Nearly a decade ago, American racer Josh Hill came close to winning the 2013 Terex Australian Supercross Championship as a member of the Dodge/Sycuan Casino/Suzuki RCH Racing Team.
Hill, who was in command of the series, ultimately lost out on the title to Jake Moss in the final round at the Toowoomba Royal Showgrounds. But that was then and this is now, and Hill is preparing to travel to Newcastle for the third round of the 2022 FOX Australian Supercross Championship where he will replace injured rider Luke Clout of the CDR Yamaha race team.
Q: I know you’ve competed in Australia before. How do you like racing there?
JOSH HILL: I’ve actually spent a lot of time in Australia. I did the whole season back in 2013 and then I did the last three rounds in 2018 for CDR when they had the Aus-X Open. I stuck around that year and then I went to a race they had just outside Sydney, and then they had a race in Auckland, New Zealand and I competed in that one. I probably would have kept going back every year if it would have come around. I’ve really found a home for myself over at CDR Yamaha team. Anytime I get the call that they need somebody, they usually give me a couple of months of heads-up so I can get myself in race shape. It’s a fun deal. I love going over there.
Q: 2022 has been a busy season of both racing and free riding for you, hasn’t it? You’ve competed in the Monster Energy Supercross Series, the FIM World Supercross Championship, the Australian Supercross Championship and even the Red Bull Imagination freeride stuff.
JH: Yeah, I found my niche and I love freeriding and I love capturing that and trying to make some videos and doing some video parts and everything. That’s really kept me going during the down time of racing, you know? It is hard to be a racer and rely only on that income for your life. It’s a stressful way to make a living. It’s cruel, you know? Most of the time I’ve gotten hurt on the motorcycle has always been in a race or practicing for a race.
Racing is grueling. I still absolutely love racing, and there is no feeling like it in the world when you’re hitting all of the biggest jumps and all of that. And all of the freeride stuff is so fun and it’s rewarding in its own way, but there is nothing like winning a race or getting on the podium at some big international supercross. That feeling is unmatched. I’m just stoked that I get to keep doing everything I love and I get to freeride and I get to pick my own schedule these days.
Now I’ve also got this opportunity to race for the Tedders in 2023, which is amazing. They also hired my little brother Justin. We’re going to be teammates for the first time in our lives and that’s pretty exciting. Justin is going to do the entire series and as it looks right now I think I am slated to do 10 rounds. That way I still have time to break away and go do some of the freeride projects and the stuff that I want to do. I don’t see myself as being a championship threat anymore with the racing, but I still think I’m a top 10 guy, especially having the off-season that I’ve had this year. I’m excited for 2023. I think I’m still competitive and not being at every single race is going to make or break the season for me.
Q: Team Tedder/Monster Energy/Mountain Motorsports/KTM Racing is an established and well-funded racing team with technical support from KTM. Can you guys be competitive in 2023 supercross?
JH: I think they give us competitive equipment. The things about Tedders is that they are all in. Sometimes when you ride for smaller teams, you can cut corners. Certain things can go on the motorcycle that are not necessarily what works best because they can get some funding out of it. Sometimes it can be just free parts. With the Tedders, they’ve been around long enough and they’ve got access to a lot of good equipment. They’ve also hired Sean Bell, who was my mechanic and my brother’s mechanic at Pro Circuit when he won the championship. Most recently, he was with Justin Barcia at Factory Yamaha for quite a few years. Having him around and having his knowledge is super-helpful.
The whole program, I think, is going to be really solid. It’s a family-owned and operated team. That’s why they do this. They’re a family that loves going to the dirt bike track. That’s what brings them back every year. Having that aspect of it is a little bit different; it’s a little bit more laid back than your standard race team that’s out there just to make a profit and to make waves. It’s exciting. It’s cool. I’m really stoked that I found this home here in the States. It’s a little bit weird jugging Yamahas in the World Championship stuff and then the KTMs Stateside, but it is fun. It’s a cool opportunity.
Q: How do you think you’ll do in these Are you looking forward to these Australian Supercross Championship races?
JH: At the last round at Adelaide I came from way back and ended up getting third to winner Aaron Tanti and Justin Brayton. That was good. I was excited about that. We’ve got some more rounds, and it is fun going over to these races because you never really know what to expect. Sometimes they’ll build the tracks really technical and then sometimes you show up and it is a little bit of a dumbed-down supercross track that’s a little bit easier for some guys. Every time you show up, you don’t necessarily know what to expect out of the track. It’s cool and they’re always throwing you curveballs. For me, I always try to be as adaptable to this circumstances and I just try to get better as every race goes on.