Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1982 04 21

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Hansen was married to the lovely Lisa Petty. daughter of plastic products prophet Preston Petty. Wh en th e 1982 Supercross season kick ed off at An aheim with the Miller High Life Supercross Kickoff. Hansen scored h is first overall victory with a n impressi ve win .before a sta d iu m record crowd of 70.205. Another win in Seattle and cons is te n t fini shes since then h a ve Hansen running first in th e Wrangler Supercross Series point sta ndi n gs wi th five even ts remaining. Donnie a n d Lis a liv e in th e growing suburb of Ca nyon Country. located in northern Los Angeles county. The effects of Donnie's success are ap p aren t in th e very neighborhood: " No ne of th ese kids rod e before Donni e m oved h ere." said Li sa as an assort ment of minis and trailbikes buz zed by o n th e street. " No w all of th em do. Donnie trades th em goggles or ot he r gea r to work in th e yard or wash th e car." Eac h of the riders looks lik e a m iniature Donnie Hansen clone. with jerseys th at wrap the diminu tive riders severa l times over. Hansen has a reputation as a qui et pers on. but wh en he sa t down with us he h ad a good deal to say. He doesn't talk a lot . usually. but he do es h ave his views. Jo in us as we talked... C\J 00 0"> ...... ...... C\J Life in the fast lane Donnie Hansen By Karel Kramer Photos by Mark Kariya and Kramer L ife in the fast lane - it's somewhat of a Califor n ia-esque term, but it certainly sums up the last three years in the life of o n e Do n n ie Hansen, a motocrosser from the ". Golden State who's approaching 16 the peak of his profession. Hansen 's first appearance in the National spotlight came in the 1979 Superbowl of Motocross. where he turned in a seventh place fin ish on a privateer Can-Am. That plus a lot of local success led to a Honda factory ride beginning in 1980. Injuries kept him down somewhat in 1980. but 1981 found him climb- ing upward at a dizzying rate. H e finished third in th e 250cc National MX wars behind superstars Kent Howerton and Bob Hannah. and placed six th in both the Supercross and Trans- USA seri es to net the best overall record of any Honda rider. In September of 1981. Hansen was picked to the " secon d rate " team o f Honda riders in a last minute Tro-' phee and Motocross des Nations effort. European chortles before th e event turned in to American national pride afterwards as th e team of Dann y LaPorte. Johnny O 'Mara, Chuck Sun a nd Hansen decimated both races. It was truly a landmark event. And such landmarks were to continue. On Dec. 26 of the same year. You were racing here in California an d it looked like instantly you were an Expert going fast and you got your factory ride on one race. You finished seventh a t the Coliseum on your Can-Am and all of a sudden you were a factory rider going fast, Bu t that's not true, you've been riding for a long time haven't you? I started wh en I was seven. I was riding quite a while and th en I started ra cing TTs. I rode those for a couple of years a nd a guy named Ron Smith wanted to sponsor somebody in motocross. He had so me Maicos a n d was looking for someone to ride hi s bik es. He talked to th is Larry Sh oema ker at Internation al Yamaha in Canoga Park. He happened to be a friend of o urs a nd he su gges ted me. I decided I'd try it , because things would be free a n d th at 'd be grea t because my dad was paying for everything in th e scra m bles an d it was expens ive. We borrowed a 250 Yamaha a nd went out to Valley Cycle Park. I won that da y in th e 250cc Junior class so Ron wa s happy with th e way I was riding so I had Ma icos. It was kind o f lik e a factory ride when I was a Junior. because every thi ng was paid for a n d I h ad new bik es every three or four months and wha tever we needed in th e wa y o f travel an d st u ff. It mad e it a lot easier on us an d I turned Pro within six months or so. I was riding locall y o n the Maicos for Ron and California Motorsports an d th en we sta rte d riding Yamaha. I got a su p p ort ride through Yam aha and I wa s riding out of Shoemaker Cycle Servi ce. I rode for them for a co u p le of yea rs . At th e en d . we weren't getting good help from Yamaha. I only had one bike and the thing was getting really old and every week we had to completely tear it apart and weld up the frame and rebuild the sh ocks. just really old and whipped. . Yamaha wasn't giving me another bike so Can-Am was going to help us out. We figured that it might be better since Can-Am was so small that we might be able to get more attention. so we decided to go with CanAm . I rode th e Florida series the first year. I went back there and didn't do all that good, but I learned a lot on the rough tracks, the sa nd and got a lot of experience. The tracks were so much different that when I ca me home I was pumped to be back home on the tracks th at I'm used toand when I got back I was

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