By Andy Cunningham
Trainer Talk with.......GNCC'er Josh Strang
Andy Cunningham: Josh, tell us a little about your background, how long you've been riding, where you come from, what your dad does, why you got into it, and who your idols are?
Well, I'm from a small town called Inverell, kinda in the outback! I started racing MX at 7 and then kept racing for the fun of it. In 2005, I had a go at the off-road series back here in Australia and went well and enjoyed it. I have always ridden in the bush, so it was easier for me. 2006, I raced the full series in Australia and then went to the states to try out the GNCC's. I got picked up and that's the racing side of it. Dad has owned a bike shop for over 30 years so that's how I got into it. If I didn't want to race there would have been no pressure but it's what I wanted to do and it's in the blood now. I tend to look up to most of the other Aussies that have ventured overseas like Kearney, Wattsy, even the SX boys. They are the ones that made the jump seem more possible for everyone so Reed is someone I look up to also for the things he has done.
Josh Strang finished 3rd in the 08' GNCC series behind David Knight and Paul Whibley.
photo: Jason Hooper
So right now you're in Oz, so what have you been doing?
Yeah, I got back here early in November and had a few weeks off just hanging out with friends and going trail riding with mates. I got to go and see a SX back here which was cool. Last one I was at in Australia would have been back in 04' and I think I tried to race.
I remember seeing you at the San Fran SX last year. Do you follow the SX series?
Yeah, I got to go and watch that one and also A3. Yeah, I love following it and it's pretty cool to go watch one and hang out. It's always good to see the Aussies do good no matter who they are.
I understand you are quite a good MX'er yourself. What types of tracks in the US have you been too?
Thanks, I guess I'm ok. That's what I started out doing. I try to ride all the local tracks around where I live. I have been to Iron City a few times down in South Carolina and it is pretty well known I think. I did Loretta's in 07'. I also go to the ranch for the GNCC's so it was similar. I have been out to the CA tracks also and I like going out there a lot.
So where are you based and who do you hang with?
I'm based out of Hickory, NC. Its pretty central to all the racing I do. I get around with Glenn Kearney and Charlie Mullins. We usually hang out quite a bit and there is a bunch of other guys that we can ride with also.
Living on the East coast it certainly is different terrain to what you're used too in sunny dry and stinking hot Oz. Do you ever get to ride on the West coast where the dirt is similar to home?
It is a little different. I have always liked riding in the trees though and the really rich dirt. I also like the lifestyle out on the East more; not so rushed. On the other hand riding on the West coast definitely gets you going on your speed. I tend to come out for January and February then sometimes come back over the summer when we have our break.
So this will be your 3rd year in the states in 09'. What are you and Suzuki looking for in terms of results?
Yeah, it has been a good 2 years with the team, I have learned a bunch and I'm looking forward to this season. With the way things are going, I know Suzuki wants nothing but wins so that puts the pressure on me. But I'm ready to work hard and get those wins and the championship.
Would you ever consider going back to MX or do you want to be the best Enduro rider ever?
If the opportunity came for me to ride MX, I would definitely look at it. But right now, I'm looking forward to racing in the woods and getting some titles. I will always be the guy that will go to a MX track and practice instead of going out into the bush to ride.
Josh rides for FMF Suzuki in the XC1 Pro class.
photo: Jason Hooper
On the training side, what do you tend to do in a given week off the bike?
During the season, I have a program set out that includes swimming, going to the gym 3 times a week and then cycling or running 2 times during the week. If we are not on the bike we are usually doing something fun or active so we have a full week most of the time.
How much training do you do on the bike and what type of things do you do?
Depending on how I'm feeling will determine how much I ride during the week. Pounding out moto's for us everyday is really kind of useless, although when I ride I tend to just moto. Our races are pretty long so I find the less time I have on the bike the more fired up I get about going racing and the better it is for me. So I tend to ride during the week when I want to.
So who are your biggest threats in 09?
I think Whibley will be my biggest threat in 2009. He is a tough bastard, so I gotta work hard.
Your quite a big guy and so are Knighter and Whibs. Is it an advantage in GNCC events to have that extra size and strength?
I think it is, especially in the muddy ones or the ones with the gnarly stuff on them. We can dab our feet and still be in control. And they are 3 hour races so you can't be tiny otherwise the bike will hammer you towards the end.
So how much do you weigh; what's your height etc?
Right now I'm around 86-88kgs (lbs ?? ) and I'm about 184cm's ( like 6ft i think)
Do you take any supplements and if so which ones and how many?
I stick to the basics like a multi-vitamin. Vitamin C, B-complex, a carb and protein drink and some BCAAs after training.
With all the talk of Perfomance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) in SX/MX now days. Do you think they exist in GNCC or are the stakes not as high as the big dollar MX contracts?
I'm not sure. Obviously the money involved in GNCC is small compared to the SX/MX but it could be a possibility. PED's fit into the endurance type racing we do.
It seems as though there are quite a few Kiwis and Aussies competing in the world's premier enduro event: the GNCC. Why do they tend to go so well? Is it because of the terrain back home?
I think we are at a disadvantage on the tracks. We don't have roots and tight trees like that at home. I think we do well because we are from a foreign country and we have to do well otherwise we have to go back home because we can't make any money to live. So we work hard and get the rewards.
How many of the ISDEs have you done and have you raced in Europe?
I have done 2 ISDE's. One in New Zealand and the other in Chile so I have never actually raced in Europe. I would like to have a go in Europe though at some stage. I think it is way harder to live there with the language barriers and all. Plus, I'm really enjoying the U.S. now so I don't see myself leaving until I have to.
Josh is willing to ride and train with anyone at any time in hopes of learning the game as quickly as possible!
photo: Jason Hooper
Have you always been on Suzuki and how long do you have left on your contract and what are your plans after that?
I had a JR 50 when I was about 4 years old so I have basically been yellow my whole life. I used to ride for dad out of the shop, so I rode another brand at one time but I have been on Suzuki for at least half of my riding life. I have just signed with Suzuki again for 2 years, so I'm tied up for now. After that, I would like to continue in the GNCC series and get as many Championships as possible.
Any advice you could give to young up and comers within the industry?
To work hard and have fun.
Who would you like to thank and any final thoughts?
I'd like to thank the FMF Suzuki team and everyone that has helped out this past year. Mum and Dad for helping me get to a point where I could go off by myself. Andy, I think you have been helping me out for almost 4 or 5 years and it really has helped so much. Final thoughts.... Ill be ready
That's it for now. Until next time, good luck with your training and remember, VT can always be found on the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.
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