5 Minutes With ... Josh Hansen

One of the biggest stories of 2008 will be Gibbs Racing's foray into AMA Supercross. Gibbs Racing is currently known for their participation in NASCAR, but next year they're fielding a two-man team consisting of Josh Hansen and Josh Summey. So how is the team coming along? Earlier this week we talked to Josh Hansen, a former Lites SX winner, about what's going on. Li'l Hanny has made big changes, and he sounds serious and ready to take advantage of this wonderful new opportunity.

Racer X: First of all Josh, how you liking North Carolina?
Josh Hansen: I like it, it seems to be good so far. I think it has been a good change. I’m a little bit underneath the radar, which is good because I think I was maybe not on the right path when I was back in California, and I think this has kind of helped me get my head together and finally figure out what I want to do, and train hard. It’s been a good change. It’s a little different. I’ve gotten a little better at my fishing skills, and I’m getting to where I need to hunt for my food now.

Josh Hansen is focused on 2008.

photo: Simon Cudby

You also better be learning how to play basketball, because if you think NASCAR is big down there, wait till NCAA basketball gets going.
I already heard all about it. So between NASCAR and basketball, I have a lot to learn still.

You weren’t born and raised in California; you’re from Colorado, right?
No. Actually, I was born and raised in California, the Simi Valley area. Then my parents moved to Colorado.

What’s the biggest change, other than the fact that there is nowhere near as much traffic in North Carolina?
Yeah, it’s definitely a big plus. It’s not planning your whole day out just to go to the grocery store, like California. Everything is just way easier and so laid back. People are so much nicer back here. It’s definitely a change of pace and a lot better. I like it.

It seems like everywhere from North Carolina all the way down to Florida there are all kinds of tracks and riders coming up through the ranks. The east coast is the new west coast!
Yeah, I think it is. A lot of people are getting out of the whole California scene, which I think is smart. Everyone is on top of each other and everyone knows each other's business in California. So I think to be ahead of the game and to be training hard, this is the way to go. I’m excited and like it. It’s the first time underneath the radar, and I look forward to showing my cards at round 1.

You could be the round 1 winner, and it would still be tough to get noticed in Charlotte with as much NASCAR stuff they have going on there. And you’re lucky enough to be a part of it with Gibbs Racing.
Yeah, it’s neat. Gibbs Racing gave me the opportunity, and I definitely wanted to be a part of something good. So far, with Jeremy Albrecht as team manager, it’s been a big plus. Those guys are out to win, and I think it has helped me mature a little bit faster. I needed a change, but I needed a good change and needed to head in the right direction. I feel I have a lot of talent but never been able to use it or train hard. I think this is a good turning point in my life where I can start getting my stuff together and look forward to championships in the near future.

Hansen at Steel City in 2006

photo: Matt Ware

How do you like working with Josh Summey? He’s a little bit older than you, but Josh has always been a super-dedicated guy. Josh Summey will never get tired in a moto.
He may not be one of the flashy guys in our sport, but he’s somebody that everybody knows. He’s just real low key but trains hard. As far as me never training at all and coming out and being with somebody like that, it’s been good. He always has his head down, and what’s good is we only have a two-man team, so all eyes are just on him and I. I don’t know, to be around someone as focused as him, it’s good. I enjoy training with him and he’s a good person.

What about J-Bone? He probably has as many championships in the last 10 years as anyone, as he was with Jeff Emig and James Stewart. He knows how to get to the top of the box.
Yeah, it’s really exciting. Him being team manager really turned me on to this team a lot. With all of this championships and knowledge, I want it to rub off on myself. I do want to thank him for giving me the chance and believing in me. It’s cool to know that he does believe in me, and I do want to put another mark on his resume with a championship. I think they’ve got a lot of big names and I have a lot to fulfill, but I don’t think it’s out of the question. I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself, but at the same time I need to work up to it. I have a two-year deal, but Jeremy has been awesome. Just the fact that he is going from Stewart over to this team is impressive. Stewart was the fastest and best guy out there, so that just gives me a good vibe. He’s used to winning and that’s the way his mind works.

Does everyone keep an extra eye on Washington Redskins football, because that’s where Coach Gibbs punches the clock.
Yeah, it’s pretty intense around here. I never really watched football, but everyone around here is all about them and I’m starting to watch them too. I get nervous for them, because if things don’t go good, it’s not good for anybody. [Laughs] They’ve been having a rough season, but the good thing is that Coach is back in Washington and I don’t have to see him in the shop if he’s pissed.

When you were an amateur you spent a lot of time on Yamaha—are you glad to be back on blue?
Yeah, I’m stoked. KTM definitely treated me well and bent over backwards for me, but after three years it’s time for a change. The new ‘08s are awesome—they handle really well. I feel like I’m back at home dealing with all of the boys, like Mike Guerra, Keith McCarthy, all of them. Those are the guys I’m used to being around. I think it was good for me to get away and then come back, because it makes me respect the program a little more and what they have to offer, so I’m excited.

Would you rather eat lunch at Baja Fresh or Waffle House?
Ewww. Man, I never ate Waffle House too much till now, and it’s unbelievable! So, I’m going with Waffle House, for sure.

Give me a number that you’d be really happy getting at Anaheim 1?
I don’t even say it’s fair enough for me to say. I think if I do my work the results will show, so I’m going to leave it at that.