For 20-year-old Justin Barcia, 2012 was a memorable year. Another Monster Energy Supercross 250SX title, runner-up in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 championship, a strong individual showing at the Motocross of Nations and a victory at the Monster Energy Cup, his first major Supercross race on a 450.
"Bam Bam" Barcia is an outgoing New York native and not afraid to make his presence known. After an injury ended his hopes of a 250 MX title in 2011 he was given the opportunity to race a 450 upon his return to racing. He immediately hit the podium and rattled his competition.
Barcia is joining Trey Canard on the Muscle Milk Honda team in 2013 and, after his impressive ride at the MEC, he is the most promising rookie to come into the 450SX class since Ryan Dungey in 2010.
XGames.com: You don't mind telling it like it is, do you?
Barcia: That's kind of my style as a racer and all around. I just like to give it my all and have fun. That's me and how I've always been. Ever since I was a little kid racing amateurs I was a little bit of a wild child.
We just don't get that much in this sport.
I always looked up to the old-school guys like Bob Hannah. I just want to be known as a guy who goes out there and gives it his all every time and that's what I want people to think of me.
When you came into the MEC, you had only a couple of weeks on the bike, but you looked very confident. Were you?
The Monster Cup was an interesting race to go to because I didn't have much time on the bike and I kind of went in there thinking I would just get my feet wet and race some of the best guys in the world. To go out there and get some wins and get the overall was, like, huge for me. I knew I could go fast but I didn't know, I wasn't used to the bike, but things went really smooth. It was awesome.
What have you done since then?
The good thing about Honda is that they were able to come out to my track here in Florida and we did a bunch of testing, me and my teammate, Trey Canard. We got our bike even better than we had it before with some chassis work and little things with the motor. We got the bike a lot better and did some training. I do a lot of training on and off the bike. I like to road bike a lot.
How do you prepare yourself for something you haven't done yet, specifically a full 17-race SX season?
That's a great question. For me, to prepare for something you haven't done before, you do more than you're used to doing. I feel like I've been burning up a ton of laps on the track and also working out harder to get stronger for the 450. It's a pretty big bike so you have to be able to manhandle it a little.
You just don't seem to be too worried about these guys or this class. Is that true?
It's tough to explain how you feel about something. For me, I love racing dirt bikes. That's what I do and I feel like it's always fun to take the next step, even in life away from racing. Moving up to the 450 class is going to be a good time and good competition. It's always great and it's going to be exciting. I'm not afraid or anything like that. I'm excited to race new guys and go out there and try to beat them.
Can you win?
I think how the Monster Cup event went, I felt pretty good on the bike and I feel that right now I'm even better. I hope I can go out there and definitely battle with those guys and try to get some wins for sure.
At the first race, what would let you know that you could win this title?
Great question. It's going to be a long season so I think consistency is going to be huge and to go out there and show good speed and battle with the top guys that I'm going to be racing with is something that, for sure, I know if I have the speed and I'm battling with those guys, I'll be able to win races.