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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Josh Hansen toughs it out in San Diego


After taking a nasty spill in the whoop section during Anaheim 2 practice, Hansen suffered a concussion and a broken finger, but went on to win the race. True perseverance.

30 minutes after the tarp covering the rain lashed Supercross circuit built upon the gridiron of San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium was removed, the 250 West Region Lites class was sent down the tunnel for its first practice session for the sixth round of the 2011 championship series. Not even one lap in, Monster Energy/Kawasaki/Pro Circuit rider and class points-leader Josh Hansen terrifically overshot a triple jump and crushed what was already a badly broken hand. In severe pain, Hansen raced off the track and up the tunnel (nearly running this writer over in the muddy madness). So bad was the impact, that doctors, as well as the team questioned whether Hansen would be able to race that night. Hansen toughed it out, though, placing fourth overall in his heat race, thus putting him in the main event.

Upon visiting the rider back in the pits, Hansen sat, white as a ghost, in unbearable pain, his father Donnie trying to keep him calm.

"Man, I'm not sure how I'm going to get through this," he said to nobody in particular.

"Use the approach you did at Anaheim 2, dude," I said. "Just try and think it's 15 minutes out of your life."

Hansen did race, and in the process, pulled off a hard earned sixth place finish. It was a truly valiant effort and one that allowed him to keep a three-point lead in the West Region Lites title chase (Hansen has 128 points to teammate Broc Tickle's 125 and Honda's Eli Tomac's 116). With six rounds in the AMA history books and an eight-week break until the next West Region round slated for Seattle, Washington on April 16, on Monday morning, Hansen went right into surgery to have his destroyed left hand repaired.

"I wasn't out there to race," he explained. "I just concentrated on finishing each lap. I ended up in sixth. It was all so bad and so frustrating, but you know, it worked out pretty well."

"I've been in bed and I just got out of the hospital," said a happy but somewhat groggy Hansen on Wednesday morning. "When the doctors went in for surgery on my hand they found things were worse than they first start. There was all kinds of stuff in the hand bone fragments"

In a three-hour-long surgical procedure performed by Dr. Reimond, the broken knuckle of Hansen's left pinky finger was plated and secured with six individual pins. Furthermore, so extensive was the damage to the knuckle that a bone graft had to be performed, as well. Nonetheless, was all was said and done, Hansen's surgery was considered to be a total success.

"The doctors told me the surgery went real well," offered Hansen. "Basically, it's going to take three to four weeks to heal. I guess I'm just waiting."

"My hand is super-sore and the tendons and nerves are all messed up," he furthered. "You know, my hand feels like it's on fire right now, man."

And of the race he placed sixth in?

"I wasn't out there to race," he explained. "I just concentrated on finishing each lap. I ended up in sixth. It was all so bad and so frustrating, but you know, it worked out pretty well. I just tried to ride my own race and stay out of the way. I didn't want to have problems with other people -- I didn't want to get in a crash or have anybody land on me. It was basically just survival out there for 15 laps. I was really fortunate to pull off sixth considering after that practice session I didn't even think I was going to race."

Hansen is still confident after surgery, "I'm not feeling too hot right now. However, the surgery is done and I can't wait to ride a motorcycle again without being in pain. I'm going to be ready for the last three rounds. I'm excited."

Said Hansen in closing: "I'm in good spirits. I'm happy, but I'm loopy. I'm not all there. I'm not feeling too hot right now. However, the surgery is done and I can't wait to ride a motorcycle again without being in pain. I'm on the way up from here and I'm going to be ready for the last three rounds (Seattle, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas). I'll be ready to go. I'm excited."

The winner of the season opening Anaheim 1, Phoenix and Anaheim 2 rounds of the 2011 series, Hansen, an eight-year veteran of the sport, has never won a championship.