Many times here at Racer X we talk to the race winner or the guys who placed on the box over the weekend, so when web guy Keith Burgie asked me to interview Josh Hill, I immediately thought it was a great idea. You see, Josh Hill has not had a good motocross season. He’s just putting it together, and for a young rider that needs a contract in 2010, the pressure has to be on. It’s the guys that are struggling that you never really hear from.
To Josh’s credit, he didn’t duck anything and quickly replied to my text for an interview and this is what we talked about.
Racer X: Hey Josh, I guess a simple question would be: What’s going on with you? Josh Hill: Man, I don’t really know. I had some back problems and my ankle has been bothering me for a while. I haven’t been able to ride much. I did my ankle in supercross and didn’t come into the outdoors as prepared as I should have been. But it was starting to feel better at Texas and then I hurt my back, I had three bulging discs and a pinched nerve – I don’t even know what I did. I thought I could ride Colorado and went in on Friday before to get an MRI to see what the deal was and the diagnosis was disc and nerve problems. So of course I landed hard off a jump like third lap of practice and that was it for me, I could barely get off my bike. It was unbearable to even walk around. I went to a chiro that whole next week - Dr Steve Narvarro - and I went into RedBud feeling better. My times were right in there and in the first moto, then I crashed in the whoops and hit my head hard and that was RedBud for me. I feel my speed is there in practice but I have just been battling injuries and different things like that.
Is it a case of where you’re trying to ride to keep your speed up but you’re hurting yourself more by riding so then you stop riding and your speed isn’t there? Hence the poor finishes? I’ve been working out non-stop. I’m fifteen pounds lighter than I was in supercross. A lot of people think my bad finishes are just me screwing off and not working but that’s not the case. I’ve been working and trying hard but my body isn’t allowing me to ride. I can count on both hands the number of times I’ve practiced during the week since I hurt my ankle. It’s been tough on me and that was before Seattle.
I feel like I feel good and can ride. At Freestone I was fifth fastest, Mt Morris I was third, and at RedBud I was right in there also. Things haven’t been good. I haven’t gotten any good starts and I don’t think I’ve been close to the top ten off the start even once. At Mt Morris I threw my goggles off around half-way and that sucked and I guess stuff just hasn’t been going my way.
So ok, the first half sucked and what’s the plan for the second half of the season? It has to be tough for you because you’re looking for a contract for next year as well. Well, yeah I’m feeling the pressure and more than anything I’m not happy with my riding. I haven’t shown anything and it’s tough to watch these new winners. I feel like I should be top five or battling for podiums. I’m starting to get healthy and I took another week off and I have a hematoma on my whole right side.
Last week James Stewart called me and wants to help me. He wants me to come out to his house, so I loaded up my truck with my bike, a bicycle, some clothes and enough parts to hopefully last me as long as he lets me be here. You just called me as I got into Florida right now.
Where were you? I was in San Diego and loaded up and drove across the country with my buddy Cas Swift and we left Friday morning and we’re just about there.
It must be frustrating to not be up there with the guys like Cooper and Byrne because that’s where you should be able to be all day long. Yeah I think so but for some reason it just hasn’t been working out. Last year it came so easy to me, I would just have so much fun riding my dirt bike during the week and show up and do well. I was getting top fives a lot and I wasn’t putting in the effort that I could’ve been last year. That’s the honest truth.
How’s Yamaha been with you? Yamaha’s been pretty cool with me. Everyone from Keith [McCarty], Mike [Guerra] and Jimmy [Perry] have been understanding and trying to help me but at the same time, they’re not throwing contracts at me. Results-wise this year there are a lot of guys that deserve a deal more than me. There’s six rounds left and hopefully I can make them remember “Oh yeah, that guy is pretty good.”
So now that you’re going to James house, I assume you’re all healed up and ready to start motoing down? Well, my back is what it is right now and it won’t be fixed in a couple of weeks. I’ll go to the chiro and have one at the races for me to work on that. My ankle is pretty much good to go, I can’t run on it or anything like that but as far as riding goes, it’s workable. I felt like I was starting to get over my injuries but then this back thing flared up. I always thought that back injuries were an easy excuse to have, you know the whole workman compensation back injury, but if anyone has had one like I have, it’s not fun at all.
I jumped out of bed one time and fell to the ground when I landed it hurt so bad. It’s my pinched nerve that is the real problem for me. It’s confusing for me to be so fast at High Point and I go 10-15 and I’m not out of shape or anything. I haven’t been less than 175lbs for a long time, since I was on little bikes and now I am. I feel good about that.
Yeah, hopefully it turns around for you because if you were going 10-10 every weekend people would say that you’re not riding good but you’re not even doing that. It’s been bad Josh… I know! I think I have thirty-four points right now and that’s pathetic. My motor-home driver called me to give me shit last night, he has been on me pretty good. Last night he says, “Have you been on mxsports.com lately?” and I go no. He says, “You should check it out sometime and see your points and maybe you can buy some bikes and we’ll go race the nationals next year!” and all this crap. It’s funny that he gives me shit for doing what he’s doing right now. He should take his alien arms and his Ohlins forks and just go away.