MXA INTERVIEW: STAR RACING YAMAHA’S WIL HAHN – MANAGER OF THE DREAM TEAM
MXA INTERVIEW: WE CHAT WITH STAR RACING YAMAHA’S WIL HAHN BEFORE THE 2020 ARLINGTON SUPERCROSS
Every so often you hear the term “dream team” and right now you often hear that when talking about the Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha 250 team. With their riders Dylan Ferrandis and Justin Cooper grabbing four out of the six possible wins so far in the 250SX West division and Shane McElrath winning the 250SX East season opener in his first race with the team, things are looking pretty good for Will Hahn’s team in 2020. Sadly, their other 250 East prospect, Colt Nichols is sidelined with a shoulder injury. We can only imagine how strong the team would be with him racing alongside McElrath. Their youngest Pro rider, Ty Masterpool is also sitting out Supercross, but he isn’t racing based on a decision by him and the team to waiting for outdoors. While some of the attention may not all be wanted with Dylan Ferrandis getting booed at a couple events starting at Anaheim 2 after taking out Christian Craig, nonetheless the riders are winning and sometimes bad press is better than no press. MXA’s Jim Kimball had the chance to grab a few minutes with team manager Wil Hahn just after the recent Tampa Supercross to ask him about the team’s season so far.
BY Jim Kimball
WIL, WOW, WHAT A GREAT SEASON SO FAR! Yes, it has been somewhat of a dream so far.
WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH JUSTIN COOPER AND DYLAN FERRANDIS ON THE WEST COAST? THEY SEEM OPPOSOTIE PERSONALITIES. I guess everyone is a little bit different. Each rider is a little different, they all have different motivation, and that is the cool part. It’s just like every other sports team or whatever, it applies for everybody; every personality is obviously different.
Wil Hahn is great at relating with his riders as a Team Manager because he has spent time in their shoes, 10 years to be exact. Wil Hahn turned Pro in 2007 and raced Supercross and motocross until he retired in 2016 as a Factory Kawasaki 450 rider.
THERE MUST BE A LITTLE FRICTION IN THE SEMI AT TIMES? Right, but I think that is always going to be there. That is also good you know? We have two of the best guys right now fighting for this, and I think you always want to win. It does not matter who it is, but when it is your teammate, obviously I don’t want to say more so, but you don’t want to lose any time. You always have that desire to be “the guy”.
WITH THIS LITTLE BIT OF BREAK IN WEST COAST SUPERCROSS, WHAT ARE THE GUYS DOING? Basically, they get this little bit of a break, so it is time to capitalize on getting a little outdoors testing in. But obviously your main focus in the Supercross Championship, so you get to switch it up. Maybe you take a little bit of a break, but also you get right back to it, you know? There is really never any time off. You can’t completely ignore outdoors at the same time, but for Dylan, and Justin they need to keep the focus on Supercross.
Dylan Ferrandis captured his third win of the season and extended his points lead at San Diego Supercross before the 250 West Coast season took a break. Dylan Ferrandis has a seven point lead on his Star Racing teammate Justin Cooper.
LET’S SWITCH OVER TO SHANE MCELRATH IN THE EAST COAST SERIES. WHAT A RACE BEGINNING TO THE SERIES FOR HIM. You cannot really dream of a better way to start it. It is a bit like the guys on the West Coast, where you win the heat and then the main event. We are just happy to keep it going. Shane was definitely in control of the race. He got really good starts and was able to get away pretty quick both in the heat and the main. It makes its pretty exciting, especially if you do it that way.
Shane McElrath was dominant at the Tampa Supercross when he won his Heat race and the Main Event. The win in Tampa was his third time winning a 250SX season opener. He won at Anaheim 1 in 2017 and 2018.
DID YOU EXPECT THAT CHASE SEXTON AND JEREMY MARTIN WOULD BE UP FRONT TOO? Yeah, you definitely can’t discount those guys, even though Jeremy has been off for a while, but you can never discount a past champion like that. Obviously, with Chase having the number one plate, you have to expect big things out of him as well.
Being a factory race team manager is far different from your average office job. Here Will Hahn hustles back to the rig in-between motos to give his riders their last minute pep-talk before the Main Event.
COLT NICHOLS IS CURRENTLY SIDELINED. DO YOU KNOW HOW SOON HE WILL BE BACK? I mean it seems like right now that Colt is on a week-to-week time frame, but its too difficult to pin down. Right now, we are bummed obviously, because if we had him as well, I think it would be pretty crazy what we would be doing right now. Without question, he would be up front!
Colt Nichols was strong in 2019 when he won the 250SX Main Event at Anaheim 1 and held onto the points lead for the next three rounds. Colt is still recovering from a shoulder injury but he hopes to return to racing soon.
IS TY MASTERPOOL STILL GOING TO BE WITH YOU GUYS FOR OUTDOORS? Correct, the team and Ty all just feel that was the best route to take. He was just not quite ready for supercross this year. We will get him ready for outdoors and he’ll be even better than he was last year.
Ty Masterpool is a young buck in the 250 class and he made his Pro debut in 2019 during the AMA Nationals. Ty’s transition into the Pros has been very different from the usual. He won in the Supermini class at Loretta’s in 2017, signed with Star Racing Yamaha afterwards, raced Amateurs in the 125 class in 2018 and then turned Pro at Hangtown in 2019 at just 17-years-old.
I HAVE TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE BOOING OF DYLAN, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT? It is just one of those things that was not intentional (Crashing with Christian Craig), and he did not want to do that. He lives here now and does not want to be the foreign guy who does not belong. He wants to be here in the states, and this is his home. The bottom line is that he did not mean to do it, he wants to move on from it and not deal with that every weekend. At the same time, he is winning races, if you are going to get booed a little bit, oh well. The thing is, if people would give him a chance, speaking with him and talking to him, they would realize that pretty quick. It was not intentional.
JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALL THESE WINNERS DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE STILL NOT WORKING TO IMPROVE. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO GET ACROSS TO THE TEAM? No. I think it does not matter what point or position you are in; I think you are always trying to improve, and figure things out.