Photo by: Simon Cudby
The 450SX class in the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, has been nothing short of spectacular over the first six rounds, and the big story is that the top four riders in the class are separated by just two points. This weekend, though, there’s another story to watch: The rookie 450SX debut of Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne. A preseason collarbone injury sidelined the #16, but Zach is back and making his 450SX debut this weekend in Arlington.
After winning back-to-back 250SX Eastern Regional Supercross Championships in his 12th and 13th year since turning pro back in 2006, Zach is finally going to get to live the ultimate dream of racing the premier SX class on a factory bike in his 14th year as a pro. Some people give Zach a hard time for being in the 250 class for so many years, but when you consider his path, I’m not sure he could have gotten to where he is now any other way. It may have taken longer than he wanted, but at 29 years old he is right where he had always dreamed he would be.
How will Zach do this weekend? With most of the midseason returns from injury, we wonder how ready the rider is for that midseason pace of the class and wonder how they will react to seeing it for the first time. Because Zach trains with Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin at the Baker’s Factory, I do not think the pace at the front will be anything he has not seen and ridden with quite a bit already. Because of that, I think Zach will be more ready than most would be in his situation, but there will always be those first race jitters to consider.
With all that said, I would put Zach somewhere between 8th to 11th in Arlington. I will say this, though, I will be more surprised if he does worse than 11th than if he did better than 8th. With that first ever 450 race adrenaline, I will not be surprised to see him yank a good start, stay with the lead pack for the first half of the race and fade back to cross the line in 6th or 7th. Zach won the 250SX main event last year in Arlington, so he should have some good vibes all the way around tomorrow.
How will Zach do overall? Coming into this year with Aaron Plessinger, Justin Hill and Joey Savatgy all moving up to the 450 class, Zach was my preseason pick to be the standout rookie of the 2019 season and I still think that will be the case. It is obvious that it is a huge longshot to outscore the other rookies for “Rookie of the Year” honors—that is likely completely out of the question—but when the smoke clears I still have Zach as my pick to be the standout rookie for the 2019 SX and MX seasons.