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Josh Hansen has always been a polarizing personality in the sport. Fans either support him or decide to look the other way, but no one can deny his pure raw talent aboard a dirt bike. And after a few years away from racing, focusing on freeriding and X Games, Hansen is in the beginning stages of making a comeback to racing in 2015. With plans to ride the 250 West Coast Supercross series, Hansen has already been putting in a ton of time at the test track, getting dialed in for the upcoming off-season races before setting his sights on 2015. We caught up with him to get the lowdown on his return to SX.
What have you been up to lately? You obviously have some plans in the works for next year.
I'm planning on making a come back to racing. Right now, it's just in the beginning stages, but I'm trying to gather sponsors and get into the direction that I'm going to take next year. The plan is to race Supercross and still do X Games. But it's still in the planning stages of everything right now.
What made you want to come back to racing?
The love of it made me want to come back. Not because of anything, but because I want to do it for myself. The feeling of racing… I don't know. It's always been a part of my life and to steer away from it wasn't that cool. I'm not trying to go and get a ride or anything, I just want to go out there and do it for myself. I don't want to do it for any other reason.
Does your return have anything to do with you coming so close to winning the championship when you rode for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki a few years ago?
That title was a bummer; I've had a couple titles throughout my career fall down at the last minute. But honestly, no that's not why I'm coming back. To win again would be really rad, but I'm doing it for the pure joy and love of riding dirt bikes. I want to be a part of it again and do it for the right reasons. Obviously, I would like to go out and win, but I'm racing against kids these days, and they're fast. They're insanely fast, so I know it's not going to be an easy road. I've had a lot of chances to win titles, and I don't know that if it ever does go down (and I win a title), that it's ever going to feel the same as it would have, because I'm past that situation and took some years off. I wanted to go back to the 250 class, though, because I can ride on the West Coast and get the most help from sponsors. It would be rad to win, but I'm not doing it for that. I'm doing it for the love of it. I want to go out there, do well, and ride my best. And if that's winning, then that's cool.
Since you're doing it for the love of the sport and to have fun, you've choosen the guys that you surround yourself with very carefully, correct?
Yeah, that's what's cool about it. I was really wanting to—and if I was going to put my best foot forward—think hard about who those people I'd work with would be. I feel like I've done a pretty good job at putting my team together. I have Daniel (Castloo) as my mechanic, Chris "Dang" McAvoy as my team manager, and another friend of mine as my truck driver. I also got a trainer—I know that probably sounds pretty funny, and I'm sure everybody just laughed (laughs). It's pretty crazy, but I got Ty Kady as my trainer, and I never thought that would go down. I just want to be healthy and do it for myself. I want to try to be a good person, have fun, and do what we all love to do.
Is this really the first time that you're truly focusing on training and preparing off the bike?
Yeah, it's sad to say, but no I haven't trained before. I'd like to say I put my all into it. I mean, I did, and I have…kind of. It was just a different way. Back when I rode for Mitch (Payton), that was a full effort and I worked hard for it. I don't know, though, I'm at a different point right now; I'm definitely older and wiser. I want to get into real shape, not what I think is in shape. I'll just see where it goes from there. I would hope that I'm not past my prime, because I really don't think so. I'm just going to take the right steps and see where it goes.
What are your plans for the next few months?
I have Red Bull Straight Rhythm coming up and I have Monster Cup as well. It's kind of sudden that I just jump into those two races, but it will just be to dust the cobwebs off and hopefully do well. I'd like to be up there. After that, I'm just going to work on testing my 250 and getting into shape for the new year. I'd also like to do some 450 stuff on the opposite coast next year. We'll just see how everything goes. A-B-C needs to line up before everything else happens after that; I'm just taking it one step at a time.
Alright, I have to ask… Why can't you ride our annual TransWorld SLAM event?
(Laughs) I really, really, really want to. I've always been a fan of the event, but I have a lot to fulfill on my end. I just have a lot going on, and my goal is to make it to Anaheim I.