Donnie Hansen - Raiders Of The Archives

THE EVENT: "The first moto , I was winning and Ricky Johnson was second, and I had a pretty good distance on him. Toward the end of the race, I crashed pretty hard, got back up, Ricky passed me, and I caught back up to him but I finished behind him. I hurt my foot during the crash. Second moto, I went out and won, so I got the overall. A couple weeks later I went to my friend's house, he had to go his doctor and I was with him. He said, 'let's get your foot checked out while you're in there.' They checked it out and sure enough I had a fracture on the top of my foot…. I did go ahead and win the championship, beat out Ricky. Nothing to do with the picture, but we were going into Colorado, the last event, I was 20 points behind RJ … Going into Castlerock , I wasn't planning on winning the championship. I was going to go there, get a start, and try to win the overall for the day. As it turned out I holeshotted. Glover and I were pretty tight throughout the event. On the last lap, jumping down that downhill, Glover had passed me. There's two turns left - down the hill, turn right, then left. On the left hander he held a tight inside line and I'm just on the outside of him accelerating. He came out of that turn and I just outpowered him down the straightaway and got the checkered flag. RJ was a rookie, he was 16 or 17, riding a production bike, and was hauling ass on a piece of Yamaha that had the radiator up on the forks. They were just terrible, but he could ride the hell out of the thing throughout the season. He was trying to catch myself and Glover, and jumping down the hill he broke a front wheel… He pushed it back to the pits, got a new wheel, and got going again, but he finished twenty second place. He got zero points. Now I'm five points ahead in the championship going into the last moto. As it turned out, I holeshotted. Not too long into the moto, I hear a bike behind me and I just let him go, that's Glover. If RJ was to win, all I had to do was finish third to win the title. I ride behind Glover for a while. Pretty soon I hear another bike behind me. I come around this turn and this rider comes into me, and it's RJ. He looks at me, and we look at each other, and he shakes his head. He's disgusted because I let him go by. And he's trying everything. He's trying to break my leg in the corners, he's trying to ram me. I let him go and pull in behind him. And as it turned out, to play it safe and win the championship, Ricky finished second and I finished third. I clenched the title and I became a hero. That was, if I'm not mistaken, the first time Honda had won both championships. I won the supercross championship for the first time for Honda, and then I won the outdoor nationals."

THE BIKE: "That gas tank you see on the left side, it goes all the way down to the cases. That's all fuel on the left side. On the right side, the gas tank only goes down as far as the bottom of the seat. And on that side the air intake goes down into the airbox so it breathes a lot better. 1981 was the first year I raced a watercooled bike. It was at Carlsbad, in the support class. Chuck Sun, my teammate won the International class and I won the support class…. Those bikes were superior over the rest of the bikes… The power stayed with you longer whereas with air cooled you lost a little power throughout the moto. Especially when it's hot outside, like in Southern California where the GP was... I didn't notice it. That was the benefit of that aluminum gas tank going all the way down to the cases, keeping the center of gravity low. And then the radiator was low as well. The bike worked really well. We did a lot of testing throughout the season with Roger DeCoster and Showa suspension, at different tracks, supercross tracks, outdoor tracks. During the supercross season, I think during October, we went to Pontiac for a double header. We had a new pipe that we tested that I liked, and as it turned out I won both nights, both heat races and both main events… You've got to understand, I came from racing Can Ams before I went to Honda. And the bike was amazing… In 1992 I talked with Roger DeCoster at one of the nationals. The Europeans had bought the bikes from the US. And ten years later they were still racing them at that time, they were that good, against the 1992 bikes from other manufacturers."TODAY: Donnie is an instructor at his Donnie Hansen Motocross Adademy (, 877-883-7260) "We have two facilities. One in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and one in Norco right by Pro Circuit. We have camps and private lessons. We have people that fly in from all over the world and between my wife and I we have a facility, provide lodging, feed them, and take care of them like they're part of the family. We wash their clothes, we train them, we have bikes for them… I've raced, I've won, I've beaten the best in the world, and now I'm teaching what it takes to become a great rider. It's something I really enjoy doing. The camps are three and four days long, and I have two day schools where I travel around the country and teach… I teach all levels, from beginner all the way up to the top riders in this country. I've worked with most of the top riders out there - Andrew Short, obviously Josh Hansen, Ryan Villopoto, Jake Weimer… I help build a foundation for these riders when they're young. I teach them the proven way of how to practice before they get into bad habits."PHOTOGRAPHER PAUL BUCKLEY ON THE SHOT: "Southwick's my home track so I know all the cool photo spots and I'd taken tons of photos in this section. After seeing the 82 works Hondas at previous races I knew that some side shots were must haves, that gas tank was wild even if they were trying to disguise it with some black paint. This was back in the day of full manual Canon F1 cameras, no auto focus, no auto exposure, no digital, no LCD on the back of the camera. The lighting was very even thanks to a light cloud cover so that made the exposure easy, maybe 1/500 at f8 with some Kodak Tri-X loaded in my Canon. All I had left to do was pre-focus on a spot where I knew the riders would be floating over this jump and wait. True to his name Donnie "Holeshot" Hansen grabs the lead so he's the first guy by me, nice and clean, click, got it, I hoped, wouldn't find out till Monday when I developed the film." To order prints of many of Paul Buckley's classic motocross photos (more are being added all the time), check out