Heres a short backstory on my life in Moto, my career, and what you can expect from WJE’s Moto side of things.
I got my first dirt bike when I was a month and a half shy of 4 years old. I fell in love with it instantly. Going over the bars first day and all. My parents originally got me a bike to ride for fun with my Dad in the hills, the desert, etc. But one day we were driving past a local track in Perris CA, I saw kids racing, and said to my Dad “I want to do that”. Long story short I went on to race non stop for the next 20 years. I won 6 Amateur National Championships riding for the Factory Suzuki Amateur Team at races like the World Mini Grand Prix in Las Vegas, Mammoth Mountain MX, Ponca City OK, and the Mini Olympics in FL. Against riders that went on to be, and some still are, the biggest names in the sport of Moto.
My last two years as an amateur (06,07) were plagued with concussions and a torn ACL in each knee. Those two years were up and down to say the least. So when I turned pro in 2008 for the AMA Outdoor MX Series, in the 450 class, at the age of 20, after getting both of my knees fixed, it was not in the fashion I once saw in my mind. I was up for the challenge without a doubt.
Though I showed some flashes of what I was capable of here and there, I couldn’t stay healthy long enough to consistently show that I had what it took to win. The 2009 AMA Outdoor Motocross Series is where my best finishes came from in my short professional career. I Missed the first 3 rounds due to injury, but got a call right before round 4 about filling in for a rider on a privateer team who had just got hurt at round 3. I put together a couple of 12th overalls, a 5th in a Moto, a 9-9 at Unadilla, and worked my way into 15th in points with 3 rounds to go. Unfortunately those last 3 rounds were riddled with bike problems and I dropped to 21st in points after it was all said and done.
My finishes in the 2009 Outdoor Motocross series didn’t lock me down a “ride” on any team for the 2010 Supercross/Motocross season. I did however have supporters and MX legend, Doug Dubach, who did believe in me. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to get to all (or any) of the 17 rounds that 2010 season.
Though this was my rookie year, I chose to go straight to the 450 class. The reason being is I’m 6′ 3″ and was 175 pounds, so it made more sense to do a couple things to a 450, which has plenty of power to work with, than to spend a ton of money (that I didn’t have) to build up a 250. It took me a few rounds to shake off the nerves and get to feeling comfortable riding on the stadium floor. Being a privateer in those days I didn’t have access to a “legit” Supercross track to train on so it was an adjustment to actually ride/race in a stadium. After barely missing the mains at the first 3 rounds I finally put it all together in San Francisco and transferred to the main with a 4th place finished in my heat race. It may have only been a heat race but that was an awesome feeling. Especially with my Dad as my mechanic. We drove up there in his pick up and were pitted in the very back of the pits.
I crashed in the main but left San Francisco with some new confidence. Only later to be stressed thinking about how I am going to get to the further races. Fortunately When the series went east, we were able to work out getting my bike on the “WWR” semi. Which was a sigh of relief and I was looking forward to getting better and better as the season, and I, progressed.
The first east coast round in Indianapolis I was really starting to feel like I wasn’t far from being where I deep down felt I belonged. I easily qualified for the main with another 4th in my heat race and if I was in a little bit better shape mentally, I believe I would have finished 8th in the main. Which is where I was the first half of the race. Instead I tightened up and faded the last few laps and finished 12th.
The final highlight of my 2010 rookie Supercross season came at the infamous Daytona International Speedway. I felt right at home on the SX/MX hybrid track. I also grew up riding the hills, trails, sand washes, etc so adapting to the track was much easier for me. I had a big get off in practice but was able to get my best finish of the Sx season (and career) with an 11th. 9th if you don’t count the two west coast 250 guys that raced 450’s that night. 😉
I left Daytona 20th in points and thats where I remained until I had a crash in practice at the Jacksonville round and suffered a mild concussion. I sat out of that nights race as well as the next round in Houston. I wrapped up the season 22nd in points, qualified for 7 mains, all of which I transferred from heat races, and learned A LOT. Unfortunately the lessons didnt sink in until it was too late.
Fast forward through the rest of my pro career and its a blur of illnesses, injuries, and rushing trying to figure out support and a competitive bike. Which isn’t a good combination. Finally in 2013, after a big get off at the San Diego Supercross, I decided I gave it my best shot and it would be best to “retire” from racing and move onto something else. Hopefully within the Moto industry as I had always planned.
That wasn’t the smoothest of transitions either. I ended up having to join the family trade of construction and put in what some would consider “REAL” work. Which was one of the best things for me looking back. After a few months of that I got an opportunity to head back to Supercross, this time working for GoPro. The last 4 Supercross seasons, and last 3 Motocross seasons, Ive been contracted by them to be Athlete Coordinator and I also stepped into the world of filming and video editing thanks to them. Which I really enjoy and have not only done work for them but also for Troy Lee Designs and Leatt Protectives.
After 15 years on the amateur circuit, 4 years on the professional circuit, and 4 on the other side of professional circuit working with/interviewing riders, the knowledge I’ve soaked up is priceless. Especially being able to look back and seeing where I could’ve been better both on, and off, the bike.
My aim with Moto now is to help others not only accomplish their goals on the bike, but I believe with the perspective being on personal growth, not just the egotistical things, living a Moto lifestyle is a great discipline for building a person into a confident, happy, successful individual. Which that will transcend well beyond their Moto ambitions. I put a big emphasis on CONFIDENCE/BELIEF in self, since thats what hurt my career the most. And I haven’t taken it lightly that it did. Hence the “Mental” category of WJE which I will get more into detail on that over there. I also believe in the “working smarter, not harder” approach and that is another reason Ive implemented GoPro’s as a training tool into some of my Moto mentoring programs. Not only will studying the footage help massively on the track, also sponsors, family, friends, etc. will love the content we capture and creative social media marketing that will be apart of the packages. The videos will be for the riders social media channels, as well as the WJE channels. Which will also feature episodes from the mentoring sessions, interviews, unique content with pros, educational videos, race breakdowns, free riding edits, track reviews, and the list will go on and on.
Its amazing to think about all the things I’ve learned from where my dirt bike has taken me. I look forward to spreading the knowledge. – JB425