At 26 years old, Tracey Hannah has already come out of retirement, been riding bikes pretty much since she could walk, and has been racing pro downhill for 9 years. After winning her first BMX race at only 4 years old, Tracey made the jump to mountain biking at 13, following in the footsteps of her older brother, Mick. With a 'never give up' mantra, she has since surmounted injuries, overcome inequalities in our industry, and come out of retirement to be back on the podium. Her strength in expressing her experiences - challenges and successes - through her writing provides inspiration for racers across the world, age groups, and genders. Her column, The Hannah Report
, has been a welcome and quality addition to Pinkbike's repertoire.
We are pleased to announce that Tracey Hannah will be racing in partnership with Pinkbike this season, we look forward to supporting Tracey in her adventures.
NEVER GIVE UP
How did you discover mountain biking?
We started out riding a bit of BMX and it was Mick who was first introduced me to mountain bikes and that’s how I got into it. My first bike was a hard-tail Merida and I used to hit everything I could on it. What made you focus on DH Racing?
I loved DH from the beginning, I love going fast, I tried a few XC races when I was too young for DH but I hated it, haha. Who has influenced your racing career the most?
My dad has been the biggest influence in my career, he is smart and he knows a lot about skills and training. He is a freak when it comes to riding motorbikes and driving cars. We will never go as fast as he did so we will always have something to learn from him. No matter what I’ve been through he knows how to overcome it. What caused you to decide to retire from racing in 2008? And what brought you back into it?
At that time women didn’t have the support that they are getting now, it was almost impossible to continue racing overseas and living in Europe 5 months of the year. So I stayed home and got a pretty cool job.
What would you be doing if you had never taken up mountain biking?
Before getting back into racing I had a great job in a sand mine, it was my dream job. I learnt how to drive trucks, excavators, forklifts, barges, cranes, and more. I was also trained in the control room where you ran the plant via computers. So I would probably be doing that. And I just love going fast – on my jet ski, my motorbike, and in my car – so I’d probably have no licence either. What is it that you love about riding jet skis?
What’s not to love? I can get to the reef in less than 30 minutes or go for breakfast on an island and jump massive waves. The thing I love the most is that you can go really, really fast. There is nothing like going 100kms on water. How do you find your personality and racing style sets you apart from the other racers in your field?
Well, I’m Australian and that makes me pretty cool! I’d say my style is different because my goal from the beginning was to ride like my big brothers. Now I’m like this small girl that rides like her big bro. My personality is fun; I try to be friends with everyone and make it fun at the top before our race runs. I have to feel relaxed and to do that I have to be with friends.
How has it been travelling and racing with your brother? Most brothers and sisters experience various levels of sibling rivalry, do you two ever experience it or do you find you have a unique relationship? What are some of your top mountain biking highlights?
Coming back to racing after a five-year break was a huge highlight for me, I was so excited to have the opportunity to race overseas again. Racing and winning my first race back was one of the best memories in my whole career. What was your experience like racing the Urban DH?
I only raced the one last year in Slovakia and I thought it was awesome. However the organisers want to go bigger and better and I think I was already at my limit. It’s pretty scary. What was your trip to Indonesia all about? What was your experience there?
Polygon bikes is based out of Indonesia so we take a trip over there every offseason to visit them and a few shops. We race the Asia pacific race and then have a sweet holiday surfing and shopping. They always love having us visit and we get to see some really good places with the guys and meet really cool people that support us.
Travelling with Michael and, his wife, Kim is super cool. There is always someone there when I miss home or am feeling down, and he helps me to race my best and get the best out of my bike and equipment. We only have rivalry outside of biking; within the industry I look up to and respect him 100%. How are you enjoying writing for Pinkbike? Have you always been passionate about writing?
To be honest I never, ever saw myself as a writer. I used to write random stories and a few things that were never made public. It all started because I began writing race reports on my website and people found them fun and interesting. Pinkbike's publisher got in touch and now I write for Pinkbike. I could definitely see myself doing more and more, I like writing for people to enjoy the story.Hannah Report: On Being FearlessHannah Report: Recovery and RacingHannah Report: Season EnderHannah Report: Reflections on RacingRead more Hannah Reports here.
TRACEY'S CUSTOM PINKBIKE HELMET:
When we asked Tracey what themes she wanted incorporated into her custom Pinkbike helmet artwork, she asked for roses, skulls, dead trees, crows, and some pink. Inspired by the request for flowers and skulls, we went with a Scarlet Begonias vibe (a song written by the Grateful Dead and famously covered by Sublime) - a sort of Day of the Dead meets mountain biking theme. A big thanks to Stacy Glaser at Painthouse Customs for the beautifully executed and intricate details.
What are your goals for racing this year? How are you making them happen? You have had a laundry list of injuries, how do you stay positive and motivate while recovering?
Yeah, to be honest staying positive isn’t easy when you keep getting knocked down. I tried to take the positives out of each achievement. When I broke my leg I made a goal to walk by the same weekend as world champs, then my next goal was to ride 20kms and on and on. I was proud of each achievement and I worked hard toward each small goal and now I’m here. ‘Never give up’ is the most important life quote. Do you work while training and racing?
This offseason was the first one that I didn’t spend time having to work and train. It was really cool to have the time to train and rest as well; it was all thanks to the support from the UR Team. Describe your last season.
My goal for last season was to finish without injury and finish in the top 5. I finished the season in 4th overall. I couldn’t have been happier to go into the offseason with a solid season behind me. What does a typical off-season day look like for you?
One of my last days at home I went downhilling, then I smashed my friend in a gym workout at my house and then we rode the pump track. Anything fun and outdoors is my kind of day. I ALWAYS have a cappuccino to start the day.
I want my confidence to shine this year, I want to ride like Tracey Hannah, to have fun and get great results. The main support is from the UR Team and our sponsors who support me year round to train and race. My sports mental coach from Coach Central in Cairns, John Carr, helps me get my head around being confident, and my Dad and Stew Carr from Coach central help me train hard. Can you elaborate on what your sports mental coach does and how he helps you train?
It was a pretty long road back from injury, recovering physically but the hardest recovery was mentally. I started working with him at the start of last year. He helps me overcome fear of injury and crashing and he’s taught me how to be confident in myself and in my riding again. We had a consistent year last year and this year we want to smash it. I don’t know where I would be at without John’s help. Who are your sponsors and how do they align with who you are and what your professional goals are?
This is a list of my main sponsors, I would say they align really well with my goals as they are professional, fun, and want to win. The UR Team has been by my side for the last three years through both injury and success; I could never thank them enough for the support that they provide. They have a dream and a passion, and all of the team’s sponsors align with that. Polygon Bikes
, Kenda Tires
, BOS Suspension
, VP Components
, Ride 100%
, Skyline Queenstown
, Moonlight, TiSprings
, Pinkbike What do you do when you’re not riding bikes?
Well my dad and I own jet skis and I try to ride them whenever it’s possible. I have a sweet trail motorbike and I go out in the bush and bash around on that. Hanging out with friends doing activities is the best.
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