MPG / DAILY BREAD / FEBRUARY 14, 2017
Everyone on the American amateur motocross scene is familiar with the last name Masterpool. Jake Masterpool spent the 2016 racing season doing the family name proud at many different nationals across the country. The Texan started the season off with a couple of podiums at the Daytona RCSX, he went on to win a couple of titles at Freestone, grabbed a couple more at the inaugural JuniorMotoX, and came away from Loretta’s with a 450 B championship. Not only did the Yamaha rider make some waves in North America, he also got the opportunity to head over to Europe towards the end of the year to race the renowned Lille SX. 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for Masterpool as he has his sights set on the professional ranks. He has been grinding away down at His 956 Facility along with his brother Ty under the direction of their Dad, experienced and seasoned trainer, Jerry Masterpool. We caught up with Jake to get the lowdown on the family dynamic down at the facility, riding two-up with Dianna Dahlgren at JuniorMotoX, and heading over to Europe to for the very first time.
So, first of all…you’re in the unique position of having your Dad as your head trainer and also being able to train with your brother Ty, what’s the family dynamic like down there?
Yeah, it’s definitely good! I mean, I really don’t like training with my Dad, he’s kind of a pain, haha! No, I like the whole dynamic of it, just the family aspect of it. It always feels good, and it’s always cool riding with my little bro. It’s funny right now like when he’s on 80’s, he’s fun to ride with. But, I’m looking forward to when he gets on big bikes so we’ll be able to have some battles, for sure. I enjoy it a lot, yeah.
You’re known to have one of the most unorthodox riding styles in the amateur ranks right now, almost a little bit similar to a euro style…how much of that is natural and how much of it is something that you’ve developed throughout the years working with your Dad?
Yeah, just like the riding style...we really work on riding the rear tire. I don’t do it as good as I should sometimes, but we really work on riding the rear and just like the style. I definitely have a lot to work on, I’m definitely not anywhere near perfect yet, and probably never will be. But, that’s something we definitely work on a lot -- if you look at Villopoto, in my personal opinion the best rider to ever ride professionally, and obviously like he has still some flaws, but I really do like his riding style.
It’s a bit of a non-traditional program down there where each rider’s technique, physicality, and mentality are sort of approached individually. Are there a lot of thing that you’ve had to focus on specifically throughout the years to elevate your riding?
Oh yeah, absolutely. On a day-to-day basis. Um, we definitely work on a lot of different things. It’s not like we single someone out and say “Hey, you do this!” But, it definitely is for each individual. So, it’s really cool and it’s really neat, because the mentality that my Dad brings to it -- he truly is really good at it, I try not to tell him that ‘cause I don’t wanna give him a big head, but he is really great. I really do enjoy it, because whenever I do put my personal opinions to the side, ‘cause y’know how it is with your Dad sometimes, but it’s really great when you just listen. You can just reach a whole new level.
What’s your preparation like coming into spring nationals?
Yeah, of course there’s preparation for the amateur nationals, but our biggest picture is pro. That’s all we look forward to. Of course we put preparation for these nationals and stuff, but the main thing we focus on is long term. Absolutely, ‘cause that’s where my career is and the amateur career is important obviously, but umm...the pros are where it’s at and that’s what where we put all of our focus into -- the long term.
What’s a typical day in the life like for you down at His 956 Facility?
Yeah, man. The typical day is get up at eight o’clock and um...it’s actually really cool, we’re trying to get on this bible study every morning, we’re trying to, sometimes it gets a little busy. Then I just go and do my warm up before riding, then just go out and ride. We like changing it up a lot, we do a different track everyday. People hear that, but they don’t actually realize that we do a different track every day. So, we go out and do two to three sessions that are always changing, he always keeps us on our feet. And then yeah, whenever we’re done...we do physical training after that, and we ride five days a week, so it gets pretty busy.
What sort of stuff are you into when you’re off the bike and training?
Ahh, man. I actually like golfing, I’m not any good at it, but I like golfing, haha. We actually do a couple different thing to stay busy -- shooting, y’know us out in Texas we love our guns, and I actually do archery, too. Just a couple different things. Whenever it’s summer, we do a lot of wakeboarding out on the lake. We always try to relax and enjoy it.
Monster provided you with an awesome opportunity at the end of last year to go over to France and race the Lille SX, what was that experience like?
Yeah, that was actually really great. It was total culture shock, but it was really a wonderful experience. I’m very appreciative for Monster taking me over and just everyone, it was a great experience. It was definitely fun riding in the night show; the tracks, the environment, it’s just crazy. The food over there is just amazing -- everything about it -- I just enjoyed it a lot actually.
What was the best meal you had while you were over there?
Oh gosh! I can’t pinpoint it, man! I mean, every meal just kept getting better and better. The best breakfast I had was in a hotel on the river, and it was just like an awesome breakfast. They’re really into their food and health, so that was really cool.
Did you notice any major differences with the racing and the crowd overseas?
Oh yeah, man. They are crazy! I mean, our fans are great, but they’re awesome over there. It’s crazy, half of ‘em didn’t even know I was. It’s cool being in that environment, so it was definitely really cool and humbling at the same time, ‘cause it was just a great experience.
2016 went pretty good for you as far as racing goes.
You got some podiums at the RCSX, a couple titles at Freestone, a couple more at the Cal Classic, grabbed some titles at JuniorMotoX, won 450 B at Loretta’s…are you content with how the year went?
