and look at your bike today…48!
But really, I’m flattered. I thought you ran number seven. [Runs away, shouting to Williamson] Hey Mikey I burned him so good!