Gas Monkey Energy/AJE Motorsports racer Justin Starling has been putting in great results in the 250 class, and is coming into 2019 looking for his best year yet. We caught up with him yesterday after he finished his media obligations for the new Monster Energy Supercross season. Read on to hear what he’s been up to coming into A1!
We're less than a month away from A1 –talk about the Gas Monkey Energy/AJE Motorsports team and Gas Monkey Energy joining the squad.
Yeah, I rode for AJE Motorsports last year and they've pretty much revamped the entire team this year with a new title sponsor. But it's the same people behind the team, and they've added a few people. We have two new riders, Chris Blose and Dylan Merriam, we're still riding Husqvarna's, but the program is all new and we're ready to go racing.
How was 2018?
It was good –I was one of 9 riders to put it into every 250 main event, and I also made a 450 main event on a 250 out of the heat race so that was pretty cool to do that. I ended up 12th overall in points, so I was a little further back than I wanted to be. But we had one issue in Vegas, so everything was really good considering. The team ran things amazingly so I knew right away I wanted to re-sign my deal, and they didn't hesitate to give me a contract. So everything was really good and I think 2019 will be a year to remember for us.
Coming in with more support in the form of Gas Monkey Energy, does this introduce a higher level to the team?
Yeah I think so, and I think it brings a lot more publicity to the company. When an energy drink company comes in its huge. We only have Rockstar Energy, Red Bull with a couple riders, and then Monster, so now we have a whole new energy drink company and I think it grows the sport. They grew our team drastically, so yeah I definitely think it's been nothing but a positive.
You're among a handful of racers that hits Europe for some off-season races. Talk about that a little.
Racing off season races benefits you in multiple ways, the gate drops, the intensity of racing, the cardio from racing, and the confidence it gives you all going into Anaheim 1 is extremely positive. You see a lot of riders racing overseas these days! I choose the German SX series because it's fun, it’s great environment and there’s great racing. It's a risk of course because you could get hurt, but there's no better practice than racing in my opinion
What's it like to be on a team like the Gas Monkey Energy/AJE Motorsports squad and competing against the top factory teams?
I think we're right there and we're just a step below a team like the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna or TLD KTM teams. We're getting closer every year, our bikes are getting better, and we're getting amazing support from all the sponsors. It is difficult to run up against those factory 250's, but we have a great motor package for 2019 and we're excited to get it going.
You're from Florida, right? Did you move out here?
Yep I am, and I am still Florida based. I'm just out here in Phoenix with the team right now and then I came out to California this week for testing. I kind of go back and forth from Phoenix and California, riding tracks like ACP and Milestone. I'll head back to the East Coast to Florida when the season heads east and stay there for the rest of the Supercross season.
And you'll sneak in a few 450 rounds as well this year?
Yeah, I've always done the 450 rounds on the East Coast just to stay racing and keep that intensity. It also helps with testing at the same time. I usually stay on the 250 and race the 450's but this year I'm planning on racing a 450. We did Monster Cup on that bike and ended up in 14th overall and had some really good finishes on the night. After that, we decided I'll just jump on that bike when the East Coast rounds come up.
Sounds like you're pretty ready for Anaheim…
Yeah, I'm super excited. We've done some testing and my mechanic Blake McCarthy and I have the bike feeling amazing. We should be really good, and I already have our 450 dialed in for when it heads east. We're ready to go and I think we have like 26 days until its time to do work!
Good luck, see you at A1.