In 2013 Jake Hayes raced 28 national and regional events. He stood on the podium 26 times, mostly next to adults. He’s only 11 years old, 54lbs sopping wet and very very fast. I caught up with him recently at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack BC to ask him a few questions.
Q: When did you start riding and racing?
A: I started riding at 3 and was racing at 8.
Q: What do you like about racing?
A: I love the speed, competition, and travelling.
Q: What kind of bike(s) do you have?
A: I have a HONDA NSF 100 4 stroke and a KTM 65 2 stroke.
Q: Who are your racing idols?
A: My racing idols are Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi.
Q: Who do you look up to or want to be like?
A: My dream would be to be like Marc Marquez.
Q: When you go to school do people believe that you race motorcycles?
A: Yes because I have been in the newspapers, on CTV sports and on lots of radio stations.
Q: Do they think it’s cool?
A: Most kids that have heard about what I do don’t understand it. They think I race dirt bikes, but after a few hours they get it.
Q: Do you ever get scared?
A: Not scared, but I do get nervous before a race or practice.
Q: What is the hardest part about racing motorcycles?
A: The hardest part of racing is just racing because of the people I race against. It is also very difficult because I am so small.
Q: What else do you like to do?
A: I also do kick boxing.
Q: What did you like about private coaching with Misti.
A: Misti was just SUPER nice and taught me a lot.
Q: What was the most important thing you learned from working with Misti?
A: Misti taught me how to lean over without my butt going off the seat.
Q: What has been your biggest racing accomplishment?
A: In 2013 I was in 28 races, 13 Regional and 15 National. I was on the podium 26 times with 17 first place finishes and most of the time I was competing against adults.
Q: What series do you race?
A: Pacific Coast Mini Roadracing and CMA National Mini Roadracing.
Q: What’s next for you and your racing?
A: We have been invited down to the United States to race some of the top kids there.
Q: What are your racing goals?
A: My racing goal is to make it to RedBull Rookies Cup in 2015.
Q: Anything else you’d like people to know?
A: I have been racing against adults for two years now. There are very few kids for me to race against. I only get to race kids at National events and they are always older. I am only 54lbs so I have an advantage.
Questions for Norm Hayes, Jake’s dad:
Q: Do you ride and race as well?
A: I do ride have been riding since I was 9. I have a big Cruiser a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500, I have a Honda CBR600 as well an Aprilia RS125. I raced the old Westwood track a few times. I will race again but it’s been hard because I have been looking after Jake. He is so small he can’t even kick start the bike!
Q: What is it like to watch your kid race?
A: It has been an absolute blast to watch him race. Scary sometimes because locally he races only adults so I usually pray for him to make it through the first corner then I am OK. Racing has made him so confident.
Q: What is the hardest part about having a kid that races motorcycles?
A: The time commitment. I would love to travel more with Jake. It can be very nerve racking for sure.
Q: What have you learned along the way?
A: I have learned to just let things happen. There is nothing I can do when he is out on the track. I used to pace back and forth till race was over. I am much more relaxed as he knows what to do.
Q: Where do you hope to see Jake in a few years in regards to his racing?
A: While I hope Jake can live his dream of one day racing in the States and eventually Red Bull Rookies Cup. These are lofty goals but what is life without goals?
Q: Is there a lot of information or help for parents of kids that ride and race?
A: We seem to be the only family in ALL of BC with a Road Racing kid. Hundreds of kids racing Motocross but zero road Racers??
Q: Anything else you would like people to know?
A: Jake and I have been riding together since he was 10 months old. I used to take him in a back carrier on my motorcycle and we went everywhere. When he was just 2 he was strapped to my back and we would go on the Hwy and he loved it. His first words were Vroom Vroom. We hear stories of kids that start young and he really did! One thing I can say is how confident and mature this sport has made Jake. He can mix with and fit in with adults at just 11 years old. I have seen him on the top of a podium in front of 100 people take the mic like a true pro and thank everyone, and that makes me proud. His teacher asked me this year “why is he so confident and polite?” I think it stems from the fact that he is the ONLY kid in a man’s sport here in BC. Jake has no ego and is a good boy.