Rider Spotlight: Jeffrey Carver Jr.
NEWS June 7, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: Where are you from?
JC: I’m from Alton, Illinois. My parents and grandparents grew up here. I started up racing motocross, but got hurt a couple times. I started trying my hand at the TT races, got a flat track bike and went from there.
AMAP: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
JC: My dad and grandfather raced. When I was three years old, my dad sat me in front of the tv to watch motorcycle racing. I started riding at age three and racing at age four.
AMAP: How did flat track racing come about?
JC: Like I said, I was racing motocross for a little while. I was pretty quick, and when I started racing on the 65cc and 85cc bikes, I started getting hurt a couple times. It was about that age that you start jumping the big jumps. I started going to a couple local TT races where everyone had nobbies on their bikes, and got talking to people who raced flat track. We got in with George Mack, and actually bought his son's 85cc flat track bike when I was 10 years old. I’ve been doing it ever since.
AMAP: How would you say you’ve progressed as a rider in AMA Pro Flat Track?
JC: I feel that I’ve progressed quite well. I’ve always been near the top of the class. The first year, I went to the amateur nationals when I was on the 85, and won the TT race. Since then, I’ve won multiple titles. I won the AMA Horizon Award, hot shoe series and the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles Championship. I feel like I’ve kept myself up there, but at the same time, you always have to progress and really stick yourself out there be a little different when you turn expert. Everyone in the class is so class.
AMAP: Last season, you were the Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Runner Up. What are your thoughts on the 2012 season so far?
JC: I feel that it is going to be a really good year. Last season, I actually broke my back at the beginning of the year on New Years. I felt that I was playing catch up all season long. I was riding singles bikes I wasn’t too comfortable on.. This year, I own my singles bikes. I have a really good Twins team, Kiesow Racing. Dave Kiesow and the team have put two Harley-Davidson XR-750s underneath me that are top-of-the-line bikes that I feel very confident on. My physical strength is back along with my mental strength. Just getting out there and doing well is the goal. At Springfield, qualifying 1st, getting 5th in the TT, then qualifying 6th and finishing 9th in the mile main event makes me feel very good about this year.
AMAP: Is there a track configuration that you like more than others?
JC: I like really racey tracks. Any where you can get 3-4 bikes wide. I like the deep cushion tracks along with the TT tracks. The mile tracks are kind of scary because there’s so much going on when you’re going that fast, but there are a few places like the Indy Mile that I love. It really comes down to the tracks that I feel are ‘racey.’
AMAP: What track do you like most?
JC: Probably the Springfield TT and Short Track. That’s what I grew up racing on, so I’m familiar with it. I also like the Indy Mile. It’s fast, has a deep cushion and plenty of room to pass. There are so many great tracks out there, but I feel like I have that little extra edge at Springfield.
AMAP: What are your expectations and goals going into the rest of the 2012 season?
JC: I would really love to finish the season top-five in points. I know that’s a very high standard to get done, but it’s about going out there and not making the mistakes that most rookies do. Getting out there and putting in solid finishes every weekend is what I have to do. I’d also like to pop off a win or two. It just has to be your day. Everything has to be going right, flowing well and everything has to be dialed in. You have to want it more than anyone else. I feel like, with my new team, I’m very comfortable to be able to do just that.
AMAP: Is there a particular motorcycle you enjoy riding more than others?
JC: I do really like the Harley-Davidson XR-750s. I’ve gotten to ride other motorcycles like the SV650, SV1000, Ducati and such, but the XR-750s are a lot of fun. When I first started riding one, I felt a little awkward, but I’ve really been enjoying riding them now.
AMAP: How do you feel about the competition in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Expert Class?
JC: I feel that the class has huge competition. One rider cannot even make the main event one night and then win the main event the next night. It’s crazy how deep the field of talent is. In the Pro Singles class, you’d ride against five people that are fast enough to win the main event, but in this class, you’re racing against 20 people that can win it. The class is an eye opener. Once you get in it, it makes you think if you’re one of the boys that are out there every weekend finishing in the top-10 or take it as a hobby. I want to make this sport my job and make it a career for myself.
AMAP: Do you see any obstacles in your way to success in AMA Pro Flat Track?
JC: It’s really just the mental part of it. It’s a mental game out there knowing what you can do. You get tired in those longs races, so it’s a battle with yourself, but keeping yourself fit at the same time is a serious task. You really have to think about it and keep yourself in shape all season long. There’s not much practice you can do to be prepared to ride a twin 25 laps other than jog, ride a bicycle or do the real thing.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
JC: I’d have to say everything. It’s always been in my blood and everything I think about. Whenever I get out there, it’s a different mindset. The speed and thrill are part of it, but it’s the whole package. I’ve grown making myself one with the sport.
AMAP: Who would you say is your racing hero?
JC: I looked up to Chris Carr. My dad bought me a Chris Carr replica helmet when I started racing 85s. Ever since then, I’ve been into Chris Carr. His style always got me, and I knew he had one of the best styles, so I tried making mine like his. I even painted some helmets like his stuff. Johnny Murphy and Rob Pearson are guys that I’ve looked up to as well.
Jeffrey would like to thank his sponsors - Dave Kiesow of Kiesow Racing, Carver’s BBQ, K&N, Saddlemen, Arai Helmets, American Auto Body, Motion Pro, Cal Guard, Memphis Shades, Lia Welch, Pro Plates, DP Brakes, Imgram Concrete, Danny Ryder, PMP Sprockets, Eddie Atkins