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5 Minutes With... Wil Hahn

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Muscle Milk/MDK KTM’s Wil Hahn had a breakthrough at the final round of the Lites East, winning his heat race before grabbing the holeshot in the main event, leading more than half of it, and then finishing a solid second to the guy who won the championship and most of the races. Now, he’s turning his focus to the outdoors. We talked to him, with the occasional interruption from his brother Tommy, after the race in Jacksonville.

Racer X: It’s been a long time coming for this. You’ve been working all season to grab a podium, and finally, at the last race, you got one.
Wil Hahn: Yeah, it feels great. I’ve been working my butt off. The team’s been behind me like you wouldn’t believe this whole time, trying to get the bike to work as well as it could for me, and we got it handled tonight. And I finally figured out my starts, which is what paid off the most.

Before the main event, you said you would get the holeshot, and then you did...
Tommy Hahn jumps in: He said, “I’ll see you up here in two hours,” after the heat race. That’s what he said.
Wil Hahn: I’m just that confident in my bike. My bike’s amazing. We have the fastest bike on the track, without a doubt.

When you got the holeshot, and you led such a good portion of the race, what was going through your head?
Wil Hahn: A lot of things were. I thought I could win it, but [Christophe] Pourcel just flustered me a little bit. He’s a solid guy, and he’s been solid all year, and that’s why he’s a champion. You know what? I’m happy to get up there and run up front with those guys. It sucks for Nico [Izzi], and my thoughts and prayers go out to him for sure, and it sucks on the last lap of the last round. It’s never good to see. It was a good, solid race for me, and I want to build on it and go kill the East/West Shootout. I’m ready to be a solid outdoor rider now. That’s my goal for this year.

Was improving your outdoor performance your goal before SX even started?
Yeah, for sure. I got 21st at the first round last year! I mean, that’s worse than getting 40th, if you ask me, because you’re one place away from getting points. I’m going to be a solid guy outdoors, and if I can get starts like I did all night here, that’s what’s going to happen the rest of the year. If I start up front, I can run their pace. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’ve been doing and the hard work’s going to pay off.

When Pourcel actually caught you and went around you, it seemed like he pulled out a lot right away. Did you start making mistakes? What happened?
Yeah, he flustered me up pretty good about lap nine or 10, and I got pretty tight, and then I saw Nico coming, and he actually passed me once, but I passed him right back. I was able to pull back away from Nico, and I started riding good and got the lead back down to three seconds at the end. So that feels good.

What’s your plan between now and Vegas?
I’m going to go home for a few days and just relax and hang out with my parents, and go get some stuff done that I don’t get to do when I’m training and riding. Then I’ll go right to outdoor testing, get ready for the East/West Shootout, and then head to Glen Helen.
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