Justin Barcia Motocross Interview

July 7, 2009
Jim Kimball
It seems every so often we see a breakout star suddenly emerge in AMA Pro Motocross, and Team Geico Honda’s Justin Barcia can certainly claim those honors in this summer’s 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships. Already claiming holeshots, leading motos, and taking podium spots, the native New Yorker has impressed everyone. Although his style may be a little wild, no one can doubt that the 17-year-old has skills and determination. MotorcycleUSA.com caught up with Barcia at a recent Press Day to collect his thoughts.

Justin Barcia - AMA Motocross Lites  Glen Helen
Justin Barcia took sixth in 2009 AMA Motocross 250 class season-opener at Glen Helen on his Honda CRF250F.  

MotoUSA: Alright Justin; I’d really like to hear your thoughts about what was going through your mind as you lined up for Moto 1 at Glen Helen.

JB: Oh, I was really, really excited; my first pro race! I lined up next to (Ryan) Dungey in the first moto, and I almost got the holeshot – but quickly I got out in the lead and kind of ran away with it. Then a couple guys caught me, and I dropped back a bit, but it was awesome. In the second moto, I got another great start. I passed a couple KTM guys in the first corner, and just pulled off another huge lead. I ended up getting third in that moto too, so that was really good.

MotoUSA: In spite of all your fantastic amateur success, did you think you would come in and do that well at the very first race?

JB: I wasn’t sure; I definitely wanted to do well, but I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I wanted to be in the top-10 for sure, but now I feel like I’m a top-five guy.

MotoUSA: You may likely get this question a lot; but what’s the biggest difference transitioning from amateur to pro?

JB: The biggest difference from amateur to pro racing is that amateur racing is usually only four lap motos, while a pro race is almost a 40 minute moto – it’s all cardio. You must have good cardio, and just be consistent – it’s a long moto.

MotoUSA: Talk about beginning your AMA Pro career in Motocross as opposed to Supercross.

JB: Yeah, I could’ve raced Supercross if I wanted to; but I just wanted to be in my element – I’ve been riding outdoors since I was little. Supercross would have been a very big change for me; I’ve never raced it before. I did a lot of testing to get ready for outdoors; I wouldn’t have had that much time to get prepared for Supercross because I was still an amateur when Supercross was going on.

MotoUSA: The Geico Honda team that you are a part of seems to be very strong.

JB: Yeah, I’ve been riding for Factory Connection since the beginning. I’ve been using Factory Connection suspension, and I’ve known Ziggy (Factory Connection owner Rick Zielfelder) for as long as I’ve been racing. They’ve wanted me on their team, and it was incredible to sign with them because I’ve always known they’ve been a great team. This year’s definitely awesome; they have a lot good guys and we’ve all been in the top-10 a lot lately, so it’s all good.

Justin Barcia took tenth overall - AMA Motocross Lites  Hangtown
Barcia thowing some roost in Round 2 at Hangtown.

MotoUSA: With that said, you’ve been somewhat the “breakout star” of the team; does that give you any bragging rights in the semi?

JB: Oh no, definitely not; I just kind of just hang out there (laughs). Everyone is friends on the team, and I don’t have any bragging rights there for sure. I’m the rookie; they have the bragging rights. [Laughs]

MotoUSA: You grew up in New York, and now you’ve been living in Georgia at MTF (Millsaps Training Facility) right?

JB: Yeah, moving to Georgia definitely helped my racing career a lot; I can ride the whole year round. I live at Millsaps Training Facility, so it’s a great place – the gym’s right in my backyard. I have a track there, and everything that I need to train with is there – it’s just up to me how hard I want to train. I do motos with Colleen (Millsaps) every day, and am going to the gym nonstop. It’s definitely took my career to the next level.

MotoUSA: If you went back to your goals coming into the motocross series, and to now after a few races; have they changed much?

JB: I wouldn’t say that they’ve changed too much, because at the beginning of the season I wanted to be in the top-five; I’m 10th in points right now (Justin had a crash filled day in Texas; he was sixth in points). I would like to be up there a little bit more though, and I want to win some races this year for sure – so no, my thoughts really haven’t changed. I just want to keep doing the same thing I’m doing right now, riding my best and training really hard.

MotoUSA: Justin is there anybody you want to thank or anything I might have missed?

JB: I’d like to thank my mom and dad; they got me here, and they gave up a lot of things for me to be here – so definitely my mom and dad, and God for keeping me safe all these years. Also a big thanks to my team, Geico Powersports Honda; they’ve been doing a great job. Finally I want to thank Factory Connection, and just everyone that’s helped me – thanks so much!