GALLERY OF A CHAMPION: WIL HAHN’S CAREER IN PHOTOS
Story and photos by John Basher
Wil Hahn, the 2013 AMA 250 East Supercross Champion, called it quits on a professional career that spanned ten years. The likable 26 year old from Kansas was a force to be reckoned with, especially in 250 Supercross. However, injuries plagued the younger Hahn brother, keeping him to just 25 races out of a possible 87 rounds. Wil showed promise on a 450, with a fourth in Atlanta in 2014. The Georgia Dome would also lead to his demise two years later. Buried in the pack during the second 450 Heat, Hahn tangled with Andrew Short and Phil Nicoletti through the first rhythm section. Wil was an innocent bystander in the ordeal, and he walked away with a broken collarbone, torn labrum and broken scapula in the same shoulder. Then he got an infection. After that, he broke his sternum while training on a road bicycle.
Hahn’s two-year deal with Monster Energy Kawasaki having expired at the end of the Nationals, he traveled down to Australia in hopes of logging solid rides to secure something–anything–for 2017. In this troubled time for 450 riders, Hahn’s back was up against the wall. On Saturday, Wil sent out an open letter announcing his retirement. In it he stated, “I am still just as in love with the sport as I was when I was four-years-old, but sadly, my body has taken a beating through the years. The injuries have taken their toll…when I have a family, I want to be able to throw a ball around with my kid!” Wil is smart to think about the future and make a value-based decision, rather than further jeopardize his long-term health.
I’ve known Wil Hahn since he was a moderately successful Amateur. He came into the Pro ranks on the heels of Ryan Dungey, and like Dungey, was a breath of fresh air. Always cordial and funny, Wil was the less intense version of his older brother (another awesome guy), Tommy. Wil bounced from Yamaha to KTM to Troy Lee Designs Honda, Geico Honda and Monster Energy Kawasaki. Through it all–the highs and lows–he remained the same person. The “cool guy” attitude that so often engulfs the stars missed Wil Hahn. That’s because Wil was a human being first, and a racer second. Hahn will continue riding in his second career, as he’ll be working with Geico Honda as a tester. He will also be involved with Geico Honda’s amateur program. Good luck in your future endeavors, Wilbur.
Injuries kept Wil back from peak performance in 2011, but he returned at the tail end of the 250 Nationals anyway. If you look closely, you can see the #31 of Hahn behind the #387 of Gareth Swanepoel.
Hahn’s best National showing came in 2012 as part of the powerhouse Geico Honda team. He was under the same awning as Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia and Justin Bogle. Wil finished sixth overall in the series.
Wil Hahn etched his name in the record books in 2013 by winning the 250 East Supercross crown. He barely edged out Marvin Musquin for the title. Here, he styles for the crowd during open practice at the Atlanta opener.
A broken hand kept Wil out of action for part of the 2013 AMA 250 Nationals. He raced to 11th in the dust bowl at Utah which, by the looks of this photo, didn’t look that bad. My, how photos can be deceiving.
After a freak crash on the first lap of practice at Anaheim 1, which left him with multiple fractures, he was back on the gate for the 2015 AMA 450 Nationals. Hahn (48) lasted seven rounds before another injury.