Racer X: You had a heck of a season, starting out with a broken back, but then eventually getting a Kawasaki factory ride in the Nationals and competing for podium spots. Talk a little bit about the season from your perspective. Jake Moss: You know, my year has been up and down, for sure. A lot of good stuff happened, and a lot of bad stuff happened. Unfortunately, it started on a really low low when I broke my back at the end of last year, and I didn’t get back over here until late, and I didn’t start riding until late February. Plus, I lost like 25 pounds, so I was really weak. At Anaheim and San Diego, I was still in pain because my knees weren’t working properly, because I lay in the hospital for at least two months. But by Las Vegas, it started feeling a lot better. I could start running and cycling and stuff, and I won a Heat race at Salt Lake, which was good, but it was only six laps or something. I had six laps in me, and that was about it. Troy Lee decided they wanted to race a few outdoors, and I wanted to do that, so I decided to jump on a 450, and that probably wasn’t the best thing right away.
Because you were still kind of out of shape?
Yeah, plus I decided just a couple weeks before Glen Helen, and I didn’t get very many days on the bike, and I ended up crashing like three times there in the first moto. I had a good moto at Hangtown, got a seventh, so I started thinking that I had the speed, but that I just had to start finishing motos, but then in Colorado, I got a fourth in the first moto, and I started looking for a ride for the last four races after that. Unfortunately, I knocked myself out at Colorado, too, so that held me back, and I wasn’t allowed to train because I wasn’t allowed to elevate my heart rate. At Washougal, I felt like I rode pretty good, and the first moto, I got sixth, but then the second moto, I hit my head again. The Washougal crash was the only crash this year that wasn’t my fault. But I hit my head, so I had another month off, and I wanted to race the last four, but then Kawasaki decided to give me a bike for the last three, and I felt really comfortable on it right away. But I didn’t get to train too much because of my head. I had a couple good finishes that the team was pumped about, but I wasn’t too happy because I know I can do better. It hasn’t been my year. There wasn’t a lot of luck going my way this year.
But considering all that you went through, your speed late in the year here was pretty great, wasn’t it?
I think the bike suited me a lot, and the only reason I think why I made so many mistakes is that I knew I only had three races to impress everyone, so to me, I felt like I had to do good or nothing much was going to happen. I feel that if I had a good off-season and I wasn’t hurt and I was on a good bike again, I could be one of those top guys, and I’m open to something like that.
Back in Australia, you were always known as a small-bike guy – a 250F specialist. So that was a little bit of a surprise for you to get on a factory 450 and run up front like that.
I don’t know, a couple of times last year, I watched [Cody] Cooper get second to [James] Stewart, and I was like, “Dude, I used to beat this guy when I was on a 250F and he was on a 450.” So I figured I could be fast on a 450. It didn’t work out right away, and it took me a while to get used to it, and if I wasn’t on a fuel-injected bike, I would’ve gotten myself into a lot of trouble this year just because those fuel-injected bikes are a lot tamer, but the power’s still there. I seriously felt like I was riding a 250F, but when I wanted more power, it was there. It didn’t feel like that big of a change.
You have a twin brother, Matt, back in Australia. Are you identical twins?
We look identical, but we’re not, because we’ve got different blood types.
So you’re fraternal twins.
He’s going fast back home, from what I hear, and a few teams are talking about him over here. What’s the story with that? Are you guys going to be the first pair of foreign brothers to take on the AMA?
Yeah, I hope so! Matt’s definitely fast. I think that kid’s faster than me, and I think he’s done the right thing by staying back in Australia a couple years until he’s gotten a little bit older and stronger, and he’s saved up some money so he can do it right. I know he’s talking to some teams, so hopefully he gets on a really good bike. I think Suzuki’s trying to back him a little bit so he can move over here and we can get together. When we’re together, we really push each other, and it showed when I went back home. I won two out of the three races that I raced, and he won the other one, and we both started first and second, so it was straight up. He beat me fair and square in one race, and I only beat him fair and square in one, too. I think if he gets on a good team here, he’ll kill it.
To be clear, are you hoping for a 450cc ride next year?
To me, it doesn’t matter, because I think I was just as good on the 250F, I just was not strong. I led a race for about eight laps before I crashed, and I probably wouldn’t have won that race because I was tired after about three laps, but I think I can do it in either class.
Are you heading back to Australia?
Yeah, Wednesday. I’m going back to ride for Suzuki, but I’ll be back here December 10th.