Hahn scores first career victory, puts GEICO Honda on top of podium

Hahn scores first career victory, puts GEICO Honda on top of podium

ATLANTA  -- GEICO Honda rider Wil Hahn had a long time to think about what his first victory would be like in the AMA Supercross Series. Sunday night at the Georgia Dome, it all unfolded perfectly for the 23-year-old as he lead from wire-to-wire to claim his first trophy in five professional seasons.

"It actually went down exactly how I've always envisioned it," Hahn said. "I got the holeshot, I put in the laps, and I stayed calm -- that's what it took to win.

"It's all kind of surreal. It's taking me some time to let this get into my head. It's overwhelming; that's why I took a victory lap. I wanted to squeeze every bit out of it and the crowd was going nuts. This is just a very, very satisfying feeling."

Adding to the accomplishment is the fact Hahn rode with a broken middle toe on his left foot, the same foot he uses to shift gears. Hahn injured the digit in a collision with teammate Zach Bell during the heat race, which Hahn also won.

"My toe is shattered," said Hahn, who had eight previous podium finishes before this victory. "They stitched it up in the Asterisk Medical Trailer and I'll need to get it examined again but it looks pretty bad. Still, I wasn't going to let it stop me."

Hahn's win moved him into second place in the 250SX East standings, just two points behind Dean Wilson, who stayed in second throughout the race.

"I knew he was there and after settling in those first few laps I made a real hard push to get some breathing room on him," Hahn said. "It worked, and I was able to gain some space. After that I relied on my fitness and training and just started counting down the laps. I got hung up behind a few lappers towards the end. I'm not used to being the first guy through the lappers, so I learned a little there. Now I'm ready for anything."

Eli Tomac posted a solid seventh-place finish in his first 450SX start. A four-time winner in the 250SX West series this year, Tomac is competing in four races on a 450 this year to get some experience in advance of a move to the top category next year.

"It's ridiculous when you look at the top eight, 10 guys in this class and they're all champions," Tomac said. "This class is no joke. I got a bad gate pick and it made it tough for me.

"It was a great learning experience, for sure. I learned a lot about the bike. It's a beast. There are some things I want to change in the suspension and gearing that I think will help. I also need to get past guys quicker on the track. Hopefully, it will all come together for me in St. Louis."

Just as he did in his debut one week ago in Dallas, Bell showed exceptional quickness on the night, leading the heat race for five laps before his brush with Hahn and a spill a few turns later relegated him to fifth. He then got a mid-pack start in the main and stayed in the chase group throughout the race, finishing 10th overall.

"Mission accomplished," Bell said. "I really wanted to get through a race healthy and I did. I'm building my confidence and getting more comfortable and I think I'll only get better. I know I can do this."

Combined with a DNF last week, Bell is now in 13th place in 250SX East.

The tour now heads to St. Louis for next Saturday's race at Edward Jones Dome.

Dusty Brandel

President of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc. Worked with Mike Hollander since Tapsis, Compuserve, etc. and has posted to the website since the beginning. First Female photo-journalist to be given a garage and pit pass for the NASCAR garage, 1972 at Ontario Motor Speedway. One of first seven female writers, photographers given access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage and pits in 1971. Past President of Greater Los Angeles Press Club, 1992-96, and first female editor of the 8-Ball publication for the Press Club

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Volume 2012, Issue 10, Posted 12:13 AM, 02.24.2013