Zach Osborne will again be one of the very few riders representing the ‘stars and stripes’ in the FIM Motocross World Championship in 2012 for what will be his fifth season in Europe and on a YZ250F in the MX2-GP category. The Virginian will be 23 this year and therefore has 2012 and 2013 to conquer his dream of becoming the first American world champ this century (and since Bob Moore won for Yamaha in 1994).
Osborne’s aggressive and committed style means that his fearless riding is easy to spot. The former amateur ace and teenage prodigy arrived to Grand Prix racing midway through 2008, drafted in to assist the then Utag Yamaha.com team’s (now the Dixon-led half of Monster Energy Yamaha) injury problems. Osborne hit the ground running by posting some decent results in the MX2 British Championship on the YZ250F and also forging good lap-times through the intimidating sandy bumps of Lommel for the Belgian Grand Prix. He was again quick in the Czech Republic soon afterwards and, unbelievably, a runway moto victory was then obtained on one of the trickiest tracks of the season at Fairyhouse in Dublin.
Signed up for a full FIM World Championship assault in 2009 he aced the Grand Prix of Turkey, round three, in Istanbul for his maiden success. Sadly the American’s first GP term was swiftly curtailed thanks to a fractured scaphoid at the following meeting in Portugal. Osborne completed his best professional term yet in 2010 in terms of results and steering clear of injury. ‘10 was a watershed, and a purple patch in the middle of the season saw three podiums obtained; one fittingly at Glen Helen, California for his home Grand Prix. He registered the best finish for an American in the FIM World Championship in ten years (fourth overall) and sealed the British Championship for his team – their first of the century – before heading back to South Carolina to begin a dedicated training programme for 2011.
The following year was again dogged by misfortune. More podiums results were celebrated – in France and Portugal – but Osborne was struggling with a wrist fracture from the US Grand Prix and a crash damaging his shoulder meant that he missed the last third of the campaign.
2012 begins with Osborne in Monster Energy colours and a busy early year programme with participation in four AMA West Coast Lites supercross meetings. The demands and timing of the discipline will surely assist the American in his pre-season preparation and he knows that the upcoming world championship with factory-backed material will be one of his best chances to mark a career-defining moment.