Catching Up With Josh Hansen
Did you see Hanny’s Pit Pass Video?
Josh Hansen has had an interesting career in motocross. Lil’ Hanny has enjoyed high-dollar factory salaries, won Supercross mains, challenged for championships, won X Games gold medals, and even retired from racing twice. This year, Hansen returned to racing after a few years away from the circuit, and the 30-year-old is determined to give racing one last shot on his own terms. With the help of MotoSportOutlet.com, Monster Energy and Pro Circuit, Hansen formed Team 100, and has been a regular site in the top 10 in this year’s Western Regional 250 Supercross Championship.
Josh, what brought you back to racing?
I quit racing to do the freestyle thing – filming in the hills with the guys and doing X Games – but I would still come to the races. I would be watching from the floor up in the managers’ tower and I thought to myself, “Man this is what I want to be doing. I need to get back out there.” I knew that if I was gonna do it – come back to racing – that I wanted to do it right and under my own terms. Around October last year, I made the choice to become a racer again.
You’ve had a long career – you raced 125 Supercross – and definitely have a ton of experience. At 30, racing aginst the kids in the 250 class, what do you feel your advantage is?
It’s just what you said…experience. I’m older and wiser, and a lot more calm than these kids. But I don’t know…I have a lot of disadvantages, too. These kids nowadays have been training for years and years, stacking years of fitness on top of each other. I don’t have that. This is my first year training. Ever. But it’s cool…I wouldn’t have it any other way and I am so stoked to be back.
If this is really the first time you have ever trained throughout your career, how have you enjoyed as much success as you have?
I’d say it’s just through natural talent and believing in myself. I also feel like I can ride a motorcycle pretty good, you know? They also used to make the tracks a lot more technical back in the day, and i felt like I could do things out there that a lot of my competitors couldn’t or wouldn’t. Now the tracks are easy and a lot more like amateur tracks. It’s all about the cardio now because everyone can do the obstacles and go fast.
So how does it feel, now that you are training? Has racing become easier?
It’s getting easier for me, and I can feel the benefits. I started back in the end of October, so I only have a few months under my belt. But I am starting to see the light. I am not so gassed at the end of a race and I am excited to see where my trainer Ty Kady can take me to, fitness-wise, when I have like a year under my belt and not just three months.
How did it feel to lead the heat race at Anaheim 1; your first race in years?
It was cool! It was rad and I felt great out there in front. But man, I rode so tight. I’ve been tight at every race so far. I got the worst arm pump! It was crazy to be out there leading a race when a year earlier, I wasn’t ever thinking about lining up behind a starting gate ever again. To decide to come back and race a couple months before the start of the season, and to come back and lead for a while…I mean, there are people out there who probably didn’t even think I’d qualify. I’ve got critics who look at my career and say, “he should have done this, or he should have done that,” but at the end of the day I believe in myself and that’s what matters. I’m out here doing this for myself, but at the same time I want to do good and not just be another guy out there.
You’ve been away from racing for a few years now, yet your autograph line is as long as ever. How does it feel to have a dedicated fan base?
It makes me feel great. It makes me want to ride my motorcycle very fast. It makes me want to interact with people and try to make everyone happy. Racing dirt bikes is what makes me happy, so it’s nice to have people backing me. I still have my haters; they will always be there, but it’s whatever. I have to thank the man above for the opportunity to come back and do this again. To be a privateer and do it my own way…I want to win to show people that you don’t need a factory ride to win. It’s all in how badly you want it…it’s all in your head.
How did Team 100 all come together?
Oh man. My team. It was a pretty far-fetched idea. I went to a lot of people with the idea, and they all said, “If you couldn’t do it for Mitch Payton [Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki], how are you gonna do it by yourself and be successful on top of that? MotoSportOutlet really backed my comeback and I really appreciate Jared over there. And then Reid Nordin and Mike Williamson at Kawasaki really got behind my cause. And then the guys at Fox, too. There were some key people who were really important. I was just on the phone, making calls. I didn’t want to try to go to a team for a chance. I’ve had plenty of chances. I wanted to put my own deal together and come back and do it for the right reasons. I am having fun out there and doing it for myself. I am not doing it for the money! You can’t make money at this. Any money I do make goes back into the program. It’s an expensive situation. But, I couldn’t be more pleased to do this, and to be doing it on my own and for it to come out as good as it has is awesome. I would just like to keep improving my fitness and my race results, which will in turn improve my funding, so that I can make my dreams come true. I just want to put on a good show for people.