Jay Wilson | Columns | Gassit Garage | Off-Road | Sport
Australia’s first World Motocross Champion back on track for a repeat.
It was the first time Motorcycling Australia had sent a team to the FIM Junior MX Championships. And 2009 proved the right time. Australia took five of the top ten placings with Dylan Long scoring a podium. But it was 15-year old Jay Wilson who set the highest mark possible when he won the 85cc FIM Junior Motocross World Title.
Jay dominated in 2010 – his final year in the Juniors – but due to injury he missed the Aussie Titles. Mixed results followed in the Under 19s the highlight being a NZ Supercross Title, the low, a persistent wrist injury and a very ordinary start to the 2013 season. But Jay finished second in MX and went on to win both the Australian and the New Zealand Supercross Championships. This resulted in a factory backed ride with Serco Yamaha for 2014 which was terminated when the team decided not to contest the Supercross series.
It all came together last year when, with support from Link International and Pirelli, Jay won his first National MX Championship in the 250cc Division; six years after he’d been crowned World Champion. Elation turned to dismay when, practicing for the Motocross des Nations (MXoN) in France, Jay went down ripping open the side of his stomach leaving a highly infection prone wound. He immediately withdrew, missing out on his second chance to represent his country. Now, with five Motocross and Supercross titles to his credit, Jay was top of the list when a revived Team Honda Racing were making plans for a new assault in 2016. Jay joined Dylan Long, his old sparring partner from their Junior days. “As we progressed through the Junior ranks we always seemed to find each other fighting for the same piece of track” laughs Jay “but it’s really cool to be back with Dylan as we can only keep pushing each other forward. I was quite confident coming off the MX2 (250cc) Championship and stepping up to MX1 (450cc). My speed has been there but I’ve been carrying a wrist injury since late last year which was aggravated in practice for the first round. So it was simply a matter of persevering through the first half of the season until I could have some bone fragments removed.”
“It was a big step up going from 250 to 450 and swapping from Yamaha to establish a new team with Honda. It’s been a big change. It’s not so much the power to the rear wheel, it’s weight. When you’re hitting the bumps and the bike wants to swap ends you can muscle it back on a 250. But on a 450 the weight will spit you off the bike.”
Jay agrees weight will be an even bigger factor when the Supercross Championship looms in September. “A 450 will definitely present new challenges but I feel I’m better at SX than MX and really enjoy the tighter more technical competition. And instead of holding a 250 wide open out of the turns, using the power of a 450 to get the bike positioned and hitting the pockets will be a new learning experience.”
With a newly established team and an all new Honda being released for 2017 Jay understands he’s got more to prove on home soil before moving on. But his goal is nothing less than another World Championship. “I’ve been racing motorcycles since I was four years old and I realise at some point I’ll have to give up racing. But for now I just want to make the most of what’s there. And with the science behind fitness, training techniques and recovery procedures athletes are peaking later in their careers; whether it’s winning or just making a good living for longer.” At 21 years old, 2016 marks Jay’s first year in MX1. And, with a full decade ahead of him in the top division, a second World Championship seems almost inevitable.