MXA MINI-VIEW: JACE OWEN
Jace Owen is a professional racer competing in the Arenacross “Race to the Championship” series. Jace has previously raced Supercross in the 250 East and has placed in the top ten multiple times. In Arenacross, he currently ranks sixth this season. This interview was taken prior to the Arenacross event in Ontario. Jace would go on to win the second main in Ontario, making it his first win of the season.
How long have you been racing Arenacross?
This is my first year doing the Arenacross series. The last few years I raced Supercross in the 250 class and I decided to get my feet wet in Arenacross. The TiLube / TUF Racing team contacted me about racing. I was excited at the opportunity and I am working to make the best of it.
What is the biggest difference between Supercross and Arenacross for you personally?
One of the biggest differences is that Supercross tracks are much more open. A Supercross lap is 50 seconds to a minute in time and the layout is much looser. With Arenacross, the track is super tight. The only way to make passes is to be aggressive. Dirty riding is not necessary, but you have to push to make passes out there and getting a good start is crucial.
This is the first year Honda is back in Arenacross, although TiLube/TUF Racing used to be on a different brand, correct?
The TiLube / TUF Racing team has been around for quite a few years. Last year they were racing Husqvarna. This is the first year they’ve gone back to Honda.
What are your thoughts on the outdoor start in Ontario?
This is the first start we had outside and it is into a right hander, too. Normally starts go left for safety. Everyone can use their rear brake in a left turn, but if you are going right, everyone has to get off the rear brake to turn. You don’t have quite as much control and it is a little hairy out there with the switchback. If you don’t have a great start, the leaders are going to have a big advantage and pull away even more. Being the first race of the championship, the racing will be pretty tight and getting the start is key.
Thoughts on the season so far?
The first race I did in was in Baltimore. I got on the podium and was pretty stoked about that. This is my first year and Baltimore was the first Arenacross I ever raced. I was like, yeah, let’s keep going forward. The second race I led the heat race but crashed in the whoops and tore some of my knee cartilage. For the next five weeks I was off the bike. No training, no riding, I wasn’t able to do anything. It was tough to show up on the weekends and try to ride 100% when I was only 50%, but I did the best I could. I wanted to stay top 10 in points and I did that. I also started getting some more podiums. It was good to get some momentum again. The last couple weeks were rough, but bad luck just happens sometimes. I’ve been winning mains, went down and got tangled with some guys. For now, I just try to stay out that chaos and drama and focus ahead for the rest of the season.
Thoughts on the chase format?
For me the chase format is great. I wasn’t able to attend the first race in Cincinnati because I was racing overseas in Germany. The schedules overlapped and I had to finish the German series as I was under contract. I knew that as long as I was top ten in points when the restart happened I’d be fine. First place gets six points after the reset and tenth place only gets one point. The most I could have entering the championship is five points. I currently have three points so I am only three points down. For someone like me it is definitely a good advantage and gives me a bit more spark to fight for the championship.
How was Germany?
Germany was awesome. I had so much fun over there. This was my second full year going over there. I ride for a Suzuki team in the German Supercross series and it’s really good. I stayed there for a little over a month and won some races. I ended up getting second in the series and my Arenacross teammate, Ben Lamay, was racing there, too. It’s nice to have another American over there. Although we weren’t on the same team, we still got to hang out and now we are on the same team here. We get along good. Ben is a good teammate and it has been fun so far.
When you win in Germany do you get sprayed with beer instead of champagne?
[Laughs] No. You still pop champagne, but they are instantly ready to start partying.