Seeing as there was no racing on this side of the pond last weekend, I thought that it would be a good time to put the focus on a rider that has had to overcome a lot in order to return to the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. Whilst Josh Hill was out with injury, a lot of people were searching for information on him on a regular basis. However now that Josh is back on the starting line each week, it seems as though he is fading into the pack and is considered ‘just another rider’.
Of course, his comeback was delayed further at the beginning of the year when he suffered a small hand injury in practice at the opening round. It took six weeks for that injury to heal, before he could finally jump into the mix at round six, San Diego. We have seen how hard it is to jump into the 450SX class mid-season, but the situation was even more difficult for Hill as it was his first main event in almost three full years.
It was quite impressive that he managed to jump back into the series and qualify for a main event straight away, especially when you consider just how deep the 450SX field is this year. Josh ended that night in eighteenth, a respectable result. Since then, he has missed just one main event and has filled the positions just outside of the top ten most weeks. I think that it is fair to say that Josh Hill is now expected to be in the main event each week again; the one time that he missed a transfer position was because he was extremely sick all day long. This is where he belongs, undoubtedly.
Prior to the start of the season, there was quite a lot of debate surrounding the RCH Racing Suzuki team, or more specifically their hiring of Josh Hill. Whilst most fans thought that the spot should have been handed to Kyle Chisholm, the team decided to stick with Hill as they have invested a lot of time and money in him in recent years. Interestingly, Hill is just one point behind Kyle in the series standings at the moment. Josh will more than likely steal the spot this weekend, as Kyle is currently sidelined with some major injuries.
Josh Hill has gone seven weeks without any major problems now, which is great. Finally he is starting to build some momentum. If he can continue with this progress, he should be much better next year. Right now, there isn’t really much pressure on Hill. However, next year will be completely different; he needs to prove himself again. Although battling in twelfth is great, he is still quite far from what we used to expect of him.
The fact that he is edging closer to the top ten now is a good sign; the next step for Josh Hill is battling with that second tier. Josh has posted a twelfth, and a thirteenth at the two most recent rounds. If he could post a tenth in the final five rounds it would be a massive deal for him. His mentality is starting to alter now also; in San Diego he was overjoyed to be back on the starting line. But in Toronto he was upset about his thirteenth, as he felt that he was capable of a better result.
Perhaps Josh should have been able to pass Phil Nicoletti in Toronto; however, finishing any further up than that is quite unrealistic at this stage. Justin Brayton was two positions ahead of him in eleventh. The lap times of Josh Hill indicate that he belongs just outside of the top ten right now. However, his fastest lap time was just one second slower than his teammates (Broc finished eighth). So, ‘the second tier’ is not too far away. Right now, it is all about reeling off consistent results. Next year, we will really get to see if Josh Hill can recapture his form of 2010.
Words by Lewis Phillips