Jace Owen just completed his rookie season, which included a lot of hours on the road and even more gas money. The rider from Illinois had an injury that shortened his East Region supercross run on the Factory Metal Works/Club MX squad. His outdoor season was a different story, as he went more of the privateer route, driving to only the East Coast races in a van with his parents and mechanic. With one year under his belt, we gave Owen a call to see what he learned and what to expect of him in his sophomore season.
Racer X: Jace, what have you been up to so far this off-season?
Jace Owen: Oh, not much. Honestly, I’ve just been back at home in Illinois for a while now. I was here toward the end of outdoors and riding. I’ve just been hanging out and taking some time off.
Let’s talk about your rookie season. How do you feel it went now that you are through it?
I feel like my rookie season had a lot of ups and downs. Heading into supercross, I feel like I probably wasn’t as prepared as much as I should have been. I just kind of got a late start on everything with switching to the 2014 from the 13’ Honda. It’s a totally different bike, so I feel like I struggled a lot. I did, I think, four supercrosses, and I learned quite a bit from racing them. I still feel like I didn’t do near as good as what I could. Then I hurt my shoulder at one of the rounds, so I missed the last four or five (rounds). I took a little time off, regrouped, and then started to get ready for outdoors. I feel like I did a lot better outdoors. I was scoring points every moto and was pretty much first privateer at every race. I got to dice it up with some of the factory guys. I showed some speed and still have a lot of room to improve. I look forward to the 2015 supercross season.
The Factory Metal Works/Club MX team was a supercross only deal, but they did help you outdoors; is that right?
Yeah it was a supercross-only deal with Vince Friese, AJ Catanzaro, and me. Then, for outdoors I was driving to all the races, but they were helping me out in every possible way they could.
So you had to drive to all the races with your father?
I was driving to all the races with my dad and my mechanic Adam. It’s tough when you are a privateer and doing it on your own. You have to drive fifteen hours to the race and get there, go through tech, and race the next day. After doing two practices and two thirty-five-minute motos, getting back into the van, and driving fifteen hours back home is not easy. It would definitely be nice to get into one of those semis and be able to fly to the races and show what I am capable of doing.
Is that a possibility at all for next season?
As of right now, I don’t have anything going. I am kind of just on my own. I know that I deserve to get a ride, but it is also tough right now. There aren’t many rides to be had, and every year it seems to get less and less. I just need to focus on myself and give it everything I have leading up to supercross. Hopefully I can start beating some of those guys every weekend and show that is where I belong.
Is there any talk of the Factory Metal Works/Club MX team coming back for next year?
I don’t think that it is going to be a supercross team next year. It’s just tough with sponsors, and it costs a lot of money to run a team.
Is the plan to do East Region again next year because it is so close to home?
Yeah, I’ll be doing the East Coast and the 250 Class because I am from the Midwest. I definitely would like to do that. I have all of my family around here that loves to come watch me ride. I am not really sure where I am going to be training yet for supercross. I may end up going out to the West Coast; maybe I’ll stay on the East and go down to Georgia, but that is still up in the air right now.
You have been at home in Illinois, but what do you have coming up this offseason?
I have just been hanging out at home relaxing a bit. I’ve been doing some local races. It is always fun to go to the local races; that’s where you grow up racing, and to go back there and enjoy the track and the memories. Maybe I will do some money races before I start training for supercross. Here in the next month or so I will figure out where I want to go. Then I will start training for supercross, hammering it out, and putting a lot of laps in so I am ready for 2015.
Do you have a track nearby your house or on your property in Illinois?
Yeah, we own some property about thirty minutes from my house where I have an outdoor track. I don’t have a supercross track, but I can still ride outdoors. It’s getting to be that time of year where it starts cooling off a lot and getting a lot of rain. I’ll just be riding, training, and having fun with it.
Looking forward, you have one season under your belt. What are your expectations for yourself now that you have been there and done that?
In supercross, I should be top-ten every weekend without a doubt. I think if everything falls into place, I can be top-five and be in the mix with those guys. I just want to do every round. Last year I only was able to do four rounds of supercross and then did seven rounds of outdoors. It’s kind of like I did half of a supercross season and half of an outdoor season. This next near I just want to do every supercross round, score points, and get better every weekend. Same with outdoors—I think that if I can be top-ten to twelve, that is where you have to be to get a ride for the next year. I just need to not necessarily focus on a ride, just focus on myself and build off of every race. I need to figure out what I can do better to improve on my results.
Seeing the new rookies like Luke Renzland, RJ Hampshire, and Chris Alldredge coming in with rides, do you see that as a “that should have been me’’ sort of deal?
Yeah, I think so. I can’t dwell on the past, but things didn’t turn out how they were supposed to or planned. There’s nothing that I can do about that now. I did race with those guys my whole amateur career. We’ve battled, I have beaten them, and they have beaten me, and it’s gone both ways. They do all have rides, and I don’t have anything. You know, I don’t have anything to lose at this point. Everyone else has something to lose, and I don’t have anything to lose. All I have to do is gain. I just need to plug away and get some results.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out this season?
Owen Motorsports, Seven, Shoei, Scott, Cycra, CV4, Pro Taper, MX-Tech, C4MX, Impulse Graphics, Factory Metal Works, Ryno Power, Rad Mfg Supersprox, my family, and my trainer Drew.