Interviews 12 Aug 2014

Catching Up: Josh Strang

American-based Aussie speaks about his guest A4DE appearance.

Inverell-born GNCC racer Josh Strang has screamed home to NSW to race this week’s Yamaha Australian Four-Day Enduro at Dungog. With his bike locked away in parc ferme before today’s Prologue, caught up with the 26-year-old to find out why he’s decided to make such a quick trip home.

Source: GNCC.

Source: GNCC.

Welcome back home, bud! Are you enjoying being back in Australia?

Definitely. It’s always great to come home, although it’s a bit different this time as it’s the middle of winter and pretty cold. Usually I don’t come home until the end of the year when it’s warmer, but I’m enjoying being back, for sure.

How long are you back for?

Only until Monday. We finish the race on Saturday, then on Sunday we travel to Brisbane, then I fly out back to Mooresville, North Carolina, the next day.

Wow, that’s a hell of a short trip home!

Yeah I’m here pretty much to race the Aussie Four-Day and that’s it. This is kind of a business trip if you can call it that (laughs). Hopefully I’ll get to come back over Christmas when everyone is hanging out on the beach and I can have more time to spend with my family and friends. That’s the plan anyhow.

So why make all the effort to race this year’s A4DE?

It just fit in with the GNCC calendar, which is on a summer break at the moment. I hadn’t done anything for a month, so I looked at the dates for this year’s Four-Day and they worked out sweet. Yamaha Australia agreed to provide me a bike and Loosekid Industries helped fly me over here, so I didn’t have to pay anything to come home. I haven’t raced here since 2007, and a lot has changed in the Australian scene in seven years.

Like what?

There are a lot more people and it’s a lot more professional now, for sure. I think there are 250 people racing this weekend, which is solid and so awesome to see. The last Aussie Four-Day I rode in 2007 was at Coffs on an RM250, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there, riding against the guys and seeing what everyone’s pace is like now.

What are you expecting from this week’s race?

If I didn’t think I could win it I wouldn’t have come home [laughs]! Yeah, winning the E2 class and Outright is the ultimate goal, but Dan Milner, Pricey, Glenn [Kearney] and [Chris] Hollis are all riding really well at the moment. I think the Prologue will be telling and it’ll be good to see how serious everyone is and what sort of pace they’re running.

For sure. Have you walked the tests yet?

That’s by far the worst part of the Four-Day and the Six-Day enduros. Walking all the tests drive me insane, but the tests themselves are looking really good. Some of them look quite fast and flowing and should make for some great racing.

Image: Jason Hooper.

Image: Jason Hooper.

And what’s this we hear about someone being caught riding the special tests before the actual event?

Yeah, I heard someone was riding them and got caught last week. It wasn’t a top guy, I don’t think, but it’s insane what some people will do to get ahead.

Tell us a bit about your 2014 GNCC campaign. How’s it been going for you?

Not too bad. I’m consistent, my sponsors are happy and I’m still enjoying it, which is important. I’ve scored a lot of podium positions but haven’t won in a long time, though.

Have you been frustrated by that? I mean this year you’ve been right there every race but you haven’t managed to grab that first win of the season.

It’s been a pain in the arse. Charlie [Mullins] and Kailub [Russell] have been riding really well, and while I don’t think I’m quite as fast as them every weekend, I know that I can definitely beat them. I just need to stop screwing up the little things and get rid of the costly errors. Once I get that first win it’ll be easier, I’m sure, but it’s almost like I’m trying to win my first pro race again. Hopefully this A4DE will help me step up. There are four rounds left this year and the next one is at Unadilla where I’ve done well in the past. It’s a fun event with a lot of people, but if it rains it can get really gnarly. It should be fun.

What are your plans for next year?

I’m not sure yet. I want to stay in the US and keep riding there. I’m happy with the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Racing AMPRO Yamaha team I’m with, but nothing is locked in for next year and if something else comes up, I’ll definitely give it serious consideration.

Awesome. Well enjoy your short trip home and all the best for the Four-Day, mate.

Cheers. Thanks for the call.