Confusion ran rampant in the paddock at Paris' annual supercross, as the Stark squad was unable to race in the night program despite featuring on the provisional entry list. The electric duo, Thomas Do and Josh Varize, were able to race in France's 'SX Tour' event across the weekend, so it was not a wasted trip. Do's scorecard was a fourth and an eighth across two motos, whereas Varize trended in the opposite direction via a seventh and fifth.
Despite the fact that he finished participating in the event six hours prior, Varize was available for a post-race interview in the confines of Paris' La Défense Arena. It was an intriguing discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of an electric machine. What is next for the Stark? There was meant to be an announcement regarding their race team in October, but that has been delayed until January. Varize will be in competition for AJE Motorsports at that time.
Vital MX: Help me understand why you were allowed to race the French Championship, but not the main race that means nothing. You are allowed to compete in the race that is a part of a championship, just not the random race that has no importance.
Josh Varize: I am definitely not the person who will have the answer for you on that one! The original plan was to race the whole program, then things changed and we were not going to do it at all. Then the French thing came up, so we could still race. The only race that I have ever done outside of the country was the Motocross of Nations, so I did not even know what to expect. I did not even know how the format ran or how things were going to work out. I do not know the whole rule behind that.
Are you bummed? Do you feel like it was still worth your time to come here and do one race? Does it feel like a bit of a waste of time?
No, I still had a lot of fun. It was a good experience to have a couple of races on the Stark. Practicing it and racing on it is definitely a different ball game. I did not feel good at all in my first race on it, which was yesterday, and I struggled a lot. Today's race was a lot better. I changed some things, worked on some things and enjoyed it a lot more. It is kind of good. Now I know what to test for future racing!
You are doing future racing on the Stark? How did you end up in this position? It seems random.
My agent worked on everything for me. It all worked out! I am super grateful to get this opportunity. My deal was just through this, so I will go back to the United States tomorrow and get ready for Monster Energy Supercross with AJE Motorsports. I will race that. We will see what is in store after supercross.
You have been on the bike for a while, but is it better than you expected? Did it surprise you how different an electric bike is? Does it just feel like another motocross bike once you are out there?
Yeah, honestly, I adapted really quickly on my first day. I felt comfortable right away. The only weird thing is that it does not have a clutch. Not hearing the motor is weird too. It has been a while since I last rode a 250F – I am excited to see what it is like to go back to it. When you are riding it, you hear all of the other bikes and do not really hear that the bike is electric. You kind of do, at the same time, because you hear the sound of the chain. It is definitely different because it does not have a clutch. You cannot really pop and blurt off of things. I had a blast. I am looking forward to testing more with them.
Where did you feel like you had an advantage or disadvantage out there?
I don't know. I have not really done a lot of starts on this thing. My first time doing a start was on Saturday in practice. I think that, in total, I have done like seven starts. These gates are a lot different to in the United States. They are not put in the ground – they are above it. You take off and the gate is like a lip. It was hard to judge what it felt like compared to if I was just taking off straight. The disadvantage is not having a clutch and the advantage is that it has helped me create a good habit of not always using the clutch. I feel like I tend to pause and release in corners, so this may have helped me keep the roll speed through corners. I need to go back to a regular bike to figure it out and then I will have a better answer.
Is that a big part of riding an electric bike? You have got to carry momentum everywhere because you cannot stop and go?
Yes and no. We are running forty-eight horsepower for a 250F. I think that if you are running 450F horsepower, which might be like sixty, then it would be easier to stop and zip right off. You have to keep your momentum going with forty-eight. You just cannot have those pauses – it is a little bit harder to feel that torque. With a clutch, you can just pop it and it will go. You can use your clutch in the air, wind up the motor and get into a pocket to hit a triple in a rhythm. You cannot give it gas in the air on this. You would do a backflip! That is the only thing. I think that roll speed helps a lot.
You touched on it at the start but tell us your plans for the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross series.
I will be riding for AJE Motorsports for supercross – they are just a supercross team. I will try to do a couple of local rounds of outdoors to stack points for the SuperMotocross series. We will see where we are at in that time.