Moto Media

from ... Josh Bartosh


Being sponsored by Backflips meant I had the opportunity to train in Timaru for 3 weeks prior to Nationals with Jeremy McKnight.  This was a great experience and Jeremy has a lot of clever but tough training exercises and I got to know the track pretty well.


I was confident going into Qualifying of setting a good time and hopefully getting near Micah.  I set out just behind Brandon Tipene and we both set quick times in lap 2. I then passed Brandon and was on a hot lap and hit the whoops fast aiming to skim them, unfortunately the back wheel stepped out and clipped the last whoop and spat me off. I crushed my thumb in the process and couldn’t do any more laps.

Whoops - I mean Oops - hospital


Race 1

The medics and everyone else reckoned I had broken my thumb and when I tried to grip the handlebars to test it, I couldn’t even close my hand.  If I couldn’t hold the handlebars I had no chance of being able to race, bugger!   So off to the hospital and after 4 hours the Xrays came back and it wasn’t broken just severely sprained. The doctor asked me what I was planning on doing now and I said "Race of course and he just smiled and shook his head.

Race 2

My dad gave me some pain killers and John Appel strapped my thumb as much as he could and I headed for the start line.  Time to start racing, better late than never.  I had no idea how my thumb would be, just hoped once the adrenaline kicked in I wouldn’t notice it.  I was focused on getting a good start and I got the holeshot by a couple of bike lengths, and then shot off.  I managed to lead the race until the fourth lap when Micah finally caught me. I tried to stick with him but he slowly pulled away and I finished in 2nd place.

Holeshot time (Guy Maxwell photo)

 Race 3

After the first race I had a massage and some flexing to try and keep my thumb going and then had it strapped again before the next race (this would be a regular process for the remaining races – thanks John Appel).  I didn’t quite get the holeshot in race 3, but took the lead after the first lap, not sure where Micah was but once again just focused on riding strong.  The new wall jump was slowing everyone down on the back straight but channels were slowly being cut through the jump.  Once again in the 4th lap Micah caught and passed me and I again had to settle for 2nd place.

Race 4

In the last race of Saturday I got a good start but in the second lap, washed out the front wheel around a corner and somehow managed to snap off my rear brake lever.  I then found out just how much I rely on the back brake, made jumping and cornering real fun.   I continued racing but had to back it off a bit and ended up way back in 12th.

Race 5

Another holeshot just in front of Micah, and then we basically had a drag race down the second straight, both of us determined to get round the second corner in front. I just managed to squeeze through in front, but my lead was short lived as Micah passed me back.  I tried to keep close behind Micah but ended up getting some arm pump so backed it off a bit.  The arm pump got a little worse and I ended up getting passed by Josh May and settled for 3rd place.

Race 6

My last race at Junior Nationals, and I was sitting in 5th place overall. If I finished 2nd or better then I could get 4th overall, which would be a fair reward to a mixed nationals. I got a good jump at the start and had the lead going down the straight but Micah also had a good start and swept around me at the first corner.  By now the wall jump had big channels cut in it and was jumpable, so Micah, myself, Josh May and Brandon were all doing it, and it gave us a good advantage. I focused on staying strong and fast and tried to keep pace with Micah. After 5 laps I was about 5 seconds behind him, with a big gap behind me to Josh M.  Apart from a brief moment where I stalled it going round a corner, I held onto 2nd for the race, and grabbed 4th overall.

The two Joshes battling again

Whilst I’m not 17 until next year, this was my final NZ Junior Nationals.  I will travel over to Australia for their Junior Nationals in September and start training for that in the next couple of weeks. 

A big thankyou to the McKnights in Timaru, Wilkie for building a great bike, Guy Maxwell (Madmax) for the cool photos, Epic Decals for the graphics, the Tipene’s for their help in the Pits (Donna for feeding me), and John Appel for keeping my thumb usable.