This edition of TCE Dream Chasers features one guy who has one of the raddest gigs within the industry, James Hanson. James has a lot of responsibilities at the races, one of which is managing and coordinating aspects of a race day for high profile riders like Jason Anderson and Zach Osbourne. In this industry there are very few opportunities to get a look into amazing jobs such as James’, so in true TCE fashion we knew we had to get the inside scoop. James, being the stellar dude that he is, had no issues with taking us through his day to day along with what goes into a professional championship race effort and building a personal brand…
Hey James! Tell us a bit about who you are and what your title is within the sport.
Hello, my name is James Hanson and I manage Motocross, Supercross and Off-Road motorcycles globally for Rockstar Energy.
How did you get your start in the sport?
Years ago I moved from Northern California to a small town in Oregon next door to a track called Mt. View MX Park. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen and I flagged and watered there for several years before I got a bike. Fast forward to racing and winning championships in the B class and then I went pro in a little over 3 years. Rockstar Energy was looking for somebody to fill a spot and thanks to my connections from racing, I ended up with the company. Now here we are 13 years later.
What are some of your main tasks on race day and throughout the week?
Monday-Thursday most weeks is all in front of the computer. From branding approval of all gear, graphics etc. to tracking social media, updating websites, sorting photos and staring at spread sheets until my eyes roll back in my head. Fridays and Sundays are usually spent on airplanes. Saturdays are race days and although were at the track anywhere from 12-16 hours, it's really the best day of the week. I love every gate drop and it seems to never get old even traveling 40+ weekends a year. Race days still have some of the midweek stuff mentioned before with branding and photos, but also handling podium stuff and assisting the sales side of things to make sure their guests have the best experience possible.
Tell us a bit about “Dirt Bikes for President” and how that got started.
The origin of #dirtbikesforpresident is kind of funny. Scrolling down the ole Facebook timeline and seeing people constantly arguing about trivial things, I would randomly comment something like "dirt bikes are cool". I would see political arguments and then I would comment “Dirt Bikes For President”. I started hash tagging it, then trademarked it, figured I should make some stuff, and people were pumped on it enough that I had it in Supercross mains! It's all about positivity and riding for fun, negative comments aren't even allowed on the social. They won't be engaged, just deleted.
Can you describe the feeling of being part of a team that wins a championship like earlier this year with Jason Anderson?
It's incredible! We've won a lot of championships in my time with Rockstar, but it's the same every time. Weeks and weeks of build up with the whole team finally coming down to one final race typically. Heart rate through the roof, shaking and shortness of breath. Then boom! That boom part is hard to put into words, but it's one of the best feelings I've ever experienced. A lot of hard work goes into this by so many people to make it happen, but it's all worth it when you're rider holds up that championship trophy!
What is the best part about your job with Rockstar and the best part about creating DBFP?
Honestly that's a simple answer that covers both; I love dirt bikes more than anything in the world and I get to be around them every single day!
What is one thing that you want people to understand about your role, the industry, or the racers that you work with?
I get messages almost every day from people wanting to know how to get in. It's almost impossible because the jobs that people want are so few. More often than not when someone leaves a company, they just pop up at the track with another one a couple weeks later. On another note, I really don't believe everyone is cut out for this type of job. Without going into too much detail as why, it’s just not what people think. You work 7 days a week most of the year and something can pop up at any time without warning that has to be handled immediately. On call to put out fires basically. Sometimes the sound of a structured schedule of 9-5, 5 days a week sounds so appealing. No one calling you at night, every weekend off, but honestly I wouldn't change it for the world. I just love dirt bikes and I'm very grateful for my life. There are plenty of perks that go along as well.
If you could change the sport in any way what would it be?
If I could, I would want racers to be paid so much more, farther down in the field. It's just crazy for someone to be capable of finishing in the top 20 on a Supercross race Saturday and not be sure if they can afford to make it to the next round. How much does the 20th best baseball player make? Obviously sports like that are a massive market and we're pretty small, but if I could change one thing, that would be it.
Where can people keep up with you during your day to day and find out more about DBFP?
Be sure to follow along with James as he preps for the 2019 SX race season with his riders. For more information on opportunities within the sport stay tuned to TheCollectivexp.com and stay inside all of the action!