Rider Spotlight: Jason Isennock
NEWS May 10, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: Where are you from?
JI: I’m from Owings Mills, Maryland. It’s a suburb above Baltimore City. I typically have to travel a little north to get some ice riding in, but since this winter was pretty mild, I was fortunate enough to get to ride my motocross bike.
AMAP: Do you ride a lot during the off-season?
JI: I don’t really do too much riding in the snow, but we do have a couple indoor flat track races run during the winter time by local clubs. Other than that, there’s not a lot of riding I get to do during the down time of winter.
AMAP: How exactly did you get into riding motorcycles?
JI: It’s kind of a funny story. I have a rich family background with motorcycle riding. It goes back to the days with my mom’s side. My uncle raced and my aunt worked for Tricor. She was good friends with Gary Nixon and all those guys. Between my family and the Baltimore area, there’s always been kind of a hot bed for dirt track racing. I got my first bike when I was about five years old.. it was a PW50. My dad setup a track with left hand turns, and the rest has been history!
AMAP: How do you feel that you’ve progressed as a rider in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles class?
JI: I feel like I’ve progressed really well. Last season was more or less a developmental year for me. I didn’t have too many goals set real high. I wanted to go out and see what I could do with what I had. I ended up doing really well, as I got fourth place in the championship and ended up on the podium twice. As far as progression goes, I feel that I’ve come a long way. I’ve been doing this for quite a while, as I’m 26 years old. I guess I’m kind of the elder of the field, besides Dan Ingram. I feel good and very comfortable this year.
AMAP: What are your expectations for the 2012 season?
JI: First and foremost, you have to have fun. That’s why I’m still doing it at my age, having been riding since I was a young boy. Other goals are to do well in the championship. I think I proved last year that I have the speed to run upfront, was consistently top-five and finished the year in fourth place. I know there are a lot of other riders out there like Gerit Callies, Jake Shoemaker and Ryan Wells that are also looking to win the championship, so I know it’s going to be tough.
AMAP: We’re just a few weeks out from Springfield. Is that an event weekend that you’re looking forward to or dreading?
JI: It’s a little bit of both. I love Springfield because there’s so much history behind it and the tracks are awesome. I feel like I can do pretty well at the TT and short track. For the mile, I kind of dragging a little bit, I guess you can say. I consider myself a larger racer, even compared to the expert riders… I’m almost six feet tall and 180 pounds, so riding with the Shayna Texters and Ryan Wells in our series makes me like a lead parachute in comparison. It’s going to be tough, but I have a good ride with me this year, so I’m pretty excited. I just picked up Highs Dairy Stores as my primary sponsor, and Carroll Branded Fuels came on board this year to join my returning sponsor, Foard Racing.
AMAP: What track format fits your style of riding flat track?
JI: With my size, I consider myself a short-track and TT rider, but I also like the half-mile tracks too. I got 2nd place at the DuQuoin short track last year, so I know I’m good in that style of track. I think my biggest drawback would be the mile tracks, but I think they’re the most fun too. Other than that, they’re all the same to me, left turns on the gas!
AMAP: What obstacles do you see ahead of you for the rest of the season that you will have to conquer?
JI: The miles are going to be my weak point. I think we have more on the schedule this year than last year.. so it’ll be tough just to make the main event. The second thing is staying healthy and making it to all the races. With the economy the way it is, it’s been hard on everyone, especially the motorcycle industry. It’s just getting everything together and getting to many of these races that are pretty much across the country for me.
AMAP: We see. Well, the good news is that you have Hagerstown (July7) right around the corner. Would you consider it your favorite?
JI: For sure. It’s definitely one of my favorites and my home track. I love that place. I’ve been going there since I was a little kid. My mom ran into Bubba Shobert when he won there. She didn’t even know who he was, but he met her afterwards and gave her an autographed hat. I’ve been going there since I was a baby, so I can’t even count how many times I’ve been there. There’s so much history and it’s local.. it’s great.
AMAP: What are your thoughts on competing in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles class?
JI: I really like it. I like to compare it to college football. There are always different faces and I get to see people that are really good going through the ranks. With me being a little bit older, I’ve watched many riders come up through the amateur nationals to compete in AMA Pro Flat Track, so it’s really cool to race them. They’re good and clean racers, so I enjoy being able to go bar-to-bar with them and watch them evolve into the Jared Mees and Jake Johnsons that we have now.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
JI: For me, it’s everything. It’s a whole package deal. Once I started racing flat track and getting sideways on the gas real fast, I think the speed, competition and comradery with everyone in the pits adds up to what it is. There’s nothing like being on the back of your seat, feet on the pegs and twisting that throttle back as hard as you can to have your front wheel come an inch off the ground coming out of a turn while doing 80-90 mph. You can’t compare that to anything else.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
JI: There are so many! I’ve seen Scott Parker, Ricky Graham, Bubba Shobert just to name a few. But, my favorite would have to be Gary Nixon and Rodney Farris. They were local guys and a big influence in my area.
Jason would like to thank his sponsors: Highs Dairy Stores, Foard Racing, Carroll Branded Fuels, Triple J Racing, Ellicott City Motorsports, Boughner Suspension, WKR, Shenandoah Honda, Troy Lee Designs, BCTRA.com, Moto Hose, Sidi Boots, SPY, Bell, Engine Ice, Ride Engineering, JBJ Racing