MX Vice: Hey Josiah, you must be pretty happy, can you take us through your day?
Josiah Natzke: Yeah, it was good – a long day, because it hammered down with rain, but on the whole a good day. I was really hoping we would be riding in the mud, as I love the mud. I was out there in warm up and qualifying literally having a ball. We ended up riding after MX2 and MXGP in the end and it was so gnarly, a typical Italian track. The bumps were mega and you had to be so precise.
As you can imagine the start was crucial and that’s what got me in the second moto, they were just gone, I did my best to catch up and got up to third and when I pushed to close the gap I would make a mistake so decided to stay in third. Luckily I pulled some points back as the points leader was quite far back. We have a lot of work to do for Lommel.
MX Vice: You have come over this year to race and live in Europe, what has been the biggest adjustment?
Josiah Natzke: European tracks? No, actually, everything – the team, the tracks and the lifestyle. I live on my own, I cook for myself and I have to clean, do the washing. I actually make a really good housewife!
MX Vice: So you have been thrown in the deep end?
Josiah Natzke: Yeah. Honestly, I’m so independent now, I used to have people helping me all the time back home but over here I have to jump on my pushbike. I have to use that to train and also get stuff done, it will get a little easier once I have my driving license! Will be nice to drive round rather than cycle, but hey it is keeping me fit! Luckily Red Bull helped me out with a road bike and I’m going all over the place. It isn’t easy being this far from home and I do get a little homesick, but I want this bad. I’m ten points back and I’m going to push it, as I want that championship.
MX Vice: Do you think this is the place to be for riders that want to take the next step?
Josiah Natzke: For sure, this is the best thing you could do. A lot of people just move up to 250 straight away and they haven’t learnt how to master the 125. You have to develop the skills on a 125, look at Prado, he’s fourteen (two years younger than me) and he can run the same pace. You have to respect the work people put in in Europe. The level is high and there is a great programme with the EMX going through each class, including 250’s, to put you in the right place.
MX Vice: Do you see yourself progressing through the European classes?
Josiah Natzke: For sure it’s a great programme and opportunity to be here, but I don’t know what the plans for next year are. There has been no talk about next year – just got to see how its goes, maybe 250, but I don’t know. It’s going to be one step at a time. Hey, maybe even America?
MX Vice: America, huh? In that case, how are you at supercross?
Josiah Natzke: I don’t know. I think about it and I’m kind of like, I haven’t done a lot so I will have to learn. But I guess it’s like coming over here and learning sand, it’s so gnarly and I’m still learning everyday. I got enough time to learn at Lommel, as I’m close; I spend a lot of time in Holland at the moment practicing.
MX Vice: So do you have someone you are practicing with in Holland?
Josiah Natzke: Everts! Stefan and Harry.
MX Vice: That’s handy, their quite good in the sand I hear [laughs]?
Josiah Natzke: Yeah, they’re two of the best sand riders. Prado is there when he doesn’t have school, Pauls Jonass and my other teammate, Conrad Mewse, when he’s around.
MX Vice: How much does that help you having those people and this infrastructure around you?
Josiah Natzke: It’s awesome, if I had come over here as a privateer I wouldn’t have access to any of this; eating food from the Red Bull catering makes sure I’m eating the right food at the track. So many things like that just make it easier. I put myself in a good place last year when my team and I came over for Loket, I got a good result and Stefan picked me up. But this is only the beginning and I know I have got a lot of work to do.
Interview: James Burfield | Image: KTM/Ray Archer