Hahn Has Something To Prove In Return To GEICO Honda Team

BUCHANAN, Mich. (June 29) — Wil Hahn made it through one practice session in the first race of the 2011 season before wrecking his GEICO Honda CRF250R hard enough to break his back. It wasn’t exactly the debut he was hoping for with one of the top teams in the sport.

Half a year later, Hahn has returned, and he’s ready to show his team owners, sponsors, and fellow riders that he hasn’t lost his desire to win and dominate in professional motocross competition. He’ll take to the track for the first time this Saturday at the RedBud National, alongside teammates Kevin Windham, Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia, and Lance Vincent.

“It’s been a long six months,” Hahn said. “It’s tough to just sit there and watch everyone else have all the fun, but there wasn’t much I could do. You have to recover and heal, listen to what the doctors tell you, and just wait for your turn. Now it’s my turn.”

Despite the long layoff, Hahn, a runner-up in the 2010 Supercross Lites West standings, said he’s ready to contend for race titles beginning in RedBud.

“I feel as though I’m completely prepared,” he said. “Physically, I’m 100 percent healthy. I’ve been riding a lot and I feel good on the bike. My conditioning is good.

 

“I want to go after the win. In my mind I’ll be a contender the moment the gate drops. Besides, I’m pretty anxious to show these guys they made the right choice in hiring me.”

Coming off a season-best, third-place overall result at the last tour stop in his home state of Colorado, Tomac is anxious for another big weekend on his GEICO Honda CRF250R that will lift him higher than his current fourth-place ranking in the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship Series.

“RedBud is actually my favorite track,” Tomac said. “Everyone thinks because I’m from Colorado that Thunder Valley would be my favorite place, and I definitely like it there because I’m in very familiar surroundings, but to me nothing beats RedBud. I love the fans there and the track is just awesome.

“I feel like I’m riding well right now but I have room to improve. I was a solid third in both motos in Denver and had to ride through some traffic to get up there, but (Dean) Wilson and (Blake) Baggett were just on it. I’ve got my work cut out for me to catch those two guys, but I can definitely improve.”

Also fourth in the points, 450cc pro Windham had so much fun in Denver that he immediately decided to race this weekend in Michigan. Windham is filling in for injured rider Trey Canard on the American Honda Racing team, a sister operation to the GEICO Honda group.

“It’s tough on the sponsors and the teams when you’re indecisive on whether you’re going to ride or not so I told everyone last weekend that I’d ride RedBud,” Windham said. “I’ve had good results at the last two races and I feel really strong and in shape. I’ve able to hold my own and not get tired so hopefully we can get a podium finish soon.

“I need to work on speed now but I’m mostly happy to be racing for all the fans out there. It gets harder to race every year at my age (33), but its also hard to stay away and miss out on this and the fans. Every time the gate drops and you’re not apart of it, it feels like you are missing a piece of yourself.”

Barcia has been steaming mad since his accident-plagued outing in the Mile High City and he’s anxious to put that memory behind him with a big weekend in Michigan on his 250cc Honda.

“I’ve been riding hard this week,” Barcia said. “I wasn’t happy with anything that happened last weekend. All I can do at this point is direct my energy to RedBud and fight for a podium finish. That’s really the only thing that’s going to make me feel better.”

Rookie Lance Vincent also will compete in RedBud, giving the team four 250cc riders.

“I rode up there with the top guys for a long time in Denver until my bike stopped working,” Vincent said. “It showed me I have the speed to run with anyone. My confidence is growing each race.”

Tomac’s Overall Podium Finish a Highlight of High Point Nationals

MT. MORRIS, Pa. (June 11) — GEICO Honda Lites rider Eli Tomac found a quick way around a muddy High Point Raceway in Moto 2 to secure an overall third-place result at Saturday’s Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motorcycle Championship series stop in southwest Pennsylvania.

Tomac improved from sixth place in Moto 1 to a third-place finish in Moto 2, the best outing of the four GEICO riders in attendance. Kevin Windham went 6-5 in his two motos for a sixth-place overall ranking in 450cc competition. Justin Barcia was 8-7 for sixth overall in Lites, while fill-in rider Lance Vincent went 19-27 for 20th, also in Lites.

It took a breadth of riding ability to make it through the day as the first motos in both classes took place on a dusty and dry course. Then an intense but short afternoon rain shower soaked the facility and made the second round of motos a muddy battle of survival.

“It went from hard-packed and kind of slick in the first moto to muddy and really slick in the second moto, but I’ve always been good in the mud so it worked out,” Tomac said. “It kind of came to me. Some guys struggle when it’s wet but I like it.

“It’s nice to get on the podium. I definitely want to be on top of the podium but we’re not quite there yet. Hopefully the trend we started in Supercross will start in Motocross because once I found the podium over there I was on it every race.”

Filling in for the injured Trey Canard on the American Honda Racing team, GEICO legend Windham had a solid day on his CRF450R. But the veteran rider was expecting more.

“I felt like I’d be well on my way by this point in the season so I’m a little bit frustrated,” WIndham said. “It’s the winner’s instinct in me that just makes me want to come out here and win these things. If you’ve ever won before you know how addicting it can be. It’s why we do this and what keeps us coming back for more even when we don’t do so well.

“To hear all the cheers and feel the fan support is awesome. It’s great for Honda and GEICO as well as for me. I have had a lot of success at High Point and although we couldn’t capitalize on it today I still love this track and all the great fans.”

Barcia, who has been fighting through a viral infection over the past few days, admits he got tired during his two motos.

“I was struggling,” Barcia said. “I went out there and did my best but unfortunately my best wasn’t good enough today.

“I don’t usually feel like this and it really bummed me out. I have a bit of a bug so I haven’t been feeling my best and I really think it got to me today. I just need to go home, get some rest, and go to the doctors so we can figure out exactly what’s going on.”

Up next on the AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule is Saturday’s Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, Md.