Jo Shimoda, 14
Hometown: Suzuka Japan
Sponsors: Alias, 6D, 100%, D-cor, Vortex Ignitions, Athena, D.I.D, TM Designworks, Carbon Raptor, Amsoil, Honda, Dunlop, Twin Air, Hinson, Factory Connection
Jo Shimoda came to the states three years ago, from Suzuka Japan, to better his motocross career. Since then, he has earned himself a spot on GEICO Honda’s amateur team, after being a consistently dominant Supermini and 85-class racer. The 14-year old dominated his second motos with two first place finishes, during the second day of racing at the TWMX TransAm, presented by MTA Distributing. Despite a muddy first day of racing, Shimoda’s consistency earned him the overall win in School Boy thru 17 (125-250F). Shimoda is on his way to becoming the first notable Japanese racer in American professional motocross and supercross.
How has the move to the GEICO Honda team been?
It’s been great! Everyone on the team is super nice, and they always make sure I am comfortable on the bike. The group of people as a whole, that I now have behind me, are such great people. I couldn’t be happier.
Along with the switch to the new team, you also moved up to a big bike…
The 250 is much bigger than my supermini was. Although I was slightly tall on my supermini, I was a little intimidated when I first hopped on the 250, but my team helped me get comfortable, and I love it.
How is training with Yannig Kervella?
It’s good! I’ve practiced Supercross a couple times with him, but we mainly ride and work on motocross. We train and ride Monday through Friday, so we are always working and looking for improvements that can be made.
What tracks in Southern California do you mainly ride at?
Yannig trains two Supercross racers, aside from training me, so we usually go to a track that also has a Supercross track. Normally we go to Milestone or Elsinore to train and ride.
You had the opportunity to race at the Monster Energy Cup, how was that experience as a whole?
It was a super sick race, but sadly I got a bad start every moto and had to play catch-up all race. The start was different than anything I’ve ever done, but it was a great experience. (Laughs)
I heard you had a pretty hectic morning, what all went on?
Yeah! (Laughs) I woke up at 5:30 this morning and was expecting my mechanic to be at my house at 5:45, but he overslept. After calling him a few times, he finally answered the phone and picked me up around 6:30. I was a little worried he was going to crash on his way to my house because he was in such a hurry (laughs). Then when we got to Glen Helen this morning, we started the bike and realized it had a cracked radiator. Luckily, my mechanic Cameron switched out the radiator, just in time for my practice.
The first day of racing here at the TransAm was pretty slick and muddy. How are the track conditions today, during the second day of racing?
The track has been good so far today. It was a little deep and soft this morning, but it’s perfect right now. I just want to do more and more laps on the track, and keep riding!
Yesterday’s track conditions contributed to you going down a few times. Although you had some mistakes, you still managed to get solid results…
Yeah, the track was very slick and muddy yesterday, I made a few mistakes, so I was slightly disappointed. I got a 10th in 250F Intermediate/B, after going down a few times, and managed to get a second in School Boy thru 17 (125-250F). Racing doesn’t always go as planned, but I’ll be ready for the second motos.
How long have you been in the states?
I’ve been in America for about three years now. My mechanic Cameron was with me when I first came over here, I was almost 11 years old at that time.
How did you get into riding and racing motocross?
Motocross isn’t as popular in Japan as it is here in the U.S, but my dad used to race dirt bikes, so he bought me a PW50 as soon as I was old enough. And that is where it all started for me.