Hansen is poised to have his most successful season
By Nicholas Dettmann
Cedarburg’s Nick Hansen had a lot of time to think about his career-best finish in the AMA Pro Road Racing Series.
Or did he?
To start the 2014 season, Hansen finished third, his first career top-five finish, in the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XR1200 class at Daytona.
“It felt really good,” he said.
“I wanted to stay up there with the lead guys and I did,” Hansen added. “The first couple laps were iffy. Then halfway through it I was thinking, ‘Wow. I’m in third place.’“
Unfortunately for the AMA Pro Road Racing Series, there is a lot of downtime, which didn’t give Hansen much of a chance to build on the confidence boost built up at Daytona.
At the same time, there was too much going on in Hansen’s life for him to even think much about the podium finish at Daytona.
Hansen attends the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he is majoring in marketing. He also works part-time and tries to find time to train in the gym and hopefully on the race track here and there.
On May 31, he was back on the track preparing for a race, a special race. It was the Subway Superbike Doubleheader at Road America, more than two months after taking third at Daytona, an hour from his hometown.
“I’m glad to be back, but I’m just glad to be back on the bike,” Hansen said. “It’s been two and a half months of not racing at all. To be back on the bike is good and to be back home is really good.”
Hansen came away from the weekend with a ninth-place finish. He also competed in the SuperSport race May 31, but only completed one lap in the 10-lap race. He finished 38th. He didn’t compete in the June 1 race in the class.
On May 31, the race winners were: Corey Alexander (SuperSport), Jake Gagne (Daytona SportBike) and Cameron Beaubier (SuperBike). On June 1, the race winners were: Kyle Wyman (XR1200), Hayden Gillim (SuperSport), Gagne and Josh Hayes (SuperBike).
Hansen’s teammate, Benny Carlson of West Bend, was third.
Going into the weekend, Hansen said it was tense in the pit area.
“It’s not just because it’s the home track,” he said. “It’s because I’m third in the points. I think I have that ‘X’ mark on me. I feel like everybody is going to try and get behind me like they were in practice.”
Hansen said because he had such a good finish to start the season, it was hard not to think about. It was on his mind for about a month, all while everything else was going on in his busy life.
However, he wasn’t thinking about the excitement of finishing third at Daytona.
“If I would’ve done this, maybe I would’ve gotten second,” he recalled thinking in the weeks after Daytona. “Maybe I could have drafted better and got first. I was playing all that in mind over and over for a month. I was going to bed thinking about it.”
Once he was able to move on and, as patiently as he could, wait for the next race, he focused on school. The spring semester ended a week before the races at Road America. However, he was in the middle of a three-week interim class at Oshkosh.
In addition to school work, he worked out and had a part-time job at a local Holiday Inn Express. He was at the part-time job Monday through Saturday at about three or four hours at a time.
“There’s a lot going on,” Hansen said.
Finding a balance was tough. What helped him move on was he finally convinced himself that Daytona was over and he had other items to consider.
Hansen had exams during the week leading up to the race at his home track.
“I had to put racing behind me,” he said.
After he finishes his interim class, he’s off to his internship at Vance & Hines, a performance exhaust company in California.
“I had to schedule a routine,” Hansen said.
At the race track, Hansen has high hopes for the season. A good finish at Daytona can still be beneficial, despite the lack of track time. It was more of a confidence boost than anything else.
“My goal is to be in the top-five (in points),” Hansen said.
Hansen finished eighth in points last season in the XR class, making nine starts and had four top-10 finishes. In 2012, he was 12th in the points.
“I’m definitely trying to get a win this year,” he said, adding he believes he’s getting close. Daytona taught him that.
“I thought I had it,” Hansen said about his potential to win at Daytona.
After Road America, Hansen was fifth in the points, seven behind Danny Eslick for third and 15 behind Tyler O’Hara for the lead.
The series has four more events on the schedule this summer after Road America. The next one is the Triumph SuperBike Classic on June 21-22 in Birmingham, Ala. On July 11-13, the series will be at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., followed by Mid-Ohio (July 19-20) and New Jersey Motorsports Park (Sept. 13-14).
Follow Nicholas on Twitter: @dettmann_wbdn