If you’re like 2.5 million other viewers, on Tuesday night, July 12, 2010, you tuned-in to watch the final episode of the MTV series The Hills. In that final episode appeared Team Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Josh Hansen. Stephanie Pratt is one of the stars of the wildly popular reality series that has followed the jet set/Lipstick City lifestyle of a few 20-something, Hollywood-Hills-based young women. Well, while the final year of production was up and running, Stephanie Pratt met Josh Hansen and the two became an item. So much so that Hansen appeared in a few of the show’s final episodes. And in the very final show, Hansen brought Pratt out to show her just what he did for a living.
"Josh invited me to go and watch him do Supercross," Pratt said to one of her buddies in that episode. "I’m going to go down the track."
And that she did. And after Hansen rode for a while, bedazzling her, she commented, "Oh my God! No way! You’re, like, the most masculine guy I’ve ever dated."
Yep. So in the spring and summer of 2010, not only did Josh Hansen find a way back onto the victory podium (at the Salt Lake Supercross), he also managed to receive some primetime TV coverage and pull a pretty cool chick. Josh Hansen is on a bit of a roll as of late, and that’s a good thing as he prepares to go after his third consecutive X Games Super X Gold Medal in two weeks’ time at the ancient Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. After putting in countless laps at the Kawasaki test track in 103-degree heat, Hansen swung by to say hello and fill us in on what’s been going on in his life.
"A lot of people follow that show," he explained when we asked him what it was like to be a part of The Hills. "It’s kind of crazy because I’ve never followed the show. I didn’t know people were so pumped and hyped on it. However, I just want to be ‘Josh the Dirt Bike Guy.’"
Josh Hansen: Dingo. Dingo kind of brought it together. (Note: Luke "The Dingo" Trembath is a snowboard celebrity and star of the TV show, "The Adventures of Danny & The Dingo"). Dingo introduced me to her and got us set-up right before the Vegas Supercross. So I did my thing out in Vegas and came back and went on a date with her and then started hanging out with her.
Did you know who she was or anything?
Well, I kind of knew about The Hills, like the show. Dingo explained it to me. But I didn’t know her personally or anything, so it was just kind of like, "Whatever." I just kind of went into it like, "Whatever happens, happens." She ended up being a cool chick and I’ve been hanging out with her and she’s been fun. And then it just carried on and MTV got a hold of me. I wasn’t really interested at first, but I did a few shows. At the ending of the show, Stephanie and I talked and whatever, and it was just a good closing to the show for her, and her finding, I guess, love. It was a good ending for both of us.
When all this first started, one day I went over to Pro Circuit to see Mitch Payton. He had just heard that you had been spending time in Hollywood Hills and, um, wasn’t too into the concept of you being around that scene and hanging out with "Hollywood people."
Yeah, I think Mitch was pissed, but it wasn’t like I was just up there partying every night and not doing shit, you know? Yeah, I went up there and was doing the show and was hanging out with Stephanie or whatever and then I would come back. I was riding and doing my stuff. After he saw that, he was fine. He just wanted to make sure I was on top of my stuff. That’s what I was doing and that’s what I’m doing now.
As far as the show, did they write you into it or just kind of drop in on what you and Stephanie were doing?
I don’t know... They didn’t really have to write in anything. It was all natural, you know? It was what we were working with and it just fit so good for the show. It made Stephanie happy and I was good. I figured if it was time to go ahead and do the show, it was probably better to do it toward the ending – like the last two final episodes – because then it was done forever.
The show ran for six years and you ended up being a big part of the final episode. Leading up to it, Mitch started following the show and knew the storylines and everything. I kind of sensed he was into the whole thing and you riding at the test track as the curtain came down on the show...
Yeah, yeah, yeah... I think everybody just thought the worst about the whole thing right off the bat. Like, "Oh, Hansen is done racing," or, "Hansen is already screwing up and going back to the old Hansen." It wasn’t really like that. I think everybody was looking at it from the outside looking on in. I’m a racer and I feel like I’m a good racer and I feel like I have the personality to do some stuff outside the sport. Nobody else really does it. I’m not going to just stick in my own little world of racing. It comes natural to me. This is what I do. This is how I want to be. People either support it or they don’t. This is the way I want to live my life.
Okay, on to racing... Your 2010 AMA Supercross Lites West Region season started out a little bit rough and there were quite a few ups and downs. However, toward the end, you closed really hard. Can you tell me about your season?
