Privateer Profile:  Jace Owen

Privateer Profile: Jace Owen

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The Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s is a pressure cooker in and of itself. For former factory Suzuki amateur rider Jace Owen, he was also burdened with the added weight of regaining a factory supported ride after parting ways with Suzuki last year. Owen showed dazzling speed in the A classes, but untimely crashes—including a big get off in the Ten Commandments while leading moto 2 of 250 A—stifled his title aspirations. Owen, who will miss what was expected to be his pro debut at Unadilla with a wrist injury, is now left fighting with a crowded group for support next season. We caught up with the Illinois native to discuss Loretta’s, his future and more.

Racer X: It was a yin and yang week for you at Loretta’s. You showed the speed to win but a couple crashes took you out of the running.
Jace Owen:
Yeah, Loretta’s went pretty good and bad you could say. There were definitely some ups and downs. I trained really hard going into it and wanted to go there and do well and go out with a bang for my last amateur race. The 250 Class is the more prestigious class—the one that everyone wants to do well in—and every moto in that class I was up front but just had some bad luck. In the second moto I was leading and got a flat tire three laps in. I led a couple of more laps and didn’t get a good jump through the Ten Commandments and kind of endoed into the face and it knocked the wind out of and jammed my wrist. That was a bummer one for me because I wasn’t able to finish. The third moto was muddy and I had a horrible gate pick and I was in third out of the gate and passed into second. I ended up crashing again. It was a tough week. I just didn’t have any luck.

This was the first time in a long time that you didn’t have factory support at Loretta’s. How different was it being on your own?
It was definitely different. Pretty much my entire amateur career I had a ride with Suzuki, which started in 2008. This year I was doing it on my own and it was definitely a lot harder. A few things didn’t work out in the last year that were supposed to happen, that’s why I was doing it on my own. I know on paper my results don’t look good, but I felt that people saw my speed and I think speed is one of the main things. My endurance felt good as well, but I wasn’t even able to show that because of the crashes. I thought my speed was good and hopefully someone picks up on that and gives me a shot.

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Crashes cost Jace Owen a shot at the 250 A title.
Rob Koy photo

A lot of the talk coming in, even from yourself, was that you needed to prove again that you had the speed to garner a ride. Did that put added pressure on you?
I would say it added a little more pressure. I tried not to let it bug me and go out there and do the best I could. I definitely wanted to win, and I felt like that’s where I belonged. It just wasn’t my week, I guess.

The big question still unanswered is, will we see you at Unadilla?
I don’t know. I don’t think so. I really wanted to do Unadilla, but like I said, when I crashed in the Ten Commandments I jammed my wrist pretty bad. I actually went to the hospital on Friday to have it looked at. I pulled some ligaments pretty bad in it and it’s super sore and tight right now. It’s my throttle hand and it’s kind of locked up right now. I don’t want to go to my first pro national 60 or 70 percent. I want to go when I’m 100 percent and give it my all.

Will we see you at Utah or Lake Elsinore?
I haven’t decided on Utah or Elsinore yet. It’s tough because I’m from Illinois, and those two are so far away and they would be a long drive. It would be a great experience, but I guess we will have to wait and see.

If you are unable to ride any of the last three nationals, will you race Mini O’s?
I’m not sure if I’ll be doing Mini O’s yet or not. It’s still up in the air.

You are trying to find a ride in a crowded field. If you’re not racing the last three Nationals, how will you bring attention to teams for next season?
To get some attention from teams I am going to try and call some teams and speak with them. Maybe start riding some supercross here in a while and maybe some teams will have a couple spots open and maybe I can go out to California and get a test day in. I feel like what I need is a shot, because I know if they do I will put it to use and not let it fade away.

Does going from factory support to your own deal provide added motivation?
Yeah, I would say it gives you more motivation. For me, it’s not that I want to go and prove everyone wrong; I want to prove it to myself.

If you are unable to find a ride, is supercross still in the plans for 2014?
Yeah. I don’t want to stay in the amateur ranks again. It feels like some kids that stay in the amateurs {A Class] for two years kind of get left behind because you have the younger kids moving up and you’re one of the older kids staying back and you kind of get overlooked. Hopefully I can find some support, but either way you will be seeing me in supercross in 2014.

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Owen is still unsure of when he will make his pro debut.
Ken Hill photo

You have been down at ClubMX for some time now as well, correct?
Yeah, I’ve been down at ClubMX in South Carolina. It’s definitely been a huge part of my program. The track is awesome everyday and there are a lot of good guys to ride with down there. It pushes everyone to ride harder and toward our goals.

A lot of current pros [Alex Martin, Phil Nicoletti, Zach Osborne, Justin Brayton) currently train at Club. Does it give you a leg up to be able to train with professionals on the regular?
Yeah, being able to train with those guys is awesome. I’m still trying to become a pro and they are already pro and they knew what it took to get there and they can share some of that information with me. So you can say I’m already a step ahead. All of those guys are well-liked people and they are very good guys to be around and ride with. I couldn’t be more fortunate to be able to stay down there and ride with those guys.

Thanks, Jace. Who would you like to thank for helping you this season?
I would like to thanks Owen Motorsports, ClubMX, Seven, Monster Energy, FMF, Renegade Fuel, SCOTT, MB1 Suspension, Dunlop. Pro Taper, Works Connection, Alpinestar, MXSN, Dubya, Impulse Graphics, Leatt, DT1 Filters and Maykers.
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