Photos and Words by Mike Emery | @emeryphoto
With the fresh start of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series came a few fresh rookies, Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna’s Michael Mosiman being one of them. The charismatic Nor Cal native hit the big leagues a little under the radar but quickly began to turn heads within the first few rounds with multiple top ten finishes. An unfortunate crash in the second moto at High Point marked the end of his exceptional outdoor rookie year, and we just caught up with him to hear a little more about the injury and how things went before that.
What’s up, Michael –you’ve been off the radar a little lately since your injury. Take us through what exactly happened.
Yeah, I kind of lay low when I’m injured. I hurt my shoulder with three laps to go in the second moto at High Point. You know the Trey Canard crash where he broke his femur at Washougal –up the hill on that little step up where he scrubbed and caught his front tire?
Yep, that was a nasty one.
That’s exactly I did at High Point. So before the finish line there was that hill we would scrub right before the step up.
So what exactly did you injure?
So I had problems with my shoulder already for a while, and I re-dislocated it. So I tore my labrum and a few other things. It was not good. I had surgery on it two weeks ago, kind of like the end-all fix-all surgery that most moto guys usually end up with. It has a 97% success rate, so I shouldn’t have any more problems with it.
What’s the timeframe to return?
It’s a 4-month recovery, so I’ll be out for the nationals. I still have to get my Arenacross points, believe it or not. So I’ll get back, start riding Supercross shortly after, then get my points and line up for East Coast Supercross.
How long are you contracted to race for Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna?
It’s through the outdoors.
So here lies the ultimate stress of a rookie, right? Do you feel you proved your speed in the time out there enough to secure a spot next year?
I think I turned a lot of heads, but at the same time I don’t think I had a lot of expectation to begin with. My relationship with Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna is great, and although I don’t have a contract signed yet for next year things are looking good to continue the relationship with them and I’m excited about that.
That’s great to hear. Up to the point you got injured, you were off to a great start as a rookie. Were you pretty happy with where you were at, results-wise?
The first two rounds I wasn’t very happy with, believe it or not. Well I was happy, but also not happy. I didn’t know how to feel because everyone else around me was really pumped for me, but at Hangtown I crashed twice in both motos and I think I finished 14th overall. Everyone was like, “Dude your speed –you can be 5th through 10th, that’s where your speed is at!” And I was like, “Yeah, but I got 14th.” So I didn’t really know how to feel because some people were stoked, but I was also getting tired too. At Glen Helen I had two really good starts and I was happy with that, and honestly my goals were to just stay up in both motos and score points. I was pretty happy with Glen Helen, but also bummed because I got tired and faded back. The results were better though, and I got like 8th overall. Then Colorado I felt really good, and I fell the first moto and I came back through the pack. The second moto in Colorado was my most proud moto, and it wasn’t necessarily my best result but I was strong through the whole thing and never gave up. I was really happy with that.
Do you think nerves play a part in the getting tired part or is it just that much more gnarly at the pro level?
I don’t thin so, because I was never really nervous –like on the line at Hangtown I didn’t really know what to expect, but I wouldn’t say I was nervous. It was really weird and strange! So press day I had arm pump, then I had arm pump in practice, and then I didn’t get arm pump at all in either of the motos. The team was just telling me to get out there and settle in, just cruise. It’s really important to stay up for the first few laps, and everyone is going crazy, so I just took their advice and got out there and relaxed. Seriously, I felt like I was putting around the first couple laps. I was still going fast, I’m sure, but in my head I was like, “Alright, I don’t have to worry here –we’re just gonna settle in mid race and start getting after it.” So I don’t think it was nerves, the tracks were just particularly gnarly.
Is there anything even relatable to the roughness of pro national track conditions?
Some sections at Hangtown were somewhat as gnarly as they have been in the past, like when you get those days after a rain or whatever. But probably not. I always wanted to say, “Oh yeah, I’ve ridden this track when it was this rough!” and probably convinced myself that I had ridden it that rough because I’m a local to Nor Cal, but to be honest no. Just every section was insane, you know? I think some nationals are worse than others, and at Hangtown Osborne (who went 1-1) was like, “Dude, that’s probably the gnarliest track of the year…” And then we go to Glen Helen and I was like, “So, is this one gnarly too? Are they all going to be this ridiculous?” and he was like, “Uh, I think this one might even be gnarlier!” So I was like, “Oh, geez.” (Laughs)
I look at these tracks on race day and zero part of me thinks it would be fun to ride –it’s so rough!
For me that stuff is fun! Alright, some sections are not fun. At Hangtown, the one section I dreaded was when you came up the hill, turned left and went down into that big double, which didn’t’ really have a great landing. So, you’re coming out of a corner, you’re in between shifts, the double literally has ruts all the way across the face, and they kind of turn. You’re dragging pegs, in between shifts, and hoping you can clear it. Then when you land, you land in breaking bumps and the rest of the entire hill was rutted. Every time I came through that section I was telling myself, “Alright, just make it through. Just make it through!” I had some sketchy moments.
Having Zach Osborne to talk you through things and be a mentor must be awesome, though. The guy is on fire right now.
Yeah, it’s super cool. I’ve actually known Zach for a little while now and we go to the same Bible study. We’ve kind of hung around each other before, and it just works out well that we are friends. At the first round I could already feel him taking me under his wing and that was super cool. He has a totally different style than me –he kind of bulldogs it and revs the bike. He just gets the job done. I have the opposite style where I jump the bumps, I stay smooth, and I stay really low-revved. It’s funny how different we are. We get along great and he’s a huge help. I’ve been growing my faith recently too and he’s also a man of god. I think it was before Colorado and he was sick, he had the points lead, and he was nervous on how the day would work out. He was just worried about how strong he was going to be because he was sick. So we’re getting geared up, and I was like, “You have any advice for me today?” and he replies back, “I don’t know, do you have any advice for me?” (Laughs) But I just told him that when I’m nervous I just give my nerves to god and say, “Here, take this from me.” He was like, “Ah, that’s cool.” It’s just nice to have a teammate that I connect with. At Hangtown I had a million people telling me what to do, but his advice kind of took the front position of it all. If I need help, he’s always willing.
So while you’re on the mend, what are you doing to keep busy?
Well the surgery was a pretty major surgery so I’ve been on the couch a lot, but I’m back to moving around a bit. So this week I went out and I helped my brother Josh out with keeping him on track. He’s had a career season, and he’s killing it, but our family just sees so much more potential and what he’s capable of so we are trying to push him and keep him accountable for what he’s trying to accomplish. A big thing that I’m trying to help him with is building good habits, because in the privateer life it’s super hard. Just having a really good habit of being on time with everything and having a schedule it important. I’m a big fan of the Warriors and basketball, and one thing they were saying pre-season with the addition of Kevin Durant they kept saying, “Yeah, we’re just going to work together and build good habits together and go from there.” It’s just a good mindset knowing that good habits are what will take you somewhere, not just sending it. It’s like looking at a guy that’s super messy, all over the place, always has an excuse, always complaining about the track –it’s like maybe he has potential but that guy versus a guy that has his stuff in line, is organized and always at the track at the right time, sticks to a schedule and doesn’t complain. It’s just all of those things that lead to success and I think I’m just trying to keep Josh accountable as much as I can to help him. He rode with Matt Bisceglia this past week and I kind of ran the pit board and did lap times, cheered him on, just getting the program going.
I see a future in training long after your career is over, Magic Mike!
(Laughs) Maybe! Injured trainer for now, just part time.
Well, heal up! We look forward to seeing your career unfold.