Although there are few training options for competitive motorcycle racing in the Lower Mainland, Jack Roach, 15, is continuing to make a name for himself on the international stage.
Beside his bed in his South Surrey home, Jack has a bookshelf with dozens of trophies, plaques and medals that he won after completing top-three finishes in his sport, all of which he won in less than two years.
Competing in motorcycle racing at Jack’s level can be a challenge for someone living in South Surrey, Jack’s parents Donna and John said.
Not only because it’s expensive, but the sport can be under-appreciated and the only track available in the region is in Mission.
But Jack isn’t allowed to train at the track, John said, because he’s not yet 16 years old.
The teen began riding Kawasaki 300’s this year in the U.S., a much more “aggressive” bike than the miniature motorcycle’s he raced last year.
Jack told Peace Arch News Sunday that he’s quite fond of the Kawasaki 300.
“The 300s, you’re sitting in it and it’s like an armchair,” he said.
“A scary fast armchair,” Donna added. “It certainly puts grey hairs on your head.”
Jack participated in four MotoAmerica races this year, something his father – who used to ride professionally – described as the “pinnacle” of the sport for North and South America.
Jack said racing in MotoAmerica is quite different, and much more intense, than his usual club racing events.
Jack recalled how during one race, he missed a gear and ran a little wide, opening up room for five motorcyclists to pass him.
He said that during MotoAmerica races, the athletes are cluttered together and reach speeds of 215 km/h with only a foot clearance between each motorcycle.
Jack intends to compete in all nine rounds of the MotoAmerica junior cup next year.
Being on the road for approximately 150 days of the year has brought some challenges for the youngster, particularly with academics, Donna said.
“He was struggling because how can he keep up with the rest of the curriculum when he has to travel?” Donna said. “We just put him in home schooling. You know what, it’s the best thing we did. An actual fact, I wish we would have done it earlier.”
Jack said he’s driven to be the best in the world at the sport, and wants to test his abilities against the best in Europe.
But the family worries finances could become a barrier.
“He’s getting name recognition, he’s getting that buzz. But it takes time,” Donna said. “It’s just that support, right? It’s not cheap, it’s so expensive.”
In order to continue in his sport, the family is looking for local businesses that might be interested in sponsoring Jack. Currently, Kawasaki U.K. and MSS Performance are two of his sponsors.
MSS Performance sponsored John when he used to race professionally in the Europe.
“Who would have thought, back in the day, when they were sponsoring you that they’d be sponsoring your son,” Donna asked John.
Jack’s most notable achievements this year, he said, are first-place finishes at the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Association and the California American Federation of Motorcyclists events.
To follow Jack’s progress, visit https://jackroachracing.com/