Colorado native Jaxon Pascal has been slowly building his way towards a career in professional motocross. He took another big step in September when he competed in his first ever Amateur Scouting Moto Combine at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. Coming off of 20th and 12th place finishes in the 250B and 250B Limited classes respectively at the Monster Energy Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Motocross Championship in August, Pascal got his first chance at seeing what long motos against tough competition looked like. He had an even ruder awakening though with temperatures soaring above 105-degree Fahrenheit causing shortened motos on the day for health and safety concerns.
Still though, Pascal was able to go 13-15 for 14th overall and certainly learned a lot throughout the day. We caught up with him back then to ask about the Combines, building towards the A class, Supercross Futures and more.
Racer X: First of all, just tell me about today with the motos and how gnarly that heat was?
Jaxon Pascal: Coming into this race, we had some Zoom calls on Tuesday night as my dad and I were leaving from Colorado to drive out here and that’s when I heard they were cutting the motos. We train our butts off all week, and I felt like I was going to do better in those 25’s plus twos. I still feel like I would have done better, but that was not what I was expecting! That hurt. I mean that hurt bad. Fifteen plus two, I think it was about the same as a Loretta’s moto, maybe a lap shorter, but man. I’m sure there’s thousands of you reading this that have ridden at Pala, and you know that Pala is not a track that you want to do a long moto on in 105-degree heat. It was worth it for sure to grind through that, but man it was just such a good experience to get that true heat training on a real national track under that true schedule.
Track-wise, this is usually described as a much different Pala than we see during the week. It’s a lot rougher, it’s a lot deeper. How did you feel about it compared to normally riding here?
So, I think I’ve rode Pala like three times on a practice day and it was not a practice day out there that’s for sure [laughs]. I live in Colorado and I’m sure you all know Thunder Valley. I ride there once a week. We’ve got a track at the house that I ride, and you know, we get it rough. We try to replicate that. Pala is a different animal. It is just that unpredictable dirt that you’ve got to setup your suspension a little bit different. We struggled with that a little bit, but everyone struggles with suspension at Pala so it’s not necessarily an excuse. But yeah, it’s just Pala. It’s just different.
In terms of actually racing the guys that you did today, what were some things you took away from having to dice with some amateur elite talent?
It’s interesting because I race these guys once a month just from doing the amateur national circuit, but this is a whole different thing. Like when we go to Loretta’s or Ponca or these races, you’re there for a week and it’s a vacation the whole time. We drove out here Tuesday, we raced on Friday, we’re going to watch some hopefully pretty good racing tomorrow, and then we’re going to go home. It’s just that different feeling where you truly feel like you’re at a pro national and it’s your one day. I just came out with one result from one class where a full week at Loretta’s I come out with two results from two classes. So you’re getting more riding in one day and racing with these kids so much is way better. Coming out of Loretta’s, I just want that next race, but it’s a month or two months away. Here I kind of getting into that natural feel of, “In one hour, I’m going to go race these dudes again.” You’re not waiting days or months. It’s that natural feel of you know if you make a mistake, you’ve always got next week to bounce back.
For the Combine, I think this was the first one you’ve ever done. What was the experience you took away with the nutrition coaching, the media training, and working with a coach all day? How beneficial was this for you?
It’s almost like I feel like I’ve been taught everything that they taught me. I feel like I’m a pretty elite amateur rider. We all kind of know what it takes, but hearing it from guys who already did it, it’s just a different way of explaining it. They just know and you know they know. It just sets in your mind more. My coach was Chad Reed. I don’t know if you knew this, he’s pretty fast! [Laughs] He’s got championships. He’s been in such high stakes situations that I couldn’t even imagine as an amateur racer. To have that knowledge of just knowing that this guy is the real deal, whatever he says, that’s the truth when it comes to motocross.
Was there something that he said today where you thought, “Man I didn’t even think of that before?”
There wasn’t anything like mind blowing that I didn’t know. But after the first moto, I had just a bland first moto. I just kind of rode around and finished the moto. I felt horrible on the bike. I talked to Chad after and just was like, “I’m sure you saw. I just felt super uncomfortable. I didn’t feel right. What are you thinking you’re seeing?” And he was like, “You probably know this, but when you come into these corners, you can’t be on the throttle, and you can’t be on the brakes hard. You have to roll through your corners.” I tried that for the second moto, and it worked great for the first five laps. Then I got tired.
Fitness-wise, is this almost like… not necessarily an eye opener, but something where you think you have to do something different in terms of your fitness program?
Maybe a little bit. I think it’s a little less physically demanding than I thought. I was getting tired five laps in but mentally I was fried. I’d come through and I’d see that two-lap board and I was like, “Oh I don’t really know if I want to do this.” And I’d think about it like, “Well if I tell myself I don’t want to do it, I probably won’t want to do it.” So I would instead think about it like, “My body doesn’t feel that bad. I’ve felt it hurt worse. I can push through this. Let’s give it two more laps. That’s five minutes of my life and let’s make it hurt as much as possible. If I pass out, it is what it is. At least the pain will go away while I’m sleeping.”
Next steps from here, what’s the next big race you’re going after and what are you looking at for how you’re going to end your season out?
We’re going to do Ponca. I’m going to go to A class. I was B class through all of Loretta’s and leading up to that. So, I’m full A class now which I’m stoked for. It’s honestly kind of a similar schedule. Ponca is going to be two days with two motos each day, and then I’m out. And longer motos, too. so it’s really going to be more preparing for these bigger races than doing just five laps where it’s a sprint in the B class. So, I’m really stoked for that. We’ve got Ponca coming up, Mini O’s obviously, and then I’m going to try to hit as many of the Supercross Futures rounds as possible. I’m pretty confident in my supercross skills. I have really long legs, so I’m decent in the whoops.
Do you have a supercross track at home that you practice on?
Yeah, we just ended up getting a supercross track built at my house and it’s pretty much full size. Kind of tamed down just a little bit for a practice track but it’s everything I could ask for, that’s for sure.
Who would you like to thank for getting you to this race and everybody that’s helped you out this year?
A really big thank you to Answer Racing. They’ve played a really big part in my program recently and they are just all good guys over there helping me out. Obviously, my mom and dad. We just spent the last hour here sitting and talking about how much our parents pay for this and how much we really do owe them, so dad if you’re reading this and mom and sister, I’ve put you guys through a lot. You guys are pretty awesome. Sun Enterprises, they’re a local dealership out in Colorado. They’re huge, they kill it. Just great people over there. Why would you want to buy a bike from someone who’s not awesome? 6D Helmets. Derek Radel has always helped me out since day one. I think I’ve been running 6D helmets since like 85’s. These dudes just… I just love them. And it’s an amazing helmet. It’s saved my dome a couple of times, that’s for sure [laughs]. Defy Graphics, they make my bike look pretty cool, not going to lie. I might have been pretty slow today, but I looked sick while I was going slow. Yeah, everyone that’s a part of this program, it’s really huge and it means a lot. Rob Imondi Training, since day one my boy Rob has been with me. Tom Danielson has kind of gotten on the program recently which has really helped with nutrition and fitness. Yeah, that’s a big part of it.