Jordan Scott is one of the most multi-talented bike riders to come out of Ireland in recent years.
The popular former trials rider turned Irish championship level motocrosser, has also competed in British and world enduro events as well as gaining a gold medal in the ISDE, and he has even dabbled in Irish national championship mountain bike racing!
Jordan, 26, is a fan favourite in Ireland due to his technical skills on a bike and will be writing a few columns for us this season, so we thought it would be good to let everyone further afield know his background as he attempts both the British Extreme enduro championship (beginning this weekend) and the Ulster motocross championships in 2018.
How did you get into motocross?
I rode trials from when I was 13 until 2008 (16). The only reason I got a motocross bike was because one boxing day trial I seen Brian McKeown and Tubman doing heel clickers and stuff over the sections, so I thought I need to get myself a motocross bike! I think Tubman had pink and black No Fear gear on and I thought them boys were cool so that’s why I started motocross!
Had you any background in motocross? Did you follow it before you got a bike?
Not really, no – I hadn’t a clue about anything! I had always ridden my trials bike a bit like a motocross bike but I didn’t really know much about it. I traded my Gas Gas in for a 250f Honda out of Russells and went and rode Grade C.
And you were winning races straight away in Grade C!
The first year in Grade C motocross I was still riding trials and I only done a few rounds. I went straight into the Bs the next year and I was leading the Bs with four rounds to go and broke my collarbone, I still ended up third in the championship.
Then I went into A’s on a Yamaha possibly in motocross for a bit, but then Nick Craigie took me to Enduro and I rode the world championship and British championship for him. It was the U19 Youth cup in the worlds and the British. It was a lot more natural for me to go fast on an Enduro bike than motocross but I had a bit of motocross speed so that helped too. The first year I rode a 125 TM, I had never ridden an enduro in my life and Nick took me to the world enduro in France! I got through in at the deep end and never wanted to ride a bike again! (laughs). The next year I got talked into doing a full year of it!
When you did the motocross did you expect to be that good straight away? Winning grade C races immediately, winning in Grade B, then up towards the front in Grade A?
No, I remember standing at Seaforde watching Mark Patterson and Spudgun and they were absolutely lit in Grade C! And I remember thinking, ‘if I can be as quick as them boys I’ll be well chuffed.’ Then a few races later I was getting a bit quicker and I started looking at Wayne, Dicky and Hammy and thinking, ‘ It’s crazy the speed they are going if I can go that fast I will be well chuffed!’ Now that I have got up to that speed I still look up to them boys, and when I come up behind them I still think, “there’s Dicky, Wayne, those boys must be flying.” I never expected to be fast in motocross.
It didn’t look like it was first year on motocross bike when you were in Grade C, you already had the style and technique, did it all come pretty natural to you?
I don’t know who you were watching! (laughs). I was dead-on at standing up, so I just stood up a lot and got by that way – I still stand up a lot. I think the trials definitely helped me with that and made it easier. I haven’t had a trials bike since then but the motocross bike is like a trials bike if you want it to be – just a big heavy one!
On the motocross end, last year you are up there on the Grade A level but sometimes it looks like you aren’t able to take that final step against Bird and those guys because they have that extra experience and seem to have all the pieces of the puzzle, do you feel you are ready to take that next step now?
Yeah, well last year I wasn’t even supposed to be doing motocross. I had just been riding enduro and I didn’t get a motocross bike until the weekend before the first round at Desertmartin. It was Davey Mulligan’s 350, but I didn’t get the suspension done or anything sorted and I rode that for a couple of rounds. Then Ricky Gilpin had a 450 Husky and he helped me out with that for the rest of the year but I never made motocross my main focus. I didn’t get the suspenion done and only really rode the bike the Thursday before an Ulster round. The whole bike was standard and I think this year I will be a lot more prepared for the motocross side of things.
Do you feel that extra preparation will help you contend for the title?
