Josh Hansen is on his second tour of duty with the Hart and Huntington team and what used to appear a perfect fit, has shown signs of cracks and may have even broken apart completely.
It’s no secret that Josh has a tendency to attract drama. Whether by his own direct choices or collateral damage resulting from his naturally free-spirited way of life. Some love him and some hate him but at this point of his career, you can’t deny, he is who he is and he’s not going to pretend to be something he’s not. He just can’t do it, the dog and pony show would leave him more nauseated and hapless than dealing with the blows resulting from the questionable choices he makes from time to time.
I respect his not trying to sell himself as something he is not, that happens all too often in the world these days. Akin to over-the-top politically correctness, it’s phony, smacks of disingenuousness and is utterly transparent. That’s not to say the decisions he makes are advisable, especially when they have proven to have dire effects on his career on a rather consistent basis.
This weekend in Southwick, the pits were abuzz with gossip of Josh being let go from the H&H team. It’s no surprise for rumors to be making their rounds from week to week but when they are this widespread and no longer constrained to whispers amongst a few, they become harder and harder to brush off. When questioned on the situation on this weeks PulpMX Show, current H&H Team Manager, Kenny Watson, pleaded the 5th. It was not the time or place for him to reveal the information that only the top brass of the team is contemplating regarding Josh’s future with the team.
Will Hanny remain with the new H&H in 2013?
Following Hanny’s generally optimistic 2011 on the Pro Circuit bike, we expected Hanny to show both, flashes of brilliance and contrasting, forgettable results in 2012. On the contrary, Hanny was less of each and landed somewhere in the middle. It didn’t last though as Hanny dealt with injury, a black flag for cutting the track, a bar fight, eluding police on a scooter at Vegas SX, in other words, being “Hanny”. Sure these indictments aren’t prison-sentence worthy but they’re certainly not befitting a committed racer with an eye on his career. These acts could even be tolerated were the results there, it’s amazing the amount of shit that results can sweep away from a teams consciousness. On the flip side, when the results aren’t there, the exact opposite happens, these instances become fodder for the canon preparing to blow you out of your position with the team.
Now as the H&H Team embarks on another year of racing, following the business plan that began on a napkin, they are preparing to take their biggest step up since the team’s inception. The G.O.A.T, Ricky Carmichael, is coming aboard to steer the soon to be yellow ship toward that next level of racing. Results.
It’s no secret how talented Hanny is but as we write about ad-nauseum in this sport, talent is only a nominal piece of the puzzle required to result in a promising, sustained career in moto. The dedication to a life of preparation for Saturday’s and Saturnight’s is all-consuming. No one knows this better than Ricky, the guy who forced the sport as a whole to wake up when he showed everyone that preparation and heart can indeed trump talent.
Hanny’s recent escapades at Zwartcross were captured in many mediums and made available for public display. Again, his free-spirited nature compels him to, well, be him. It’s not even remotely shocking that Hanny’s antics fly in the face of everything that R.C. stood and stands for. The incoming R.C. doesn’t need to deal with the drama and complications that seem to follow the 100 along his career-path. Especially not in his first year working as Team Manager.
The dancing girls and beer pong were a long time ago for the now utterly legitimate Hart and Huntington team. Sporting more sponsors than they have real-estate to display them, Hart and Huntington’s “Innovator” award was bestowed upon the team for good reason. They have gone out of industry to pull in impressive and more importantly, lasting sponsorships with reputable businesses.
Hart and Huntington have grown as a team in terms of approach and goals and understandably want to fill their stable with riders who share that common vision. Hanny’s past and even recent past don’t necessarily point toward him being the natural fit he once was.
H&H has grown up; but has Hanny? That answer seems pretty clear but the more important question is, is the newest iteration of Hart and Huntington interested in another year of “The Hanny Project”, or have they decided to cut their losses and say goodbye to a friend of the team?