Champion Chat: Jake Gagne (Part 1)
NEWS March 8, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
AMAPro: How did you get into racing, and what led you to your success in road racing in particular?
JG: I raced Motocross up until 2007, when we heard about the Red Bull U.S. Rookies Cup and I tried out for that. It kind of came out of nowhere, my dad just heard about it from one of his friends. I raced that in 2008, which was my first year in road racing and it went really well, I got a couple of wins. Unfortunately they canceled the U.S. version but fortunately for me I got to go over to Europe and do the European Red Bull Rookies Cup for two years. In 2010, I won the Red Bull Rookies Cup over there and then in 2011 I got a ride in the Spanish CEV Championship in the Moto2 class. I did okay over there, but I struggled with the bike and team. I did good the first couple of races and then had some trouble with the team and then from there I couldn’t finish out the last couple of races so here we are now.
AMAPro: What was the experience of winning a championship like so early in your career?
JG: It was amazing, it was a huge accomplishment. That was what I was shooting for all three years in the Rookies Cup, and it was cool to do it in the European version, against basically all of the best teenagers from around the world. It was a huge accomplishment and a great year for me. I learned a lot, it was a huge learning experience and to wrap it up by winning the championship was just amazing.
AMAPro: How were the battles you encountered in the final race?
JG: The last round, going into Misano, Italy, it was just down to me and Danny Kent. I think I had 10 points on him, the deal was if he finished first I had to finish third to win it so my whole goal was just to be on the podium to win the championship and we had a pretty crazy race. Danny Kent and I were just battling hard and I ended up coming out on top. It was a good way to finish it off.
AMAPro: Are you looking forward to racing back stateside?
JG: Yeah man, I’m pumped to be back racing in AMA Pro because I know it’s been awesome racing. I’ve been watching it on TV this whole time and to be a part of it now is just really amazing. It’s cool being closer to home and not having to travel so much, and I’m looking forward to being around such awesome people and awesome racing.
AMAPro: Having raced in the Red Bull Rookies Cup both in Europe and also in the U.S., compare the qualities of the tracks here and across the pond.
JG: The tracks over in Europe are more high speed but not as technical as the AMA Pro tracks. A lot of the AMA Pro tracks are just more tight and twisty but actually make for, I think, better racing. Even some tracks where people complain about bumps and things like that, I think make it interesting, challenging and fun, in my eyes. I enjoy all of the tracks here and in Europe; they just have different styles really.
Click here to head over to M1 PowerSports for Part 2 of Champion Chat with Jake Gagne, where he talks with M1 PowerSports about his new gig as a RoadRace Factory Team Red Bull rider and RoadRace Factory School instructor.
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