When I raced last year with Supermoto USA, there was a rider out there on a 250 doing some amazing things that caught my eye. Little did I know it was a young kid from Placerville named Josh Serne. I got a chance to talk to him about how he go into racing, some of the challenges he faces and overall where he wants to end up with his racing career. Watch out, this kid is young, fast and has some big plans!
SMR: How was your weekend?
Josh Serne: It went pretty good, I got a 1st and two 2nds down in Fontana at WERA West doing road racing.
SMR: Awesome! So tell the world a bit about who Josh Serne is!
Josh: I'm 15years and old grew up in Sacramento, I moved up to Placerville and have a track right in my backyard so I get to train whenever I want. I’ve been living up here for 8 or 9 years now and loving the country life out here. A little bit of seclusion from everything which is nice.
SMR: 15, wow! I knew you were young I didn't know you were 15!
Josh: I will be 16 in exactly a month!
SMR: That just puts me to shame!
SMR: How did you get you started? I know you do more than supermoto, obviously you’re doing road racing. I pretty much assume everyone rides but there is a moment where we say “Hey I want to race.” Can you tell me how you got started?
Josh: My dad, he used to race with a bunch of his friends out at Prairie City Gokart track, and for my 4th or 5th Christmas, he got me and my sister an XR50 and we kind of started from there just riding around the house and up at my grandmas in Placerville. After that, we got supermoto tires and put them on and I went out and did my first supermoto race. I was 5 or 6 or so and from there on I loved it and I wanted to do it my whole life. My first race I came in with a huge smile on my face and we kind of knew I was going to be racing my whole life, if not racing be in the motorcycle industry.
SMR: I think you hit on something that is really important these days which is having fun doing what you’re doing. I coach kids and see parents pushing their kids but this is all about you doing something you want to do right?
Josh: If I want to do it they will help me out but if I don’t want to do it and I want to stop, they are fine with whatever I choose. They are not pushing me to do anything.
SMR: That's awesome! It is good to have parents like that. SO it's been 10years, almost 11 years racing?
Josh: Yeah 10 or 11 years!
SMR: Apart from Supermoto what else do you race?
Josh: I used to do a little bit of motocross, I did a full motocross season probably 5 or 6years ago and I got 2nd in the championship. And then mainly doing supermoto, Supermoto USA with Brok and I am also doing road racing this year. I am riding for the "Feel like a pro" ninja 250 program and riding that class for novice. My first race out I got two 2nds and was battling for the lead both races and actually led most of the race but this guy made a great pass in both races and I ended up 2nd but I was happy with my first road race on a big track and am looking forward to going out and winning a couple.
SMR: Wow first road race on a big track in the novice class which I can’t believe and you came in 2nd and battled for the lead?
SMR: That's insane, I remember this moment at Prairie City DTX watching the guys on the bigger bikes, you were in that class and you overshot the jump by like 6 or 7 feet and passed 2 people in the air, landed it and made that super hard left... I saw that and thought "this kid's got it." All you have to see is something like that and realize "I'm just gonna go home." You're 15, you have 20 years on me and are able to do stuff that is insane. Didn't you step up to a 450?
Josh: Yeah I’ve been on the 450 for a couple of practices there and was going to race it but going through a 20min practice my arms got completely wore out so I will stick to the 250 for a year and get my upper body built up so I can handle the 450. But yeah I did ride it in practice for a little while.
SMR: You were saying your arms were tired, what do you do to prep yourself for races? Do you have a routine?
Josh: During the week, like training I am always either outside working, building jumps, riding bicycles and I also do pushups and sit-ups everyday just to build my upper body strength even more. I was going to the gym for a little bit and racing started and school is going on so it is hard to get to the gym but I just practice whenever I can at my house. Then there's practice days and I ride and work on setup and everything like that and then mainly just training in endurance to help with the racing.
SMR: So you still go to school every day?
Josh: Yeah yeah.
SMR: That's gotta be a hectic schedule.
Josh: Yeah it’s pretty crazy actually. This next year we are starting home school so it will be a little bit easier with the whole race schedule.
SMR: Right, wow. That's a lot. With those 10 years of racing behind you, do you have something that stands out as a defining moment or a proud moment, something that you look back and motivates you, drives you forward?
Josh: I think just seeing all the kids that I grew up with Cameron Beaubier, Josh Herrin, Cameron Gish, I used to race with them, I grew up with all those kids watching Elena Meyers, Bobby Fong seeing where they're at now, that's where I want to be, pushing as hard as I can to be at their level and hopefully get there sometime soon and continue moving forward with my career.
SMR: So what's next for you?
