Starting off the year with a couple DNFs, including a DQ for failing to strap his helmet, Jake Canada rebounded last weekend with a fifth-place finish at Anaheim 2. The MotoConcepts Smartop Racing team rider now sets his sights on podium finishes as we head into Round 4 of the Monster Energy Supercross series in Oakland, California. We gave Jake a call to ask about his season, his Phoenix incident, and his A2 result.
Jake Canada got off to a rough 2013 season but a fifth at Anaheim 2 has given him the drive to push hard for the remainder of the West Coast season.
MotoUSA: Changes you made going into 2013
Jake Canada: Well, not really a whole lot is different. I mean, there’s a whole lot of different things as far as my bike and the whole team… stuff like that. I think the whole team has really evolved from last year to this year. Last year was kind of hard for us as it was the first year on the Honda 250F, but it was a good first year… definitely got me the results that I got and where I am right now. I think the package is a whole lot better this year; the motor is a lot better, the suspension working with Ohlins and Noleen now and having our suspension just really dialed has really helped out a lot with our program. With me I think just lately it’s been good for me because I didn’t really stop (riding over the off season). I started training with Charles Dao before last year and that was kind of new all year, and this year we got started really early in the off season and tried to get a jump on everybody. So I just train with him and ride a lot with Vince Friese, doing a lot of motos, but other than that nothing really too different – just putting in the laps and putting in the gym time.
The MotoConcepts Smartop Racing team
I think it’s a good fit for me for sure. Last year was a breakthrough year for me and I obviously couldn’t have done it without them. They gave me the equipment I needed and I went out and got some good results so I was pumped on that. They definitely evolved me into who I am now. This year the team has stepped up and I think the 250 program is more of an “A” program than it was last year. With Mike [Alessi] and everyone on the team, I think we have a solid program and we all work well together. I got a new mechanic this year, Daniel, and he’s really cool. We became rally good buddies and he works really hard just like I do so everything is good.
Canada says the MotoConcepts Smartop Racing team is a very good fit for him and has evolved him into who he is now.
Bike compared to last year
My MB1 suspension last year was really good actually, but we have had a lot more testing time on the Ohlins stuff with Noleen; they came down here for a week and we tested a lot, I tested a bunch of different things and got a really good setting that I really liked and then the motors… we have a new motor guy this year so the motors are on another level too compared to last year.
I had forgotten my Hats Off Device and unfortunately nobody saw it until after the parade lap. They told me “Hey, it’s not in there” so I took my helmet off and checked to see if it was in there and it wasn’t in there. So my mechanic Daniel radioed on the headset and got one run down and I guess the AMA doesn’t hold the race unless it’s a mechanical issue. So they didn’t really hold the race and the 30- second board went up right as we were figuring it out. We had 30 seconds to get it and we got it at the last second and I just kind of threw it in my helmet and threw my helmet on and didn’t really buckle my helmet. I just threw it on and right as I was throwing it on the gate dropped so I just went and I didn’t buckle my helmet. So I got black-flagged because I was riding around with my helmet unbuckled.
The first I heard anything about being fined was on TV. And I didn’t know if I was going to get a fine the next week at A2 or not, but the only thing they said to me was that they wanted me to buckle my helmet. So I think it was just my mistake, obviously, for not getting my Hats Off Device and not buckling my helmet, but all the adrenaline was going and everything so the gate dropped and I just went. That was kind of a bummer for me. The first two rounds definitely weren’t where we wanted to be. The first weekend we had bike problems and the next weekend was the black flag with the helmet thing. It was kind of crappy, but I think we definitely turned it around at A2 and we can definitely build off that top-five.
Fifth place at Anaheim 2
It definitely motivates me to push harder. I’ve been working so hard in the off-season to come out and to have two DNF finishes right from the start. It definitely bummed me out a bit, but I kept working and for me to go and get a fifth has definitely given me some motivation to keep plugging away and keep working hard. I think that was good and I think I have more potential; I didn’t even think I even rode that good at A2. I didn’t even really like that track that much and I felt like I definitely had some more in me and that definitely fuels the fire to come out and get a good start and run up there and get on the podium.
Improvements you feel you need
The main thing is all these guys are so fast. I mean, shoot, there’s like twelve guys who are really fast guys that are all really close. So if you get a really bad start it’s really hard to make your way by all those guys really quick and by the time you get by them you’re in fifth or whatever. At A2 I started in I think tenth or something, then I passed a couple guys and ended up fifth, but there’s no time really so basically if I can get a top-three or top-five start, I think that will make my chances a whole lot better.
Your weekly schedule
It all depends on the riding part. Usually either I try to ride Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday or let my mechanic go through my practice bike, which I’ve been doing the last couple weeks on Monday and just train Monday with Charles [Dao] and then ride Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and also training with Charles and then just chillin’ Friday. Then come out for the weekend.
Hobbies besides racing
I always hang out with my buddies. Me and Vince Friese are really good friends. We ride together, we train together and we do a lot of things. We ride BMX and do dirt jumps on the BMX bikes or just be regular kids. We go to the movies, go out to dinner. I mean, I definitely take it serious and put the work in the day time, but we like to have fun too and be kids and ride BMX bikes and every now and then we’ll do a couple of other things, too.