By Brendan Lutes
Josh Hill has been through a lot over the past couple of years. Since getting injured while trying to learn how to backflip in order to compete in X Games Speed and Style, Hill has had a tough road to overcome multiple injuries that he suffered in the horrific crash. This past season, Hill attempted to race the Supercross series, but was injured again and elected to sit out the series in order to fully and properly heal. After that, he rode a couple outdoor Nationals, finishing decently in a few motos, but not up to the standards he had set for himself.
Since then, Hill has secured a ride with the RCH/Suzuki team for 2013 and beyond, and says that he is finally nearly back to where he was before getting hurt. With a few months on the bike, we caught up with Hill to see how things have been for him as he plans on making a full assult on the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross series.
We spoke with you a month or two ago, but how have things been going for you now that you have been able to put more time on the new Suzuki?
It's been a pretty wild ride. This last summer, I tried to do a couple Nationals. I felt like I was riding okay, but didn't really feel like I was in my groove yet, and I didn't do to hot. After that, I took a couple months off and all I really did was ride BMX. When I got the call to get this deal going, it was weird, because everything just started clicking when I got back on the bike. I was good to have a couple months to chill and get really healthy, and now everything has been going really smooth.
Everyone kind of already knows the story about how you got the ride on the Dodge/Sycuan Casino/Suzuki/RCH team, but what was it like to get re-signed with the team?
I wanted to do the last couple of Nationals to see where I was at, and the equipment and my speed just wasn't quite there. And it just didn't go like I had wanted it to, so I wasn't really counting on getting signed. I didn't really think that they were going to do it, but everything just ended up working out in my favor. They resigned me to the team and we're actually getting factory support this year. The bikes are awesome.
What has it been like to think you were done racing, but then get re-signed to a factory-supported team?
It just gives me a whole new respect for riding again. When you're sitting there thinking about how you're going to make money again, and if you have to get a normal nine-five job, it sucks. I don't want to say it's the end of the world or anything, but being paid to ride a dirt bike is my dream. Every day I get back on my bike, I just love it and want to ride. I love riding anyways and it's something I love doing, but I didn't know if I was going to be able to continue doing it professionally. I think of it as a second chance—well actually a third chance—I don't even know what you want to call it, but I'm really stoked. Every day I try to get the most out of it and learn and show up every day ready. I'm pumped to ride that bike.
With Anaheim I only a couple weeks away, where are you at with your preparation right now?
I think I'm right where I need to be. We've been riding a lot. I came down here [Southern California] in the middle of October, and I've just been riding all the time, that's all I've really been doing—just riding and training. I just love it; it's going perfect. Every day I feel stronger, I feel better, and I feel more… I don't really want to say I feel like my old self; I want to say I feel good again. I feel like I'm going fast and I feel really dialed in. The new Suzuki is a really easy bike to ride and it's not like I have to push. It really suits my style, it's easy to ride, and it almost does the work for you.
During this time of year, training and riding can tend to get old, but is there anything else that you do to break up the monotony a little bit?
I ride BMX. I don't get to do it as much as I would like. I usually just go to skateparks. I think it's some of the best therapy that I could do for my ankle, because there is no suspension on a BMX bike and you really have to focus on making sure your ankle is planted when you're landing off a jump. You also have to use your ankles and knees to soak up big landings. It's been good to build my legs back up and an exercise to regain motion in my ankle and to regain feeling because you really have to feel and sense where your pedal is. It's just something I have always enjoyed doing, and my dad was a pro BMX rider and rode for Dyno and GT. It's always been something that I've loved doing and my dad taught me how to ride a bicycle, and how to bunnyhop when I was two years old or something like that.
What are your expectations for yourself for not only the opening round of Supercross in a couple weeks, but for the season?
I'm not going to put a ton of pressure on myself for Anaheim I. I just want to go there and be inside the top-10 and get the pace back. I feel that by judging from the people I've ridden with, I'm on pace and that I'm riding really well. I feel that I could maybe do better than top-10, but I just want to have a solid race. I haven't had too many good solid races under my belt, so I want to get a solid start and run with it for as long as I can. I think I'm in pretty good shape and can do the whole 20 laps strong. I don't know, man; to me anything is a win. If I go out and get top-10, then that's a reason to celebrate. From there, I'm going to keep picking away at it until I'm further up than that. I really believe that I can get back to where I used to be, battling with the guys up front. But it's not going to happen over night.
What are you doing for the holidays?
I have my whole family coming down to my beach house in Newport Beach—my mom, dad, little brother, and my grandma and grandpa. They're all going to spend Christmas in my little beach house; it will be pretty cool and that way I can minimize the amount of days I lose for training. My grandpa goes to all my races, so I'm sure he'll want to come out to the track and watch me ride too, so it will be cool.