In the 2010 AMA Supercross Championship series, Josh Hill consistently found himself on the podium. He ended the season sixth overall in points, in which he finished second in 5 of the 17 Main Events. In July, Josh spent time preparing for the ‘Speed and Style’ event for X Games 16. His practice session went from ‘landing a backflip on his first attempt’ to ‘under rotating the next time around.’ This horrific crash sent Josh to the hospital with a list of injuries and a whole new respect for the sport of Freestyle Motocross. I caught up with Josh, at Pala Raceway for the DC Moto TF Ride day, where he talked about his rehabilitation, his plans for Supercross 2011, and more!
Josh Hill at the DC Moto TF Ride Day
Angela: Hey Josh, you are looking good. How are you feeling?
Josh: Yeah I am getting better, everything is starting to heal up and I am getting to where I can function normally again. So it is getting better, but I need to focus on getting my body stronger. That is my main thing right now.
You have been going through rehabilitation for a few months now, how are things going and what have you learned from your accident?
What I really learned was to keep a positive attitude. It has not been a fun few months, but having that positive attitude has made a difference. Looking at all the positive things is the only thing that has kept me going lately. Keeping busy and working on things and not stopping has been important, because once I stopped doing therapy it felt like I was going backwards. So staying consistent and positive is number one right now.
When you talked about staying positive, what does that mean to you?
A bunch of different things, one thing is getting a stronger connection with Jesus Christ again. I keep a positive outlook on my future, instead of looking at all the negatives, because I was surrounded by negatives for a while. So I had to figure out a way to deal with it.
What kinds of things did you go through during those first few months of rehabilitation?
It sucked at first because I was in the hospital for 18 days and then I was bed ridden for almost two months. Then it was just basic stuff like getting up and walking; I started using crutches and got back to walking. Now I have been going to Dr. G at Natural Health Sports Therapy down in Newport Beach and he is has been helping me out a bunch. We are doing different stuff every time I go in there. He has worked with a lot of people that have had injuries and he is a really well rounded guy and helps me out a lot.
Are there any lingering injuries that you might not heal from as a result of your accident?
There is always a possibility that my ankle may never regain full movement or feeling. I don’t think that is going to happen, but it is a possibility. In the last month I have gained another 20 to 30% of the feeling back. If I can just keep this same and consistent progress, then hopefully in 5-6 months I can be back to normal, that is my goal.
At the TransWorld Motocross Awards Show, your crash was part of the DVD movie “KICKSTART 2: Past, Present, Future.” You watched it for the first time, how did it feel when you heard the reaction from the crowd?
It is, what it is and I kind of expected that. It was a pretty gnarly crash and that was the first time I had seen it and all I can say is, it is pretty gnarly! It is part of freestyle motocross, it is dangerous stuff and things do not always go wrong, but I showed what can happen when things do go wrong. It is a sport that you have to treat with a lot of respect and have respect for the guys that are doing it. Those guys risk their lives every time they flip a dirt bike, so it is extreme!
Josh (75) battling with Chad Reed (22) in the 2010 AMA Supercross Championship
Well that brings me to my next thought, is the backflip a trick that you would attempt again?
Oh yeah, under different circumstances. Someday I think I will get that itch to have to go land it again, just because I will get mad about not making it that second attempt. I just need to do it different because you know, I went straight from a foam pit to a 75 foot backflip on hard ground. I just didn’t give myself enough time and I only really hit the foam pit and practiced about five to six times before going to the dirt. I rushed into it and I felt like I had it, that is why I did it. But looking back, if I would have taken a little bit more time, things might have worked out a little bit better.
So, are you saying that you are not only a racer, but you have this Freestyle side of Josh Hill that likes mixing it up?
I have always had that love of freestyle. My dad was a freestyle BMX guy and when I was a kid I really wasn’t that much into racing. I was more into doing tricks and jumps. I am not that good at it, but I have fun doing it and it is something that I enjoy.
It sounds like you probably won’t be making the starting gate for A1, so what are your goals for Supercross 2011?
My goals for this upcoming season is to just be around it a bunch, being around the sport and showing my support for the team at Hart and Huntington is first. Whenever I do get healthy, then I will get back to the racing, but I want to feel strong and healthy enough to be up front and learn from it, instead of just getting smoked because right now I am not there yet. Things seem to be coming up and I might do some fun things with Speed TV, we will have to wait and see about that.
In 2010, Josh finished 6th overall in the points standing.
Going through the recovery process from big injuries is a time for great support, I am sure it takes a lot of great friends and family to get you through those hard times.
I had a bunch of different friends that were great, but my girlfriend Randy, spent all 18 nights in the hospital with me and every single day after. She is such a great support and I really would not be this positive and this far along without all that love and support she has given me. And after that, the list of people who have been helping me is huge! I have a great group of friends and family, and I am thankful for their support.
I know you are good friends with Jimmy Button, have you heard of this Ride Across America he is doing?
Yeah, I am really good friends with Jimmy and his wife and yeah he is doing this “Ride” across the country. I think he’s crazy! I had driven that route last year from San Diego to Florida and I would not drive it again. So for him to want to ride his bicycle across the country is pretty gnarly and I pray that everything goes all right for him. His wife is pregnant right now so I hope he has a good, safe trip.
And Jimmy is doing this ride to raise money for charity and that is awesome. It is a big step for Jimmy Button, he got hurt and was pretty much paralyzed, but he made it back and it was a big step for him to walk and it is going to be a huge step to ride that bike across the entire country. It’s 2,400 miles or something like that, if he can do that, he can do anything. Even to just pick up a road bike and ride it 20 miles in his condition, that is huge. Man, I have not ridden a bike 20 miles since I was hurt. I do not think people realize the reality of nerve pain, and for him to put that aside and make this journey and keep this great mentality to ride a bicycle across the country is pretty cool, so I hope all that goes perfect for him!