Basically, those last three years of racing kind of screwed me up mentally. I was really down in the dumps with myself and to be able to get the opportunity to race with Mitch was awesome. But at the same time, there was a lot of pressure. I go from zero to trying to be hero. It’s rough. It was almost like trying to learn how to walk all over again. It took me a little bit. I kind of was missing some pieces of the puzzle right at the beginning of the year. I had the speed, but I kept making these mistakes and crashing. It’s hard to be at the very bottom of the sport and then to be able to try and be the hero. There are not very many be that can, basically, pull that off. I get hounded on by the press about everything; I ended up just keeping my head down. I listened to Mitch and I kept trying to build every single weekend. Also, a lot of people didn’t know I was hurt. I hurt my ribs at Phoenix. When the break came [Note: between Anaheim III and Seattle], I used that time to heal up and I busted my ass and I was getting ready for the last couple. I truly was ready for the last races. Maybe it was a little late or whatever, but I learned a lot about myself. I think it’s going to be a good thing going into next season. I’m going to know what works for me and what doesn’t.
Josh Hansen on his way to second at the Las Vegas Supercross.
Photo: Steve Cox
How did it feel to win an AMA Supercross again?
It was rad. It was where I felt like I should be. It was good. Not to sound cocky, but it’s where I feel I should be. It was definitely a good feeling. It felt like home. It’s where I need to be.
And then you and your teammates went one-two-three-four in the East/West Shootout in Las Vegas, with you racing to a hard-earned second...
Yeah, my teammates are awesome and so is the team. It was great. I wish the start would have been a little bit better. I really had a big goal in mind to win Vegas and I fell a little short of that, but I was very, very happy to end it the way I did. For it to be such a close race down to the checkered flag, I think it showed some heart. I was pumped.
Being fortunate enough to see the whole thing firsthand, I’d say Mitch is pretty damned pleased with your overall performance thus far in 2010...
Obviously, I feel like he likes me for even giving me the opportunity. Nobody in our sport was going to give me the opportunity and this guy – one of the ganrliest guys in the sport – hangs his neck out for me. It was rad. I was pumped to be able to get the opportunity. I feel like I’ve turned over a new leaf now and respect what I have in front of me and I don’t want to screw that up. And I’m definitely not letting all this Hollywood stuff get in front of my racing. Racing is my first priority. This is what makes me get anything.
I’ve been pretty close to you and you racing for a year now and I can certainly tell you’ve gotten around the bend...
I’ve cut a lot of people out of my life and I feel like I have a little bit tighter group. I don’t know... I want to do good racing. This is what I’m meant to do. I’m not going to let this blow out of my fingers. I’ve definitely changed. I feel like I’m way more humble now and I’m just really happy to be able to have the lifestyle that I have. I was a straight-up idiot before. It almost puts me to tears to think about all the opportunities I’ve had and let go. I want to take advantage of this and just build it. All I can do is just go forward from here.
At the 2010 X Games. James Stewart and a strong roster of riders will be competing. How do you feel about the race?
I’m looking at it as, "Dude, this is my time to shine." I want to win it again. I’m hungry to win. I’m not thinking, "Will I have a ride after this race?" I’ve won gold and I have one vision and that’s to win. That’s all I want to do. That’s what I’m working toward. I don’t want to get second and I don’t want to get third.
I’d like to say I can. That’s what I’ve been working toward. You definitely can’t count out anybody in our sport. I’m just going to do what I can do and I think I’m going to have a very good shot at it.
You’re also signed-up for Best Whip. How’s that looking?
I don’t know. I haven’t really been hitting the ramp or anything. In fact, I have not even hit the ramp yet. I think I’m going to hit the ramp tomorrow. I’m winging it, man.
Where is the ramp?
It’s sitting out at the Kawasaki track. Mark Burnett loaned it to us and Phil Hodges brought it out. I’d like to win Best Whip. There’s one dude I’d like to top.
Oh yeah? Who is that?
There’s one dude who is super-sweet in the Best Whip, who is classic in his own way.
Who is this "classic dude"?
I’ll give you a clue. If you Google him, it just says "Bad MOFO." Oh man…
Okay my friend, last question: Do you have anything going yet for 2011?
Some people have spoken with me. I just want to know that I want to be on a winning team and that I’m in a position to win a championship.