We decided to change things up a bit for 3 on 3 this week. Instead of having the Racer X staff answer pressing questions, we went to Facebook and Twitter and had the fans ask Jason Thomas anything they wanted.
Here are some of those questions.
@Jerry_Heck: Is speed learned or a talent you are born with? A-Mart seemed to learn? Do you feel you did all you could in your career?
Jason Thomas: It’s a bit of both. Talent is definitely more present in some than others. I think that in a rider’s early years, they are mostly using their God given talent. As they get older and have to make the jump into the pro ranks, that’s where the learning becomes much more important. The perfect scenario is a very talented rider who becomes a student of the sport. Ricky Carmichael was always incredibly fast, but it wasn’t until he refined his skills for supercross that he really took the next step. To do that he had to change his whoops technique, learn to scrub like James Stewart, sort out his nutrition, etc.
The other side of that is a rider who doesn’t have a ton of talent but decides to just keep bashing their head against the wall until it works like I did. The issue I ran into was that I could only take my learning so far because my talent had a ceiling. I could practice and practice and practice but the talent gap to a rider like Chad Reed was just too much to ever overcome. His ability to ride a supercross track was a combination of hard work and an incredible amount of talent. The tougher the track, the more that talent became apparent.
Scott Fisher: What's going on with JS?
JT: I think he is playing golf regularly, but I don’t have any insight past that.
Michael Anderson: If you went back to start your career, what would you do different? And did you have a backup plan had things not worked out?
JT: The only thing I would do differently is I would have ridden more and worked to develop good riding habits and body positioning at a young age. I had some bad riding habits that followed me through my entire career. I also would have tried to get better supercross suspension in the early years. I didn’t know how it was supposed to feel so I never set my bike up right until way later.
Alex Brock: Do you honestly think Ken Roczen will make a full recovery to his former self and win again?
JT: I was very unsure how this injury would go, but as he’s progressing, my confidence is growing. He’s riding street bikes and playing around on Christian Craig’s 450 so he’s clearly on the road back. I don’t know if his arm will ever be “normal” but I think it will be good enough to ride to his potential. I have seen titles won with torn ACLs and broken hands, etc. He is young and his body is resilient.
Blair Walsh: Has Dean Ferris got a ride in the U.S. next year?
JT: Not that I know of. His supercross struggles are definitely a liability but if nothing else, I could see someone stepping up to give him a factory bike next summer. His speed at High Point was no joke.
Ryan Schlickenmayer: Did Steve actually ride a bike at the Fly intro? Or was there too much wineing and dining for his taste?
JT: Matthes had to fly back home to do his Thursday podcasts so he missed all of the riding fun. I don’t think he’s ridden in seven or eight years. He missed out on a great time up in the mountains, though.
Curt Evans: Bigger surprise: Cooper Webb bombing or Martin Davalos kicking ass???
JT: I am going to say Davalos. His 7-4 score at Southwick was impressive. Cooper is coming around, but it seems like his success depends on the dirt and traction week to week. That 2018 bike is right around the corner and with it, hopefully answers.
Edward James: Jason, I'm father of two young boys and they are growing up in a motorcycle family. Do you believe in the "10 year window" that a up an coming pro will only have 10 good years. And how do you prevent a kid from peaking out to early?
JT: I have heard the “10 year” theory but I don’t know if I put too much stock into it. Everyone’s career has a different trajectory so I don’t like drawing hard conclusions. The honest truth is that most pro riders won’t make a decent living for anywhere near 10 years so that would be a blessing if true for everyone. Some riders have really long runs like Tim Ferry, Nick Wey, or Kyle Lewis. The main reason the guys like Ryan Dungey, Ricky Carmichael, and Ryan Villopoto are retiring is because they CAN retire. If I could have financially stepped away at 27, I probably would have. We should all be so fortunate.
As for the second part of your question, letting kids be kids until it’s time to get serious is a healthy way to keep them grounded. They will have plenty of time to be a professional. Twelve year olds are not professionals and shouldn’t be carrying the weight of a family’s income.
Xavier Perrin: What is your guess for the U.S. team regarding Motocross of Nations?
JT: The American MXoN team seems to be constantly changing. I think Zacho [Zach Osborne] is a lock if he stays healthy. Eli Tomac should be the MX1 team leader if he chooses to go. The final spot is the tricky one. It really comes down to Blake Baggett or Jason Anderson and both are having ups and downs. Blake is dealing with a thumb injury and Anderson missed Southwick after a big crash. There are a couple of more races before this gets announced so I would think it’s still up for grabs.