Tracey Hannah tells us all about sandmining, why she stopped racing and her 2012 comeback plans!
Dirt: Hey Tracey, first off, can you tell us briefly why you quit the sport at the end of the 2007 season?
Tracey Hannah: I didn’t quit!!
I just didn’t really get the offers I wanted, that would support me for the whole year, through training and then racing the next season. I guess it was harder for me being from Australia, it’s so far to come all that way. I would have had to work while I was at home, and train as well.
So from there my riding died down, it’s hard to enjoy local and national level races when you know the potential racing overseas. When worlds came around in Australia I really wanted to race, I knew I could do well on that track and that I had a good chance. Unfortunately, because I hadn’t raced nationals or many races I couldn’t be selected. I was so disappointed that they wouldn’t give me a chance, in my own country, when I was the highest ranked rider in previous years.
I sold my bike after that and didn’t think about riding at all, didn’t talk about it, didn’t go to races, nothing. I bought a motorbike and rode that for a few months………..
Its good now, I have a great job which I love, and it makes it possible for me to race on my own terms with my own money. I have the attitude now, if you’re not going to help me out properly, then it doesn’t matter! I know how hard I have been training and I know the potential that I still have.
In saying that, I have had so much support and so many people offering their products it’s been amazing. I especially want to say that back when I was racing Filip Polc, Orange bikes and Fox suspension helped me out as much as they can, they are the reason that I could race the whole world cup series and stay overseas for so long that year. What they did for me I will never forget and I am so thankful.
So, what have you been doing for FOUR years?!
I’ve been riding motor bikes a little bit. Working and hanging out. Now, since the start of the year I have been doing a traineeship in a sand mine.
Hang, on…what’s a sand mine?!
Sandmining is where a big dredge sucks up sand out of a big hole and sends it to a big plant which separates mineral from sand (the mineral is used for titanium, toothpaste, minties, ceramics, glass and lots lots more). I am a trainee operator learning to drive machinery and eventually I will operate the dredge and learn how to operate in the control room. I am going for my excavator ticket in one week.
The sport has obviously moved on in the last four years, are you confident you will be competitive?
Yeah, your right, it has. However, I’m still seeing the same women in the top 5 as there was four years ago. I am a very competitive person, no doubt about it.
I like your attitude ” Determination and a will to win is my driving force, I want to race, I love riding and I just happen to like training.” Can you tell us about your training plan?
If I tell you, you might come beat me… I am doing a lot of training to get back into shape and to prepare myself for the up and coming national races and eventually racing overseas.
What’s the riding like from where you’re from, Cairns, Queensland? Are there tracks on your doorstep or do you have to travel?
Now that I don’t live in Cairns anymore it’s about a 24hour drive back! Haha. Cairns is an awesome place, I live in Brisbane now, it’s more central and my job is based at an island off here. There are a few good places to ride, unfortunately nothing like Europe the US or Canada.
Do you think it’s harder for women to find deals/sponsorship and race at the highest level?
Yeah it defiantly is, I guess in a way it’s understandable. However, I know for a fact that people appreciate women’s riding and like to watch us race down the same hill as the men.
So will you be riding a GT Fury?
Will you base yourself in Europe for next year or fly back and forth from Oz?
I want to race worlds, and maybe a world cup or two. I’m just getting back into it; I don’t expect a ride around the world first year. And I am still finishing my traineeship so won’t be racing a full season next year. I’ll be here in Aussie land …..
You won a WC at Schladming in 07 beating the likes of Jonnier, Moseley and Ragot; you’ve got the skills then?
Yeah, I’m not super worried about how I’ll feel racing against them again. I am in a totally new zone with my riding. I really enjoy riding and I just want to go fast. I don’t really doubt my skills…. I just need to get back up to scratch.
Where did you win the Junior Worlds title?
Stinky Rotorua, New Zealand, fun fun fun track. I am hoping to get over there for a race start of next year.
How did you get into racing?
Being competitive, nagging dad to let me go ride with Michael while he was training. Eventually dad realized that I was serious and starting building up really small bikes for me to start racing on. He’s the best!
Do you get the chance to ride with your brother Mick these days?
Not lately, him and Dad are currently riding from ‘Scotts head NSW to Cairns Qld” which is 2200kms…. You can follow their progress on my Facebook.
I wasn’t really interested to go for a ride, hahaha!
I have been so surprised at the people out there who are so encouraging and supportive. I love that everyone is getting excited and I am super excited to represent Australia on the world stage again in the coming years. Thank you so much for all your support and defiantly keep it coming. Follow me on twitter, ask me questions on Facebook and keep updated with my website.
Also thanks to Nsdynamics, Edge Cycleworks, Fox Suspension, Gt bikes, Dad, mum and my family.