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Monday Conversation: Justin Barcia

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At the recent 2008 Winter National Olympics at Gatorback Cycle Park in Florida, GEICO/Factory Connection/Honda-backed Justin Barcia of Monroe, New York, aced the 250 A Pro Stock and Modified classes, as well as the 250A Pro Stock Motocross division. Perhaps even more impressive about Barcia was the fact that of the 2,200 rider present in Gainesville, his lap times were the fastest all week long.

Six months from now, the 16-year-old will get a chance to go pro: he plans lining up for the opening moto of 2009 AMA Motocross Championship. That’s where he’ll join Ryan Dungey, Austin Stroupe, Trey Canard, Brett Metcalfe, Jason Lawrence, Nico Izzi and more, plus a growing field of international riders that are emigrating to America, including a pair of world champions in Christophe Pourcel and Tyla Rattray, plus this year’s vice-champion Tommy Searle. With three-time champ Ryan Villopoto moving up to the 450 class, this might be the most competitive season in the 37-year history of series.

Over the weekend, Racer X caught up with the rider who has been tapped as a future superstar since he was a 12 year-old 85cc rider.

  • Justin Barcia will turn pro at Glen Helen in 2009
Racer X: Justin, so just what are you up to on Friday night in Cairo, Georgia?
Justin Barcia: Actually, we just bought a new house down the road from MTF [Millsaps Training Facility] so we’re working on that right now.

So you’re just moving in?
Yeah, we’re just getting in tonight, actually. I’m really excited. I’m just kind of finishing up my room and stuff. It’s awesome.

What have you been up to since the Winter Olympics ran a few weeks ago in Gainesville, Florida?
You know, just riding at MTF and training and stuff.

Do you ride and train every day?
Yes, Monday through Friday.

What’s a typical day like for you?
Oh man… Well, I have to get up around 7 a.m. Then I get stretched and warmed up and stuff. Then we ride from about 9 a.m. to about 2 or 3. After that we might do a bike ride or some cardio stuff or something like that and that’s pretty much it.

Does all that ever get a little tedious or are you okay with it?
I’m okay it because sometimes you get off a little bit early and you get some free time to do some stuff, but it’s definitely a lot of work.

Tell us about Gainesville. Did everything go to plan and did you feel good about your racing?
Yeah, you know, it went really good. I was really happy with my finishes and stuff. I think I won almost every moto but two. I had some bad luck in those two motos, but it went really good. I was really happy with my finishes and stuff.

From what I understand, you had the fastest lap times all week in Florida
Yeah, I believe so.

This is kind of a dumb question, but you go to a race like the Winter National Olympics, and there are over 2,200 riders there, and you’re the fastest guy of all, is that a cool feeling?
[Laughs] Yeah, definitely. It’s a really awesome feeling, actually. It’s what I try to do — to be the fastest guy at the track. And it’s been working out lately, so it’s pretty awesome.

Do you have many friends at the track or guys you hang out with or do you stay closer to the guys on the GEICO Powersports/Factory Connection/Honda team?
Oh, you know, I kind of hang out with most of the guys on the team. It’s kind of just mainly the people from MTF that I know that are my main friends. Them and the guys on the team and that’s about it.

How long have you been on the Factory Connection team? Has it been about a year now?
Yeah, I’d say probably a year now. I’ve been running Factory Connection since I was a little kid.

And you’ve been with Honda for how long now?
Oh man, I’m not even sure… since I was on 80s or the beginning of my 80cc career. We have a real strong relationship.

  • Justin was nearly perfect at the Mini Olympics
What events will you compete in next?
Well, the Winter-Ams are coming up in Florida. I’ll do all of those. There are about five or six of those.

Will you run the Lake Whitney and Oak Hill races in Texas in March?
Yeah, I’ll run those. I think I’ll run the 250 A Stock and Modified classes. I’m not too sure about the 450 classes yet.

What’s your plan from there until your first pro national?
My plan is pretty much to test my pro bikes and train and get stronger and get better cardio and just do long motos.

Have you been on your professional bikes yet or is the team waiting a little while before putting you on that equipment?
Yeah, actually, they’re waiting on that a little bit because I still have to race my amateur bikes and they don’t want me to get on a pro bike because I won’t want to ride my amateur bikes!

Do you know when you’ll start riding your professional bikes?
Well, I know that my bikes are already done and built. So whenever they want me to come out to California and test it, that’s when it will probably happen.

Are you doing the entire series then?
Yeah, we’re going to try and do the whole series.

Knowing that now, are you getting a little impatient to get things going with the professionals?
Yeah, pretty much. I’m just really excited to ride my new bike and to race with those new guys. It’s going to be a really big change for me. Hopefully, it goes really good. I’m really excited. I think it’ll be really fun. I’d like to do really good when I go to my first race at Glen Helen. I’d like to be up front or somewhere around the front. I have a goal in my head, but I won’t say anything. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, but I want to do big things.

So for the time being, it’s just a lot of riding and training, huh?
Yeah, you know, I‘ve been in the gym a lot just lifting a lot of weights trying to get more muscle. I’ve also been doing a lot of cardio work, but when you do cardio you lose muscle, so it’s kind of hard to do both, but we’ve been doing really good with it all.

With all the talent in this series now, are you confident you’re going to be in the mix?
Yeah, you know, we’ll see. There are a lot of fast guys, so… I’m just really excited to be out there with the best guys. It’s all really cool.

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