The Bob Hannah Interview

Dec 30, 2019

This story was written back in 2000. We have included it for those who want to hear Bob Hannah’s unvarnished truth. Funny, scathing and absolutely true…only the names have changed to protect the innocent. In 2000 the MXA wrecking crew asked Bob Hannah to tell us what’s wrong with the current crop of MXers. And he should know. After his amazing career came to an end, Bob spent the next decade working with the stars of tomorrow Team Suzuki and Team Yamaha. What he said 18 years ago—shocked everyone. Read it for yourself



WHAT IS GREATNESS IN HANNAH’S BOOK?


“Jeremy is undoubtedly the greatest Supercross rider there ever has been and probably ever will be. He picked a good time to win, because he’s racing against a bunch of morons (not to take anything away from him). Johnson, Stanton, Bailey and myself on our best day couldn’t beat Jeremy in Supercross. I’ll bet $10 grand nobody can beat his record in the next ten years. If I find somebody who wants that bet, I’ll put the money in escrow. I don’t think it’ll happen. McGrath has more wins than Rick Johnson and me put together, and I know how hard it was for me to get what I got. I’ll bet Johnson will tell you it was hard to get what he got. To win twice as many? I don’t care who you are, you worked hard for that. But, it is a weak field out there.”

HANNAH ON BEING ASHAMED

“It is embarrassing to me to see these guys ride. If that is all they have to offer, they need to go home. I feel sorry for guys like Roger DeCoster and Keith McCarty, who have to work with these guys daily. They don’t have a gene pool to pull from. The selection process is reduced to the morons that are available, so which moron do you want?


The infamous Howerton-Hannah duel at Saddleback. 

“I’m really hard nosed and I feel sick about it. I’ll tell any one of them to their face. A couple of them I wouldn’t want to tell to their face, because I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings, but I guess I’d have to if they asked me straight.

“Ricky Carmichael may throw himself on the ground a few times, but he’s got heart. But I don’t see heart in anybody else. They take their money and finish fourth. I see these guys congratulating themselves for taking fourth or second. They are pumped for taking second! I say they’re all on a Sunday cruise and should be fired. It is a joke.”


HANNAH ON NATURAL TALENT

“These guys have talent, but in my book, guys who have talent and don’t put it to use are worthless. Mark Barnett didn’t have half the talent that some of these kids have in one hand, but look what he did with what he had. Ricky Johnson and Jeff Stanton didn’t have natural talent. I don’t think I had it! Think about this: Barnett, Johnson, Stanton, DeCoster and myself didn’t go in to racing with the talent that Ron Lechien had. Ron had the talent to win on any given day and, for a while, he could do it without training. None of us could have won without training. These young guys have the talent, but since they don’t have heart, they are a waste of skin.



HANNAH ON ANGER

 

“David Bailey got tired of hearing about Ricky Johnson, Ricky Johnson and Ricky Johnson. I got tired of hearing about Roger DeCoster, Roger DeCoster and Roger DeCoster. I was jealous of his position. I wanted his spot. I wanted to beat him for pure ego. It had nothing to do with money. If money is a factor, then you have a problem, because money won’t motivate you for very long. The kids today are signing such big contracts that money shouldn’t matter. These riders aren’t tired of hearing about Jeremy McGrath, Jeremy McGrath and Jeremy McGrath. They aren’t jealous of McGrath. That is sad. I would hate Jeremy if I was racing against him. I would want to beat him bad. They don’t even want a piece of him. They go, ‘McGrath won and I got second, so I really won because we can’t beat him.’ They are like that all the way to tenth place. I’m not as hostile on any other issue, but this gets to me.

“So many of these kids think they have arrived. They haven’t! You know when you have arrived? When you win a championship fair and square. And not some meaningless 125 East or 125 West Championship.”

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