ZACH OSBORNE INTERVIEW: THE ONLY 450 SUPERCROSS WINNER
& GNCC OFF-ROAD CONTENDER
The 2020 Supercross Championship was full of highs and lows for Zach Osborne who overcame a difficult start to the 2020 series and later suffered a severe practice crash that should have left him sidelined until the Outdoor Nationals. However, the three-month halt in the season allowed Osborne to heal up in time to finish out the final seven rounds of the season.
Now, while the rest of the racers wait in limbo for the local, state and federal governments to lift restrictions and allow public events like the Nationals to happen with spectators, Zach decided to go GNCC racing at the High Voltage event in West Virginia where he finished an impressive 7th place in the dusty, three-hour off-road event. We caught up with Zach to talk mostly about Supercross and motocross, but we also asked him about his GNCC experience as well.
BY JIM KIMBALL
WITH YOUR PRACTICE CRASH DURING SUPERCROSS, THE COVID-19 BREAK ACTUALLY PLAYED INTO YOUR FAVOR RIGHT? I had that big crash, practicing the week before the Atlanta Supercross. I ended up breaking my back in five places, broke my wrist, and partially collapsed both of my lungs. It was a pretty big crash and it took me probably eight weeks before I felt even remotely normal again. For sure, without Covid-19 I would not have been even remotely close to racing Supercross, in a sense, it really hooked me up pretty good.
A LESSER MAN MAY HAVE THOUGHT “I SHOULD SIT OUT SUPERCROSS AND TAKE MORE TIME AND GET READY FOR OUTDOORS,” DID THAT OCCUR TO YOU AT ALL? That would have been the plan, obviously had the Coronavirus not happened, because I had no chance of being healthy or being able to really put in some good rides. That would have been the plan with just outdoor racing. Then, when I started riding, that was still the plan, because there was not going to be any Supercross, so I was just riding outdoors. When Feld announced the Salt Lake City races, I got back on the Supercross track and started riding.
BEFORE YOUR CRASH, YOU LOOKED GOOD, BUT I DON’T THINK YOU WERE HAPPY WITH YOUR RESULTS. BUT AFTER GETTING SALT LAKE CITY THINGS WERE COMING TOGETHER. The beginning of the season was not great for me. I was struggling with just feeling really sick in January. That put me in a tough spot and made it hard for me to recover during the week, and it just started to build on me. Finally, in Dallas, before I got injured, I was having a decent race. I think I went 7-5-3 in the Triple Crown for 5th overall and that was the best I had ridden all year. At the same time, it was not at nearly the level I was riding when we were in Salt Lake.
TAKING THE WIN AT THE FINAL ROUND MUST HAVE BEEN AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE. It was awesome. I rode well the whole time we were there, led some races and got comfortable with that. I got comfortable riding in front of the premier class in the world in Supercross and I really wanted to win that last one. I knew that those guys would be Championship-minded, especially Eli. And if Eli was up front then Cooper would have been the same. I felt like I really had a good opportunity and I was able to capitalize on it and get a win.
DO YOU NOW SEE YOURSELF AS ONE OF THOSE TOP CANDIDATES TO WIN RACES? I would like to think so. I was kind of the complete package when we were in Salt Lake with my starts and just the consistency I was putting down. Next year going in, I already have checked the race win box, and I would like to continue charging forward and trying to build some wins. I want to put myself in good position the whole season and stay healthy, that is the main thing.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR HUSQVARNA TO GO 1, 2, 3 AND DOMINATE LIKE YOU GUYS DID AT THE LAST RACE? It was for all of us and for everyone involved it was great. It was a huge day with Michael Mosiman on the podium in the 250 class and then for us to go 1, 2, 3 was really cool. It was the first time ever for Husky and that was awesome. Obviously, I was glad to be the guy that won, but even with that, it was a really cool day for all of us.
WHAT IS IT LIKE RIDING FOR THE ROCKSTAR HUSQVARNA TEAM? We enjoy going racing together. We have a good team atmosphere. We all have fun and I think that it is key to not only good results but just enjoying the racing and grind that it takes.
BASED ON YOUR SUCCESS IN SUPERCROSS, DO YOU FEEL PRETTY GOOD ABOUT OUTDOORS? I feel great about it. I hope that they can pull something together for us to be able to go racing. It is going to be a really good series if they make it happen. I would like to think that they will get it together. And with my fitness, I believe that I am in a good spot to contend for race wins there too.
ARE YOU OKAY WITH HOW MX SPORTS IS HANDING THINGS? Not only is it out of my control, but it is out of their control too. They are only as good as the limitations and there are a lot of limitations at the moment. I don’t know what else they can do as far as it goes with getting it together. It is going to be a little more complex than Supercross, because they are not going to do it at one venue. So, yes, I am okay with what they are doing right now.
WHAT YOUR MOTIVATION TO RACE GNCC IN THE BREAK? Well, unique times offer unique opportunities. This is just the way to go race, have some fun, and put myself in front of some different people. At the end of the day, I am a racer and I want to go racing, it was cool and fun for me, and hopefully fun for the team and also for the fans.
HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE HIGH VOLTAGE GNCC, DID YOU GO THERE TO WIN, OR MORE AS HAVING FUN? It was just for fun. Of course, I would have liked to have won, but I don’t know how realistic that was. I do not have any time on the trails at the moment. I had very little time to sort the bike out. For me, it was mostly just for fun. I would have loved to carve out a good result and be up at the front, but I mean it is what it is.