Zach Osborne retires, 50th THOR Mini O nears completion in Florida

Personally, I’ve known Zach since he was in his fifties, and he’s always been one of the nicest, most sincere horse riders I’ve ever had the chance to know. He was a fierce competitor who almost gave up as a teenager to enter college, only to sink back into the dirt again and keep trying. After he posted his retirement announcement, I went back and watched some past stories we did about Zacho in Runner X magazine. Needless to say, Zach Osborne’s career has been quite a journey.

Hailing from Abingdon, Va., Osborne began as the first fully KTM-supported minicycle prospect in America, a relationship that began in 1999, when KTM North America was still based in Ohio. Osborne did not have the success he would have liked, winning only one AMA National Amateur Title growing up with Loretta Lynn, but later he would find himself in the rare category of top professionals who had much more success and success. titles as professionals than they did as young / amateur riders, guys like Jeremy McGrath, Doug Henry, Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto and Jeremy Martin.

But Osborne wasn’t an immediate success as a pro. In the first three years of his career, which began in 2006, he did not finish in the top five. The support he had from KTM disappeared and he ended up with Yamaha of Troy. It didn’t work either, and he quickly found himself in some sort of MX exile in Europe, riding for Steve Dixon’s Bike It Cosworth Yamaha team in England, trying to make a name for himself on the FIM MX2 Grand Prix circuit. Motocross World Championship aboard the # 338 YZ250F. He made the change of scenery a chance to reinvent himself. He also enjoyed the adventure of racing in nearly two dozen different countries along the way, becoming the most successful American on the GP circuit since Mike Brown’s last visit in 2000.

Osborne lived for periods in England, Belgium and even Norway, where he spent a dark winter training on the slopes with Kenneth Gundersen. He scored his first overall victory in Turkey and was one of those Yanks who would race for Puerto Rico at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, not guessing that he might one day be picked for Team USA (which he would be in 2017). In 2010, he occasionally found himself grappling with a few young MXGP title contenders for the MX2 title: Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen. He probably never imagined that they would both get contracts to run in the United States.

Finally, in 2013, GEICO Honda decided to bring Osborne back to the United States with a Class 250 contract. He had two solid years with the team, still wearing the number 338, but still no wins. The GEICO deal was followed by a transfer to Bobby Hewitt’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team, which essentially saw him return to the KTM North America group, which had bought Husqvarna. Zach spent nearly two full years there getting closer and closer to that first victory. He eventually made it to Budds Creek Motocross Park in Maryland, a track he was familiar with as a child. The victory marked the first national 125/250 victory ever for Husqvarna and for the rider.

It was in 2017 that the direction of Zach Osborne’s racing career changed again, but this time it was all right. In what can only be described as a breakout season, Osborne won his first SX races and the 250SX East region title with the all-time pass, last lap, do-or-die, winner. -takes-all for the title on Monster Joey Savatgy of Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki in the final in Las Vegas. He went on to win the Lucas Oil 250 Class Pro Motocross Championship by finishing on the podium in 11 of 12 rounds. He even got the call to ride for the US team at the Motocross of Nations ’17, and our magazine team named him the 2017 Runner X Rider of the year.

Article on the determination process in the January 2018 issue of Racer X shown.

“I feel like over the last three or four years I’ve become very adamant and passionate about being the best you can be, period, and not worrying about anyone else.” , he told me for the report I wrote on this incredible turnaround. “I just took what comes to me, and grew for myself, in stride. I fell in love with horseback riding again, so I guess it’s all come full circle from where I was. when it all started for me as a kid. Finally winning a few titles this year only fuels my fire even more. “

Osborne repeated his title as the 250SX East region champion in 2018, but suffered an injury early in the 250 nationals, abdicating his title in favor of Aaron Plessinger of Monster Energy / Star Yamaha Racing. For 2019 he upgraded to the 450 class and struggled at times, but by mid-2020 he had clearly regained his pace and self-confidence, winning his first 450 supercross main event and then winning the Lucas Championship. Oil 450 Pro Motocross, an unreal thought. half a dozen years ago.

Now Zach Osborne is done with pro motocross, and his legacy may well be that he had one of the most nomadic and successful careers in history, joining “Bad” Brad Lackey, Danny Laporte, Donny Schmit, Mike Brown and Grant. Langston as world travelers who went where they needed to find a chance to keep running and did the job to get to the top, though most thought it was an impossible dream. Osborne has proven that almost everyone in motocross is wrong except for the few team owners who saw something in him and gave him another chance: Steve Dixon, Bobby Hewitt and Rick “Ziggy” Zielfelder and Jeff Myzscak of GEICO Honda.

“People always ask me when I could quit, when I would be ready to do something else, and I see myself doing this for a long time, certainly as long as God gives me health to keep doing this. future, even after all these years, ”he said in 2017, five years before that moment finally came for him.

So congratulations to Zach Osborne and his wife, Brittney, as well as their daughter, Emory and son, Bode, for crossing the biggest finish line of all together. Osborne was a class act, a competitor who never surrendered and an excellent champion. (And Zach, in five years when you become eligible for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, you should expect a call.) And read Kellen Brauer’s great career on Osborne.

Wiley C. Thompson