Josh: Right now I am just running the ninjas and next year I will possibly be running SV 650s for AFM, after that hopefully get a 600 and start running AMA if I am fast enough and can qualify but if not, then I will just stick with AFM for another year or so until I can step up to AMA and start running with the faster guys.
SMR: So you’re saying by the time you are 17 you want to be on the 600's in AMA?
Josh: Yeah, That's my goal.
SMR: So In order to get there, I know racing isn’t a solo sport, it isn't just the rider on the bike, there are a lot of people around to help us. Who are the people who give you support?
Josh: Definitely my mom and dad are the number one supporters in my racing but also Mike Doran has helped me out my whole career pretty much, introducing me to a bunch of people around the racing industry that have started to help me out. And Danny Walker with American Supercamp has really helped out my racing program with training with him on flat track which, the way he trains applies to all types of racing which has helped me a lot with supermoto and road racing. If I didn’t have the sponsors and support I have, I definitely would not be able to be doing what I am and be where I am at right now. My mom and dad and Mike are my 3 main supporters. And obviously Brok with Supermoto USA with racing with him, he’s helped me and learning from Gage.
SMR: What do you feel is the biggest challenge you face in terms of accomplishing your goals?
Josh: Probably the biggest challenge is finding the money in order to keep racing because the economy is not that great right now and hasn’t been for a couple of years so finding money to be able to go racing every weekend is very tough but we are working through it and keeping our heads down trying to accomplish everything we can and meeting new people to get even more support and help out the program we have.
SMR: From all of that, what have you learned from racing that has helped in other areas of your life?
Josh: I'm not really sure about that. I haven’t thought about racing helping me in other parts of life. I've met a lot of people in the racing industry that I get to hang out with when I am not racing like Josh and Melissa Hayes, they're inviting me to their house over the summer to go hang out with them for a week or so, knowing them and getting to help and hang out with them is going to be awesome. A lot of friends that help me with racing also help me when I am not racing and we are all just hanging out so other than that, it’s part of racing and regular life.
SMR: If you had any inspirational things to say to people out there, what is the one thing you want people to know about Josh Serne?
Josh: I haven’t given up and I never want to give up even though I do have a lung disease that is life threatening down the road. I go out and try and live every day for what it is and do the best I can. And just have the most fun I can while I am still here. Other than that, I just go out and do what I want to do and have fun with it.
SMR: Those are private things. I don’t want to share that unless you feel comfortable?
Josh: No that’s fine.
SMR: Do you feel that it's a challenge to what you want to accomplish? How do you look at it?
Josh: I just kind of don’t even really focus on it. I focus on it to stay alive, but when I am out having fun, I don't let it affect me. I just keep charging, keep doing what I want to do, I just got out of the hospital getting a tune up, getting back healthy, I got sick a little bit but I am back to 100% and am ready to tackle this racing season. I just try to not let it affect me too much. A lot of people don’t know about it just looking at me but once they hear about it, they are like "ooh are you ok?" and I am like "I am fine,” I don’t let it affect me at all, I just go out and do what I want to do and if it bothers me then it bothers me but I don’t really let it affect me. I go out and play sports, I see a lot of kids out there complain and I just try and go out there and have fun.
SMR: That is awesome, like I said watching you ride, and Mike mentioned something about it on an FB post and I just sat there and said “No way, I don’t believe that.” It is an awesome mindset you possess. Having that drive to say nothing is going to stop me and fighting through it.
SMR: Anybody you want to say thanks to?
Josh: Mike Doran for always being there for me, getting me what I need for my racing. And anyone helping me along the way, all my sponsors, Arai helmets always getting me the best helmets and everybody out there following my career and helping me in any way they can, I want to say thank you to them. Hopefully looking for good results this year and move on.
SMR: Last question! What's your favorite dessert?
Josh: My grandma’s homemade cheesecake! It's pretty good.
Talking with Josh, I get a sense of his drive and conviction to racing. Having seen how his family and friends rally around him, he definitely is doing this for fun and it shows. He’s captured many #1 trophies with Supermoto USA and continues to grow and mature into a better rider every time I see him. Health issues aside, you wouldn’t know watching him ride, he continues to fight on each day, at each race, to accomplish his goals. This is definitely someone to keep an eye on because even on a bad day, he can beat most of the competition and at 15, he definitely has the skills to get ahead.
Check him out on FB and be sure to follow his race page.
You can see Josh at any of these events on the West Coast:
- Supermoto USA: Unlimited Pro
- AFM: Ninja 250 class 250 Superbike, 250 Production
- WERA West: D Superstock, E SuperStock