AMA Arenacross Interview: Two-Time Champion Josh Demuth

After a two year absence from the tour, two-time AMA Arenacross Series champion Josh Demuth prepares for his full-time return to the series in 2009 at the prequel race from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa this weekend.

Des Moines is a stand-alone race and is not part of the 2009 AMA Arenacross Series.

The Grapevine, Texas native has teamed up with Tuf Honda, winners of the past two AMA Arenacross Series championships, making him one of the favorites this weekend at Wells Fargo Arena. Last year, Demuth took the win on Friday night in Des Moines, making a controversial pass on 2007 series champion Danny Smith on the final lap.

This weekend’s race provides a great opportunity for both the winningest team and winningest rider to dial in their bike for the upcoming season and their run at the 2009 championship.

Josh, what brings you back to the series in 2009?

I had planned to do supercross but the Hart & Huntington team wanted me to move to Las Vegas to be closer to the team. I thought about it and decided I really wanted to stay at home with my family and friends and my girlfriend and stay back to take care of all them and be here.

Your last full arenacross season was in 2006. Do you think you will be competitive right away?
Definitely. Arenacross has been my forte so to speak. I’ve had some time to ride the bike and test on an arenacross track and I feel great. I’m just getting dialed in. We are kind of going into Des Moines blind and right now it’s really all about getting the bike dialed. Since the season doesn’t start until January we have time to get ready.

What are your expectations for the upcoming season?

To win. Each time in the past that was my goal and has been my goal. Nothing is going to change. I know what it takes to win. My (training and team) program is solid. The biggest thing for me right now is to get back used to riding a 250F. Because of supercross, I’ve been on a 450F and have gotten used to that. So I think that’s the biggest obstacle for me.

Who are you riding for?
I’ll be riding for Tuf Honda.

How did that come to fruition?

I received a couple offers even before I started to ride supercross. I’ve turned down arenacross offers the last couple years because I was focusing on supercross and trying to move up there, but with having to move to Las Vegas and everything I just wasn’t into it. I just explored my options for a bit, a couple of teams called and we just put together a deal with Tuf.

The Tuf Honda team has won the past two arenacross championships. How does it feel to be riding for them?
It definitely makes me feel good. My mechanic and I are on the same page and the bikes are good. We are building a strong relationship. I have developed some good practicing abilities over the last couple of years and I will definitely be ready for the first (regular season) race in January.

What are your thoughts on the new condensed schedule?
I think it’s good. It’s going to make every race count. There won’t be an opportunity to mess up and stay in contention. We will all have to be on our game every weekend. It might be a little short, but a lot of us try to run supercross as well and this allows for us to finish up the supercross season. It gives us a chance to make some more money by doing that, so I think it kind of evens itself out.

What are your thoughts on going to Des Moines for the prequel race?
Each time I’m on the track I expect to win and I am going to do whatever it takes to get up front and do that. We haven’t come a long way on the bike yet, but I’ve been riding and I feel good and the bike feels good. A lot of other guys will go out there to have fun and have a good time, but I want to win every time I’m on an arenacross track.

What did you do during your time away from the series?
Well obviously I tried to ride supercross with the Hart & Huntington team, but I fell practicing and broke my wrist really bad before the season even started. I rode the last four supercross races of the year, but that probably wasn’t the smartest idea. I just wanted to ride supercross. There was a time there when I didn’t get to ride a whole lot and I ended up working for my father for a while. I’ve really just focused on getting back to being completely healthy and getting my wrist healed and at full strength.

As the winningest arenacross rider of all-time, what is it about the sport that has suited you so well?
I’m not really sure. I think a lot if it comes from growing up in Ohio where they have a lot of small indoor tracks in arenas and stuff. With the winters up there we couldn’t do much more than that so I guess I just got used to racing on tight tracks. For some reason arenacross just suits me really well and I guess I’ve just been blessed with that ability.