Human perspective is a unique thing that changes greatly as we cruise through day to day life. Sometimes a bump in the road can change everything, and For Zach Osborne this year's unfortunate shoulder injury at the Thunder Valley Motocross round took him out of contention for his fourth consecutive 250 class championship and sidelined him for the remainder of the summer. Shortly after, he and his wife added another baby to their family and bummer that was injury transformed into a great opportunity to be with his family and also reflect on what a wild ride it's been up to this point. We caught up with him at Budds Creek this weekend as he was on hand to help the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna team and do some TV time, and it was cool to get his current perspective on everything along with hearing his plans for when he returns. Read on for a great conversation with the three time 250 champ…
It's been a while, Zach. You've been in the injury recovery zone –how's that been?
Yeah, that's kind of where I'm at. I'm just in the boring rehab phase of things but everything has gone 100% perfect and my shoulder is coming along really well and I'm going to start riding here at the end of September or beginning of October. Then it's full steam ahead until Anaheim.
Going back to Colorado, obviously that was a huge bummer to go down and know your summer may be over. I feel like up until that point you were in that sort of "magic" mode that championship-winning riders find themselves in. Up to this point, did you sometimes feel untouchable or surprised at how well things were going?
Well…not untouchable, but thinks just kind of go your way. The cards sometimes just fall in your favor, and in my case it was about 18 months of that where everything went the way it needed to go for me to do well. So it was definitely a huge bummer to have a crash, and I found out that Monday that I needed to have surgery on my shoulder. Not so much for my labrum, but more for my subscapularis tendon that was kind of barely hanging by a thread. So we went in and did the surgery and so far the rehab has been really, really good and there's been no complications of any sort. I've been putting in tons of miles on my road bike, which is something I really enjoy. I was actually able to go back to where I'm from in Virginia and ride the mountains for a week or so, so it's been refreshing to have some time off but at the same time it was a huge bummer to miss out on winning the fourth championship. To have it go away with something that was out of my control was tough pill to swallow, but in the down time we just had a new son about four weeks after my surgery so everything is just the way it's supposed to be. I'll be back stronger, more motivated, and super hungry. Actually, coming to Budds Creek this weekend I was just reminiscing with my wife about what an incredible time and event it was last year to wrap up my second championship last year and my first outdoor title. It was just a huge weekend, and it kind of made me sad for a second that I wasn't racing this year, but I was able to turn that into desire and that's kind of the way it works for me.
If you could time travel five years back and tell a younger Zach Osborne that he'd be bummed on not winning his fourth 250 title in a row, what do you think he would say?
[Laughs] "Sign me up!" That's what I would say.
It's funny the perspective right? It's been an incredible couple of years for you regardless of this injury.
Without a doubt. It's been an incredible couple of years and it changed my life and my family's life forever and in a great way. Injuries happen in all sports, and our sport is at the top of the list of the danger chart and I was able to go four years with no injuries and not miss any races. So everything happens for a reason, and we don't always know why, but like you said if someone would have told me back in 2015 that you were going to win three titles but you're going to be bummed you didn't win the fourth I would have said, "Yeah ok hit me with the three!" [Laughs]
Exactly. And out of all that success you have a secure ride with Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna to begin your 450 career. You have to be excited about all of that.
Yeah, definitely. It's a new challenge that brings new goals and motivation, and I'm super keen to get riding again and just get my feet wet and started with this 450 program. It's been a long time coming and I finally have an opportunity to make it work and make it happen, and it's a great feeling. It's something that we all work for our whole careers and what more is there to say? I'm just grateful for the opportunity with the team and I want to make everyone proud of their decision.
Going back to this year's season, do you tune into the racing? Or are you a guy that hates watching when you aren't there.
Yeah I tune in, I watch every Saturday and I might not watch every moto but I keep up with what's going on and I try to be as involved with the team as I can. Sometimes it's tough, but also with the newborn it's also a matter of whether or not he lets me watch TV! But yeah, I keep up on it.
Anything that surprised you this season? What's your take as a racer?
No, obviously the 450 class is interesting and there's been some guys at the top that have been pretty dominant. But the 250 class, Aaron [Plessinger] is just kind of on that wave that I was on where everything is going his way and that's what it takes to win titles. He's been very consistent, and I mean he's won three races with 1-1 scores. That's pretty dominant.
He's mentioned how everything is just clicking, and I can imagine after all of the preparation you guys put in that to have it go well like that is the best feeling possible.
Yeah, completely. I even still go back and watch some of the races from last year and there was times where I'm watching and I'm like, "Man, it looks like I'm so on the edge!" And I have a pretty good recollection of most of the races and how things went, or if I had a moment, or got sketchy or whatever. And I don't have any recollection of any moments where I felt sketchy or anything like that, and it's kind of weird how you get in that flow or magic zone and everything just goes how it should.
So given your injury return schedule, can anyone expect to see you at any off-season races before Anaheim One?
I'll be at Paris and Geneva, mostly for testing and just to go and get my feet wet and feel kind of where we're at as far as settings go. Obviously the full package will be ready at Anaheim One!
You enjoy the travel to the European races, don't you? It seems like if you go and you don't take it overly serious it's a great opportunity to see the world while you're working.
Right, and I love the travel and I love going to Europe and seeing friends and stuff. Also, the events are really fun and well run. I'm looking forward to it all!
Awesome, thanks for your time and we look forward to seeing you back on the bike.