Interview: Joshua Varize discusses his Stark Varg debut
Joshua Varize travelled from America to contest the Paris Supercross event on the Stark Varg. The electric machine was able to participate in the SX2 SX Tour class but wasn’t allowed to participate in the main SX2 class so it meant Varieze only got two main events of the weekend.
Varize finished seventh on Saturday and improved on Sunday finishing fifth so it was a good weekend in what was his Stark Varg and Paris SX debut.
We caught up with the American after the event to discuss his weekend and more.
Listen or read below:
GateDrop: Joshua, you made your Stark Varg debut here in Paris, how did you find it? A look ahead to the future…
Varize: The bike is good. It is obviously only my first race on it so there’s a lot more to work on and a lot more to test and things like that. I have only been riding the bike for a few weeks, I know somethings I want to try now and test on it for the future. My plan now is to go back to the States and get ready for AMA Supercross in 2024.
GateDrop: You only had a few weeks on the bike like you mentioned. How did you adapt to it and when you first jumped on it did you find anything weird about it? You probably aren’t used to riding this kind of machinery…
Varize: I felt like I adapted really well. I rode it for maybe twenty minutes on an outdoor track and then went onto the Supercross track. I hit all the jumps first day, I felt really comfortable but I was more playing around and things like that. I did some fast laps here or there but once I started pushing and trying harder is when we started changing more things with the suspension. There’s not much you can do but we did a lot of suspension testing and I am stoked with it.
GateDrop: What would you say is the biggest difference from this bike to a bike you’re used to racing?
Varize: Well definitely one thing is not having a clutch. That is like a big part when the track gets technical and things you need to hop over and things like that. But for the most part if you are a smooth rider and carry momentum then it works. I found myself struggling a little bit not having a clutch here with having a couple of jumps right out of turns because I couldn’t use the clutch to pop it. Other than that, the first day I struggled but the second day I felt a lot more clean, I opened things up and carried my momentum a lot more. I felt a lot better.
GateDrop: It’s interesting you say not having the clutch, I thought you might have had the brake where the clutch usually is but you kept the foot brake, is that just because you’re used to that?
Varize: I was definitely not going with the hand brake (laughs), I was staying with the foot brake but hopefully one day we’ll maybe give it a go. But to be fair I doubt it.
GateDrop: What was it like being here in Paris? Your first time here I think and you only got two main events but did you enjoy being here in France?
Varize: Yeah, the first time for me here at Paris Supercross racing here although technically not racing (Stark Varg riders weren’t allocated points and were only allowed to race the SX2 Tour finals), I had a lot less track time but I mean it was cool. The bike is cool and I mean I definitely look forward to coming back here in the future.
GateDrop: Have you got a deal with Stark Varg to do anymore races in the future or is it just this one?
Varize: As of right now, it is just this one but hopefully more. I am looking into the future with these guys and stoked on what’s to come.
GateDrop: You raced the MXoN the other week also in France, what was it like racing there? You actually battled a friend of mine in the B-Final, Jason Meara! The atmosphere was just unbelievable!
Varize: Yeah, it was rad. It was my first time ever flying to Europe from the US so that was an experience in itself already. Getting to race one of the biggest races in the world was even more exciting. I had fun, I wasn’t really putting any pressure on myself that weekend, I was just going to have fun. It was a bit of a bummer with my team mates, Sean Lipanovich and Grant Harlan getting hurt. It put team Guam out of a chance of getting to the A final, so that was a bummer but other than that we had a blast. We are stoked with the riding.
GateDrop: You’ve had a few visits to Europe now with the MXoN and now here, well, you’ve mostly been in France so what’s your thoughts on France? Do you enjoy being here and maybe see yourself racing here in the future?
Varize: Yeah, I dunno. I have been in Barcelona for like the past month with the Stark guys. It is cool but it is hard for me to adapt. It is very different, not so with the language, I kind of get around good with that using translator apps on my phone. It is more so with the food and things like that, I want Chipotle, I want my Starbucks etc (laughs). I mean there are Starbucks here but the coffee is just different, I don’t know, that’s the one thing I really missed, my coffee. I will be going home tomorrow so I am stoked and looking forward to that.
GateDrop: I assume you’ve been working with Seb Tortelli the past few weeks, an absolute legend, what has it been like working with him?
Varize: Yeah it has been really cool to work with him, I mean we didn’t really work so much together at the track, he was busy in the office but when we did work together, it was really cool to get some technique tips from him. Yeah, he is a legend in the sport.
GateDrop: What are the plans for 2024 – are you going to do Motocross and Supercross or just fully focus on SX?
Varize: My plans for next year are to race the 2024 AMA Supercross with AJE Motorsports, they’re just a Supercross only team. I think I might try and do a couple of local Motocross rounds to get points for the SMX play off races. As far as after Supercross, I have no plans at the moment. That is still up in the air with these guys but it is kind of cool because it opens new opportunities for me and things like that.
GateDrop: Just on a global scale, WSX is that a series you’ve been following and maybe see yourself racing in the future if you get the opportunity?
Varize: Yeah, definitely. I mean I love getting opportunities and like to weigh up my options so I would like to give it a go some day for sure.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Main image: Niek Kamper