Hahn RaceCraft Reaches Another Milestone

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Hahn RaceCraft Reaches Another Milestone

Life. It’s full of milestones, points in time where things change, sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance…often by a combination of both.

My life’s been rich with such events. I’ve been gifted with talents which have allowed me to indulge my creativity and my craft, surrounded by great people along the way who’ve helped meld my dreams into reality. Every so often, a shift has occurred – a shift in focus, a shift in priorities, a shift to target new worlds to conquer. I’ve made these shifts based on gut instincts about who I am and where I need to go next.

It’s that time again.

I have developed a habit of stepping aside when my goals have been achieved, often at the height of such achievement. For me, the thrill of the chase has always been more fascinating than the end result. To some, this makes no sense, and I get that. Why step aside when you’ve finally reached the pinnacle? Why not leverage all the years of hard work it took to get there?

Why indeed. I suppose in my case, I’ve always been more driven by the pursuit of excellence than the ultimate acquisition of it. Life is short, and many things beckon. Resting on one’s laurels may seem like the place to be, but it’s always left me more restless than rested. This is where I find myself once again, with the latest milestone looming directly ahead.

Over the course of my career, this approach has left some perplexed. As I was achieving championship prominence riding my own ProMod, I suddenly stepped aside in favor of a truly gifted rider. Many were shocked, but the gambit worked: after three consecutive championships capped by a season where no other machine could even win one round against us by August of that year, I disbanded the team. Winning that way, so dominantly, wasn’t what I liked, and more importantly…it wasn’t what had gotten me there. My retirement from the class shocked many, but I have no doubt it was the best move.

Next I would devote myself to the then-nascent ProStreet world, and to the pioneering of EFI across many classes. What came of this period was substantial. My teams and customers basically did all there was to do: first EFI bikes into the 8s, 7’s and 6’s, first six-second EFI ProMods and Funnybikes, first-ever Pro national championship on EFI. Along the way, my intense collaboration with ProStreet great Kent Stotz would net four championships on three unique and innovative machines which would shape the future of the class. And so it happened: I was now there again. I’d hit all my bases. And again, much to everyone’s surprise, I just stepped aside at the end of another championship year, retiring from 20 years of dragbikes. Now the sport-compact car world was calling, and as it was on a steep upward trend, it was a great time to increase my involvement. I’d achieved all I’d ever hoped to (and more!) in motorcycle drag racing, and so I moved on to focusing my company’s efforts on cars.

The sport-compact car world was good to us, and has ensured a strong business model for Hahn RaceCraft. But along the way, another milestone appeared, quite without warning. When my late father Bill Hahn Sr., industry icon and The Godfather of Motorcycle Turbocharging, took very ill, I ran to his side so he could spend his last months on this planet in the company of family. Dad’s death was one of those life-shaking events, as usually occurs when one loses a parent. It causes one to step back and re-evaluate. In this instance, it also got me back in touch with many of the dragbike people I’d spent so many great years with, and I realized how much I’d missed them. Inevitably, I was drawn back in.

In my personal evaluation after Dad passed, I pondered many things, not the least of which was the fact that life is finite, and the urgency which drives us all meant it may be time once again for me to explore new things. For most of my life, folks have marveled at my vocal talent, always surprised when I’d tell them, “Thanks, but I’m more of a technical guy who speaks through his machines.” I’ve nonetheless been urged to pursue voice many times…and finally, after almost 50 years on this earth, while reflecting on life and opportunity upon Dad’s passing, I decided to give it a go.

So I put it out there, did a few guest commentator spots, and was well-received. Despite my lack of formal experience or training in the art of motorsports broadcasting, I had a lifetime of knowledge, and understood the sport intrinsically. I approached Jay Regan and Dave Schnitz of the Manufacturers’ Cup international dragbike series, and we decided to give it a go, putting me in the announcer’s seat at their national event series.

