After starting his racing career in Europe, Virginia native Zach Osborne was quite happy to be able to race a full season in the United States for the powerful GEICO Motorcycle Honda team in 2013 and is as ready as ever to find out what the future may hold.
"Racing with this team last year was great," Osborne said. "It was so good to be able to be home in the United States and get to race in the outdoor event at Muddy Creek, my home track. I'm looking forward to building on my success from last year and carry some speed forward.
"I've got a better understanding of how everything works over here and how the weekends are laid out. That extra year of know-how is big for me. We've got an all-new Honda CRF this year. It's a lot to take in during a short amount of time, but we've got a good base on a bike that's going to be a lot better."
Various injuries hampered Osborne during the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, but he still managed to finish seventh overall in the championship standings in the 250SX West division. He then improved to fifth in the 250cc class in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.
"Supercross was tough at times on me, but I turned around in outdoors," Osborne said. "You have ups and downs with every season, but I know if I can keep the injuries to a minimum, I'll be able to race with anyone."
He showed those skills by earning a couple of Supercross podium finishes in 2012, riding as a privateer before starting his season in Europe.
"I think those two podiums showed everyone in America what I was capable of doing," Osborne said. "I did a lot of work behind the scenes to get the results I got and to get where I am now. I rode by myself, mostly, on the East Coast and just kept pushing and pushing to get better. The fear of the unknown about what everyone else was doing helped push me along."
Now that he's entering his second season with GEICO Motorcycle Honda, Osborne is more at home with the team's dynamic and ready to take a leadership role if called upon.
"It's a different situation but I like it," Osborne said. "I feel like I'm at point in my career now where it's time for me to make it happen. I know there's going to be a lot of focus on me this year, but I think it puts me in a good position."
Osborne comes from a racing background, as his father, Mark, was a professional drag racer in NHRA's Pro Stock class. Although he loved watching his father tear down the strip, Osborne said straight-line racing never sparked his passion quite the way dirt bike racing does.
"I didn't think much of drag racing when I was a kid," he said. "I actually like it more now than when my dad was still racing, but racing dirt bikes was what came naturally to me and I stuck with it."