Photos/Words | Casey Davis @air_d617
The amateur motocross racing scene is thriving right now, as more and more people are taking an interest in racing dirt bikes with each passing year. The sport is gaining recognition and growing in popularity, and families are hungrier than ever to help their kid make a name for themselves in the hopes of bettering their future as a racer. The Varize family fits into this category of dedicated families, as they've sacrificed and given up material items that most people wouldn't even dream of doing, and it was all for their 14 year old son Josh. We caught up with "Jammin Josh" earlier this week at the 2017 Orange Brigade Camp to talk about his plans for the rest of year and to hear about some of the things that his family has done to get him to this point in his young career.
We're out here at Brian Deegan's house for the 2017 Orange Brigade Camp. Tell us a little bit about what's going on today. It's pretty cool that Orange Brigade put this on for you guys…
Yeah, it's great. Almost every one of the Orange Brigade riders is here having a great time and putting in some laps. We all get to work with Buddy Antunez and Nathan Ramsey on the track, which is something that I'm really excited about. Everyone is having a lot of fun and I'm stoked to be here!
What's it been like to work with Nate and "Budman?"
It's been great because I feel like I'm really learning a few things. I just returned from an injury, so I'm still not quite up to pace, but I know I'll be back in no time. I think the OBCamp came at the right time for me since I'm still getting myself back up to speed because this has allowed me to really take in everything from Nate and Buddy.
Let's talk about the injury. How are you feeling now that you're back on the bike?
It's feeling pretty good, actually. It doesn't bother me when I'm riding, but I lost all of the muscle in my arm, and that's been the biggest struggle. I don't remember exactly how long, but I wasn't able to move my arm for a few months. I'm back on the bike now though, and almost 100%.
You just returned from the Freestone Amateur National, and you did quite well considering the amount of time you had to prepare after your injury…
Yeah, I had a good time over there, and I'm totally happy with the way I rode considering everything! Even though you're right, I didn't want to use that as an excuse. Like I said, I'm happy with the way I rode, but I needed to find my starts. Once I get my starts down though, and maintain consistency with no mistakes, I'll feel even better!
We know you're a real threat wherever you go and it's evident in your results, but we don't hear your name as much as the Jett Reynolds, the Stilez Robertsons or the Carson Mumfords. Do you feel like people underestimate you a little bit?
Maybe a little bit, but I know where I stand at the races when I'm good and healthy. It doesn't really bother me that people don't put me in the same category as Mumford or Robertson, and maybe it's because I'm not doing the social media thing as much. I'm just having a good time riding my dirt bike!
Which amateur nationals do you plan on attending this year?
Up next is the Cal Classic, and I'm really hoping to get in some more good rides there, as well. I would love to come home with some championships! After that, we'll be doing a few regional qualifiers for Loretta Lynn's, then Mammoth will be next I think and then we'll head back east for Loretta's.
Prior to OBCamp17, have you ever worked with Ramsey or Antunez before?
I've been with Orange Brigade KTM since 2015, and twice a year they put on these OBCamps – one on the East Coast and another here on the West Coast. The first OBCamp was held in 2014 I think. I've actually worked with Nate quite a bit, but I really only get to work with Buddy at the OBCamps.
Just about anyone that's been to Milestone MX has more than likely visited MX Pro Parts, which is a race shop located next to the front gate, and your parents happen to own the shop, right?
Yeah, exactly. It's a cool little place, too because everything you need is in there. We also service bikes, as well, which is something that I don't think many people know about. My parents work really hard to keep the place up and running, and they've sacrificed so much for me and my future. The same goes for my brother, and I'm very thankful for him! My parents have given up our jet skis, our boat and two really nice convertibles just so that I can race dirt bikes, and we're even living in our motorhome behind the shop, right now. But we spend a lot of time in our motorhome traveling to the races anyways, so it feels like home. We also have another separate trailer that my mom and brother sleep in when we're on the road traveling to the races. My parents race shop though, is pretty cool and it really comes in handy if you break a lever or get a flat tire. They carry a ton of other stuff, too in case you forget your boots or helmet or even your motor oil. I'm extremely thankful for my family and everything they've put on the line for me. I hope to return the favor one day.