Yeah, absolutely. I was blessed to have the year I did. I definitely could have performed better at Loretta’s, I just didn’t ride like me the first couple of motos, just wasn’t really used to the bike and everything. That was kind of hard, I screwed up my first moto in the 250 B, but it was a really great experience and I’m happy with the way I rode. I’m looking forward to going back and definitely riding like me.
Was the highlight of your year when Dianna Dahlgren hopped on your bike after you won at JuniorMotoX?
Haha! That was honestly probably the biggest highlight! I mean, if the win at Loretta’s was better, it was barely better! That was definitely cool, she’s a really cool girl.
Diving into Loretta’s a little more, could you talk a little bit more about the racing down there? You pretty much dominated the 450 B Class, but the 250 B racing didn’t go quite the same…
Yeah, on the first lap (of the first 250 B moto) I was twenty-fifth, I think. It was definitely a charge, and that was like the one part that got me the most frustrated the first moto -- I got a bad start and then in the third turn I stalled the thing, ‘cause I wasn’t really used to it that much. It felt like I was an hour behind everyone! My friends were saying I was like twenty seconds behind last before I got the thing started and I was able to come all the way up to sixth, I really wish I would have been able to finish (that moto.)
You were involved in one of the best battles of the entire week down there in the third 250 B moto when you had to come back from a mediocre start and work your way through all the top guys to win the moto. You were taking lines no one else was taking, railing the outsides, and just flowing perfectly out there. What’s going through your head when you’re making moves to the front like that?
I’m definitely aware, because the training aspect we have here at home, we’re always put into high intensity scenarios where that’s normal. So, whenever I was comin’ through the pack -- that’s honestly normal to me, I do it everyday at home. It’s not one of those scenarios where I just blank out, I’m not just going for it. I’m definitely in full thought and definitely not freaking out, sometimes I do and that’s where I gotta tell myself to calm down. It was actually crazy -- the last moto in the 250’s, the one that I won, was actually the worst start I had all week. My buddy has a video of it and you could seriously hear my bike off the line just broooooowwwgh. I’m tellin’ you man, I was like five seconds behind everyone comin’ off the gate, but I was able to pass a lot in the first couple of turns. If they had transponders on the start, I’d probably have the record for like the worst all-time, haha! It was really great, that moto I was definitely able to get around a lot of people on the first lap and then just put my head down. I really found some good lines. I really rode good that last one, just felt good on the bike and finally got dialed. It was the gnarliest the track had been which I love when it gets gnarlier, and umm….that’s why I liked Loretta’s so much. The last moto I definitely felt good with the bike and everything.
So, your Dad not only had a big involvement in JuniorMotoX, but he put in a lot of work shaping the track at Ponca City this past year for the Motoplayground Race. You had the unique perspective of being there throughout the week leading up to the event with the rain and everything and saw how the whole weekend came together, what was your impression of the event?
It was definitely really good and it was a really good experience. It was really cool, I know my Dad wishes we would have had a little more change on the track, but everything went really well. The rain was honestly probably the best thing for Ponca, ‘cause that place needs rain or a lot of water to stay good. So, the rain was the best thing that happened for that race, it definitely kept it good the whole time. I was really bummed I couldn’t race it, but I got some weird thing with my foot -- it’s called gout. Yeah, I got gout and I’m eighteen! It’s kinda like turf toe, but the doctor said “I’ve never seen anyone with it under fifty.” It probably was from like the boots or something, just like jabbing up against it, I guess. It’s definitely crazy, ‘cause I may need a bigger size boot this year -- I was in fourteens last year, this year I might need fifteens.
You spent a lot of time on the road traveling from one side of the country to the other, have you had any nightmare travel stories on your way to and from the races?
Not really, we’ve actually been pretty blessed. We only had one incident on the way to Loretta’s one year where a buddy accidentally swiped a car and the bumper ripped off and like hit the windshield of the vehicle behind. And we’ve had some flats, I’ve gotten pretty good at changing tires. On our way to the qualifier at Pala last year, we had like four blowouts on our trailer! I got really good at changin’ tires to say the least. It was a brand new trailer too, it was totally crazy. Other than that, we’ve been blessed with safe travels and just enjoying the times.
How do you typically pass the time in the motorhome when you’re driving ten plus hours to a race?
Oh man, we’ve had a lot of games of Uno! Sometimes we’ll just nerd out on the Xbox or Playstation and play some games -- a little bit of Reflex and a decent amount of Call of Duty and stuff like that.
What’s your favorite gas station snack?
Water. That’s about all I can get out of the gas station! In the motorhome we’ve got lots of good little snacks. We’ll have vegetables on the way, macadamia nuts -- they’re actually pretty filling and high in calories. That stuff really holds you over through lunch and dinner and stuff.
What’re your goals/expectations for the 2017 season?
The plans are stayin’ the same -- just bustin’ our butt out here. I’m just lookin’ forward to the big goal of going pro, that’s the main thing we look to every year. Obviously there’s a little preparation for each race, but that’s the biggest thing we focus on...just stayin’ on the grind, puttin’ in work and enjoying it at the same time.
Who would you like to thank?
Fox, Monster, Motoseat, Bell, No Toil, Works Connection, Dunlop, Mom and Dad
/ Words / Lake Kilpatrick
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