A jump up into the pro division at the Alaskan Motocross State Series was a good move by Whitehorse’s Jake Jacobs.
Just a month after his first pro race, the 19-year-old finished the series with a third-place result in Fairbanks, Alaska, over the weekend.
That result, which was his best this season, put him in sixth overall for the series.
“We spent a couple weeks in Alaska, so that really helped,” said Jacobs. “Our track (in the Yukon) is not really maintained, so we try to come here.
“Next year should be better,” he added. “It’s not a big jump (from intermediate), it’s just that the pro is a longer race. Intermediate is like 18 minutes and pro is 25. There’s quite a few that do both.”
Jacobs also raced in two intermediate classes and finished first overall in 250cc and fourth in 125cc.
“Ride lots and learn from others,” said Jacobs, explaining his success. “I talk to a lot of the first- and second-place pros, watch them ride, learn from them.”
Jacobs was one of five Whitehorse riders who have been competing in Fairbanks since May.
Easton Linquist also rode to a pair of high placements. He finished second in the novice 250cc class and third in the 125cc class.
Linquist and Jacobs also competed in a supercross event at the state fair the weekend before the last. Linquist won novice there and Jacobs placed fourth in the pro.
However, many of the Whitehorse riders could not attend each segment of the race series, restricting their shots at high placements.
Still, Adam Waddinton raced to third in the novice 250cc class and Puneet Toor claimed fifth.
Brittni Waddington took 15th for novice 250cc and was first for women.
“We all had a blast and no one got hurt, so that was the best thing,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs’ rise into the pro division happened fairly quickly. He went from beginner to pro in the span of just a few years. Of course, getting a sponsor and winning prize money in the pro division helps things along.
“The first time I went and raced in the States was probably 10 years ago, and then I didn’t go back for a few years because I had some bad crashes and such,” said Jacobs, who rides for Kawasaki. “I started going back up there again about four years ago and I’ve been getting better since.
“I did a lot of practising before I went,” he added. “I went into snocross last winter and that really helped me out.”
Jacobs excels on the snowmobile as well. He was named King of the Hill at the Mount Sima Uphill Challenge in Whitehorse last April, winning seven out of the event’s eight divisions.
In fact, he races in semi-pro snocross events for Team Arctic Cat in the US. This past season, while competing in the Amsoil Championship Snocross Series in Minnesota, Jacobs placed 19th out of a field of 160 riders for his strongest finish.
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