Over the past couple seasons Geico Honda's Wil Hahn has been through a lot, battling injury after injury. After getting hurt again at the beginning of this year's Supercross season, the Honda rider sat out a few rounds then jumped aboard a factory Honda 450, turned in some great rides, and continued that momentum in the last part of Supercross and the outdoor season.
Outdoors, Wilbur has consistently been up front in the highly competitive 250 class with his best ride coming in the final round of the series at the brutal Lake Elsinore track. Just completing the season--his first full outdoor season since 2008--was an accomplishment in itself, but finishing on such a high note has Hahn already looking forward to 2013.
What are your thoughts on 2012? This was your first season where you didn't miss a lot due to injury, right?
I still missed a lot of rounds in Supercross, but I made of for it when I rode the 450 for a few races. To me it was a lot better, because last year, I raced three times total. I ended up being off the bike for about eight months total with three different injuries; it was tough. It was just a lot of sitting, waiting, and wondering what I was doing wrong. It really made me mature, though. After I was healed up and back to racing, it was like a dream come true. Every week I was packing up my gear bag earlier to leave for the races--I just had a whole new respect for racing. I couldn't wait to be at the races every weekend, and I even liked flying (laughs). I don't know... It sounds weird, but I really enjoyed everything about being back racing this summer.
You had a great outdoor season and finished on a high note at Lake Elsinore. Were you happy with how things went?
Yeah, I was really happy; especially with how I ended with a fourth place overall at Elsinore. I didn't get on the podium, but I was pretty damn close. Like I said, after being off the bike for most of last year, coming back to do a full outdoor season--which I haven't done since 2008--was a huge accomplishment. Just to finish the season healthy, regardless of where I finished, made me feel good. Obviously, I wanted to do better and be consistently in the top-five, but to finish fourth at Elsinore was awesome. It was one of my best-ever outdoor finishes, and I finished the best I ever have in season points. I know I was a sixth-place guy all year, but it was awesome to break into the top-five at the end.
With as fast as all the guys were in the 250 class this year, just consistently being in the top-10 is an accomplishment in itself...
Absolutely, and everyone was healthy. It was a really fast, healthy, challenging class this year. Not to take anything away from everyone else, but it was a pretty awesome year.
You had your best ride of the season at Elsinore, but a lot of guys were complaining about it being slippery and difficult. Did you like the track?
It was definitely slick and it was really hot too, so that didn't help. To me everything clicked for me. It came to the point where I felt really comfortable, I was happy with my bike, and I was feeling really good. I've been living in California, so I've become used to those conditions. Sometimes the tracks get slick and I still go riding on them. I was really in my comfort zone at Elsinore. I slept in my own bed the night before--it was just a little bit of everything that made me feel really comfortable.
What are you up to right now and what are your plans for the off-season?
Right now, I'm helping out with a local race in Kansas this weekend. Then next weekend is Josh Demuth's benefit ride at Oakhill. That's my next step is helping him out as much as possible; he's a really great friend of mine. I'll also spend some time with my mom and dad and then head back out to California and start getting ready for some off-season races and hitting the Supercross track.
What off-season races are you planning on doing?
Right now, it's a little up in the air, but I think I'll be doing the Monster Energy Cup and Bercy Supercross. As of right now, that's what it's looking like to me, but I'm not positive.
So if you do race the Monster Cup, will you be aboard a 450 or 250?
I'm going to leave it up in the air. I'll let everybody thing what they want to think (laughs).
What about next year... It's still a little ways out from Anaheim I, but what are your goals for next season?
I'm back with Geico Honda and I'm very happy with that. They've been through thick and thin with me and stuck behind me every step of the way. To have them back me up for another year is awesome and I'm really happy to be sticking with them. My goal for next year is to continue building. It's been a long process, but to me a podium every weekend in Supercross is my goal. Being there every weekend, and I really want to get a complete season of Supercross in. I've finished the outdoor season, so now I want to get a complete Supercross season in.