That’s my plan, last year I won every superpole, I know I have the speed to go quick but it’s just having that speed for 20 minutes. The first ten minutes of the race I could have got up in behind DIcky but then I would think, “oh shit, that’s Dicky.” It was a mental thing more than anything. But I think with the bike being sorted this year and me being more prepared with riding motocross, everyone should be back this year like John and Hammy so it should be good racing.
What do you like about motocross and enduro and how do you compare them?
Well you can’t beat the buzz of the first few laps in motocross, you can never beat that buzz. But the enduro side of the things, I know I’m riding the bike for nine hours that day. Going to a motocross race, your first race can end everything and you get an hour and a half on the bike if you are lucky. I like the technical side of Enduro, everything is different, you never ride the same corner twice and it’s all different.
In motocross it’s like a lot Scalextric track, you just keep going and the quickest man wins.
What are your plans for this season?
This year I am going to do the British Exteme enduro series plus the Ulster motocross championship and then whatever else I can get in, maybe Weston and stuff like that. Last year I was intending to do the full British enduro championship but I ran out of money so that hit that on the head! I was sitting eighth in the championship, so this year I hope to get the support to get to every race and have something by the end of the year.
For years now I haven’t had a championship to my name, every year I have jumped from one thing to the next and enjoyed riding my bike and I will always enjoy riding my bike, but it would be nice to have something hanging up in the garage!
You rode the ISDE last year, it seems pretty tough!
Yeah, it was mental! That was the second one I have done now and I got a gold medal so I was well chuffed with that but it’s crazy! This year was really bad, well it was just the heat, it made it a hard week, but it is always a good accomplishment if you can get to it and do it.
Is it as much a mental battle as well as bike skill?
Yeah it’s a really, really long week! That’s the only way you can look at, that it’s going to be a long week. Come the third day you don’t even want to look at your bike but after that you have broke the back of it and once you hit day five you are nearly finished – so you just aim for day five!
How many hours a day do you end up on the bike?
It’s eight and half hours a day then after that you have to change tyres and get your bike sorted and you have only 15 minutes to that, so it’s a pretty tough week!
Are you able to train for that?
Just tons of bike time and then cycling to build up your endurance, that’s just all you can do. But nothing can really prepare you for it at all! It’s just go do it, grit your teeth. You could ride the whole six days at a smooth enough pace, but if you are trying to fight for a gold medal, it’s a long hard week.
Did you get much exposure or help from that?
I got a bit of help, you go to that and it costs you about 4,000 and you get a fake gold medal at the end so it’s not the best idea for getting exposure or anything like that! It’s just something that is on the list and a good accomplishment once you are finished.
The British championship is at Desertmartin again, is that something you would like to do?
Yeah I would love to do it this year. I would quite like to do it in the two-stroke class on the 300, I will just play it by ear at the minute. It would be a lot of fun on the two-stroke, there is a buzz about it and it makes everything fun. If you went to do it on the four-stroke you would feel a lot more pressure, the two-stroke is always fun, no matter what race you do.
You still seem to be always on the bike a lot, do you still fundamentally just enjoy riding the bike?
Yeah, even if I wasn’t getting support to race I would still be on a bike whether it’s a push-bike, motocross or anything. I love riding the bike.
Is being good at everything a kind of positive and negative because it is hard to know which one to make your main goal?
In a way if you are working for a goal it makes it harder, but I just love riding the bike. This year I am working for a goal and it has been harder to go out and do motos or go out and ride the enduro bike, it’s not as fun as it is normally but that is all part of it I’m guessing for what you want to do (achieve).
For years I toyed with going mountain bike racing, I have always enjoyed other things as well as bikes and it’s just finding that balance to have everything working. It has to be fun, I am not going to race if it isn’t fun but as long as it stays fun I will be racing my bike.
I would just like to thank my long-time sponsor Phil Caldwell at HTM Offroad/ Husqvarna, Securashred/Down oil supplies, JJB electrical, Hilltop Vending solutions, Acerbis, Malcolm Rathmell, Suitor Autofix, Minprint/ Apinesigns, Rapid Moto supplies and the three wise men (names not to be mentioned!).
Pics: Jordan Scott and Nigel McKinstry
Interview: Jonathan McCready