Welcome to Racer X Next, where we interview up and coming amateur racers. We'll check in with racers on topics such as their training program to qualifying for and competing at the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's Ranch, and much more.
This week, we talk with Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing’s Jarrett Frye. Frye was set to make his pro debut when the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship began. Then he suffered a torn ACL in the Spring. Luckily for Frye the start of Pro Motocross was bumped to a later date because of COVID-19, which allowed him to still lineup for the final four races instead of missing the entire season. He finished 14-14 for 15th overall in his pro debut at the Spring Creek National then finished 11th and ninth overall in Florida and Colorado before ending the season with an 8-6 day for sixth overall at the finale. He’s ramped up and ready to get behind the gates of a supercross event for the first time this weekend at the Orlando 2 Supercross.
Birthday: March 3, 2001 | Current Age: 19
Hometown: Mechanicsville, Maryland
Team: Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing
Classes: 250SX and 250 Class
Racer X: You’re from right near Budds Creek, right? Did you grow watching races there and spinning laps there yourself? What was that like living so close to a national-caliber track?
Jarrett Frye: Yeah, I’m about 10-15 minutes from Budds Creek. Yeah, it was pretty cool just riding on the same track growing up as the pros. When I was younger I really only raced there but once I got older I would ride there during the week. So it was pretty good just riding that track, there’s big hills and it got pretty rough so it was good training.
So your last go round at Loretta Lynn’s for the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship was in 2019 when you raced in the Schoolboy 2 class and the 250 B class. Do you wish you had the opportunity to compete there again in the top A classes or do you feel satisfied with how things have turned out since your last time racing there?
I’m satisfied with leaving off in the B class, I got a championship. That’s all I won there but at least I got it done there one time. I just went A class after that and then turned pro for the outdoors so I never got to go back for an A year.
Do you have any regrets on that? I know a lot of guys want to go there and compete and win at the top level to make a statement to their competition before turning pro.
Yeah, I’m kinda cool with it. I never really cared for Loretta’s, the track, so I was fine with it.
You suffered a torn ACL in the Spring of last year, correct? What was the recovery process like?
Yup. It took a while. I was off the bike for I think five months. If COVID didn’t hit, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do any of the outdoors. I actually got kinda lucky the outdoor series got pushed back and I was able to make a few rounds towards the end.
You got a couple of top-ten overall finishes and you had a really great ride at the season finale. What did you take from those first couple of pro races?
Yeah, it’s definitely a suffer. Thirty-five minutes is no joke and then you don’t have much of a break in between so you’ve gotta go back out and do it all over again. So yeah, it’s pretty much a suffer the whole moto. But I learned a lot and I got better each race I went to so that was good.
Was it a real eye-opener when you were out there for your first gate drop? Was it what you expected or was it more difficult?
It was definitely pretty cool, just from the start of practice. The first practice I went out, I think I was like fourth or fifth so that was pretty cool doing that. And for the racing, it was kinda what I expected. Really just the long motos, that’s the only thing that’s different from the amateurs.
You had that really great ride, I think you finished 8-6 for sixth overall at the finale. How much confidence did that give you heading into the off-season? Do you remember those results now before the start of this season?
Yeah, it gave me a little boost of confidence going into supercross training and just getting ready for supercross. So I’m looking forward to that and seeing how that goes.
Did you have a lot of time with supercross training? Was this past off-season your first real go at supercross training?
I actually trained [in 2019] for a couple of months on supercross and that helped me for this [last off-season]. When I got on the supercross track again coming into this year, I was a lot more comfortable. That first go helped me out a ton.
Was there any reasoning behind you racing the 250SX West Region, or, what we generally are just calling the second coast? Was it just to get a little more time until it started?
It’s just kinda how it ended up being. But yeah, just giving me a little bit more time to get ready.
You’re out in California living and training now with the whole team, right? What’s it like being able to learn from those experienced guys but also still have some younger guys like Nate Thrasher that is still learning it like you?
Yeah, I’m out in California. It’s pretty cool to be able to train with all those guys every day. There’s like 12 of us out there so you can definitely learn a lot. And we can all do motos together so that’s good, it’s kinda like a race-simulation type thing. So it helps out a lot. It definitely gets pretty rough with how many guys we have out there.
So let’s go back to when you joined the Star Racing team. They’ve got a lot of race wins over the years and pride that comes with it. There’s a lot of experienced riders that you get to train with on and off the bike. What’s it like being a part of the team?
It’s definitely pretty cool being on Star, just with how much success they’ve had and everything they’ve done. And to be a part of it is pretty awesome, I just want to go out there and get some results for them.
Some of these younger guys that you have raced throughout your amateur career are off to a solid start this supercross season so far in the 250SX East Region. Does that give you more confidence prior to your supercross debut or does that add any pressure on you to perform?
Not really. I just want to go out there and do the best I can do and try to learn as much as I can. I want to be in the mix. We’ll see where we are at at the first race and we’ll just try and build from there.
I believe you said in an interview in April last year that your deal with Star Racing Yamaha was initially for 2020 and 2021—is your deal up after this season?
Uh yeah, this is my contract year with Star. So I have this year and then we’ll see where we end up. I just gotta go out there and get results and then hopefully I’ll get re-signed. But for now, I just have this year left.
Does this being a contract year add any weight onto your shoulders?
Yeah, definitely a little bit. But all I can do is gotta go out there and do the best I can do. But I think I’m in a pretty good spot. I’m excited to go racing here shortly.
This will be your first full year of supercross then right into the full Pro Motocross season. What are you looking forward to most since you got your first taste of pro racing?
I’m pretty excited about racing supercross, honestly. I’ve been training on it for a while now so I’m ready to go. And supercross is a lot of fun, too. The outdoors is more of like a grind. I probably enjoy supercross a little more.
I’ve heard it’s a big learning curve. What’s been the hardest thing for you so far? Some guys say it’s the whoops, some guys say it’s breathing.
It’s definitely been hard just trying to find the speed. But as far as what I like, I feel like you can have more fun on a supercross track than on an outdoors track. The whoops are definitely going to be tough. I’ve been working on them though so we shouldn’t have any issues. We should be fine.
How do you spend your time off the bike?
I’ve been golfing lately, actually. Really just lay low and golf. I just recently got into it so I’ve been having fun with that.
So I’m betting the smack talk transfers over from the track to the golf course.
Yeah, it does a little bit. But I’m not very good so I can’t really talk too much crap. [Laughs] At least I’m not the worst one!