5 Minutes with ... Tommy Hahn

February 16, 2006 3:17pm

Straight out of Great Bend, Kansas, Tommy Hahn will take his place behind the starting gate for the opening round of the AMA Supercross Lites Region Supercross Championship on Saturday night. A member of the SoBe/No Fear/Samsung Honda team, Hahn, 20, hopes to deliver Honda its first Lites title since Travis Preston did the deed in the West in 2002. Although haunted by injuries in 2005, Hahn is now healed up and hoping to make ‘06 his breakout year. We caught up to Hahn this afternoon while he was on his way to get a haircut. Seriously.

Tommy Hahn
Racer X: Tommy, what are you up to this afternoon?
Tommy Hahn: Well, right now, I’m getting my vehicle washed and going to haircut.

A new lid for your first race of the new season, huh?
Yeah, I gotta look nice.

How has your off-season been?
It’s been awesome. I did a lot of hard work—I even lost 15 pounds. After I hurt my knee and had surgery, it really woke me up and kicked me in gear. Losing the weight has been great. I have to keep up with that little kid [Mike] Alessi, you know? I feel good. I’m in the best shape ever, without a doubt. I feel great. I’m ready to go.

What did you do during the off-season to get in such good shape?
A lot of conditioning. I don’t want to say exactly what I did, but I trained really hard for the new year. I spent a lot of time in San Francisco. After Dr. Ting did the surgery on my knee, I stayed up there and did rehabilitation for three months. I did rehabilitation five days a week, four hours a day. They were hard on me. I lost a lot of weight. I was back on the bike and riding one month and three weeks after the surgery. That’s very quick considering I had full reconstructive surgery done on my knee. The surgery went absolutely perfect. I never thought I’d be back on the bike as soon as I was. My knee is now stronger than it was before I got hurt.

When did you start riding again?
I started riding on December 1.

How did you feel on the bike?
I felt like I hadn’t skipped a beat. I was a little shy to put my foot down in the corners at first, but I got over that after a few good bangs and crashes. I took the whole month to get the feel of the bike and to get comfortable. On January 1, I started to ride supercross.

On the Honda test track?
Yeah, on the Honda track. I also rode at Castillo Ranch. I rode and rode like a madman.

Do you like your 2006 race bike?
Oh man, I can’t even explain how much I like it. It’s the best bike ever. It has even exceeded last year’s bike. I didn’t think that would be possible.

Have you been able to watch any of the West Region Lites rounds on TV or in person?
I went to all three Anaheim races and San Diego. Everyone was definitely going fast. It helped motivate me to ride and test. It was good to be able to ride with Billy [Laninovich], Jake [Weimer] and [Andrew] Short. It was also good to ride with Ernesto Fonseca, Jeremy McGrath and Travis Preston. It was awesome to be able to practice with people like that. You can learn a lot form them and riding with them does a lot of good.

What are your observations on the riders competing in the West Region?
Everybody looks good. [Ryan] Villopoto, who is a really good kid from a good family, has been great. I’m pumped for him. And Grant Langston has been awesome—he’s always up there. My teammates, Jake and Billy, have been riding really well. Shoot, so many people have been riding good that you can’t count anyone out. [Nathan] Ramsey and Mike Alessi have been good.… You know, in the outdoors there are going to be 20 people who can win a moto.

You’ll get on the jet to St. Louis tomorrow. Are you excited? Has it been hard to sleep?
No, it hasn’t been hard to sleep yet, but Friday night it will be hard. But I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited. I’m not going in with super-high expectations. I mean, I did all right last year, but I could have done better. I made a lot of rookie mistakes. For St. Louis, I want to get a good start, put in 15 solid laps. I’ll go from there.

Who do you see being in the mix for the East Region Championship?
It’s kind of a toss-up. There are the Yamaha of Troy guys, Matt Walker and Branden Jesseman. There is Josh Hansen [KTM] and my teammate Josh Grant. And there is Davi [Millsaps] of course, and Broc Hepler. There are even guys I may not even know about yet who will have a good year.

You placed in the top six in four of the five supercross you rode last winter. That has to help your confidence.
Yeah, it does. It definitely helps my confidence. I know I’m a top-five guy and will be up there, but everyone else has been training and doing their homework, too. Last year I lacked a little bit of fitness. Actually, I lacked a lot of fitness. My goal is to get on the box each weekend and have a shot at the title. Like I said before, I’m going to take the first race as it is. I’ll be super-stoked if I can stay in the top three and in contention for the title. That would exceed my expectations by far.

How do you feel about the outdoor series?
In the outdoors I know I can be a top-five guy. Due to coming off a broken leg, I got off to a slow start last summer. I shouldn't have even ridden Hangtown. But I rode myself into shape. I made a lot of rookie mistakes in the nationals last year. I’m going to calm down this year. I have the fitness and the strength. If I ride like a I know how, I guarantee I can be on the box.

So you’re not in Kansas anymore?
I miss that place. It’s a great place and I miss my friends from school and from the racing side of things. I also miss all the friends I have in Texas. I have culture shock from living in California. I guess from being from the middle off nowhere can do that. I don’t really like California, but hey, I have the opportunity of a lifetime and I have to give it 100 percent.

Good luck this weekend, Tommy.
Thank you.