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Aug 07, 2014 - 06:17 AM
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Amateur Sensation Hampshire To Make Pro Debut; Veteran Osborne Returns
Posted by: newsla on Aug 07, 2014 - 06:14 AM
Amateur Sensation Hampshire To Make Pro Debut; Veteran Osborne Returns

Fresh off a commanding performance at the Amateur National Championships that included six moto wins, two titles, and designation as the 2014 Horizon Award winner as the sport's most promising young rider, R.J. Hampshire will make his professional debut this Saturday at the Red Bull Unadilla National with the vaunted GEICO Honda race team.


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"It feels amazing and surreal," Hampshire said. "It's always been a dream of mine to race in the professional motocross series. To finish my amateur career like I did was cool. I put in the work and it showed that I want this more than anything. I'm confident and I'm ready to go."

Instead of focusing on the huge change in his career, Hampshire is preparing for Unadilla just like he would any other race.

"The preparation is the same as it was before," Hampshire said. "Ever since I got the phone call that Unadilla was a possibility, I prepared myself to race that course just in case. I looked at it like, 'Hey, if I can race Unadilla, I will definitely be ready for Loretta Lynn.' So far it's worked out perfectly.

"I don't really have any specific expectations for this weekend. I'm just going to go in there and do the best I can, have fun with it, and wherever I'm at when the moto ends, I'm going to be happy with it. I'm living my dream right now. I'm there to have fun and gain experience."

After an injury in the 2014 Pro Motocross season opener, veteran Zach Osborne is ready to make his long-awaited return to the circuit alongside Hampshire, Justin Bogle, Matt Bisceglia, and Zach Bell in the 250 battles.

"I'm really excited about racing this weekend," Osborne said. "It's been a long, tough recovery and rehab process to fix the ligament in my thumb. I'm more than ready to be back on the bike and with the GEICO Honda team to race this weekend."

A true motocross racer at heart, Osborne has high expectations for his success this weekend.

"I think two solid results in the top five would make for a successful weekend," Osborne said. "I would like to be on the podium, of course.

"My fitness is really good right now. I've come to a point in my riding where I'm really comfortable on the bike and everything seems to be gelling. I think being on the podium, let alone in the top five, is a realistic goal for this weekend.

"Unadilla is one of my absolute favorite tracks, not only on the circuit but in the world. I look for it to be super rutty and just old-school motocross. It's an awesome track and I'm really looking forward to getting back."

The first 250 moto will start at 2 p.m. ET, with live coverage on MAVTV. Coverage of the second 250 moto will begin at 4 p.m. on NBCSN.

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