Photos and Words by Mike Emery | @emeryphoto
Josh Hansen has been flying under the radar recently, and yesterday we stopped by his race shop to check out his latest set of wheels he plans on competing with. On the race stand sat a 2017 Suzuki RM-Z450, complete with select components from Suzuki and Showa that make it a very nice ride. A podium finisher at last year's Red Bull Straight Rhythm, Josh had planned on racing this bike at this year's event until an unfortunate crash set him back. He'll ride today to test out the pain, but until that decision is made we sat down and chatted about his new endeavors…
What's up, Josh? We haven't seen you in a while, and there's a Suzuki on the stand in front of us right now.
Yeah, I recently started riding the Suzuki through the help of Chris Wheeler over at Suzuki, Scott Bennett over at Showa, and Kenny Watson. They all kind of helped this thing come together, and I really enjoy the bike. I've ridden them before, like back in 2013 for X Games. They are great bikes, and I love the way they feel. I'm feeling pretty comfortable on this thing and I've barely even ridden it.
Last year you ran the Team 100 race team through the West Coast 250 Supercross Series. Are you looking to continue that program into 2018?
Yeah, that's the plan but the new thing being it's a Suzuki RM-Z450 and they are helping me out. I plan on racing Supercross in 2018.
But this bike you're on is a 2017 –explain that to those wondering why.
Yeah, the reason I'm on the 2017 right now is because the 2018 just came out and they are still working through some testing, and there are a lot of parts that aren't completely available yet. The chassis is different on the new bike so I'm just kind of waiting on everything, and as of right now I'm just riding this 2017, which has been awesome. The plan is to get on the new bike, but that's up to Suzuki on when they get me set up. It's easier to get our heads wrapped around this bike quickly jumping on it, and if the JGR team is still working on getting everything dialed in there is no reason I would be on the new bike. I'm just staying in my lane.
So with some direct support from Suzuki, you've been able to set this thing up pretty good.
Yeah, they've been great and are helping me out here and there. It's not a full-fledged factory bike by any means, but they are giving me a lot of help and a motorcycle to ride so I am grateful. I'm trying to continue with my team, and build a good foundation to where down the road I'll be able to have people ride for my team when I decide to retire. I want to keep it going because I love this stuff. It's what I was born to be around and do, so I would love to be able to carry on the efforts with someone that deserves it down the road.
You've done a god job of making it happen for yourself these past few years.
Yeah, I think the team has done well so far, but it can always be better. It's hard –it's a lot harder than people think. You have to put a lot of trust into people too, and get money for the team, which is not a walk in the park. Some of it is smoke and mirrors too, but at the end of the day we are getting better at what we do. I'm excited for the future, I like the Suzuki, and I'm super excited to be on it for Straight Rhythm.
So Straight Rhythm…you got third last year and the event suits your style well. Unfortunately you crashed before Monster Energy Cup while training –what's the status of your foot?
I took a little crash last week before Monster Cup, and my plan was to come in under the radar. I hurt my heel, and I'm trying to work that out. We're not 100% on whether or not I'll be out there this weekend but that is definitely the goal. It's been a struggle –I am riding tomorrow (Friday) to see how my pain levels are and hope to line up Saturday.
Hope to see you out there. Who do want to thank?
Huge thanks to Nut Up Industries, Lunar Pages, Suzuki, Showa, Shift, FOX, RBI, Yoshimura, Renthal, Dunlop tires, Hinson, D.I.D, Hinson, LVN100, Kenny Watson and Scott Bennett for helping me out and everyone else who supports me. Thank you.