By Michael Antonovich
Photos by Michael Antonovich and Chris Kinman
To be injured at any time of the season is rough, but to get dealt interruption at the beginning of a new year is incredibly difficult to spin positively. For Wil Hahn to suffer from an early hip injury was a significant issue, especially after winning the his Anaheim One heat race, but after spending the majority of the previous season on the sidelines it was realetivly easy to overcome. Hahn recovered by the time the West Coast break began, but after the damage was to his season was done. With Cole Seely’s time aboard the vacant American Honda Muscle Milk 450 complete, Hahn was the next racer in line. After racing for three weeks in the class, we talked with Hahn to see how he feels his season as gone thus far.
Your time on the 450 came right after you were off the bike due to injury. Was it a little bit much, or were you ready for it?
I was ready for it because I had been riding anyways, so I mainly wanted to get out and race. The break is long for the West Coast and I got hurt in the beginning of the year, and I was healthy when the break came around. I was ready to just go racing.
When the season started, were you fully prepared?
Yeah, I'd say so. I had some jitters from not racing in a long time, but I would say I was ready to go. We did a lot preparation as a team and we were all ready to go at that time.
Was it difficult mentally to get over being injured again?
Not really, because this one was so minor. After the last few I have been through, last year was really tough because every injury I had kept me off the bike for three months. That was tough and this one was five weeks, so it only felt like two weeks to me. It felt so short and therapy went so smoothly, there was no pain or set backs. When you are off the bike for three months, you find yourself being an asshole and impatient. But this was nice because my focus was able to stay right on it and I was on the bike before I could dwell on it.
How was it to work with Factory Honda?
It was great and they treated me unbelievably great, even though I broke a bunch of stuff and got into some pile-ups (Laughs). They have treated me with nothing but open arms and greatness, and it is everything that you imagine when you are five years old and dream of being a Factory Honda rider. It is everything you thought and more. I am blessed to be back here with GEICO as well and doing our deal to get ready for the last few rounds of Supercross and then the outdoors.
Now that there are only a few rounds left in the season, what do you set yourself up for?
In these last rounds, I go out and try to set myself up for wins. I don't have points or anything like that to worry about, and I'd like to carry the momentum into the Nationals. I want to do that and go get back on the box, because it has been a while.
How has testing gone for the Nationals? Does the entire team run a similar setting, like between you and Justin Bogle?
They have been working on them for a while and it is already pretty spot on. We are similar, but he and I have different preferences because our styles are a little different.
Will you be spending any time in Texas this summer or will you be staying in California for the entire season?
I will be out here most of the time, if not the whole time. With the team being so close and my mechanic taking care of my bike, and me it is hard for me to want to go home and take care of myself (Laughs). I know that sounds bad, but it is a workload.
How gnarly was it to cycle from Orange County to San Diego back in February?
We got really lucky. We were rained on in the beginning, but it was such a short time that we dodged a lot of stuff that could have been bad. It could have been cold and rainy on the way. It was hard, don't get me wrong, but it was so gratifying to show up to the stadium on my bike that it was worth every bit of it.
Were you beat to hell the next day?
No, not really, because we ramped up to it in the days before and I had been doing long rides already, 60 and 70 miles a day. I didn't kill me as bad I thought, but I was enjoying the couch the next day. It was about 109 miles, but it didn't keep me down as long as I thought it would.