Motoworks / Can-Am DS 450 Pro ATV racer Josh Frederick leads a pretty thrilling life for an “ordinary” guy. We say that because Frederick, the reigning WORCS ATV Pro Class Champion, is one of the most humble individuals we’ve ever met, despite his “pro status” and the fact that he has factory-racing support. He’s won numerous ATV racing titles, from WORCS to SCORE to BITD, yet remains unassuming in both his behavior and attitude. Frederick has been involved with the engineering, testing and racing development of the Can-Am DS 450 ATV since its introduction. While it would be easy for Frederick to carry a chip on his shoulder and with it a cocky persona, the 34-year-old racer would rather focus on winning and continuing his role as a living super-hero to his children.
Frederick is currently tied with Motoworks / Can-Am teammate Jeremie Warnia for the WORCS ATV Pro class points lead (including one throw out) with only one round remaining. That race will take place this weekend, Nov. 11-13 at Speed World MX in Surprise, Ariz. We recently spoke with Frederick to find out more about his approach to ATV racing, his work with Motoworks / Can-Am and life in general.
Canamoffroad.com: You have three WORCS Pro ATV championships, a separate utility title and won last year’s title by only a 2-point victory margin. You’re in another tight race this year, but this time with Warnia, a teammate. How does that differ compared to year’s past?
Josh Frederick: Our team is constantly testing and looking for a little more here, a little more there, whether it be suspension, engine or exhaust. We are always looking for an edge. It’s nice to have that against the competition. When it’s your teammate, you are in the points race with and he gets the same stuff as you, it makes it a little different for me. I’m sure Jeremie would say the same thing.
What would it mean to you to win the 2011 championship and back-to-back titles?
Frederick: To win this year would be very special to me! I feel like I had to change my whole riding style [in 2011]. Along with Warnia, the competition is very, very tough this year. To win back-to-back [championships] would be incredible.
That would be four in the last five years, that’s pretty impressive? How do you stay so consistent?
Frederick: I would love to say it is all me, but I have a great program, a great ATV and an awesome mechanic. It’s all the people that I have surrounded myself with that have made it all possible.
Have you been serving as a mentor for fellow Motoworks / Can-Am racer Dillon Zimmerman?
Frederick: I try to help Zimmerman as much as possible. He has had a rough year, but it getting better every weekend. I expect big things out of him next year.
What about your other teammate, Warnia? Have you taught him anything this year? Or learned anything from him?
Frederick: I think we kind of feed off of each other. I have caught on to some of his motocross secrets and he has caught on to my endurance secrets.
At Round 7 at Glen Helen, you had a chance to win, but chose to stop to help a downed rider who was trapped under his ATV. Most guys just slow down for the yellow flag and then keep on zooming away, but not you. Why?
Frederick: It was in a gnarly rocky single-track down hill section and, to be honest, there was nowhere to go. I suppose I could have sat on my quad, saved my energy and let Beau Baron do all the work, but it could have just as easily been me stuck under there, so I helped him out.
You came from fifth place in the last race to win it. How do you approach this mentally and physically knowing you have to pass four guys, but not run out of time or steam before the checkers fly?
Frederick: A WORCS race is such an emotional roller coaster. One lap you are all pumped feeling unstoppable, and then the next leap you make a big mistake or feel like you are so tired you can’t go on. You just have to stay positive, keep your head down and keep on charging. Have faith in yourself and your program. If you give all you have you will not be disappointed, win or lose.
What’s your strategy for the finale Nov. 11-13 at Speed World MX in Surprise, Ariz.? How has your DS performed there in the past?
Frederick: The DS 450 has worked very well there in the past. I actually won my first race for the Motoworks / Can-Am team there. My strategy is to approach it like any other race. I will go and give 110 percent. After that, it is what it is.
Speaking of your strategy, how has it differed this year with the shorter (1 ½-hour) races?
Frederick: Starts are much more important. And you have to sprint from start to finish.
How has Motoworks’ Johnny Leach, your team leader, helped you as a rider and as a person?
Frederick: Johnny is such a good guy. He is super competitive and passionate about racing. He has done so much for my family and me — more than people will ever know. I have learned so much from him. He has taught me a ton about the mental side of racing and that you have to believe in yourself.
You helped develop the DS and have played a vital role with Can-Am as a tester and photo model. How has this deep of a relationship helped you in your racing and building trust, etc.?
Frederick: I have been so blessed to be a part of Can-Am early on. It is a small company compared to the other manufacturers. They are willing to listen to my input about the quad, good or bad, and address them. You develop a relationship with the people you meet along the way. They believe in their product as much as you do and want you to be successful.
How important is it to have a dedicated mechanic? How has it been working with Gilbert Flores, your main wrench?
Frederick: Gilbert is the best. We have a great relationship and he is such a hard worker. He literally does the work of three guys!
Is there anything different this year on your DS 450?
Frederick: My DS 450 is pretty much the same as last year. It is such a great quad, and we have got it working so well. It is hard to improve upon that.
What are couple tips you could offer young amateur DS 450 racers as they try to become a pro like you?
Frederick: Don’t ride over your head, put in the time and it will come. Make it fun! It doesn’t matter if it’s practicing, racing, training or working on the quad, if you’re not having fun then why are you doing it?
Explain how Robb Beams from Moto E Performance has improved your racing game?
Frederick: I hooked up with Robb at the beginning of the season. Moto E Performance is a great program with great structure. It’s a little bit of a challenge because of logistics, and we do most over the Internet. He has really given me a lot of direction on sprint training, nutrition, starts and most of all training smarter not harder.
It used to be guys just practiced and maybe did some cardio. Now, riders seem to be more serious about training, yourself included. How has the need for fitness for top-level ATV racers changed in the last five years?
Frederick: Racing has gotten much more intense. If you want to be battling for podiums, you have got to be in a great shape. You can be the fastest guy there, but if you don’t put in the work before there is no way you can go all out for 90 minutes.
When you feel tired or fatigued, what do you do to overcome those thoughts and just push harder?
Frederick: I know it sounds silly, but I am constantly talking to myself throughout the race. I try to stay positive, talk through mistakes and keep telling myself, ‘If you are tired they have got to be twice as tired.’ To see people on the side of the track cheering for me always helps me dig a little deeper, too.
You’re not the youngest pro and have a family, so how do you find time to practice and work out?
Frederick: I have a routine I try to stick with. I usually spend the mornings helping get the kids up and off to school and then get my riding and training done throughout the day. Then I spend the evening back home with the family. They are so supportive and they travel to all the races with me so that is fun. We get a lot of family trips in!
Where did the nickname “The Animal” come from?
Frederick: Sean Reddish from WORCS started calling me that. I guess I impressed him with a few late-race charges and my ‘never give up’ attitude.
Your Website – joshfrederick.com – says you’d be a rockstar if you weren’t an ATV racer? So, maybe a mad drummer like Animal from the Muppets? Lead vocals? Guitar riffs?
Frederick: I’d want to be the lead vocals, of course! I love listening to music, but I am a terrible singer. Plus, I’m too shy. But I can dream, right?
How has your successful racing career helped you as a father of three? Has it made you quicker on your feet, always staying ahead of the little ones or what?
Frederick: (laughing) Hopefully it may inspire my kids when they get older. They’ll know that through hard work they can accomplish anything they want to accomplish.
Who would you like to thank?
Frederick: I would like to thank Motoworks, DWT and Can-Am for all their help and support. I’d also like to thank Gilbert, Ty, Johnny, my parents, my wife and kids, family, friends and the fans.
To learn even more about Josh, check out this interview that ran on ATVscene.com.