Racer X: So, tell us about the new deal here.
Tommy Hahn: Well, the off-season was crazy with all these changes, new teams starting, things like that. I had surgery on my shoulder after Unadilla, and I needed to have it done, it had been a problem for 10 years or so. But I think it kind of hurt me not riding the last few outdoors when contract time was coming up. I had a couple of offers from teams but they didn’t work out or wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I decided to go on my own. I’m taking one step back to hopefully take two steps forward.
So you’re not trying to build an empire here with your own team? If a really big offer comes along you would join a team?
Absolutely. If the right offer comes along, and I feel like can get on a good bike that I feel I can go fast on, absolutely I’ll do it. I’m doing it the hard way right now, on my own. But this is something I’ve had in the back of my mind the past few years, just in case. At least this way no one can say I gave up.
After an up and down 2011 season with MotoConcepts, Hahn will be back on a Honda and under his own tent for 2012.
Photo: Simon Cudby
So a few teams were talking to you?
There were definitely people talking. I had deals that just didn’t work out for whatever reason. So I got on the phone to childhood friends, and my parents friends, and people I grew up with. I got a good deal on bikes, and now Factory Connection is helping me with suspension. So far I’m running Yoshimura pipes. I just have to get everything else situated, and that will all be coming together soon. With a situation like this, I knew I would find out who my real friends are. So far, no one has said no to me yet, and that feels pretty good.
You came through the ranks on Hondas. Is that why you picked that bike now?
Yeah, the shop that’s helping me, Altus Motorsports in Altus, Oklahoma, they are a full-line dealer and they sell all of the bikes. I could have ridden any brand. You’re right, Hondas are how I basically started my career, and I knew these bikes would be good. The second thing is, I wanted to get on a bike I knew would be solid and not nickel and dime me on parts. It was a no brainer, really. With my relationship with Honda through the years, it just made sense to get a Honda. And I got the best sponsors who build the best stuff for Hondas, so I don’t see how it could be much better.
What are you getting to the races in?
That’s not set yet, but right now I’m driving my van to Anaheim and pitting out of it. My buddy Trey, who has worked on my practice bikes the last few years, he told me he’s in, so he’s coming to the races with me.
Back to the roots! That has to be fun in its own way.
Absolutely, I’ll be surrounded by friends and family. With teams, I got to the point where I was more worried about where I needed to be instead of what I needed to be doing. It’s really easy to do, but once I took a step back, I was able to figure out what I needed to do to get back where I need to be. It’s going to be a fun and tough experience. And I can’t wait.
Will you stay in Texas, go to California more?
I’ll stay in Texas until Christmas, then the day after that I’ll drive out to California and try to get in a little testing with some companies out there. We’ll do all the west coast rounds, and we’ll do Dallas, the first east coast round. After that it’s up in the air. If I get a fill in ride or something, I’ll be at the rest, but on my own, I can’t make it to every single supercross round. Dallas is the first East Coast round and that’s in Texas so we can do that. I’ll try to do Daytona and Houston, some of the closer ones, but once again it comes down to me proving myself, or I should say, reproving myself, and seeing where it takes me.
Hahn announced via Twitter yesterday that he was venturing into 2012 under his own team.
Photo: Simon Cudby
With the program you have, can you can get the results you need?
Yes. I think my bike will be one of the best out there, and like I said, not one person I’ve asked has said no to me. My worst fault is fixed now, and that was my shoulder. I feel stronger and more relaxed. I first hurt this shoulder 10 years ago. It pops out two or three times a year, and it’s always at the worst time, like just when I think it’s good. This year the week before Unadilla I popped it out practicing. I just taped it up, but in the first moto I hit a hole wrong and it popped back out. After that, riding off the track again with my shoulder out again, I was just in tears. I had to get it fixed, and that meant I couldn’t race anymore.
Basically from here, there’s only one way to go, and that’s up. And if it doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, because without being able to ride, I was so bored, all I could do was train.
Who do you want to thank?
First I want to thank Brian Siorke, my buddy from up in Kansas. He was one of the first people I called, and he didn’t hesistate to help. And also Altus Motorsports in Altus, Oklahoma, they helped us out big time and gave me a good deal on the bikes. Yoshimura and Factory Connection so far, and there will be a lot more once it all gets done. I Twittered this yesterday, and Jason, you would not believe how many people emailed me offering help. I think I have it all squared away, I just can’t quite talk about it yet. There were a couple of days where I sat on the couch thinking, “Dude, I’m done. I’m going back to school, going to college to become a physical therapist or something.” That’s where I was.
But to have good friends and family talk me out of that and say they believed in me and should give it another shot, man, it just gets me choked up thinking about it. And it gives me a new motivation to go out and prove myself. Obviously I have to thank my mom and dad and my brother for being behind me and supporting me through all of this. It’s basically back to square one. I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without my parents, and I won’t be able to get back to where I need to be without them. But when I was thinking about all of this, I said to them, “Well, I didn’t get anything this year, it looks like I’m going to college.” And they said they would support me in whatever it is. But then my brother, he said “No way. You’re not doing that. No way. You could get on any bike right now and beat me so you can’t quit.” I wish I had a tape recorder when he said I could beat him!
This whole thing has given me a new view on racing. This is what I love to do, ride my dirt bike. I’m not doing this for the money, I’m doing it because it’s what I know and what I want to do. If it doesn’t work out, oh well, but it will make a good story no matter what.