We haven't seen Josh Hill line up for a race in quite some time. After hanging it up a few years back, he's continued riding and remained a presence in the industry. That said, we were surprised to learn that not only was Hill planning to make a return to racing at the 2018 Seattle Supercross, he had also been selected by the Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing team to fill-in for Justin Barcia. We talked with Hill to learn more about this deal and also found out quite a bit about his future racing plans.
Coming into this week, nobody was expecting the news that you were going to fill-in at Yamaha. How did everything come together?
I was up at the final round of the AMA National Snowbike Championship the weekend before last and got a call from Keith [McCarty]. He said that Justin Barcia wasn't able to get back for this weekend so they asked me if I wanted to do it. I was pretty shocked and thrilled. I was planning on racing this race myself just for fun so I was excited for this. Then I had about five test days on the bike and I really liked it a lot.
As far as racing this round, what was your motivation to come out of retirement and take a shot at it?
I'm not working for Monster Energy anymore as an employee. They put me back on as an athlete and that kind of brought me back out of retirement in a sense. I didn't have any plans for coming back to this series and attempting to be competitive, but I'm planning on racing some Supercross over in Europe. I'm just trying to do some different stuff. One of the toughest things is getting on equipment that's comparable and that's why I'd like to go over to Europe. I'm going to be working on some video projects and different things like that. With Seattle, this is my hometown race and I just wanted to come up here and have fun. If I get smoked, everyone expects me to get smoked. If I do good, everyone is stoked.
You mentioned that this is your hometown race, and unfortunately the conditions are obviously less than ideal. Does that make a difference for you at all?
Everybody has to deal with the same stuff, but yeah, I wish it was sunny out and the track was killer. For me, it's whatever!
You've also got your whole family here. It has to be nice having all of them out here.
I mean that's why I'm here. That's the main reason I'm here. I get to have all of my friends and family out here. There's also a larger fan base here than at any other race. I came to do the best I can and leave with a smile on my face.
In terms of your deal with Yamaha, is there any opportunities for a continued relationship moving forward?
I haven't really asked them. For this, we're just playing it by this one weekend. If they ask me to do it again, I'll be there for sure. As always, the more time you spend on the bike and the more preparation you get, the better you're going to ride. For sure, I'd do it again if they asked me to.
Looking at those European races, what do you have in the works there?
I've talked to a couple of people there and I think I've got some good support lined up for those. I don't know that I'm going to do the whole tour season there, but I want to do some of the events there because they look so cool. I mean, you've got sport-specific Supercross stadiums with 20,000 people in the summer in the South of France at the beach. You can't beat that! I want to go take a look at that and see what that's all about. That'll be an experience in itself. From Bercy to Geneva and all of those one-off races, I'm excited to check those out.
The last thing I have to ask about, we all saw on social media that you went out and got some redemption by stomping a backflip. What was it like to tackle that?
It was kind of funny because when I showed up there on the day I did it, I wasn't really thinking that I was going to do a flip. Jackson Strong was out there that day and he was kind of trying to get me to do it. We did a couple of them to the airbag and I had them dialed again so I was like, "Let's do it!" We had a fun little step up there and I guess you could say it was a bit of a super kicker. It was a good jump to do it on. It was totally random, there was no thought put into it or buildup. I just went out and did it [laughs]. It was kind of funny.