Living in the shadow of an older sibling can be a challenge, even more so when said elder happens to be one of the top motocross racers in the world. Justin Hill, younger brother of Hart and Huntington Kawasaki’s Josh Hill, is quietly stepping out and has become one of the top amateur racers since making the leap to full size bikes. Winning at Loretta Lynn’s in the summer, clinching the Monster Energy Cup, and rounding off his year with another championship at the Mini O’s in Florida, Hill has set the bar high for 2012, what may be his last as an amateur. We caught up with Justin at the DC Shoes ride day to discuss his breakout year.
Since your win in Vegas at the Monster Energy Cup, you have been on a hot streak, and you continued it at the Mini O’s. How has everything been?
It’s been good, and coming down to California to get some more riding in is really cool. I had a rough week in Florida but was able to come away with a championship, so that makes it better for the next few weeks. It wasn’t a totally loss, but maybe now turn it up a little more even, put my head down again and get ready for Texas.
What were the issues you had in Florida?
Just had bad starts, got in some tangles in the first turn, and got run over. But for the most part the overall outlook from that week was good.
You stay up north for the majority of the year on the number of tracks you have at your property, and it looks incredible after seeing video from there. How is it to ride there?
It is really good. We just put a bunch of sand on the lower part of one of our bigger tracks, so we can ride year round now.
Do you like to be up there, in your own world compared to being here in California?
I like being home. It is very low stress and you do what you know you have to do. But to come here on a weekend like this, where we are doing photo shoots and throwing whips is fun. But to train, I’d rather be home.
Being Josh Hill’s younger brother, does it place more pressure on you or does it actually take some of it off?
It is hard to say, and it really depends on the time. When he was “Josh,” on top of the world and doing good, all eyes were on him and there was pressure for me to shine back up. But after his accident, he was hit a little lower and they started to look at me more. I’m not going to say that it was a good feeling, but you know. I’m going to say that it is fifty-fifty. It just depends on what is going on with both of us, but it (the attention) is pretty even.
To see that happen, did it rattle you?
Yeah, and it was tough for all of us. I have only watched the video once and couldn’t watch it again.
You mentioned preparing for the Texas amateur nationals. What is the plan for 2012? Will you be competing in the normal amateur events and then turning pro at the end of the summer?
We just signed with Kawasaki to run the “A” class, so we will go to Oak Hill, Alabama, Vegas, Mammoth, and Loretta’s. Hopefully after Loretta’s, if the year goes well, we will be picked up by someone good and hit the last four.
What are you expectations for 2012? Do you think that after winning in Vegas and Florida that 2012 will be your “breakout year,” or was that 2011 for you?
I’d like to top it again. It is pretty much the same guys, but I am not sure if Jessy Nelson is staying, because he might go professional. I just have to put my head down, because I know they are training hard and I can’t take this year lightly.