As the season ended last year, I sat on the hillside watching the competition go by and my chance of a number one plate just slipping away. With a hole in my case and no oil I realized how quickly things can go from good to bad. So for 2011 I have completely changed the game plan!
Things have been different since that 100’s race back in October, and now more than ever I have a serious goal and plan to get myself there. I want to get as many number one plates as possible this year, and I am going to do it starting right away. The more I can win early on in the year, the less I have to worry at the end of the season!
Jackrabbits was first on the list for me, and it was one of the more important races as far as the season is concerned. For the last two years I have finished second overall, and literally been within inches of winning both times. Last year I just didn’t have the speed that Quinn and his 450 had, and the following weekend a gearing change made all of the difference. This year, that wasn’t going to happen! The bike that Ed and My dad have built is, in my opinion, one of the strongest out there. I am confident that it will be able to run with Kendall and Kurt this year, and the out pouring of products from the sponsors this year means that our equipment will be top notch every weekend, and that is what it takes to win.
One of the last things I told Ryan before we left for the weekend was, “I am winning this one, I’m tired of getting second! I want to win a Jackrabbits race!”
Well it happened! Rather difficultly off the start, but I won!
It was cold out in Red Mountain this weekend, everyone definitely felt the effects of the cold weather, but sleeping in the motorhome was a good way to keep my body temperature up. I actually got dressed inside so that it wouldn’t be too cold outside. My dad and I took my bike to the line about an hour before the race, and then we came back to eat a quick breakfast.
My friend Justin Morrow was there with us and I knew that he would probably be my biggest competition this weekend. He is fast as heck, and really excels up here at Red Mountain. He lined up one spot over from me, so the pressure was on to get a good start. When the banner dropped he was gone, and I was sitting there in the dust! My bike didn’t start, and I knew it was just because I was so excited. After what felt like 20 kicks I was off, and it was already time to play catch up.
The first loop was the hard one, but we had about 4 miles of a valley crossing before the desert got really tight. I was passing people left and right, and it was just kind of interesting to see who had gotten the better starts. I came up on Colton Sanders and he was cooking, I couldn’t believe it because the last time I saw him, both Kendall and I were rushing to his aide only to find out that he had broken his femur. Either way, it was cool to see that he was there and doing so good. I think he finished about 10th OA.
Another couple riders I saw were Trevor Watson, who was leading at one point, and Ryan Smith in his first full year on the 250. Ryan traveled with us last year to all of the Hare and Hounds and we knew that he was going to be fast once he was on that bigger bike, and this was really just proof.
Unfortunately for my friend Justin, he didn’t make it quite as far and had bike issues about 5 miles in. He was on the side of the course cheering us on so I knew that he was ok. I put my head down and came up on Bob Roberts. Bob and I have raced together for years, and he was really flying out there today. He is really good at the tight stuff, and I was a little bit worried to see him doing as well as he was.
Right before check one I made the pass on Bob, and thought that he was right behind me. It sounds like he might have gone down because by the time I had made it through the entire first loop, he was nowhere in sight. My dad said when I came into the pits I was about 5 minutes ahead of second. I was kind of disappointed that the tuff loop was over, because that is really the stuff I live for.
Loop two was literally WIDE OPEN. Red Mountain is known for having the long fast valleys with big sand whoops, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to test out the new stabilizer at race speed. If you don’t remember I have the new Fastway Steering Dampener. This thing is awesome, Justin from Pro Moto Billet really hooked us up, and I feel like this might be one of the best stabilizers I have ever ridden. We used it at the last round of Endurocross, and it works fine for that stuff, but at the high speed is where you realize the importance of having one of these things or not.
At the high speeds it had a really smooth fluid feel to it, and it almost couldn’t even remember that we had made the change. It is very comfortable to turn with, and I really don’t have to do any adjusting on the fly, even though it has the ability to do so. With the lappers and quads out on the loop ahead of us, having control was important in this race, and this thing really let me do so. If you haven’t seen it yet, come check out my bike and take a look for yourself, this thing is the real deal!
The second loop was pretty easy, especially knowing that I had such a lead. If Kendall or Kurt were here it might have been a little bit different, but I just rode at a good pace to try and keep my body working hard enough to get the good training for Desert MC. I think I was going about 80 percent, which was still plenty fast to hold off second. About 10 miles into the loop, we came to one of the hills that Ryan and Brandon and I had built a jump on a few weeks earlier. Knowing that I had the lead I did, I figured I would show off for a couple of the riders who were watching from the top of the hill. I’m not sure what they thought, but it sure was fun to hit in the middle of the race!
I cruised into the finish at a little bit under two hours and my family and a few members of the 100’s were waiting for me and cheering as I crossed the line. I had done it and finally won a Jackrabbits race! Now I only have 19 more to go!
I want to thank all of my sponsors that we have lined up for 2011. Everything is finally starting to click into place, and the Off Road Support team is starting to feel like a full factory effort. We have had an overwhelming amount of support from everyone, and it’s exciting to get them the results that we do.
Thanks to Kawasaki of Simi Valley, Off Road Support, Answer Racing, UFO Plastics, BRP, TBT Racing, Kal-Gard, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway Performance, IMS, FMF, and Brian Elliot at Allianceoffroad.com
Also wanted to show some love to our buddy Donnie Eisenhower. He’s been working really hard with me at the Gym all winter, and this was his first race as “the New Donnie,” He did awesome, so were all really proud of him!
See you at the races. Jacob911.com