Josh Hansen: Perseverance at Anaheim 2 SX

Jean Turner | February 7, 2011

After an electrifying Lites race at Anaheim II and celebrating his win on the podium, it was straight to the Asterisk Mobile Medical Center for Josh Hansen. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider took a nasty spill in the whoop section during practice and suffered a concussion and a broken finger. Hansen knocked himself silly in the crash, and doctors wouldn’t clear him to ride the night program, but sitting on the sidelines simply wasn’t an option for the current Lites West series points leader.”I can’t let this championship go,” was what Hansen pleaded to his father and his team, who finally made the decision to line up for the night program. In the end, injured or not, it could not have been a more stellar performance from Hansen, who grabbed the holeshot and rode 15 flawless laps under relentless pressure from both Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen to take the win, and stretch out his points lead in the championship.Hansen’s father, former Supercross Champion Donnie Hansen, talked about his son’s amazing performance, and making the gut-wrenching decision to let him ride.You must be beaming with pride right now.I’m very proud of him. He rode with his head, and after being injured this morning in practice, I was hoping for a top-10 finish to just salvage some points, and he did what he had to do to come out on top and I’m very excited, very proud of him.What was the extent of the injuries? He broke his finger – his pinky on his left hand – so he had that taped up and he also had the head injury.Did he lose consciousness?I don’t think he was unconscious but the medic – [Dr.] Bodnar – said that in the tunnel [between the track and the pites] he kept asking the same questions over and over again. Dr. Bodnar, said, “No way. He can’t ride.” He told Mitch [Payton, Hansen’s team manager] and he told myself that, “if it was up to me, no, he can’t ride. You guys make the call.” We had to sign the waiver from the AMA to let him ride. Josh said, “I can do it.” He had tears in his eyes, and he said, “I can’t let this championship go.”

Was it hard to make the decision to let him ride? Before the heat race I was a little worried. I didn’t want him to go out there. Doc Bodnar said, “You go out there and hit your head again you might not wake up.” So I’m thinking to myself, “Do we want him to go out there?” But Josh said, “I feel good. I feel alright.” Not that he felt alright but he felt good; he could do it.

He went out there, he holeshotted his heat race and he won that thing, and I said, “Sonofa- He’s got something in there.”For the main event, I thought he could get on the box. Then he holeshotted, and he rode smart, and I’m just ecstatic at how he performed tonight.He was just unmovable. He had nothing but pressure the entire 15 laps and didn’t even bobble. Yep. He didn’t need that finger that he broke and that semi-coma that he had… no big deal. He can ride with half a brain. He had some pressure on him and he did what he had to do. I’m ecstatic for him.


Jean Turner | Contributor

A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.