Photos and audio for interview by: Chase Yocom
The best story of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season was Rockstar Energy Racing / Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne. After over a decade as a pro, Zach scored the first 250SX main event wins of his career and he parlayed that confidence into a last-lap aggressive pass on Joey Savatgy that won him his first ever Eastern Regional 250SX Championship. It was the perfect ending to a dream SX season for the veteran.
Zach came into 2017 with the experts giving him an outside chance for the title, but fast forward to this year and everybody is picking the #1e to dominate and defend his title. Winning when there’s no real expectation that you will win and winning when everyone expects you to are two totally different animals, and at the 2018 Eastern Regional 250SX opener in Arlington on Saturday night, I think Zach kind of felt the weight of those expectations.
All day in Arlington Zach looked just a little off from what we’ve come to expect. He was third fastest in qualifying, finished a distant second to Martin Davalos in his heat race and then crashed early on in the main event. Luckily for Zach, most of his toughest competitors were buried in the pack or back at their team trucks after getting caught in a first turn pileup. Even with all the issues and the crash in the main event, Zach was able to regroup and dig deep to get his first win of 2018. If Zach’s bad days still lead to wins, everyone else is in trouble.
After Zach’s 2018 Arlington SX win, MotoXAddicts’ Chase Yocom caught up with him to talk about his first race of the year.
Zach, a little bit of a rough. Well, I don’t want to say rough because you were still good earlier in the day, but not exactly where you wanted to be. At the end of the day, you got the job done and picked up the win here.
Yeah, definitely. It was a strange day for me. I had a crash in the main event and managed to pull off the win, but definitely a strange one, not the kind of dominant force that I wanted to be but I know that it’s in there. I need to go to next weekend and pull it out.
What happened in that crash right before the whoops? Did you just tuck the front end? That rut right there seemed like it was super deep.
I kind of got in there a little hot, grabbed too much front brake and that was that.
How hard was it picking the bike up from that? You mentioned in the press conference that your heart rate really picked up. How hard is it to calm yourself after something like that and get the heart rate back down?
Well, it’s a big bummer because typically you’re never going to fall down and still win the main event. I was kind of pissed off and then I made a couple more mistakes in lieu of that crash. It’s tough to get your composure that quick and just go right back into it. It’s tough, but I managed it tonight.
Did you guys make any big changes tonight going into the main, or was it just more about avoiding the carnage and getting through it? Obviously, that took a lot of guys out, but before that you got 2nd, I think in the heat. In the main you looked like a different person.
I don’t know why but I felt better after the heat race and now I feel way better after the main. The whole day I was uptight a little bit, and it’s not really the way I need to be. I’m going to go home this week and kind of relax on my fitness and know that I’m ready.
How hard is it to sit and watch everybody else racing for the first six weeks? You mentioned in the press conference that you were going a little stir crazy. That has to be tough waiting for your turn.
For sure, it’s not easy. You’re ready to go for A1 no matter what, but to kind of pull back the engines and stay on the same work load is tough. Last year, I came in with an injury so I was still ramping the whole time to east coast. This year I was ready for A1, but they wanted me to race the east again. It’s been a long six weeks flat out.
Obviously, they wanted you to run the #1 plate. Was there ever any talks about you racing the 450 in the west at all?
Not a 450. There was some talk of me racing west, but it just never really materialized. I was down to race some 450 stuff, but Aldon [Baker, Zach’s trainer] is all about staying in the mode and on the same bike.
What was this talk that Aldon had with you a couple of weeks ago that you mentioned in the press conference? (laughs)
(laughs) He was bringing me back down to earth. I had put in a lot of effort and I expect a lot of myself. It kind of got to me a little bit, because I wasn’t being as good as I wanted to be every day. It was only sort of one or two days and he realized it in my attitude. He told me that I need to reel myself back in. I did and now here we are.
They say the #1 plate is a little bit heavy. Obviously tonight you had some mistakes tonight, so was the #1 the reason behind any of that stuff? Were you thinking about it at all, or is that just a myth?
No. Obviously you want to defend it. You come in with the red plate and you don’t want to lose it and all that stuff, but it is what it is. It’s just a number. I’ve worked my whole life to be #1 so it’s an honor to run it. It’s something I’m trying to embrace.
Congratulations on the first step to defending your title, and thank you for the time.