ATV Motocross

Tuesday Feature: Josh Upperman

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | 12:00 AM

Team Baldwin Motorsports Honda’s Josh Upperman had a stellar season in the 2008 ITP Tires/Moose Racing AMA/ATVA National Championship. Upperman led the pack in several motos throughout the year with his tremendous starting prowess, but he saved the best for last at the ATV Open at Steel City. Upperman contended for the win until the closing stages of the race, and finished a head turning third overall. The performance opened the eyes of the many factory scouts on hand, and served notice that he will be a force to reckon with in 2009.

Let’s go back to the ATV Open at Steel City. The season was over but that race gave you guys one more chance to perform, only that time in front of a special audience. Talk to us about how you approached the weekend.

I wanted to go out there and try to prove to the dirt bikes we are a big deal just like them and that we have just as much potential to better our sport as they do. I knew it was my last chance to do a good job, so I focused on doing my best.

Your starts were amazing throughout the season, but‚ getting a good start at the ATV Open‚ had to feel like best. Did you watch where the dirt bikes lined up? How were you able to get another good start?

(Team owner) Mark Baldwin and I went down and watched the starts and we had a pretty good idea where the good gates were. But, yes I watched the starts all day long. I thought I had the holeshot, but Doug (Gust) had a wheel on me.

How did you become so good at holeshots? Is it something you practice a lot or does it just come naturally?

I do practice them quite a bit. They are a major part of the race so I spend some time concentrating on only them. I guess you could say I learned a lot from Tim Farr. He and I worked on them all the time.

Speaking of Tim Farr, he is the new Team Manager of the factory KTM ATV Motocross team. You just mentioned him as your mentor, have you guys spoken recently?

We talk all the time. We have been working together for years so we always talk. I can’t speak about anything about contracts or anything.

We understand, but that would seem like an ideal situation”¦

Of course it would. Tim is a great guy and a great friend. Just to be back riding with him and learning with him and his set ups would be phenomenal.

Right on, we’ll switch gears here a bit. You are a former Pro Am Champion that has quickly made a name for himself in the Pro class. With Thomas Brown winning the title this year and looking promising, talk to us about the transition he will face.

You know, the Pro Am class does pretty well preparing you for the Pro class, but it is just a whole different ball game with the Pro guys. You begin to learn the importance of proper set up and training for sure. But the Pro class is a huge jump. It’s serious and everyone is out there to win.

That said, you have watched Thomas Brown race a lot this year. How do you feel about his chances against you guys next year?

Thomas is a spectacular rider. He actually came out to my track and rode with me a bit and he has a lot of potential. I see him doing pretty well next year.

It seemed like 2008 was a revolutionary season for the sport. Did it feel like a growing series and did you enjoy yourself?

It was really impressive to see all of the factories into it. Honda helped me out, then you look around the pits and see Team Monster Energy Kawasaki, Rockstar Suzuki, factory Yamaha, factory Can-Am, and everyone it was just cool to be a part of. I only see things getting better from here.

I thought it was cool to see the series peak there at Steel City. That was a great weekend for two-wheel and four-wheel motorsports in general. It was billed with more of a festival mindset, plus it ran on Saturday for the first time. What did you think from a general perspective?

I had a blast and couldn’t have asked for more. The track was awesome and riding in front of all of those spectators was awesome. Just to know that we were welcome there and get to race on the same day as the Pros was really cool.

I watched the dirt bikes and everything. I always like watching James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto. They are phenomenal riders. It was a really good time all weekend.

So, what is going to be keeping you busy here in the next month or so?

I work for my buddy with his landscaping business so that keeps me busy. I’ll take a month or so away from racing to let my body heal a bit. Then I’ll head south and start training.

Well, it you seem too have your ducks in a row right now. You sure did pick a good time to put in your best performance of the year!

Yes, things are going well and I’m hoping for the best for everyone involved in ATV racing.

Well, thanks for your time, Josh. We hope everything works out the way you want it to over the off-season.

Thanks, I appreciate it!