Josh Toth is a rider on a mission right now in the GNCC XC2 class. After the Connecticut native was offered a seat mid-way through the 2016 GNCC season on the N-Fab AmPro Yamaha factory squad, he quickly delivered, taking his first XC2 win at round 10 in Unadilla, NY. He went on to finish fourth overall in XC2 for the season and re-signed with the team for 2017. Fast-forward to the 2017 GNCC series, and Toth has yet to lose a race—winning the first five XC2 races in a row. We decided to check-in with Josh and see how he’s quickly become the XC2 title favorite.
Dirt Buzz: Josh, you’re on fire right now in the XC2 class, winning the first five rounds. What has helped you take it that next level in 2017? Is there something in the water at the Randy Hawkins farm?
Josh Toth: Coming into 2017 I was more experienced and familiar with the GNCC Series. I also got to ride all winter, work with Steve Hatch and then Paul Whibley came over to train us starting this season which made my bike skill and fitness improve drastically.
DB: It seems as if you have almost come out of nowhere. You would race a few GNCC rounds here and there but never a full season. Tell us about your background, where you came from, and how you’ve gotten to where you’re at now.
JT: 2016 was my first full season of GNCC. I grew up racing the NETRA series and riding with my friends. Then I did a handful of J Day races each year the past few years. I think what has helped me so much is getting such a variety of terrain in New England and striving to be good at all types.
DB: We heard that at one point you and your brother were actually sharing a bike on race days. Your brother would race the bike in the morning and you’d do the afternoon race. Is that true?
JT: Haha, I know my brother has ridden our buddy Mikey D’s bike after he was done racing it in the morning. I also had to borrow his bike at a race one time. But we definitely went through some hand-me-downs growing up and we actually have a KX100 all three of us have won at least one championship on. We did the best with what we had growing up, which makes me appreciate what I have now even more.
"We did the best with what we had growing up, which makes me appreciate what I have now even more." - Josh Toth
DB: How did you get hooked up with Randy Hawkins and the N-Fab AmPro Yamaha team? It seems like their support has really helped elevate your game. How much has their support helped your program?
JT: I was lucky to get an offer from Randy to be a fill-in rider for the last four rounds of 2016. I think Randy heard of me by word of mouth, thanks to a few friends, and seeing me at some of the races. I was at the right place at the right time. Their support has changed my whole lifestyle, and for the first time I don’t have to work all week and hopefully ride one day and prep my own bikes to ride and race. Now I can focus on my fitness, riding and results.
DB: We understand you’ve been living and training in Traveler’s Rest, correct? How much has it helped to have the guidance of an offroad champion like Randy Hawkins?
JT: That's right, I live right next to Randy so he's always there for any questions or support I may need, whether it's racing or just life. I'm very thankful to have him on my side.
DB: Will your primary focus continue to be GNCC this season? Or will you will you still race select events such as the Full Gas Series, J Day and maybe the ISDE again?
JT: My main focus will be the GNCC but I will also fill in the off weekends with National Enduros and Sprint Enduros, with some local events throughout the year. I also am really hoping to be going to the ISDE with the Jr. Trophy Team!
DB: Speaking of the ISDE, last year in only your second attempt at the event, you took top Club rider overall honors. Tell us about how cool that must have been.
JT: The ISDE has to be the coolest event I have ever done. I love the format that combines fitness, bike skill and mental toughness all in one. Going into the 2016 ISDE in Spain the Club Overall was my goal, and after six days and so many variables in that event, to come out of it and win the Club Overall was a highlight of my career for sure! It makes you feel super patriotic and proud to be an American, there's nothing else like it.
DB: Obviously, your immediate focus is on winning the 2017 GNCC XC2 title, but what are your future aspirations? Do you see yourself having a long career in offroad racing?
JT: I have always dreamed of being a top offroad racer in the U.S., but also would like to attempt some other things such as some MX Nationals and possibly some World Enduros. I don't have any immediate plans for that but it has always been a dream of mine. I really just want to be well-rounded, ride everything and enjoy it.
DB: It’s an off weekend, with no race happening, what do you like to do on an off weekend to unwind?
JT: An off weekend is laid back but every weekend so far this season I have gone riding just for fun! I can't seem to stop riding, I just enjoy it. I have a hard time telling the difference from work and play this year, I don't think it's a bad problem to have.
"I have always dreamed of being a top offroad racer in the U.S., but also would like to attempt some other things such as some MX Nationals and possibly some World Enduros." - Josh Toth
DB: We’re big music fans here at Dirt Buzz, so we like to ask what type of music is in heavy rotation for you at the moment. What type of music is your favorite?
JT: Down here in the south I seem to have country music playing everywhere but I'm always listening to some Punk Rock. Usually Blink 182 radio on Pandora when driving in my truck or cycling.
DB: Last question: all you racers are on strict diets and training regimens these days, but sometimes you just have to treat yourself. What’s your go-to food?
JT: I have been eating much cleaner this year but my weakness has to be pizza. Hasn't been often, but I sure do enjoy it.
DB: Haha, well thanks Josh for doing this interview with us and for fielding some of our odd questions. We wish you all the best the rest of the season. Any last words you’d like to share or people you’d like to thank?
JT: Thank you! Yeah I'd like to thank my friends and family for all the support this year, I wouldn't be here without them and some key sponsors like Trail Jesters and N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha. I'd also like to thank Randy Hawkins for giving me a shot and making this kid’s dream come true.
* * * * * * * * * *
2017 Dirt Buzz