Like almost everyone else at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California this past Saturday afternoon, Jo Shimoda waited out the rain. Present for that night’s third round of the 2024 AMA Pro Racing 250SX West Region Supercross Championship, Shimoda was mentally calculating solid result in Southern California, keen to atone for the DNF a week prior in Oracle Park in San Francisco, the end result of a roasted clutch suffered during the frantic 250SX main event.
Q: Shuffling over to Team Honda for 2024 was a huge move for both you and your career. You competed for 2020 Factory Connection Honda back in 2020. How does it feel to be back on the red motorcycle?
JO SHIMODA: The bike is good. With the Honda people around me now, I feel more comfortable and I can speak for myself better within the team. I’m still trying to learn the bike and the team. The bike is really comfortable and has really good power. And racing for Honda is great, for sure. I was racing for Honda three years ago with Factory Connection Honda and it’s nice to come back to the brand again. I’m looking forward to us having a long relationship. That would be sick.
Q: You have been racing in USA for a couple of years now. Do you feel more comfortable as more time goes by?
JS: I do definitely miss home and my family that lives over there in Japan, but the more time I stay here in the U.S., I feel like I have a good group of people around me It’s fun. You know, my parents are actually here in California now. My Dad has been here for three weeks now after this weekend, he’s going back to Japan. I think for him it’s kind of cool to see his son riding and racing with Honda again. He’s been able to see my first three races this year, so yeah, that has been good.
Q: It’s easy to see that the American supercross fans really like you. Even your autograph line was quite lengthy earlier this afternoon! Do you pick up on that at all?
JS: Yes and it’s cool for the sport and cool for the people and having those connections with them is great. When I have success I want to have people celebrate with me, so that’s a good part of all of this.
Q: I know in conversations we’ve had that winning a championship here in the U.S. A. would mean a lot to you, wouldn’t it?
JS: For sure. But first we’ve got to go up on top of the box and try to win some races before we talk about that.
Later that evening and in the 250SX West main event, Shimoda scrambled his way to a hard-earned fourth place finish. Now seventh in the 250SX West points race, Shimoda will look to this forthcoming weekend and round four of the series set for Angel Stadium in Orange County, California.
“I thought I was riding well all day despite the back end sliding a lot in the main event,” said Shimoda afterwards. “ That was disappointing, but my riding was good. I nearly made the podium, which is an improvement on last weekend. The pace and the riding has been good and I still believe I can do it. I just want a normal weekend.”