Monday Conversation: Tommy Hahn

Tommy Hahn, the winner of the final AMA National of the year at Steel City, also won our first-ever poll on Facebook to see who our readers wanted to read an interview from for today’s Monday Conversation. So, without further ado, we present Tommy Hahn!

Racer X: Tommy, you won our first-ever contest to see who should be the subject of one of our Monday Conversations. How does that make you feel?
Tommy Hahn: I’m honored...

They could’ve picked you or someone else, but they picked you! Isn’t that awesome!
Yeah, for sure! It’s a contest, and I won, so that’s always good.

You’re two-for-two. It’s like a streak. You won the last race you raced at Steel City, and now you won this! What have you been doing between these two major wins?
Well, I took some time off, then went and visited some family and friends back in the home state of Kansas, and actually did a motocross school up there the weekend after Steel City that went really well. We got quite a few kids and had a bunch of fun. Wil and I put that on, and a buddy of mine did the promoting for it up there. It was good. We did it the Sunday after Steel City, and then after that I came back down to Texas and I’ve been trying to get a deal sorted out ever since.

So you still don’t have a ride!
No, I don’t! I had to send my bike back. The team had to sell the bikes and everything at the end of the year, so they took it. So I went and bought a bike – a 250F – to ride a little bit, and it’s been raining so much down here that I haven’t gotten too many chances to ride. I’ve probably ridden four times since Steel City. But I’ve been having fun and taking it easy before everything starts getting really serious and back into race mode again.

You’ve got to get a ride for next year, though, right?!
Something’s coming together. It looks like a few things are coming together for me and it’s good, definitely. If everything goes through, I’ll be very happy, and then we’ll keep going from there.

Why’d you pick a 250F to ride back home?
I like riding a 250F, I just hate racing them. I know that sounds weird, but I have such a blast on those things because you can throw them around, drag the bars in the turns, and whip the hell out of them over the jumps. They’re just so much fun to ride. I just hate racing them.

I get that, because you’ve said before that on a 450 you have a lot of line options and stuff, but you’re kind of stuck taking one fast line on a 250F a lot of the time.
Yeah, exactly. So I’ve been riding that thing and throwing some pretty gnarly butt-scrubs everywhere...

I thought that’s what you and Wil did in private...
That’s messed up. I don’t see why you have to bring up our private lives in an interview like this...

Speaking of Wil, he went with you to the school, right?
Yeah, he helped me put it on, and he took half the riders in the first half of the day, and then I took the other half, and then after lunch we swapped the two groups. It went good. It went really smooth. We started in the morning and ended at like four in the afternoon. We shared everything that we knew with the kids, and there were a couple big-bike riders in there, too, so we just shared everything we could and went with it. It was pretty good. It was our first one, and I think it went pretty good for the first one.

Luckily it was before the U.S. Open so Wil was healthy. How hard was it for you to describe what you do on the track to those people? A lot of riders couldn’t tell you what they do where. They just do it.
Yeah, it’s really difficult. I learned a lot because I ran into the problem where I was having a hard time putting it into words sometimes. It’s tough to teach a motocross school. Like you said, it’s kind of second-nature. I just know my braking points and I just know to weight the outside peg and where. It’s so much different, what I do, as opposed to a kid on a 65. It was tough to try to explain everything, and also tough to adapt it to them. But it was fun.

If there were Vet guys out there, I bet they were a little harder to have listen to you. I know that’s how I am when someone who is obviously superior to me is telling me to do something. Old dogs and new tricks, you know?
Yeah, but I don’t think there were too many vet riders. There might have been one or two, but they were just having fun and they just picked up on a few things. They had a blast. I wasn’t hard on anybody, I was just trying to explain it to them. I was just trying to help these kids get it sorted out, and I worked mainly on corners because that’s the most important thing throughout a race. The track was really rutted and there were a couple kids on 65s who ripped. They went through those ruts like big-bike riders – standing up on the pegs, dragging parts through it... I was blown away. These little eight or nine-year-old kids were just ripping!

Yeah, but you were probably like that, too, weren’t you?
They haul, but I wasn’t that fast until I got on 80s. I didn’t really start going for it until it was the later part of racing 80s, and on big bikes. On 60s and stuff, we mainly rode local stuff, and I won some of that and thought I was something, then went to a national and I don’t think I got in the top 20, so I had some work to do.

When are you headed back to California?
I don’t know yet. I was thinking about coming out there this week and hanging out and trying to get something done. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen.

If this deal comes together, whatever it is, can you say if it’s for sure a 450cc ride?
Oh, I’m definitely going to stay in the big-bike class. That’s 100 percent. I don’t have any ambition to go back to a 250.

Even though you like riding them...
I just like riding them – going out to a track and having fun. On days that I don’t do motos and stuff, I want to go out with my friends and dick around. That’s fun to ride a 250F then.

What about your brother? Can you tell us what Wil has in the pipeline for next year?
As of right now, he doesn’t have anything, but he’s waiting on a few things and I think everything’s going to start falling into place for him this next week as well.

This is the craziest off-season ever, isn’t it?
Yeah, it is. Especially with him. He can win 250cc supercrosses this year. He was fast this past year, and he’ll just be better next year, and before he got hurt at the U.S. Open – he had an unfortunate fall there – he was going really fast. It’s just one of those things. He rode the 450 there and I think he was a little gun-shy at first, but he got the hang of it and rode it really well. I was impressed. I wasn’t there, but I was watching, and he rode it really well. I still think he’s better on a 250, though.

For now, anyway. There was a time when you were, too.
Yeah, absolutely! There’s always a period where you cross over, and then the big bikes become the hot ticket. But as of right now, I think he’s better on a 250F, and he can definitely win some races next year.

Okay, well tell everyone who voted for you on Facebook what you think of them voting for you. I mean, it could’ve just been some sort of weird “curly hair” club on Facebook or something and they all voted for you... It can’t be your personality because you’re not that funny or smart or anything...
No, I’m not really that smart of a kid, so it couldn’t be that [laughs]. I’m going with it being because of my outstanding good looks. That’s what I’m thinking. I mean, I’ve been called the Brad Pitt of motocross racing in our time. [Laughs] Hey, Wil just turned around and goes, “Is this kid serious right now?!” [Laughs] I don’t know, man, but everyone who voted for me, thanks for doing it, even if it was just to see my curly, dorky-ass hair! Napoleon!