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5 Minutes with...Josh Demuth

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As the most successful rider in AMA Arenacross, Josh Demuth hopes to rack up a fourth championship this season, having returned to Team Babbitt’s Kawasaki and longtime mechanic Jack Yost for 2010. Can the almost-29-year-old put it to the young guns? We’ll find out in a couple months. In the meantime, we recently caught up with The Sherriff to get his take on Arenacross 2010.

  • Josh Demuth
Racer X: Josh, you’re back on Team Babbitt’s.
Josh Demuth: Yeah, it’s been around three years since I was here. I rode for them in 2006 and was able to win the championship that year, but yeah, it’s been a little while.

What’s changed here since you won the title?
Well, I think when we first started that it was one of those things where it’s kind of a learning year. Back then I was planning on retiring, and I didn’t come back the next year. They picked up Darcy Lange and had another good year - they ended up winning the championship again. I don’t know how to truly describe it; I just think they’ve worked all the bugs out. Not a lot’s really changed - all the same people are still here, pretty much. It’s good to be back with people that helped my father and I win a championship.

You had a pretty decent season last year, and now with you being back on the team you last won a title with, what are your thoughts?
Yeah, 2009 was a good year for me. I ended up finishing third and only missed out on second place by a couple points. But overall, last year was pretty difficult for me. I had a full-time job working in the oil industry, and then trying to race on top of it didn’t leave much time for riding, training, or anything. It was a challenge for me, because I only got to ride on the weekends. But this year I got laid off there, so I’ve been just riding and training full-time and spending a lot of time with my family and my kids. It’s been good. I’m focused 100 percent on racing this year. It’s really more preparation than I’ve had here these last few years. I feel great and everything’s good. I’ve got my former mechanic back, Jack Yost, when I won my championship for Shogun Racing. To me, I think I’m much more prepared this year than I have been in the past few years.

So even with racing, you still have a full-time job?
I’ve got kids that I have to take care of at home. I make a great living racing, but when the summer months roll around, there’s really not much racing going on unless you go to the outdoors – and it’s pretty hard to get a ride there. So I picked up a job and was working full-time and making a good living for my family. I was able to take care of them, so when the racing opportunity came back around, it was just an extra way for me to be able to make some money. I love racing. I always have - it’s been part of my life since I was 4 years old - and I can’t seem to get away from it. For 2010, I got the opportunity to come back really full-time and do it. But once again, when summertime rolls around, I’m sure I’ll have another job where I’ll work the summer - until wintertime comes and I race again.
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You’re a young man, but you’ve been around racing for a long time. Is age a hindrance in arenacross or can it help you?
Well, I think it definitely can go both ways. As far as the gym and stuff goes, it’s a little harder to train and get ready - my body doesn’t recover quite as quickly as some of the young guys. In motocross, most people retire when they’re right around their 30s. I don’t know, though, it’s been really good for me, and I feel good. I’m still able to ride well, and I feel like I can win races. As long as I can do that and be competitive, I’m going to keep racing for as long as I can. I notice that I can’t push myself near what I used to, but on the other hand, I’ve been here a lot longer and been in certain situations that many have not experienced. I’ve won championships before, which kind of puts me a little bit ahead of the game over some of the guys.

How’s the environment within the team? Is there a lot of rivalry?
I’d never really known Tyler before. I kind of met him a few times, but we never really hung out or anything. Now I’ve gotten to spend a little time with him. He’s a young kid with a lot of potential, and I really see him making something of himself. Tyler’s definitely a big, strong, aggressive rider. If anything, I think it makes me and Chad [Johnson] ride a little bit more aggressive as well. With Chad, it’s a little bit different story. Chad and I are great friends, and we’ve been good friends for a long time. We rode together clear back in the Shogun days when I won my championships there. He and his family are awesome people. I think that me and him are a little bit older than most of the people in the series, and we’re more of a mental type rider than the aggressive, super-go-fast-for-the-win-all-the-time rider - we’re there to win a championship. Chad and I talk a lot and share a lot of stuff. I think with Tyler coming on that we should be able to help him a little bit, while he’s going to help Chad and I be a little more aggressive on the track.

How do you go about approaching a series like this to win the championship?
I think it’s different for everybody. For myself, it’s more of just being consistent - that’s how I won the championships in the past. I mean, everybody wants to win every race, but obviously, it’s pretty hard - unless you’re Ricky Carmichael [laughs]. To me, I just go out and try to do the best that I can. I try to win every race, but I know it’s not possible - I just try to get as best a finish as I can. It’s a long series, and I think people put too much pressure on the first race or two and try to go out and win – then they end up crashing, getting hurt, or doing stupid stuff. That’s where you’ve just got to relax, sit back, and take what you can get and get through these first couple rounds. Eventually, everything kind of pans its way out and everything starts to kind of fall in place.

The ultimate goal is a championship.
Yeah, absolutely. Everybody’s shooting for that championship, especially with all the good bonuses we have. As I said, I’ve won a few championships before. I know how to do it. But for me, it’s the fun of coming out and being able to race with my friends. Getting to spend time with my friends while being able to provide a living for my family is great. It’s maybe a little bit different for me than for most people, but like I said, I love racing. I don’t think it will ever be out of my system, and as long as I can do well, I’ll be here.

Is there anybody you want to thank or anything you might want to add?
You know, this last year and the couple before have been really hard for me. I’ve been going through a lot of stuff at home. My family has really been there for me - my kids, my mom and dad, they’ve really gone out of their way to help me and support me, even when things were not going so well. I think it takes a good family and a good, strong background like that to keep your head above water sometimes. It’s good to have a family that cares about you, relies on you, and tries to help you as much as they can. My parents have really been there for me, which just goes to show me how much that stuff really means and how I want to be as a person when my kids grow up - if they ever need help, I’m always there for them. This is what I do - I race motorcycles. I’ve been blessed to be able to do it. It’s fun, and it’s an awesome job. It’s just like any other sport, just like Brett Favre, you know? He can’t get away from football. He loves it. That’s the same way I feel about my racing: it’s awesome and I love to do it. I get to have fun doing it, but yet, it’s a job and I’ve got to do my business. I don’t know, it’s awesome. Words can’t explain it.
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