JACK CHAMBERS: SUNNY SIDE UP
After an impressive finale to his 125cc and Schoolboy 1 career, Jack Chambers made the move up to the B class at the beginning of the 2020 season. The Rides Unlimited backed rider quickly began testing his mettle against some stiff competition in the Florida Winter Am series as well as Supercross Futures in Tampa, starting the year with an undefeated record. He eventually finished 2nd to Nate Thrasher at the Gatorback Area Qualifier, but his results at the beginning of the season undoubtedly gave him a boost of confidence moving forward. Chambers stayed the course at the Daytona RCSX and came away with two overall podium finishes and an additional number one plate, as well as another overall podium at Spring A Ding Ding. The B class is going to be entertaining to watch this year as there's a handful of riders that have proven themselves capable of winning and the Floridian is no exception. We caught up with Jack to chat about riding and training at Chad Reed's old compound, the beginning of the season, and his thoughts on when we'll be back to racing.
How has everything been for you down there in Florida dealing with the coronavirus quarantine?
I mean, Floridians...it seems like the same thing with a hurricane, they tell us a hurricane's coming and we all just don't listen. It's like nobody here cares, they just go with the flow. People are sick? Aw, whatever. It's like, "Come on, people!" I mean, I go and ride but I don't stop anywhere unless I have to get gas and when I do that I put my gloves on and use those.
You're riding and training at a facility, so it's a little bit of a different situation for you. How much has all of this affected your day-to-day?
Nothing has really changed tremendously other than we're not doing the gym work with everyone else, we do that on our own. We're doing our own bike rides and stuff. When we go to the track, we're calling the new place the 83 Compound, but it's Chad Reed's old place. Ethan Lane bought that place so we're training there and Deano's there, the Lawrence brothers, Jalek (Swoll), Chad Saultz, Evan (Ferry), and there's a kid from Canada that is down here training with us. It's quite a big group, so we try to ride at different times during the day. They do our motos and we do our motos, then we'll flip flop, but we try to stay as clean as possible and not do too much mixing together. We keep our six feet, you know. (laughs)
When you're not riding and training, what have you been doing to occupy your extra time?
I've been getting school done, nobody is going to say "I love school, I wanna do school all the time," but I gotta get it done 'cause I'm graduating this year. Other than that, I've been going to the lake -- I live on a lake but it's not very clean so we have a little piece of property not too far from my house that I go ride standup jet skis on and just hang out with my mechanic Dalton. We kind of just chill on the weekends; there's no racing to watch and there's no racing to go racing. It feels like winter break in the summer, we don't normally race that much after Mini Os and it kind of feels like that now. Everyone at the facility, especially with Dean, Jett, and Hunter; they're just kind of on pause. Whenever racing starts back up, they'll just keep grinding.
It's a little bit different from the pro perspective, but as you said, you're in the same boat where no one knows when we'll be back to racing. You need some rest and recovery time at some point in the year, so have you been taking things a little easier?
Yeah, definitely. I mean, we've been doing our endurance motos and doing our thirty-minute motos, but we're trying to get three days per week in. I'm just trying to stay healthy and stay fit. Our last day riding during the week is Thursday and we have until Monday to rest, normally when we're training for races we'll do Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. That's a little bit harsher of a schedule, but right now it's kind of a lax schedule and we kind of just go with the flow of things, just riding and trying to get better. I'm not sure who else is riding that I'm racing against with a lot of places shut down. Now is the time to get ahead, but I don't know how far ahead I'm gonna get. I definitely feel pretty good right now for not racing since Spring A Ding Ding.
Surely it's nice to have guys to train with that have won races and challenged for race wins in the 250 class, then you've also got one of the top 450 riders as well, so it just seems like a good group to be around.
Yeah, I got done with my moto and was about to go home, then they got done with their moto and I went in there and talked to 'em for almost an hour, just sitting there hanging out with 'em. It's funny because there's a different side of things from someone who's just a fan of a professional racer, they don't see that side of what the guys do during the week. It's cool for me, I mean I'm not pro yet, I'm just an amateur, but it's cool to see they're just any other guy, you know. Now it's become normal to hang out with those guys, talk with them, and pick up on the knowledge they have. It's really good to be where I am right now at the training facility.
Have you been able to do any motos with those guys or have you been doing your own thing because of what's been going on?
Well, they got here and started training before all of this went down so we've done some motos with them but there's only a five-person limit on the track because when Chad was at the place he had some problems with the neighbors. We kind of just do our own thing now and it's important we kind of stay away from each other when we're in the garage.
Let's go back to racing before all of this started, you raced both Daytona and Spring A Ding Ding. How'd those go for you?
I've done five or six races this year between outdoors and supercross combined: Gatorback Winter Am, Tampa Supercross Futures, Gatorback Area Qualifier, RCSX, and Spring A Ding Ding. For the first three weekends of racing that I had in 2020, I won every moto up until the last moto at Gatorback when Nate Thrasher beat me there. I got 2nd, 1st, and 2nd at Daytona and at Spring A Ding Ding I finished 2nd, 4th, and then, unfortunately, had a DNF in one of the classes. Loretta's is kind of our next goal because everything is pushed back now, so whether they get the Regionals in or not, we'll see.
Did you see the MX Sports address with Tim Cotter? What's your opinion on what's going to happen?
I don't know if option A is going to happen, I guess they could pull it off at the beginning of May, but I definitely think C or D. I don't know what they're going to do if they go to option D, because that would be great if they do qualifying, it seems like everyone kind of likes that and that's what you do when you go to the pros. If we go to Loretta's and it's a two-week schedule where the first week is youth and the second week is amateur, they'd have to do some kind of qualification to get you in. It sucks going all the way there and then pulling chips for the first moto. You could pull one and have a good chance of doing good in the race or you could pull forty for your first moto and get a pile-up in the first turn...they say it's fairer for the chips but I think that's definitely up for discussion.
As a fan of the pro stuff right now, what's your opinion on what will happen with that?
Yeah, I just saw today that they're likely to push Pro Motocross back until the 20th of June now. It's different from my perspective because I want to race a few of the 125 All-Stars, I was looking forward to those tracks. I think it's going to be hard for some of the pros, because it kind of makes it to where they don't have an offseason now. This is their offseason until they go racing again and I've heard they're not running outdoors past September 12th or something like that. They could maybe somehow do it and make Monster Cup the finale 'cause that would be about the time they'd end the season with seven rounds left so that only leaves two months before A1. I'm not sure what a typical pro guys schedule is, but I'd say you definitely need some time off in the winter.
Yeah, they're definitely going to have less time to prepare than they would typically, especially those riders switching teams or moving up to the 450 class.
It could even change something for amateur riders getting signed. This year for me is a big year and I need some support to take me to the pros and there could be some deals that were going to potentially be signed this year that are going to be postponed until next year. It looks like it's going to kind of set everything back a year because of what's going on, but hopefully they can pull through and get everything done.