Wil Hahn is pretty happy go lucky character who always seems to enjoy being at the races. But this season he showed that he also had the focus and mental strength to become a champion after winning the East Coast 250 supercross title.
The title went down to the final round and Hahn, under big pressure from Marvin Musquin, did enough to take the title despite breaking his hand earlier in the day.
It was a huge victory for the friendly, chatty American but it seems that as we look towards 2014 and Hahn moves up to the 450 class, that he is being overshadowed once again.
We caught up with Hahn at Bercy to talk to him about winning that title and remind everyone that it isn’t just Roczen and Tomac moving up to the 450 next year – the 250 East Coast champion will be there too!
MX Vice: You had a pretty awesome supercross season and you finally made a dream come true.
Wil Hahn: Yeah dreams came true and just staying healthy was my main goal. I had a blast doing it, we had a great time and worked hard. Not only for me but for my family to get that title because there was a lot of sacrifice for me. The main thing is having fun and to be able to come and do races like this is pretty special to me.
MX Vice: You were in the hunt with the points the whole way through, did you feel the pressure building or where you fairly calm?
Wil Hahn: Surprisingly I felt calm the whole time. I mean, you feel it and if anyone says they are not thinking championship they are crazy because it is there and it weighs on you but I felt like I handled it really well. I didn’t want it to come to the last race but it did.
MX Vice: Musquin got hot there mid-season and won a few rounds but were you still confident that you could do it?
Wil Hahn: Yeah I was still confident especially at Vegas, before my crash I felt unstoppable, I had the fastest times and thought I would win no problem then I had the crash. But Marvin was on it all year and he is just a great competitor and respectful, we never hit each other on the track and had lot of mutual respect and for me that was really special.
MX Vice: Going into the final round since you are both nice guys and not dirty riders, do you think that helped you both relax a bit because you knew neither of you would do anything crazy?
Wil Hahn: I think so. You never know with a championship coming down to the wire but we hadn’t talked to each other. So on the gate I said to him, ‘this is stupid, and he said, ‘ Yeah I wanted to talk to you all day.’ I’m just glad to be able to call him a friend and a great competitor. I think it helped because we knew the best rider would win that night and it wasn’t going to come down to dirtiness or anything.
MX Vice: A couple of years before that you got hurt straight away when you were one of the favourites, this year you maybe weren’t the favourite but one of the guys/ contenders. Was it annoying not to come in as the main guy or were you just focused on staying healthy?
Wil Hahn: I think I felt like I did in 2010 this year. I came in that year and no-one expected me to do anything and I got second. In 2011 people expected me to win and I crashed and got hurt a lot so I think once you know you can be one of the guys it doesn’t matter what they think.
Yeah I got counted out but it didn’t really bother me. I had a lot to prove because the people that count you out are normally right!
MX Vice: At Vegas when you crashed did you know your hand was broken going into the main?
Wil Hahn: Yeah… well I didn’t know because I had an X-ray and I asked them not to tell me because I was better not knowing! But you know when you break as many bones as we do that something is not right. It hurt but it was one of those things that there was a lot on the line so you just swallow it and put it all out there.
MX Vice: Was it hard to miss the start of the outdoors after the confidence you gained by winning the supercross title?
Wil Hahn: Absolutely because I had never been awesome outdoors and I felt like I wanted to carry my confidence into the outdoor season that I had from supercross. We still did ok I think I ended up 12th overall despite missing the first five rounds so it was still a good season but I wish I could have made the first couple of rounds.
MX Vice: What was with all those holeshots, it seemed you came back and holeshot nearly every race.
Wil Hahn: I don’t know! I guess having the best bike on the track. We just have really good bike – I think my mechanic packs my gate the best!
MX Vice: Next season people because of Tomac and Roczen moving up, I think people forget that you are a 250SX champion moving up as well. Do you feel like you have been counted out a bit? What are you expectations?
Wil Hahn: Yeah I feel like I have been overshadowed but that’s fine, it’s kind of like last year. My expectations are to learn, it’s a long season and I want to make every single round and if I keep progressing at the rate I am right now then I will be where I need to be.
Interview and picture by Jonathan McCready