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Zach Osborne interview – Winner

Last weekend at the Daytona SX, the 2017 250SX Eastern Regional Championship points leader, Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne, finished fifth and allowed the two Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s riders, Joey Savatgy and Adam Cianciarulo, to close the gap, so it was important for the #16 to lay down the law in Indianapolis. Zach definitely knew this and he responded with a heat race win and a main event win that stretched his points lead back to nine points over Savatgy and 18 points over Cianciarulo in the process.

In the Indianapolis main event, Savatgy—who qualified first with a lap time over a second faster than Osborne—got the holeshot with Osborne immediately in tow. The two had the two Troy Lee Designs / KTM riders, Alex Martin and Jordon Smith, close early in the race but after the #26 and #44 took each other out, the #17 and #16 bikes had more than a 20 seconds gap. Osborne continued shadowing Joey, but he was determined to get to the front.

About the seventh lap of the main event, Zach started getting aggressive and even made contact a few times, and on lap ten, Zach went in deep on a 180-turn, executing a bump and run move that gave him the lead for good. From there, Joey kept the #16 close, but Zach was able to hang on for his third win of 2017 and the third win of his career.

This win was the perfect way for Zach to rebound from his fifth in Daytona and huge statement from the red plate holder that if you want this Championship, you’re going to have to out-physical the #16.

Zach, you got your third win on the season. You have to be pretty excited about that. How was the day?

It was actually a pretty strange day. I had a run in with AC [Adam Cianciarulo] in the second practice and that caused some drama. It was just a strange deal. I tried to come out in the night show and put it all behind me. It was definitely tough and a big ask to leave all that in the day and start over. I was happy to win the heat race, and to get another win in the main event was awesome.

When you crossed the finish line you really didn’t show any emotion. Was that kind of the effect of all the stuff that happened throughout the day?

No, honestly, I couldn’t believe that I had won it that way. It was a tough race. My mechanic showed me two laps to go when I was catching the white flag and that kind of confused me a little bit, but for a second, it didn’t really sink in. When I went around the stadium I was really pumped, but it took a second.

I saw the head motion and all that stuff going, and I was like, “Alright, did Zach just finally realized that he won?” (laughs)

Yeah, it was pretty crazy, but I was happy to come away with the win, and it feels really good.

What was it like catching some slack for that incident with Cianciarulo? It wasn’t just you, but unfortunately that’s the way some people were looking at that.

It is what it is. I don’t really have a comment; I don’t know what to say. You’re sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I guess. I’m not worried about anyone else. It’s me here racing, trying to make a living, and I’m sorry if that pisses anyone off.

Can you talk about the pass on Joey Savatgy for the lead? Is that the spot you decided beforehand that you were going to use to make it? Did you have it preset or did you just open the door?

I felt like I showed my hand there. I saw Marvin [Musquin] do it in the heat races and I felt like I actually showed my hand there way too soon. He started taking it like four laps in, and I was like, “Man, you have just blown a really good passing spot.” But then he kind of missed the rut there when I passed him and I saw the opportunity. I was in the rut, and I took it. That was bad and I knew at that point I had to run, ’cause I knew he was going to be right there. I knew as soon as the gate fell and we were 1-2 that it was going to be a tough main event, and it was. It was tough, hard fought and hard racing.

When you say you “showed your hand.” do you wish you would have done it later in the main so you didn’t have Joey right behind you for so many laps?

I talked to my wife about that after the race and I felt like I could have waited a little bit, but I was running out of tear offs and the mud was super sticky to your goggles. It wasn’t on your goggles, but it would blotch really bad. I got down to three tear offs, and it was time to go.

You’re now nine points ahead of Joey in the Championship. What do you think the next few rounds are going to be like? Is it going to get crazy?

It’s just going to be tough racing for the last four more rounds or whatever it is. I knew that coming in. Joey is a great racer; he races hard. It’s going to be a fight to Vegas.

After your fifth last weekend in Daytona, how big for the confidence was it to come in here to Indianapolis, win and put that fifth place finish behind you?

Yeah, I panicked last weekend after I fell down. That was pretty frustrating and I felt like that was a bit of my old self. I didn’t need to do that. It feels amazing to bounce back, do it with authority and I’m happy.

Interview by: Chase Yocom – Words: Dan Lamb