Zach Osborne is back, at least to his countrymen, after signing for the Geico Honda team for 2013.
However, for those following the world championship over the last 5 years Zack has been back the entire time!
He had only signed for Steve Dixon’s U-tag Yamaha GP team halfway through 2008 when he promptly won his first moto at the Irish GP in Dublin, “it probably hasn’t sunk in yet because I haven’t really done anything as a pro, but I am really happy”, he said to me just after his momentous victory.
This was the breakthrough many had expected from Osborne in the US, there he was the can’t miss kid, that went missing.
Illness, injuries and team problems conspired against the young Virginian native when he went pro in the US after an impressive schoolboy CV.
Once he got to the GPs Osborne blossomed into the rider everyone knew he could become, he even beat Tim Ferry in a moto at the Motocross of Nations in 2008 at Donnington Park and the American contingent were shocked at just how good Zach was riding.
Zach won his first GP the following year in Turkey 2009 but his best year on the World stage came in 2010, when he came fourth behind Musquin, Roczen and Herlings. Zach also won the British Championship to claim the first pro title of his career.
The last two years have seen some injuries disrupt his world title attempts but Osborne ended his MX2 GP career with a podium in the final round of the season in Germany to confirm that he was one of the top riders in the series.
Zach has learned to love the World Championship and his open mindedness as well as knowing what to expect, having raced in Europe as a schoolboy, all contributed to his success. In fact, Zach enjoyed it so much he hasn’t ruled out a return in the future to go for an MX1 World title! If successful he become the first American to win a GP title since Bob Moore in 1994
But for now Zach is back in the US to achieve his first goal of winning a title in his homeland. Five years after leaving Osborne has got the chance he craved so badly, a ride in one of the top US teams to give himself the best chance of achieving the results he knows he is capable of.
Surprisingly, Osborne didn’t get the ride based on his impressive results in the GPs… although it probably didn’t hurt in proving his outdoor speed! He got it because of his impressive performances on his Dixon Yamaha in the couple of West Coast supercross races he participated in, that included a podium!
The industry where taken aback by his speed… and the speed of his bike, while the fans barely knew who he was. mistaking his number 338 Yamaha machine for Jason Lawrence! Zach did enough in those couple of races to finally have the US industry believe in him once more and sign him up.
In a couple of days Zach will restart his US career, this time more mature and battle hardened from his four years travelling the world in GP motocross. This will be the new and improved Zach Osborne, you can bet he is really motivated to show what he is capable of back in his home country and pleased at getting to ride supercross full time again for one of the best teams out there.
Speaking to Zach at the British GP, he explained why he was returning to the US, “I think the American style of racing will suit me better than the two day racing, I am looking forward to it. I know that I can do well and have a good season. They gave me a deal I couldn’t pass up, I am really proud to be a part of it, I really can’t wait.”
Osborne left the GP scene as the most successful American to contest the Grand Prix series since Mike Brown, who claimed third in the series in 1999 and 2000. The year after Brown would win the US national title against former GP rival Langston and defending US National champ Pastrana.
How fitting would it be for Zach to do the same against his former GP competitors Roczen and Musquin and defending champ Baggett?
Don’t rule it out!
Words and Picture by Jonathan McCready