IN DEPTH: GEICO HONDA’S WIL HAHN
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN MOTOCROSS? It all stemmed from my older brother, Tommy, although our dad used to ride quads and dirt bikes when he was younger. My brother started riding dirt bikes before I did, and riding looked fun to me. For our family, it was always farming first, followed closely by dirt bikes. I started riding when I was 3-1/2 years old, and then I started lifting weights and getting serious about riding when I was 4 [laughter].
WHAT’S THE FUNNIEST STORY INVOLVING YOUR BROTHER, TOMMY? When we were young teenagers, we thought that we were invincible. After it rained, we would always drive to this track about 15 miles from our house, and on the way home, we would see how fast we could go in the truck. One time after pulling into the driveway, we realized that, unbeknownst to us, we were great sparrow hunters, because about half a dozen birds were stuck in the truck’s grill. As bad as it sounds, from that point on, every time we drove home from that track, we’d see how many birds we could catch in our grill. I don’t think the World Wildlife Federation would be very happy to hear about our childhood shenanigans!
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE AS A PRO? The outdoors. I never thought that the Nationals would be easy, but I definitely got a reality check when I scored a single point in my first National at Glen Helen in 2008. I struggled outdoors in my first few years as a pro, but I’m putting that behind me now. I’m looking forward to racing and achieving success outdoors.
YOU’RE ONE OF THE MOST LIKED RIDERS ON THE CIRCUIT. IS THAT AN ADVANTAGE? I don’t know if it’s an advantage on the track. Off the track, I pride myself on trying to be nice to people. I treat everyone the same way that I would want to be treated. I try not to give people a reason to say something bad about me, and if they don’t like me, then at least I know that I tried to be nice.
W HICH RIDER ON THE PRO SCENE HAS THE BEST CORNERING SKILLS? Without question, Ryan Dungey. The guy can turn a bike. Every single time I watch him go through a corner, he’s a foot inside the main line and ripping around the turn. I don’t get how he turns so well.
HOW DID THE GEICO/HONDA DEAL COME ABOUT? I got the call at the end of last year’s Supercross series from Geico/Honda to find out if I was interested in a spot. About midway through the outdoors, I signed with the Geico/Honda team. It was a very tough decision for me, because Troy Lee was so good to me. Troy got me out of a rut that I was in. I appreciate all that he and the team did for me, but Geico/Honda is where I want to be. I couldn’t be happier.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION? It’s funny you ask that question. I recently purchased a Honda XR250. My mom called me one day because she had a client looking to sell his XR250. He wanted $500 for it. I told my mom that I ride dirt bikes for a living, and that I didn’t need a beat-up old bike. She called me back two hours later, and the guy dropped his asking price to $300. Knowing that this guy wasn’t going to give up, I asked my mom to send me a picture of the bike. I expected a hunk of junk, but it was basically brand new! It had super-low hours on it, so I handed the guy $300 cash. I cleaned out the carburetor, and you wouldn’t believe how fast the bike is! Buying that Honda XR250 was one of the best purchasing decisions that I’ve ever made, or probably will ever make.
IF YOU WEREN’T A PRO, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? If dirt bikes were never involved in my life, then I would probably be in college attending classes and learning. After I earned my degree, I would come back home and run the family farming business.