Interview: Jack Chambers on his decision to sign with DRT Kawasaki, race the World Championship and his debut
What a couple of weeks it has been for Jack Chambers as he went from racing AMA Supercross to getting a ride with the MX2 World Championship for DRT Kawasaki making his debut at the weekend in Switzerland.
Despite it being his first MX2 GP and not knowing what to expect, it was a very solid debut finishing thirteenth overall in a stacked MX2 class.
We caught up with Chambers after the Swiss GP to get his thoughts on his debut, the series and much more.
GateDrop: Jack, this was your MX2 GP debut here in Switzerland, how did you find it?
Chambers: It was very interesting. From never riding a Kawasaki before this past week, I flew over on Sunday night and landed on Monday morning. I rode the bike on Tuesday and a little bit on Wednesday. I put on hour on the bike before making the decision to go racing.
GateDrop: Based on that second moto and your speed all weekend really, I think it was a good decision to go straight to racing…
Chambers: Yeah, I definitely feel that my speed in the second moto showed a little bit more of what I have. I struggled a little bit in the first moto, it was maybe a little bit of nervous, I tightened up a little bit in the middle there but I ended strong passing a couple of guys on the last lap. I really didn’t have any goals this weekend, it was more just get experience, have fun and I’m in Switzerland right now racing my dirt bike. I could be back home just sitting on my couch because this weekend I didn’t have a race.
GateDrop: A lot of Americans are comfortable at home and you wouldn’t have been the first American to turn down a GP ride. When Dixon got in touch with you, was it a no brainer for you to come over here or what were the reasons for you coming to race the MX2 World Championship?
Chambers: The biggest reason is that I trust my trainer, Zach Osborne. He said that it would be a good opportunity for me. He listed all the positives and listed all the negatives and even with some of the negatives he listed, I still thought I wanted to come and do this for myself. I’ll give myself a year, or maybe it is just this season, maybe after this season I get something else but that’s not really what I am looking at right now. I will take it weekend by weekend and week by week in training and getting more comfortable on the bike. With only three days on it, I feel like I performed decently well, I felt really balanced on the bike, I made a couple of clicker adjustments on the suspension. They got it as close as they could before I came over here and I kind of just went out and rode.
GateDrop: It’s not only getting used to the Kawasaki, I mean you were racing Supercross a couple of weeks ago and this is a whole different world. How did you find it out there at that type of track?
Chambers: It was definitely tough. I torn my ACL in June last year at the third round of the outdoors and prior to outdoors we only have one weekend off from Supercross. We race the whole Supercross season, have one weekend off and then it is straight into outdoors so I guess you could say I am used to that from last year. But I haven’t ridden outdoors in seven or eight months and I came straight after Detroit in the main starting that week in outdoors before flying out on Sunday. It was a very quick turnaround, learning a new bike, being in a different country, sometimes communicating with people that don’t speak your language but luckily my team is an English team. It was easy to communicate with what I needed and wanted.
It was definitely a positive weekend, the number on the results may not show what I am fully capable off but it’s the first round for me and I think we have fifteen or sixteen rounds left so plenty of time to gain experience and get better and better.
GateDrop: Obviously you have been busy racing in America but do you follow the World Championship at all, have you heard of many of these riders you lined up against?
Chambers: To be completely honest, no. I can’t pronounce half of their last names or even their first names. But with that said, I have respect for these guys prior to coming here, I may not know who they are but if they are racing this series and they’re doing the full championship, they probably know what they are doing on a dirt bike.
To be out there battling with some of them kids, like on Saturday with Liam Everts, I’ve actually seen plenty videos of him, he was the first prodigy coming up and just like in America we have Deegan, Jett Reynolds and guys like that. I was never one of those kids so I’ve always had to work my butt off for everything I have earned and never really got given an opportunity or a chance to prove myself but I feel like this is one. I wouldn’t say I proved myself this weekend because it’s my first round and I’m not too stoked on the number results but with the way I rode after only a couple of days on the bike, I felt pretty comfortable.
GateDrop: Just on Zach Osborne, what kind of things did he tell you about the GP’s? I also believe you are friends with Jett Lawrence who raced EMX and watched his Brother race GP’s, did they have any advice for you?
Chambers: Oh yeah, I got a bit of advice from Jett. He’d been over here a good bit and actually the day we left, me, my buddy and Jett went to get some breakfast and talked about everything. I will be gone for seven months. The biggest thing with Zach was to not get in my head about the other riders and just stay as calm as I can. It’s going to be hectic, it’s new for me, I was late to free practice – I don’t know the schedule and don’t know how early to get up there. He did tell me but you can only be told once and then you learn. Once you do it wrong, you are able to learn from it so I was early to the moto’s today. We got up there early today but yeah, there’s just so much stuff.
I’ve talked to him three or four times today, he told me he is proud of me. That makes me feel good and my parents are happy. It’s always good to be leaving a track and not scratching your head wondering what just happened. That did happen a lot this year in Supercross, I kind of honestly just needed a change from the negative weekends. Mentally before the season I put myself top twelve in Supercross, every weekend I should have been but we can sit here and say coulda, shoulda, woulda all day long. I wasn’t and the change that I needed I didn’t know until this opportunity came up and here we go.
GateDrop: Zach obviously knows Europe well, are you hoping he maybe comes out for a few GP’s? Also, how did you find the level of MX2? The top ten certainly aren’t hanging about!
Chambers: I am pretty sure Zach is going to come over in August to stay in the UK. I am not sure what rounds he’ll be able to go too as he has his own series racing with the off-road and the GNCC. The level of the guys, I was actually just talking to someone else about it too, it is hard to gauge. I know so many back in the US, their names and what they have done in amateur racing and that kind of sets the bar for them – how good they are and how good they’ve been. Here, I don’t know these guys, what they have done, their road to get here and stuff like that. Everyone has their own story and I’ve got mine. I am hoping to get to the end result of the story that I am trying to create.
GateDrop: Are you looking forward to travelling all around the world? Switzerland here this weekend, what did you think of Zurich? It was my first time here as well and you’ll go to Italy next… are you looking forward to seeing all the different countries?
Chambers: Definitely. It is going to be a good experience. That is probably one of the reasons why I came over here. I am going to live on my own in England without my parents. I’ve met a couple of friends that are going to help out and my team mate, Courtney Duncan as well. She’s been doing this a long time, three time champion so she knows what she is doing. The experience living without my parents, doing this on my own, making my own food, preparing for the week and all that stuff. A lot of people in the US have girlfriends, a wife or family members to do it for them which I did have back home. It will be different but that’s a lot of the reason why I am here to gain the experience not only with the riding but to be a better person. Life for a lot of guys is just racing and I would say a lot of it is for me but the whole outlook on it is to have fun and better myself every chance I can get.
GateDrop: I feel like racing here will be good for you, has there been any discussion of maybe doing the British Championship as well as the MX2 GP’s? You could maybe run with Isak Gifting there…
Chambers: Honestly, I don’t know right now. My goal right now is just to get to next weekend in Arco. After that we will have a little bit of a break so we can figure out what are plan will be and everything. But it is definitely a possibility.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Images: Ray Archer