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MotoAmerica Championship Leader Jake Gagne Raced Pro MX Fulfilling Childhood Dream

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Jake Gagne in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross

Jake Gagne, current leader in MotoAmerica Superstock 1000cc championship points, decided to trade his Yamaha R1 sportbike for a YZ450F dirt bike & race Lucas Oil Pro Motocross

It’s not often that a championship leading motorcycle racer would exchange their usual mount for an unfamiliar bike and compete professionally in an entirely different discipline. However, Jake Gagne, current leader in MotoAmerica Superstock 1000cc championship points, decided to trade his Yamaha R1 sportbike for a YZ450F dirt bike and step into the highest level of motocross. With one round and two races remaining in the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series, Jake Gagne took a chance as he decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of racing in an Outdooor National Motocross race at the pro level.

Jake Gagne at Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship

After the first two morning 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series sessions, Jake Gagne secured his place in the main event by qualifying 23rd out of 40 open positions

When the idea was first hatched, there wasn't any hesitation with the team or Gagne’s sponsors. The RoadRace Factory Red Bull team fully supported the idea and so did Yamaha USA who provided Gagne with a factory spec YZ450F. Jake Gagne’s other sponsors, such as Bell Powersports, Red Bull, Alpinestars, and K&N air filters jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this unique experience. Competing in two very different types of racing is a throwback to the days of the Grand National Champs, when a rider had to excel at three different disciplines. In this day and age of specialists, it’s rare to get a glimpse of an athlete's prowess in other sports. The buzz surrounding this decision and overall effort was electric. But just as there were many supporters, Gagne’s decision caught the attention of numerous detractors.

Jake Gagne

As current MotoAmerica Superstock 1000cc championship leader Jake Gagne lined up at the gate for Moto One, he looked as if he had been racing professional motocross since the beginning

Jake Gagne would be jumping head first into a stacked field of the best MX riders in the world and the whispers weren't so silent about Jake's chances of qualifying for a Pro Motocross Main. Jake was set to run in the A Group for his practice / qualifying sessions. This meant Gagne would be banging bars with the likes of current Supercross champion Ryan Dungy, current motocross champion Ken Roczen, as well as regulars like Blake Baggett and Justin Barcia. Jake was confident that he could make the main event, as all he had to do was ride smart, relaxed and as fast as possible.

Jake Gagne in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross

The 30 minute plus 2 laps Lucas Oil Pro Motocross moto wore on and Jake Gagne settled in to a decent battle while adapting to the ever changing course conditions at the Miller MX track

After the first two morning sessions, Jake secured his place in the main event by qualifying in 23rd out of 40 open positions. It's important to understand that there are over 50 riders all vying for a spot in the main and only 40 make it. There are riders that follow the series every weekend and don't qualify. 23rd is an incredibly respectable position and the whispers of "He's not going to qualify" were completely silenced. Plus the start of a motocross race is 180 degrees from a road race. When the starting gate falls, 40 racers charge toward an ever narrowing turn one. It's an all-out, elbows and handle bar banging, don't back down brawl to get into turn one and almost any one stands a chance at getting the holeshot to lead the pack.

Jake Gagne at the finish line

Jake Gagne was able to finish the first Pro MX moto in 22nd overall and silenced the whispers of those who didn’t believe in Gagne’s chances of even making the main event

Jake Gagne is a master at controlling his nerves, always calm, cool and collected. As Gagne lined up at the gate for Moto One, he looked as if he had been doing this since the beginning. His years of racing motocross as a kid obviously hadn't faded and he was back in his element. The 30 second board was shown and the field of 40 riders began to focus on one thing, the holeshot! Jake cleared the first hurdle intact and was still within the top 25 following a great start.

The 30 minute plus 2 laps moto was on and Jake was settling in to a decent battle while adapting to the ever changing course conditions. As the race wore on, the ruts got deeper and deeper. Certain areas of the track began to dry out, while other areas turned into a mud bog. Towards the end of the moto, Jake entered a turn and hit a rut pretty hard. With his leg extended the force of the impact pulled his leg back behind him and aggravated his bruised hip flexor that he injured at a previous road race in Indianapolis. Jake was able to finish the moto and claim 22nd overall. When Gagne returned to the pits and talked the situation over with his crew, it was decided that the second moto would be forfeited. It was deemed too risky to go back out and race again when his final MotoAmerica round is a few short weeks away and the title is still up for grabs.

"Wow!! This was perhaps one of the greatest experiences in my life. I grew up riding motocross and riding with a lot of the guys that are regulars in the Pro Motocross series. I've always wanted to race in a pro outdoor and I can't believe that I actually got the chance to do that! When I qualified for the main, it was already a win for me,” said Jake Gagne. When the team had loaded the transporter and everyone had a chance to catch their breath, the full impact of what they had just done, sank in. They witnessed a rare athlete silencing the critics and fulfilling a lifelong dream.


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