No matter where FXR/SKDA/JSR Motorsports’ Justin Starling goes, the good vibes follow him. It’s probably because he has me reporting on his every move and making sure people hear about him every day. Starling has a lot to be thankful for these days, which includes waking up and going to sleep reading inspirational messages from me. The Troy Dog Squad acquired him around October and he is exceeding our expectations. We knew the doggie was wicked good at Supercross, but this battle to get into the top ten in the 450 class has really driven his stock through the roof!
Starling’s offseason was incredible. He was training in Florida everyday with Zach Osborne and Jack Chambers. His group put in a lot of work for the season and when Star Dog won the LCQ at Anaheim he was very pleased with himself and kind of in shock. He admits that he never starts the Supercross season very strong and he has to build his way into mains throughout the year. Not this year. This year is different.
It’s Friday before Seattle and the past two weekends Starling has finished 12th in Detroit (on his birthday), and 11th at Indy (with me in attendance). Two career best 450 finishes in two consecutive weeks. Not bad for a guy who’s previous best finish was an 18th. A great attitude is everything for Star Dog and it’s leading him to success. He’s running an operation that he’s built from the ground up. Every part and product he runs is hand picked by him. He’s had like four different mechanics this year helping him out and HE is the one driving from race to race. Usually by himself.
I called Star Dog up on Wednesday as he was ripping through Montana and his signal was spotty, but I could tell he was very happy to have me in his van with him for a bit. I’d be lost without Ginger Dog in the vehicle with me or any sort of life form to keep me company, especially on a 3,000 mile quest to the rainiest part of the world, excluding the rainforests. I’ve also spoken to Starling a lot over the years for my work with (name drop) Racer X and PulpMX, so I know he’s been a guy who is upbeat and excited about life, but this level of Star Dog is incredible right now. He’s genuinely excited about getting on the gate and racing, which before it was just going through the motions for him.
Star Dog has seen Cade Clason and Ryan Breece bust out a tenth in the past two weeks, so he knows he can do it too. The cool thing about privateer island is that most of these guys know the grind and they can be happy for one another when they do well. A top ten in the 450 class in Supercross? These are career highlights and nights these guys have dreamt about as little kids. We are witnessing peak privateer power this season and it’s been fun to watch.
Star Dog has made it to Seattle safely and he’s currently doing the rain dance in hopes of a mud race. If it starts raining you can count on two people to be smiling this weekend. One is Justin Barcia and the other is Starling. Aaron Plessinger would too, of course, but he is on the mend. I hope our boy Star Dog gets his way and I know a top ten is on the horizon. I was the last person to ride his bike around, so he might feel some extra CEO T-Dog magic on that throttle. He will be rocking the new T-Dog SQUAD logo on his front fender too! Let’s see what our doggie can do!