Bamming again: Justin Barcia talks comebacks
At the start of 2015 it is not unfair to say that the Justin Barcia Admiration Society might have dwindled in numbers. Leaving Honda colours for the first time in his Pro career while also in the midst of a triple-hit of injuries (his ankle last summer, chest at the Genova Supercross in the winter and then a pelvis fracture while training in California for supercross) Barcia, only 23 years old, might have had more doubters during this phase than at any other time.
He eased the pressure, doubts and boosted his morale with an encouraging summer in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Nationals and while his other peers – especially those on the Honda machinery he bravely left behind – struggled with their own injury frustrations. Then there was his moto victory and run at the Motocross of Nations in France: one of the best performances by a Team USA rider for almost half a decade.
If Barcia’s appeal had lessened then it was hard to tell at the Alpinestars dealing signing in Rennes on Thursday prior to the Nations at Ernée. The facility was rammed with appreciative French public and ‘51’ spent almost an hour armed with a pen and a pack of posters. He then had the first of many media duties across the weekend and OTOR slipped in with a holeshot…
Coming into the Outdoors people didn’t have you pegged as a contender…
You know how this sport is. If you are not doing good one weekend then you suck. I started off a little slow but I was getting comfortable with the bike. You practice at home and you get ready with the settings but the tracks are different at the races and it takes a little time to find the race set-up and fine-tune here-and-there. People will write-you-off pretty quick but I had a nice end to the season.
Supercross. It seemed like that was one of the hardest moments of your career so far with the injury and results not coming…
Oh man. It was hard. The team signed me expecting to win and I was also expecting this but I had a terrible off-season with injuries and little things here and there. It all sucked. Going into supercross I wasn’t able to put it all together.
What’s it like when a tough spell like happens? Are there a lot of doubts when you are back home?
A lot of doubting. It was hard to stay mentally strong. I made a lot of changes in my programme at that time. It was frustrating for sure and I felt crappy about the situation. Everyone in the team was saying that they still believed in me but I knew it was terrible.
Is it a different type of pressure?
Is it different. If you are leading a championship then it’s because you are comfortable on your bike, doing good and can push for wins. The pressure I had was the expectation to win. I had injuries, came back and never did that great. I was never 100% ready. There was a lot of doubt in my mind. I was thinking: ‘can I bounce back?’ and all that stuff. I also knew that I would never give up or quit. I didn’t know whether I’d be good or not for the Outdoors but at least I turned it around a little bit.
Does it help having people around to pull you out of that slump or is it something you need to do personally?
I would say it is more about me pulling myself out of a hole. Everybody deals with injuries but it got to the point where I thought ‘how many more times do I want to try and come back from this?’ You have those thoughts but you always come around to the fact that you love racing dirt bikes and I was able to work hard and come back. It was one of the hardest times of my career for sure.
Read the rest of the interview HERE