The years since have been a revelation. The unique flavor of Manufacturers’ Cup, a series which, like in the golden era of dragbike racing, combines extensive high-powered heads-up and Pro racing with sportsman galore, has been well-suited to me. Here I was able to polish my new craft, and I’ve been delighted with the results. My style of announcing lent itself to the intense energy these events generate, and in the course of a few years, the series has attained truly international acclaim. While I’m just the mouthpiece, and the real stars are those dedicated men and women on the track and in the pits, I’m pleased to have been acclaimed for raising the bar for motorcycle drag racing announcing during this time. That is my contribution. That has been my honor, and my goal.

As stepping aside at the top has been my way, and as the instincts which tug have been my guide…it’s milestone time again. The racing event known as Man Cup Finals 2017 was, by any measure, the most significant event in motorcycle drag racing history…and I got to call it! Mission quite accomplished, and the timing is dead-on, for that tug is back. Hard. That anxiousness about things left undone, horizons still beckoning. My business and personal worlds are asking for more of my time, and my desire to get back on the racetrack myself is now burning like a nuclear pyre. Something will have to change, and that’s what I’m here to tell you about today.

Effective immediately, I am retiring from Man Cup announcing. I feel my contribution to the sport’s present and future via this role is complete at this time, and I’m ready to move to the next challenges my heart and mind insist I must pursue. While I’d like to be able to do this role forever, I can no longer repress the forces pulling at me. My family, my business, and my own racing efforts will benefit, and they’ve all waited most patiently.

I feel selfish, but all the same, I know my racers won’t begrudge me these things. I love motorcycle drag racing and its people like only a true brother can love his sisters and brothers. We are one, we are family. It tears me to pieces to make this decision, but it has to be. Life and its milestones insist, and I’ve always tried to play the cards life hands me to the best of my ability.

I have nothing but love for Man Cup and its mission, which is to keep the National Event spirit and format alive. Jay and Dave gave me my first shot at announcing a premier series, and their confidence in me will be forever appreciated. The racers who make up Man Cup have encouraged me beyond description, and I’m a better person for having had the opportunity to tell their astonishing stories, to drink in the nectar of their endless efforts and sweet successes. Thank you all for making me such a dynamic part of it. I wish you all the best! I won’t be a stranger…certainly Aubrey and I will still attend the Valdosta races, and expect to bring our own machine(s) to compete again very soon. Our world will be very full this year with Hahn RaceCraft’s 30th Anniversary, our upcoming move to Daytona Beach, as well as efforts to complete the new machine I fervently wish to be the next chapter in the Hahn dragbike legacy. All the same, I’m not retiring from the announcing game altogether. You’ll still see me here and there, and if the right opportunity to take my broadcasting craft to the next level comes along, I’m likely to take it. For now though, it’s that time again. Milestone time.

The years I’ve spent as your announcer have been some of the most rewarding of my life. Sharing in your victories, saddened by your losses, vicariously feeling your joy and grief like only a fellow racer can. You’ve inspired me beyond words, and mere words can barely dent the magnitude of how much I’ve enjoyed exploring this new craft with you. Thank you for being an aspiring announcer’s dream material. You gave me so much to work with, and my heart is overfilled with love for you all. I rest easier in knowing that what we’ve created together is powerful, and enjoys a bright future.

Bill’s Project NitroTec, which combines the pioneering use of electronic fuel injection with nitromethane. Its innovative design uses a General Motors Ecotec engine. The mission is to innovate an affordable dragbike powerplant which has already been proven durable at high power.

 

I know the sport is in good hands and is headed great places. When I originally embarked upon this journey, there was much concern as to our collective future. In reply, we all reached deep and found within ourselves that drive to excel, to succeed, to not let the sport we love wither for lack of effort. We did it, folks, but most importantly…YOU did it. You’ve all reached higher, and we’ve all benefited as a result. I’ve had the joy of talking about it, but you’ve been the ones who did it.

I wish you all only the best RT’s, the lowest 60’s, and the most win lights. You’re all winners to me, every time you come through that gate. The family of motorcycle drag racing is strong, and I’m so pleased to be a part of it…for life. Milestones will come and go, but I’m here to stay, whether in the booth or on the track. See you at the races!

– Bill Hahn Jr.

Hahn RaceCraft, Inc.
www.hahnracecraft.com

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