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Interview Jace Owen on running at the front in Paris, WSX and currently a free agent for 2024

Interview Jace Owen on running at the front in Paris, WSX and currently a free agent for 2024
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Jace Owen had a great weekend racing in Paris on his Team GSM Dafy Michelin Yamaha finishing second on the first night of racing. After a crash on night two it cost him a top three overall after both nights of racing but it was still a positive weekend for the American despite having issues with his back.

We caught up with the likeable American after Paris to discuss his season and more. Listen or read below.

GateDrop: Jace, overall I would say a positive weekend for you here in Paris despite two very different days. On Saturday you were great and probably riding the best you have in a while but today washing the front around turn one and crashing in the superpole didn’t help but overall I think you can still take positives…

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Owen: Yeah I can hold my head high I think. There was no talk about me being in the mix with Shimoda or Tom (Vialle) and yesterday I can say I give them guys everything they wanted truly. They’re on factory KTM and factory Honda, I am on a Team GSM Dafy Michelin Yamaha and they are working their butt off to give me the best bike possible. The bike is strong, we have been working hard and I really appreciate the hard work the mechanics are putting in. Even coming here on Thursday night they are working to 1 or 2 in the morning and getting up at 6 to drive the truck here. That doesn’t happen often and they’re putting in a lot of hours. I wanted to come here and prove something to myself but also to the team, they’ve done a lot and I’ve had a rough year with my back problem issue, I’ve a disc problem and a nerve issue.

Yesterday was awesome like you said, we were fast all day and went 2-3-2 for second overall between the factory guys. Today was different but the beginning of the day was good, I went pole and was faster than those guys in qualifying so that was huge. The first main I was second but then the second main I crashed at the start and aggravated  my back again, not going to lie it is very sort at the moment. We will do some rehab but the tough thing is that we have to get on a plane tomorrow to fly to Melbourne and that’s about 25 hours on a plane. It is not going to be easy but hey, we are here and we are going to be ready.

GateDrop:  Just on your back issue, I am sure it has been frustrating riding through that pain but yesterday, did you feel alright with the back until you crashed today?

Owen: Yes, mainly thing main thing for me was getting the bike fitness back. You know, just the fatigue and race craft, I feel yesterday was really good for that, I was just starting to come around. Today man, yeah, I was just tired. It is two long days and I took four months off, I rode four times before Abu Dhabi and I got a ride one time before here so before all these races, I’ve only got eight days on the bike probably after four months off. Man I am motivated though, I am feeling good, am gelling with the Yamaha and with the team, they’re working hard. I feel good and I want to end strong with them, you know my last race is in Melbourne so I will do everything to get my back good or as good as it can be and luckily those races are short quick sprints, so we should be good.

GateDrop: What was your thoughts on the Paris SX track this year? It’s my third year here and I think it’s the most Supercrossy I’ve seen it, what was your thoughts on it?

Owen:  I would say it is more Supercross this year too. The whoops weren’t as big as last year but they were still tough and gnarly. Some of the rhythms were tough and pretty beefy lap after lap. The dirt got soft and got really hard and slick today compared to yesterday but still had ruts in the jumps that would pull you and stuff. I would agree, it was Supercross style it has been in years, I raced my first one in 2018 and I won then. I was going to for it again, I was trying and set myself up good yesterday. Like you said, two different days and today still started well going pole and second in the first main. After that it kind of just went to sh*t but we are here and it is a great positive weekend.

Image: Kevin Frelaud/DailyMX

GateDrop: You always seem to be over in Europe racing, you’ve been here since 2018, done a few ADAC in the past and even a few SX Tours this year I believe. What is it about Europe you love so much?

Owen: I dunno, I get fired up to come and do these races. I think for me right now I am starting to get a little bit older. I know that I am not going to race forever, right? I am really putting everything into my career right now and taking that chapter to being the best I can possibly be. I wasn’t a great amateur having some struggles but having some success in Arenacross and just building.

There’s been plenty of times and even after hurting my back this year I was thinking, do I even want to keep doing this? I love the sport and I love riding but anytime I build momentum I get knocked down, you know? It’s no sob story, I just need to work hard and trust the process. I want to make the most of my future in what I do have whilst I am still racing.

GateDrop: Just on WSX, I am from Ireland so I really do see the need for Supercross being global. It is amazing in America but I think fans all around the world deserve to get to see it. I am a fan of WSX but at the same time, there’s still some improvements to be made, Abu Dhabi I don’t think you can call that a World SX track but at the same time, they did a good job in Cardiff, Villa Park and Australia… What’s your thoughts on WSX?

Owen:  Definitely. I love the whole concept of World Supercross especially because I’ve been an indoor only guy for many years so it creates more opportunities, right? As soon as World Supercross came out, in the States they came out with a tonne more money for the guys which is great for riders. They have the SuperMotocross concept now with ten million dollars showing up. It is good for the sport and like I said, for me it is good because I can race in the States and then can kind of have an all year thing.

It has been a little bit tricky with some races getting cancelled and stuff but it is definitely not easy. You are competing against a series that has been around for years and years and people just see that. The Abu Dhabi track was very tight, the switch back and stuff made for some very narrow racing. I mean, I think that is what the fans want to see, as a rider it is tough with not a lot of separation. But I mean it is good and hopefully it does continue to grow. There’s some new investors involved and they seem fired up and motivated for that. I think it could be good, it would be nice if they announce five races then it stays at five races and doesn’t get cut down a little bit.

GateDrop: Also, with having such a big break between the first and second round…

Owen: Yeah, although for me that worked out because with my back I wouldn’t have been able to race anyways. To have that time was much needed for me but I do really think that Adam Bailey and that whole crew, they will continue to grow it and next year will be better than this year. I am sure Melbourne will be a big one because Supercross in Australia is big so that will be a big one and that’ll be a big one for World Supercross.

GateDrop: After Melbourne I am sure you’ll be looking to get the back sorted out but looking ahead to 2024, what’s the plans? AMA Supercross on the agenda?

Owen:  I am not sure exactly. Right now, I haven’t signed anything. I am a free agent I guess you could say. I may do some Arenacross stuff, that has been in the talks but the thing is with Melbourne, it is the following weekend for the first Arenacross so there’s two races back to back then a month break I would have. So we are just putting the pieces of the puzzle together to see where we end up.

In Supercross it is just tough, to not be on a factory bike being against the factory bikes week in and week out being a tenth place guy. Do I think I can be better than that? Absolutely, but you know, you have to get the results to get a factory bike. You know it is tough, the guys are great and the competition is tough. There’s ten factory dudes every weekend lining up every weekend and they’re good riders. Everyone works hard and wants that one spot but we will keep working hard focusing on myself and man just try to climb the ladder and see where we can go.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Images: Kevin Frelaud/DailyMX

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