“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” So said the Roman dramatist, philosopher, and politician named Seneca. This same wise man also went on to declare, “Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”
Where are we going with all this? Basically, if you pick up what Seneca is putting down, as far as achievement goes, you get out of it what you put into it. Seneca’s wisdom rings quite true when placed up against the seemingly new and improved racing career approach of Josh Hansen. With the exception of the odd X Games and local race appearances, Hansen was conspicuously absent from American motocross scene this past year. But all that is changing for the better due to a recently manufactured training and riding program, as well as some key sponsors. Working with Kawasaki and new trainer Ty Kady, Hansen is, well, more serious about this sport that has come more easily to him than perhaps he has ever been. In possession of a new opportunity and 100 percent serious about the preparation going into this new lease on life, Hansen is out to earn his own luck and make things happen. On an otherworldly hot day in Corona, California, Racer X talked with the man who was on a break from his program.
Racer X: Josh, what are you up to today?
Josh Hansen: Man, today I kind of have a little off day from riding. I’ve been riding and training. I finally got a trainer. His name is Ty Kady, and I’ve been working hard with that guy. We’ve been working through the weekend as well, so I’m taking off today and just doing some off-the-bike stuff, and I’ll back on it tomorrow and throughout the week.
Ty comes from the bicycle world, right?
Yeah, he came from the whole bicycle world, so he seems to know a little bit more about the body and cardio than I ever thought I knew [laughs].
You’re not necessarily known as the guy who tacks trainers down. What made you decide to take the plunge and get a guy?
Man, I don’t know. I would hate to leave the sport thinking that I didn’t try to at least do a couple years of putting out some hard work and actually seeing what I could do. I just want to kind of do it for myself. I’ve been watching main events, and these kids look like they go so fast and they’re all in shape. I can see myself going fast, but I just could never ever see myself being able to do the twenty laps. So maybe this time around I want to make sure I can go ahead and close the chapter to my book and show that I was at least able to go out there and throw down.
How long have you guys been working together, Josh?
I’m about two and half weeks into it right now,
What’s it like being on a training schedule, and what type of stuff are you guys doing?
Oh man, it’s been all over the board. I’ve been a little bit different than probably most people. Obviously, I’m a little bit later in starting off. I’ve never really done the whole training thing, so it was kind of like starting from scratch and just really trying to build a foundation. I’m definitely seeing dark days right off the bat just because my body is so far out of whack from not really riding for the last few years. It’s like a shock to my body. It’s a full day of just doing stuff all day. If it’s eating, if it’s sleeping, if it’s in the gym, I didn’t realize how much took. It’s 24/7 to keep at it.
How do you feel?
I feel better, but I feel so beat and tired now. I haven’t got to see the light out of yet because, like I said, it’s only the first weeks. In little areas I see it. Like, it’s a little bit easier to do more laps. I really don’t think I’ve seen the real outcome of this training yet, but I’ve got a long ways to go. Ty told me, “You’ll be better by the Monster Cup or by the Red Bull Straight race, but you’re not going to be in shape. But by January, when we go racing, you’re going to be a bad machine.” I’m like, “Alright. I’m down. I’ll put my head down and try it.” I’m hanging with it. I’m trying to see light.
What motorcycle have you been riding?
I’m riding my 450 right now just to get ready for these two races. I’ve got the Kawasaki guys who have really stepped up and helped me. Reid Nordin and Mike Williamson and kind of the whole crew just decided they would put their best foot forward and see what they could do with me, and maybe I could help a little bit on their side as well with development. They’ve given me a good opportunity to get good results out of both these races. That’s where I’m standing at right now. Last week was kind of the real big push of trying to get going on supercross. It’s all pretty good, but it’s go time.
You’ve raced world-class equipment during your career. Do you feel like Kawasaki is setting you up with an A-plus motorcycle?
Yeah, I think so. I’m not getting a full bike by any means, but I’ve definitely gotten a lot more stuff than I would have. I was going to go racing, either way. For them to want to help me was super nice of them. It wasn’t something they had to do, and I’m lucky to have that. I think those guys are A-plus down there and the way they run their program, and that definitely gives me that much more confidence. I feel like they’re the brains of the sport at the moment. I just really think they’ve got a good group of people who work very well together. Even if it’s the smallest things that they give me, it’s definitely a better direction for me.
So if I have it right, this October you’ll be competing in the Red Bull Straight Rhythm event as well as the Monster Cup. Is that correct?
Yeah, that’s the plan as of right now. Those are the two races coming up for me to try and get into shape. My biggest goal is to be ready to be on that starting gate this January.
What do you make of this Red Bull Straight Rhythm race? It certainly sounds pretty creative and unique.
I think it’ll be interesting. I think that it’s something kind of right up my alley. I always enjoy the jumps and stuff, and that’s all it is. Everybody likes seeing stuff that you don’t always see. It’s just a little bit of change in how things are, and that’s always a good thing. I’m super excited. I think the intensity will be there with the riders racing each other down a straight line and getting after it. I think it’s going to be an exciting race. I think it’s going to be a free for all.
And the Monster Cup with its three abbreviated motos. That could all play into your favor, and it very well may be an excellent opportunity to show off your new fitness program, couldn’t it?
I hope so. That’s my plan. It’ll be kind of cool to get back on a starting gate and kind of get my feet wet in riding with some of these top guys again. Yeah, with the three-moto format and the motos being a little shorter, I think could have a good chance there. I think I have a good chance in both of these races. I think these two races will be fun more than anything.
As far as 2015 goes, do you have any sort of plan yet or an idea of who will be helping you out?
I’m going to be doing the Kawasaki thing, and I’ll be with MotoSport. As far as everything else, I’m trying to figure that out, and I’m trying to get sponsors. Everything is just up in the air right now. And as far as what class I’ll ride, it’s looking like I might go down the Lites road just because I might be able to get a little more funding because I’ll be doing less races and stuff. I’m trying to do it on my own. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do both the 450 and 250 Classes. This whole thing has been something I’ve been working on for probably the last year. It’s not easy to just come off the couch. Obviously, I’ve had so many chances to be on so many good teams and to go out there and put your hand, it’s not that easy. I didn’t really know how this was all going to play out. I started trying really hard right away and the feedback I got from a lot of people was better than I thought. Not only are they helping me out, but I’d really like to pay them back by me doing my job and making them look good.
You have a lot of supporters out there. You also have your fair share of detractors. I must say, though, I think this is the most serious I’ve ever heard you.
This whole thing is cool. I can’t really feel like the haters can hate on my program now. It’s not like I’m going to go to any team. I’ve had opportunities to maybe go to some teams for this next year and I didn’t take them. I’m actually just trying to do it for myself. I’m trying to do Team 100 around myself and for myself, so then I don’t owe it to anybody but myself. And when it does come down, it comes down upon me. I’m not sitting here looking for another chance. No. I’m trying to get my funding to get on the road and to myself. I want to try and make it the best situation as possible. I’m going to go racing, and I’m going to make the best of it.
People have always said, “If Josh ever applied himself, he could make it happen.” Sounds like you’re applying yourself.
Well, I guess we’ll soon find out. I just want to thank everybody. I want to thank the AMA for letting me back in the sport and for giving me the opportunity to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing since I was a little kid. I want to thank Kawasaki for helping getting me back on my feet and for giving me a good, honest push. And I want to thank all my fans out there for caring for me even though it’s been years since I’ve been out on the track. I feel like I have a good push from behind, and that’s so rad to see.