Fresh off the heels of the fourth round of the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series season from Wilkes Barre, Pa., three-time champion Josh Demuth has announced that he will retire from the sport in which he has achieved so much success.
The Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider currently sits fourth in the Arenacross Class standings, and posted seventh and sixth-place finishes following two nights of action two weekends ago from Wilkes Barre’s Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
As a competitor in the AMA Arenacross Series for over a decade, Demuth has become one of the most prolific riders in the history of the sport.
The Texas native from North Richland Hills won back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, ending the five-year reign of Buddy Antunez. He continued to compete in various other series, including Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, before returning to the AMA Arenacross Series full time in 2009.
With a renewed drive to win a championship, Demuth posted two victories en route to a third-place result in the Arenacross Class standings.
The following season in 2010, his first with Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki, Demuth battled bar-to-bar with teammate Tyler Bowers throughout the season. Following a season-ending injury to Bowers, Demuth continued to push, fending off his third teammate, Chad Johnson, over the final month of the season to claim a third AMA Arenacross Series championship. The six wins marked one of Demuth’s most dominant years, and solidified him as one of the best ever in the sport, along with Antunez and Dennis Hawthorne, the only other riders to ever win more than two titles.
Todd Jendro (Senior Director of Two-Wheel Operations, Feld Motor Sports) says: "Josh’s accomplishments speak for themselves. He’s one of the riders who helped make this sport what it is today and he’s been a fan favorite for many years. We’ll definitely miss him out on the track, but there is no doubt he’s leaving as a legend."
Denny Bartz (Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki Team Manager) says: "Since coming on board at Babbitt’s back in 2009, it’s been a pleasure to work with Josh. Our relationship with him goes back several years when he competed for us in the mid-2000′s, and through it all, he’s been one of the best riders I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. We hate to see him go, but absolutely respect his decision. He’s earned it."
At 32 years of age, Demuth is one of the oldest riders competing in the AMA Arenacross Series. However, he still has what it takes to compete with riders a decade younger, knocking on the door for the win throughout each of the nine main events so far this season. While there is no doubt still some fire in Demuth’s tank, he felt like now was the time to walk away from the sport he loves for good.
Josh Demuth says: "Over years I’ve been beat up with a lot of injuries. It came to a point where I was struggling to get out of bed and race to where I thought I was capable. I was doing all I could (on the track) and couldn’t win. I felt like it was a good time to walk away before I ride over my head and get hurt.
"Arenacross has been a home for me. I’ve been blessed to ride and perform as well as I have. I found a good little niche and it paid off. I got to set some records and make a great career for myself. I had some ups and downs, but I’ve had a chance to win a championship with my father. I dreamt of being a champion as a kid and I was able to do it, and make my dreams come true.
"It’s gotten to the point where you never want to give up something you feel passionately for, and I tried to ride it out as long as I could, but your body and others things take their toll. I’m happy with how things have turned out."
Demuth’s legacy within the world of the AMA Arenacross Series will never be in doubt, as he arguably served as the face of the sport in leading it into the new millennium. Fortunately for Demuth, he was able to share that with a lot of others.
Josh Demuth says: "I want to thank all my fans, my family my friends and everyone that’s supported me, whether I was hurt or riding well. I’m so thankful for everyone who was there for me – all my sponsors and those people who have helped me achieve so much success. They, along with the fans, made my career what it is, and they know who they are.
"I’ve gone longer than a lot of other riders out there, and it’s hard to swallow at the end of the day. You never want to quit something you’ve done your whole life, but I’m happy with my decision. I’ve got a good job lined up with some friends and they ride dirt bikes, so I’ll still enjoy riding. I’m going to keep at it, but I’ll just be taking care of my family in a different way now. I’m looking forward to everything the future has to bring."
The AMA Arenacross Series continues the 2012 season in just a few weeks from Grand Rapids, Mich., and Van Andel Arena. The fifth round of the season will take place on Friday, Jan. 6, and Saturday, Jan. 7, with two nights of high-octane competition.