Photo by: Octopi

There were a few rough years for Justin Barcia, but those days are starting to appear in the rear-view-mirror. After three podiums in SX, Justin started off his 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship campaign with a solid 3-3 for 3rd overall at the Hangtown National. Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin got away from him at the opener, but starting the outdoor season on the box is never a bad thing.

After the racing was over, we caught up with Justin over at the Yamaha truck. We talked about his day at Hangtown and got into the talk of the day in the pits: the massive jumps being built at Glen Helen and riders hoping they are tamed way down before the Glen Helen National next weekend.

If Justin can find the pace of Eli and Marv, it’s going to be a great season. Photo by: Mark Lester

Justin, 3-3 today at Hangtown for 3rd overall. I’d call it a good start to your season.

Yeah, it was a good start–a good day. There were lots of positives to take out of it. Not too many negatives. I need to execute a few things a little better, but all in all for the first race it’s a positive one.

 

This was your first race outdoors on the new 2018 Yamaha too. You did good on it in SX, but this is where everyone really expects you to shine on it. Is this a bike that’s going to help you do that, you think?

100%! The new Yamaha chasis is awesome. Honestly, I’m not blowing smoke. You could tell by my riding in SX, and in outdoors it works better for me. I think it works better for all riders. I’ve heard a a lot of guys say, “It’s way better.” I agree 100%. It works great. It’s a good turning machine and that’s what the old one was lacking a little bit.

 

It’s always important, but how important is it to start the year off on the podium?

You know, I think for me it’s important. I wanted to set the tone and show that I’m going to be a guy that’s up there. I was a little off the first two guys [Tomac and Musquin]. There are going to be other guys that are going to get faster as the season goes on. This is the first race and everyone has stuff to work on. For me, it was important to get on the podium and be there. I really wanted to be there. I knew I could be there and I did that.

 

What do you think of the pace up front to start the year? You’ve been around a while now, have raced all over the world and have a lot to compare it too. Is the pace something you think you’ll be able to match as the season progresses?

I don’t think it’s….Marvin and Eli were running a good pace today, 100%. It;s fast, but it’s nothing new, though. There’s always a fast pace up front. I’m definitely capable of running that pace. I just need to get there. I think I can get there for sure.

A whoop section was put where the Fly 150 foot triple was. Photo by: Octopi

From post-race press conference: Some riders are talking about and are concerned with the size of the jumps they’re building at Glen Helen. What’s your take on what they build at Glen Helen?

They usually go way over the top. It’s kind of crazy. Jumps are cool, but when you’re racing 30-minutes plus two laps sending it, it’s not that cool really. Whoops and stuff are a lot better. Maybe we can get someone from the AMA to look at the track when we go there for press day next week and we could all have a riders meeting and talk about it before the race. Maybe we could tone the stupid jumps down and make it safer. The faces are full on SX but double the size.

 

I gotta ask you about what was talked about in the press conference. You guys have to figure out a way for the riders to have some say on what is built on these tracks. You guys are the stars of the sport and who people pay to see. There’s gotta be a way.

You would think so. In SX, Trey Canard was at a few races and he was looking like he would be the guy to do that. We talked to him and then he could talk to the track people. Maybe next year he could be there more. It was cool he was at the first couple of races. It was nice to talk to someone that knows about the tracks and has been there. I think we all agree that jumps are cool.

 

We want to keep you guys alive, though. We really do.

Yeah, 100%. I think it’s something where all the riders will have to come together and say, “We don’t want to do this.” I think it’s hard to get all the riders together some times to agree on things. Kind of like a riders sanction almost which never happens in this sport.

 

It could, though. I really think so.

It really could happen–for sure–if we all got together. We just need to do that. All in all, the track needs to be fun. This weekend was cool. They took out that “Fly 150” [150 foot triple step up], which is good. It was whops, it made the racing better. This is outdoors. Jumps are cool, but stupid jumps aren’t cool. (laughs)

 

That last big jump they built at Glen Helen, on press day the guy over jumped it and broke off the whole front end of his bike. That’s insanity to me.

That’s the problem. You don’t want jumps where you blow out your front wheel or something.