By Jim Kimball
Photos by Scott Mallonee
You could truly write a book on Zach Osborne with his beginnings in professional motocross, but in this case we will keep it short. Zack was a mini-cycle phenom, and rewarded with a factory KTM contract as a mini racer. From there he was dumped into the pros at an early age. Fast as anyone of his pro peers, it may have been only his teenage fitness that slowed him. When the American factory teams left him, Osborne packed his bags and went to England to restart his career. Living alone in England rejuvenated his career, and racing a couple Supercross events in 2012 reignited his American team interest. Zach then moved back to the states and made steady progress as a 250-championship contender. Relocating to Florida with Aldon Baker taking his career to the next level. As the dominant 250 rider in 2017, Zack has captured both a 250 Supercrosss, and 250 Outdoor Championship in 2017! It was at the final national at Ironman when we talked to the open, and friendly champion.
ZACH, WHAT AN INCREDIBLE YEAR FOR YOU. Yes, thank you, it was an incredible year. There is not much to say; today was just a stamp on the cherry on top of the cake! It has been an awesome year, and something that you dream of as a kid, so overall it is just an incredible feeling.
SUPERCROSS MIGHT HOLD A LITTLE MORE PRESTIGE, BUT WINNING THE OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP IS HUGE, RIGHT? I would not say either more prestigious, especially in the 250 class! Maybe the outdoor championship is more prestigious because it is a National championship instead of a regional championship, but they are both top of the list. Both are what everyone in this whole sport works for, but the 250 outdoors was such a grind.
WERE THERE A COUPLE DEFINING MOMENTS THIS YEAR? Obviously, the Las Vegas race was pretty incredible for a lot of reasons, but I look back to the days of the Detroit race where I got my front wheel taken out, and rode the whole main event to score just three points. That made the difference in the end; I only won the Supercross championship by two points. Also keeping my bike going at Millville was a big thing. It was the bad days that defined my whole year, I tried to minimize the damage on those days, and I think it is what got us here today where we are.
HAVE YOU MADE ANY CHANGES FOR ALL THE SUCCESS THIS YEAR BESIDES TRAINING WITH ALDON BAKER? No, the main part was all Aldon, and moving to Florida to be there with him. The consistency of the program has mellowed me out emotionally and mentally, so I feel like I belong more at the front, so he has just been a huge part of my success this year. Working with him, and riding with Jason (Anderson), Marvin (Musquin), and Ryan (Dungey) during Supercross has been a huge help for me.
YOU ARE RACING THE MOTOCROSS OF THE NATIONS THIS YEAR; THAT HAS BEEN A LONGTIME GOAL FOR YOU, HASN’T IT? Yes, for sure! It is something that I have always wanted to do, and I am looking forward to it. We have one week off here to regroup and then go over there and try to get that trophy back here to the U.S. I feel like we have a really good chance at it. We are coming in a little bit under the radar, but at the same time, I feel like that is not the worse thing. The pressure is on someone else to defend, so we are the attackers.
AND HOW COOL IS IT TO REUNITE WITH YOUR FORMER MX2 TEAM OWNER STEVE DIXON, WHO IS ALSO PROMOTING THE MATTERLY BASIN TRACK. Steve owns the rights to the track, and the event, so it is a pretty special deal for me. I was going to England regardless this year just to visit, and see friends and all that. But to go there and race Motocross of Nations makes it, you know, that much more special.
I WOULD IMAGINE THAT THE TIME YOU SPENT IN ENGLAND WAS DIFFICULT AT TIMES, ESPECIALLY FOR A YOUNG KID TO UPROOT FROM AMERICA AND MOVE THERE, BUT I HAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT IT HOLDS ALSO A SPECIAL PLACE IN YOUR HEART? Yes, for sure it does have some emotional memories. There were definitely some tough days in the beginning, but in the end, I enjoyed it, and I miss it often. At one point it was my home, so I am just grateful to be going back there, and getting to share some success this season, with some of the people who help me get here.
ZACH, WHAT DO YOU HAVE GOING ON AFTER THE MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS? I only have the Motocross of Nations, and then start training at the beginning of November. I plan to have a pretty mellow October, so I won’t be doing much. I will probably be doing Monster Cup and get back on the 250 and start training for 2018 Supercross.
SO YOU ARE RACING THE 250 NEXT YEAR? Yes in Supercross I will race the 250. I feel great about next year. I will be riding the 250 East Coast in Supercross and then the 450 Outdoors. In 2019, I will be 450 full-time.
ANY FINAL WORDS OR THOUGHTS OR ANYTHING? No, man, it has been an incredible year. No words really do it justice from my standpoint, so just thank you very much!