Written by: Dan Lamb – Interview by: Chase Yocom
Last year, Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne flew in a little under the radar and took the 250SX Eastern Regional class by surprise. Four wins and six podiums later, Zach was hoisting the champion’s trophy over his head in Vegas and any future element of surprise was gone. Returning in 2018 with the #1E on his Husqvarna, Zach is now the man with a bullseye on his back and the man everyone knows you have to go through if you want to call yourself the 2018 Eastern Regional 250SX Champion.
In 2017, Zach was clearly the fastest 250SX rider in the East, but so far in ’18, it has been his consistency that has carried the day. Zach won the opening round in Arlington, but he was not the fastest rider on that night or when Austin Forkner and Dylan Ferrandis got away from him at round two. In Atlanta on Saturday night, though, it looked like the dominant Zach was trying to make an appearance.
To start the day in Atlanta, Zach was dominant in first qualifying session, but qualified 3rd overall. Zach used that solid gate pick to grab a good start, find the lead and win the first main event of his first “Triple Crown” race of the year. In the second main, Zach pulled another good start, and it looked like he was about to go around Forkner to make it two wins in a row, but he and the #35 came together in a rhythm section and he hit the deck pretty hard. Zach remounted, and despite his bike being twisted, he was still able to regroup, make a late-race pass and finish third.
When the gate dropped for main event three, it was Zach’s to lose. After getting a mediocre start, Anthony Rodriguez crashed in front of him, leaving him no where to go but over Rodriguez, causing Zach to hit the ground. Zach remounted at the back of the pack, but by lap 11, he had passed his way back into the overall lead. While Zach did all he could do under the circumstances, it wasn’t enough. On the last lap, Forkner made a pass for 3rd that moved them into a tie in the “Triple Crown” points, but gave him the overall win and Zach 2nd on the basis of the better third main event finish. In the end, Forkner gained three points in the title, leaving Zach with just a two-point lead heading to Daytona.
After it was over, MotoXAddicts’ Chase Yocom caught up with the Champ to talk about his bittersweet night.
Zach, a little bit of a rough one for you tonight. There were definitely some highs and lows. What was your take on it?
Yeah, second overall leaving and I still have the points lead, so it wasn’t too bad. I wish they would have all gone like the first main. (laughs) That was pretty smooth sailing. All in all, that’s a good deal.
What happened with that collision between you and Austin Forkner in main event 2? It looked like Austin cross-jumped you a little bit. It’s hard to see that stuff when I’m on the track taking pics, but I did see a video. What was your take on that?
Yeah, I don’t know. I haven’t seen the video yet, and I don’t want to speculate.
Going back to the first moto, I haven’t seen a heel-clicker celebration from you since probably back in the amateur video when you were on the KTM. (laughs) Where did that come from?
I have no clue where that came from. It just happened. I was pumped to win the first main and get the night started on the right foot. That’s always a plus, so I was happy with that.
I thought it was awesome. I thought maybe Marv [Marvin Musquin] got in your ear and was like, “Hey man, throw one of these.”
No, but it was for Marv, though.
How did you feel the track held up tonight? This is the 250SX East’s first one, so it’s your first “Triple Crown.” What did you think of the three main event format and how was the track? It’s definitely a crazy night.
Yeah, it was a crazy night, but it was good. I feel like I like the “Triple Crown.” Maybe not as good as the traditional, but I think it’s good to throw it in every now and then. It’s a lot of racing. It’s a lot of riding. I’m pretty smoked right now. All in all, I enjoyed the track a lot. It was a lot busier than we’ve had the last couple of weeks, and I feel pretty good about it.
What did you think of the scoring system. It has to kind of hurt a little bit since you guys both scored nine points, but you ended up giving up three points. You’re still two points ahead in the Championship, though.
I wish they all paid points. I think that would have been a better idea.
Like it’s done for outdoor motocross?
Yeah, where they pay points every moto. It is what is, though. He won.
We have Daytona coming up now. Are you looking forward to it? I don’t think you had the best night there. Will you be looking for a little redemption?
Yeah, for sure I’m looking forward to Daytona. I’m feeling really good about it. We have a really good track to ride to prepare, and I’m happy about it. Monday will be our first say on the track.
Photos by: Simon Cudby