MotoOnline.com.au chats exclusively with Jake Moss about his breakthrough AMA Motocross ride at Thunder Valley last Saturday night.
Australian Motocross has yet another star in the American AMA Motocross Championship after Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Jake Moss shocked with a superb fourth place in the opening 450 moto at Thunder Valley in Colorado last weekend.
The round turned pear-shaped for Moss in moto two as he crashed out on the opening lap, but he’d already proven his potential after his best ever performance saw him battle and pass highly touted and more experienced countrymen Chad Reed and Michael Byrne.
Moss’ rise to the top has been an intriguing one in the States, the 2007 Pro Lites Australian Motocross Champion making his debut in the U.S. last year before returning again with TLD Honda this year.
It was just last December when Moss was in a wheelchair after breaking his back during practice in Australia, his amazing comeback highlighted this year by strong performances in the final rounds of the West Coast Lites Supercross Championship before he switched to the 450 for selected outdoor rounds.
MotoOnline.com.au gets the scoop on Moss’ season to date and what we can expect for 2010.
You finished fourth in moto one at Thunder Valley after qualifying up near the front as well last weekend. You must have been happy with your form for the round in Colorado? Ripple Effect ipod
Yeah, well to be honest I don’t really remember what happened for the weekend after I hit my head in the crash in moto two, but my mechanics and team said that I was fast in moto one and went from seventh to third, challenged for second, and then made a few mistakes and dropped back. I lost third with a few laps to go and just missed out on passing Chad on the last corner, so it was supposedly a good race [laughs].
So you don’t remember the weekend at all after your crash in the second moto where you were knocked out?
Nah, I don’t even remember getting there.
Have you seen it on television since?
I’ve seen a little bit, but on TV they only show highlights of moto one and it showed a little bit of me, but not much, and then for moto two it didn’t show my crash.
Your weekend was unfortunately cut short with what’s said to be a massive crash in the second moto though. What happened there? You obviously don’t remember, but has anyone told you at all?
Well my mechanics said that I had a good start and I was in fifth place, which was all I had to get to come third, and then I’m not too sure what happened with the crash because none of my mechanics really saw it.
I’m not sure if somebody hit my back wheel right before up ramp because it was on the first lap when everyone was crowded you know, but my front wheel went into one of the sharp kickers and it just spat me forward over the bars. I landed on my face, smashed my helmet and ripped my goggles off in the crash, and I was knocked out for like three or four minutes.
Even with a DNF in the second moto you still finished 10th overall, so does this boost your confidence for the rest of the season?
Yeah, it does. But the unfortunate thing about the team right now is that we are only doing the west coast rounds of the motocross, so I’m still not doing them all, and I miss out on this weekend again.
It’s kind of been tough because I have to try to impress people in the races that I do. It’s hard to try not go so hard in case I crash because I have to do good in the races I’m at. It’s hard because I do one and then miss two, but you know, there’s nothing that I can do about that.
So it’s kind of like in Supercross where the TLD Honda team is a west coast-only team?
Ah, yeah. But next year the team is going to do the full Motocross season, but I don’t know, I haven’t signed with them so I’m still not sure what I’ll be doing for next year.
Just quickly, how was it doing an outdoor round under lights? Was it like a Supercross in some ways or did it still feel like a national?
I don’t remember this year one bit, but I remember last year that it was pretty cool. It definitely didn’t feel like Supercross, but it was cool to race under lights. I remember I crashed a few times because of the shadows last year though.
Apparently this year they said there would be more lights and supposedly they had the same amount, but I think it’s good for the crowd because they’re out of the sun and whatnot. I think they need to do a little bit more preparation in getting it lit up a little better.
Let’s speak a little bit about your comeback from the broken back you suffered last year. You made a miraculous return and almost won a Supercross round in the Lites. How difficult was that to return to fitness and also racing to save your U.S. career on a limited schedule?
It was tough. I got back here and the team had doubts about putting me back on a bike, blah blah blah, and I kind of had to beg to get back on a bike. They said they would get me a bike and I went and rode a little bit of Motocross.
From laying in bed for so long my knees hurt and had just lost all strength. I couldn’t stand up off the seat quick enough out of the corners and then I started riding Supercross and just got better and better.
The hard thing was that when I went riding I couldn’t go training after riding because I was too sore, so I put all my focus on to the bike and I worked out by the end of Supercross that I couldn’t do 15 laps strong but if I stay injury free right now then I’m getting to where I want to be and hopefully next year I can try to win the championship.
Would you of preferred to continue in the Lites for the outdoors or are you happy to be on the 450 amongst the likes of Reed, Mike Alessi and co?
It really doesn’t bother me. I like racing against Chad. Last weekend they said I passed him and that was like music to my ears that I passed my hero. I really think that it’s good. I lead laps in the Lites class in Supercross and I thought it would be a little bit harder than that, so I think if I get my fitness right and my strength back then I can definitely be a title contender.
Finally, Mossy, your performances have been exceptional this year despite missing many races. Where can we expect to see you in 2010?
I think that the only team I would change for right now would be Pro Circuit Kawasaki or a factory team. I mean, Pro Circuit is a Lites team but I think I could do just as well in either class and I’m not afraid of any opposition or care who I’m racing against.
I just like to go out on the track and give it 110 percent and whatever happens, happens. Right now I think I’m racing Lites in Supercross and that’s my plan, so hopefully I can kill it and if not then I’ll go back to Motocross and try kill it there [laughs].
Alright well keep it up mate, well done on your progress so far.
Yeah, thanks mate!
Editor’s note: Are you looking to ride like Jake Moss or his twin brother Matt? Check out the Moss Institute motocross school official website at www.mossyonline.com.au