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  • Dominik Wilde

Returning champ Hansen lights up Las Vegas

If you look back at Chapter 1 of the history of Nitrocross, you’ll find the name Timmy Hansen featured prominently.

Hansen won the very first Nitrocross event, a standalone contest at the 2018 Nitro World Games. He returned in 2019 – which was won by his brother Kevin – and in 2021, where he missed out on the title in the first multi-event championship by a single point.

Since then, Hansen’s been in the Nitrocross wilderness while focusing on his programs in Europe, but he made a long-awaited comeback at the 2023-24 season finale in Las Vegas.

“It’s great to come back, I’ve loved Nitro since the very beginning, since Nitro World Games 2018 when Travis made ‘rallycross 2.0’ and it’s been great,” said Hansen. “It’s so cool to come back, drive the FC1, the venue in Las Vegas is beautiful.”

The championship is a very different one to the one Hansen left behind three years ago. Nowadays the top class features the all-electric FC1-X. Hansen is no stranger to electric race cars, driving them in the World Rallycross championship and Extreme E – he even races an electric powerboat in the E1 series – but the FC1-X is rather different. While a modern, cutting edge machine with more power than anything comparable, Hansen says that it actually drives like a more traditional car, helping smooth out the learning curve.

“It was not easy to get to know it but at the end of the day it’s a fast rallycross car,” he said. “It handles like a classic rallycross car in the old days because it has a propshaft between the front and the rear so you can drive it pretty aggressively. 

“It’s also great at jumping. You can jump really far, which is something that you need at these tracks. It has a tonne of straight line speed which is what you need for most Nitrocross tracks, too. It’s a car that suits these kinds of circuits very well.”

While Hansen’s Nitrocross return was a fruitful one with back-to-back podiums, a practice crash could have derailed his weekend before it began. The championship-winning Dreyer & Reinbold JC team turned the car around quickly though, to put him in a position to fight at the sharp end across both full days of racing, and he spent both of those days making life difficult for champion Robin Larsson.

“We were fast all the time. Saturday was my even better day, getting to know the car more and more,” he said. “The team just gave me a great car from the beginning. It was well set up and it was easy to understand it and I could just work on my own driving. 

He added that had qualifying gone differently, it might have been Larsson all over Hansen’s bumper, not the other way round.

“The thing that put me a little back was the qualifying format,” he conceded. “That was why he had the inside, it wasn’t really because he was faster that he started on pole, it was just because he was in that random qualifying group in the beginning. Of course, you could pass but it’s hard there.

Nevertheless, Hansen was positive about his comeback, saying, “it went way better than I thought. I was able to get two podiums, challenge up there but most of all the racing here is so good and the racing that we do here, that’s why I love racing.”

There has been plenty of speculation about a full-time return to Nitrocross for the Hansen motorsport dynasty. Timmy insists a deal has yet to be done, but he would love for his family to get back to the championship.

“It would be fun to come back but I don’t know,” he said. “It would be fun, but there’s also clashes in the calendar with the World Championship, so a lot of things have to be worked on.

“But we all love Nitrocross and we would love to come back but it’s far from done but it would be fun to be here again.”

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