Moto Media

NZ’s Josiah Natzke Podiums first ever GP EMX

Josiah Natzke (CMR Red Bull KTM) made NZ Motocross history as the youngest rider ever to gain 3rd Overall at his first GP racing the EMX 125cc class at Loket in the Czech Republic at the weekend.


At 15 years, Josiah’s debut appearance at FIM European Motocross Championship Round 6 made it clear he is up to battling with the best, making EMX points leader Brian Hsu (Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe) work for the Overall Round win.


Under pressure from Hsu (who was 2012 FIM World Junior Champion 85cc) Josiah kept himself honest staying focused on performing to his true capability against Europe’s top EMX riders.


SC: Josiah, run us through two days of Practice, Qualifying and the two Motos:

JN: Practice and qualifying was terrible. I qualified 20th and had to go to LCQ’s which wasn’t good enough for me. I won the LCQ which gave me a bit of confidence and track time. I had 31st gate pick for both motos but I’m a good starter so was able to start in the top 7 in both motos which put me in a good position. I didn’t have so much work to do getting passed riders.

First moto I was 4th and was catching the guy in 3rd but couldn’t make it happen. I was really stoked with 4th in Race 1. My first GP and I got 4th was like a win for me!

Second moto I got 5th off the start then got into 2nd quickly. I made the pass for 1st then had Brian Hsu all over me for about 10 minutes. Once he got passed me he kept moving forward and pulled a gap. I finished the race 3rd and was very, very tired. I gave it everything I had.


SC: Josiah’s impressive results marks a turning point in NZ’s Motocross history. Ben Townley (AMA SX Lites East Coast Champion 2007) was 18 years old when he gained his first podium 2nd Overall in GP Round 1 at Valkenswaard in 2002. Equally, Josh Coppins two times Vice World Champion fought for many years chipping away at the points table securing his first GP MX2 podium in 2003.


Josiah doesn’t make light of how hard racing was at Loket GP over the 2 days racing:

I had to deal with Brian who was all over me in the second race! He was on it!  I had no breathing space, my heart was definitely pumping! He was a great rider though, a clean rider. I can respect a guy like that. I was pleased with myself that I came from 31st to 3rd it was a major turn-around for me.


Josiah takes all the challenges on and off the track in his stride, staying focused on the goals and keeping everything in perspective on why he is there. Challenges on the track were:

The guys here are soo fast and they don’t give you any space! Where as in NZ it’s easy to pass through the field if I get a bad start. Here if I get a bad start it’s extremely tough to get past riders because they will put up a fight to not let you pass them.

My focus was fine. 100% focused. I know I have put a lot of work in and my speed was good. I just had to make it happen which I did. I’ve been through a lot in the past month. I’ve had some struggles so haven’t had a lot of bike time. My fitness wasn’t as good as it could be. I had to focus and dig really deep in the last 10 minutes of both motos which I did. I had nothing left to give.


And challenges off the track:

The TomTom clearly doesn’t like tourists because going there and coming back the stupid thing turned off!! So we got lost haha. We found our way eventually though. And the hotel we were staying at the meals were yuk which wasn’t ideal. Back in Belgium where I’m staying each night I can make whatever food I want.

Looking ahead, Josiah will race in EMX GP Round in Belgium this weekend which he says will be good to get some more racing in before the FIM Junior World MX Championship in 2 weeks will be THE main event for Josiah along with fellow NZ rider Cohen Chase (Yamaha).


I’m looking forward to it. It will be awesome to get it over with! There will be a lot of fast dudes there but if I get a good start I don’t see why I can’t run with them up front’.


Footnote: The 2014 FIM Junior World MX Championship is at Lierneux-Bastogne in Belgium on 10 August.