Last week on Racer X Online we ran a request by a New England privateer named Jacob Morrison, who was desperately in need of a bike after breaking his own less than 10 days from the national opener at Glen Helen. As people in this sport tend to do, someone stepped up to the plate and offered Jacob not just a bike to ride, but a place to stay out west. We got in touch with Jake to get the details.
Racer X: How is your preparation going for the 2009 Nationals? Morrison: Kinda tough, the bike has been breaking and stuff, but I've just been trying to do other things; training and making the best of it.
What are your goals going into the nationals? My goals are just to try and make it to as many nationals as I can and try to top 20 as many nationals as I can and get a ride for next year.
If everything goes as planned, how many rounds do you plan on attending? Twelve.
You recently encountered some bike troubles, and sent out a plea to the industry asking for help so you could race Glen Helen, who stepped up to help you out? The owner of Crower Power, Dan Crower, he stepped things up for me. He really helped me out. He's going to let me borrow his bike for a round or two and set me up with hotels and letting me stay at his house. He's really helping me out a lot.
Did you know him prior to this season? No, the first time I ever talked to him was on the phone was last week. One of my buddies, my mechanic, told me to use his cams. I tried his cams, loved his cams and just being a really nice guy he called me up and asked if I wanted to ride his bikes and I said “definitely.”
It seems as if you've had a number of bike problems in the past couple years, how has the extra cost of maintaining and repairing four-strokes affected your racing program? Well, it's just tough. Either way, two-strokes or four-strokes; I don't have that much money, so no matter what I ride it’s tough to maintain them no matter what. It's definitely tough with the four-strokes. They break, and as opposed to a couple hundred bucks it's a couple thousand bucks.
When did you start racing professionally? 2004. Southwick National, 2004, was my first national.
How big of a step was it going from being at the top of the New England motocross scene to the motocross nationals? New England is actually really fast. I seem to have better luck when I go to nationals. I feel more comfortable, I feel like everything is just run better and I feel more organized. I feel like I ride better at the nationals, and that's why I like doing them so much.
Do you feel that racing against the pros in New England, like John Dowd and Tony Lorusso, helped prepare you for the nationals? Definitely. Those guys, I mean, riding with all those guys, there's probably like ten experts in New England who just haul. Definitely riding with those guys is really huge.
As a rider, where do you feel your strengths and weaknesses on the race track are? My strengths are usually long, hard, rough motos. The rougher the track gets, the better I do. When it's just a fast smooth track, it’s all about bike, so it’s tough to hang with the pro guys.
You are one of the true privateers who manage to race a lot of nationals. How big of a gap is there between privateers like you and so called privateers who receive support and are on full fledged organized teams? It's huge. There's a huge difference. Even though they're privateers, they have rides and they have support. They get money here and there. It's huge. During the week I try to work as much as I can and it's hard to even get out and ride. Make money, pay bills. It's tough. I'm prepping my bikes all week and at the end of the week I still don't have a race bike. It's a huge gap. I don't get to focus on riding all the time. I have to focus on work more than anything because I have bills and everything, and it's hard to do everything at once.
Do you think it's getting harder recently, with the economy going down, or has it always been hard? It's always been tough, but I've been able to do it. I've had a lot of support, a lot of people helping me out. But now, even sponsors that I've had for years have had to cut back. It's hard for them to help anybody; everyone has had to cut back. I got stuff for free for years, and now I have to pay for it. The economy's affecting everything.
What would you like to accomplish in the remainder of your professional career? Really, my whole dream – I've been racing since '91 – and my dream has always been to go to the pro races and be a factory rider and get paid to race. That's still the goal, but it’s hard when you have one bike. I'm going to keep trying for a couple more years, and if something happens I'm going to make it happen. I'm going to give it 110% and train my butt off. It that ever happens, I think I could definitely be up there all the time.
Thanks for talking with us, good luck for the rest of the year, who would you like to thank for helping you out this year? I'd like to thank Crower Power for giving me this opportunity to come out to California, I've got a big list actually. I'd like to thank Loud Fuel, E-Line Accessories, Cycra, SDG, Smith Googles, Dunlop, Wiseco, Red Bull, RK/Excel, J&J Racing, My Dad, My Mom, Tri-Star, Factory Connection, Hinson, Hellion Designs, Cometic Gasket, JG3 Graphics, Rocket Exhaust, JT Welding, Loud Mouth Intakes, O'Neal Images, Boyesen, T.M.Designworks, Hot Rods, Piviot Works, Motorex, Hammerhead Design, Crispin Motors, and 3D Racing.
Are you interested in getting your name or product out there while supporting a New England team? 3-D Racing, made up of Jake Morrison, Paul Lamb, Chase Burdette, and Jimmy Decotis, is looking for an associate sponsor to help get the team to all twelve rounds of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. If interested, please contact Bill Dill at 508-947-0746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.