To announce the addition of riders Josh Hansen, Josh Hill, and Kyle Partridge, along with new co-sponsor Sycuan Casino, the Hart and Huntington team continued their tradition of unrivaled fan interaction on Thursday night at the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, CA. Although team owner Carey Hart has taken on a new and much different role in the action sports world, he is still a fan favorite, with his autograph line being far and away the most populated of the night. Check out the photos below and an interview with riders Hansen, Tedesco, and Partridge on the next page.
Catching Up With Josh Hansen, Kyle Partridge, and Ivan Tedesco
The entire Hart and Huntington team views 2012 as a year of unprecedented possibilities. For Ivan Tedesco, this may be one of the final years of his long and prosperous career. For Josh Hill, it will be his first year back on the race circuit in a year and a half after complications from his gut wrenching femur injury. And for both Josh Hansen and Kyle Partridge, it is a new attempt at the 450 class aboard equipment they have been unable to compete upon in the past. We caught up with three of the riders, Hansen, Partridge, and Tedesco, to see how they are feeling as the clock to A1 ticks away.
We are roughly five weeks out from Anaheim One; how do you all feel?
Josh Hansen: Things are progressing each day. We are working without a whole lot of time, and I think everything has been last minute, so our team is working as hard as they can to do basically everything within the next month. All of our guys are solid and we will be ready to go by the time it rolls around.
Ivan Tedesco: Yeah, all is good for me. I started riding five weeks ago after my ACL surgery and have just been hitting it hard with the guys. The bike is coming around and we still have some work to do, but we have a month to do it.
Kyle Partridge: Everything is good for me. I have been riding since before the Monster Cup and did my own deal before then, but the last month and a half I have been working with Ivan every day at the track to get strong. We still have a month, so hopefully it is good so that we stay healthy and hit Anaheim One ready to go.
Two of you are coming back from injury. Does everything feel like it is back to one hundred percent now?
Hansen: Yeah, I feel a lot better. It was a pain in the ass to get through this whole hand injury, but after a few surgeries I think that we are good. I took a lot of time off but now I think we are at one hundred percent. Now I just have to work on fitness and a little bike set up.
Tedesco: I had my ACL and my hip repaired, and I took six months off, plenty of time to get strong so that when I did get on my bike, I wouldn't be in pain or weak. I think I did the right thing on that, because I feel like I am back to where I was last year, and if I can make some improvements from here, I'll be good to go.
Josh, jumping up full time to the 450, how do you feel on the bigger bike?
Hansen: I am stoked. I really like the 450 a lot and I think that I can do some really cool stuff with it, but again we have some stuff to work on to make things brighter. We just have to be patient. We are a privateer team and that is what we are working with. Coming off of Mitch's team, you can get the stuff "that day," and it's not like that now. But the best thing we have is our group of people. They came from factory backgrounds and everyone's head is in the right place.
Kyle, this is really your first time to contest the full 450 Supercross tour with major funding. You don't have to worry about how you will make it from one week to the next for once. Is it more stress than you've ever had to deal with or is the burden smaller, and now you can just go out and perform?
Partridge: I don't think that there is any stress really. I had more stress last year doing it, because I knew that I wasn't in shape. But I know going in to the first race this year, I have never had someone to tell me what I needed to do and how I need to do it like Ivan. He has been doing it a long time and has been helping me a lot. My speed is good, it is just my fitness that needs to be better.
Hansen: (To Tedesco) Wait, so are you his trainer?
Tedesco: Yeah, man. We've been going at it.
Hansen: (Laughs) Oh, look at you!
With you both having the summer off, what did you do in the downtime?
Hansen: Basically, I didn't do a whole lot. I kind of.... Well Amsterdam was sick! I took advantage of that and hung out there. But other than that, nothing that cool, that is for sure.
Tedesco: I was rehabbing my injuries all summer, so it was uneventful. I played Playstation all summer, wishing I could be doing something else. It was a shitty summer for me, but I am glad to be back at it now. That time off made me think if I wanted to do this anymore, and I definitely do. That time off was good for me, so now I am ready to get back at it.
Kyle, you raced the 450 outdoors. Did you feel like you spent your summer pretty well, or were you jealous of the guys on the couch?
Partridge: I would have loved to be on the couch because the color of my motorcycle wasn't one I wanted to be riding. But I was able to ride and pay my bills rather than work a job in the summer in Vegas, but having a good bike will make this better.