Jake Canada is a familiar face when it comes to Supercross and outdoor racing as he has turned in some very impressive results over the last few years. Unfortunately, though, this Southern California native is now part of the ever-growing field of privateer racers. Having to fund his racing 100% on his own, Jake is looking to turn heads and capture the attention of American teams as he prepares for the German Supercross series, where just last year, he was able to come back to the states with a win. We caught up with Canada to talk more about his personal expectations in Germany, his plans for the 2015 season and his life as a privateer.
First off, how has the off-season been treating you?
My off-season has been pretty good. I had more of an off-season than I would have liked because my contract was up after Vegas Supercross with 5150 so I didn’t do outdoors or anything like that. I actually took some time away from dirt bikes to reevaluate my riding. However, I went ahead and bought myself a Kawasaki 450 because I still want to race. The last two years I’ve headed over to Germany to race their Supercross series and I’m about to head over to race at this weekend’s opening round. This year, since I don’t have any deals for Supercross, I’m going to race every round of the German series and try to win the 450 class championship. I’m hoping to win again to make it easy on myself for that championship and at the same time get my feet wet for the American Supercross series since I’ll be lining up at the west coast rounds on a 450. As of now, all of this is on my own with a few loyal sponsors who have stayed behind me, So I’m hoping to turn some heads while I do all of this.
So was your off-season a little hectic as far as trying to find a ride for 2015?
Yeah, definitely. I did everything I could to try to find a ride for outdoors and nothing really happened. I was open for racing in Canada and I just couldn’t get any deals done, so I just had to sit back for everything. Honestly, I was pretty bummed on the whole situation because I’m 23 years old now and It’s my time to make something happen. I’ve been riding since I was four years old so I owe it to myself and everyone else to get something out of it, so I’m going to keep at it and hope for the best because there are some great opportunities out there. I didn’t have a bike for a couple of months so I started to work with my dad in construction at his company for three months or so and, believe it or not, I actually started to like it (laughs). I mean you wake up every day and you know what you gotta do. It was a taste of “the simple man’s life.” There’s no politics, nobody is judging you like they do in motocross, so it was a nice change of pace from racing, but nothing compares to being back on my bike.
If it were up to you, you would have opted for outdoors 2014, right?
Yeah, absolutely. I wanted and tried to but it was a bummer situation because 5150 had the door open to do outdoors with me on the team so I felt I didn’t need to worry about anything during Supercross since I had a deal already set in stone for the nationals, but some things didn’t work out and I was stuck without a bike to race with. I grew up on outdoors so I want to do an entire season of racing, not just half of one.
So this will be your first season aboard the 450 for Supercross, right?
Yeah. I’ve done a few random nationals on a 450, but never Supercross.
Are you excited to be moving up to a new class on a new bike racing against different riders?
I’m very excited because it’s a program that is just for me. It’s time for me to finally make a change and I might as well do it with the big boys. I’m 23, too, so having a beard and lining up against kids that are younger than my sisters is a little weird for me (laughs). But yeah I’m super excited to race with the big boys and bang bars with them and try to put some factory guys behind me.
You’ve made trips to other countries before in the name of racing. Where have you been and how was it racing at new tracks against new faces?
It’s really cool because over here in the US, it’s the best of the best. I’m racing for top fives in the lites class and top tens in the 450 class so going to new places and racing with new guys is always fun. I’ve been to Sweden and obviously Germany, which is an exciting one for me since I won a race last year over there. This year is different, though, because I’ll be doing the whole series and I’m set on winning that championship. It’s a trip going up there because most Americans are somewhat unknown, so when you do good they think you’re Jeremy McGrath or something (laughs).
What are your expectations for the opening round of the German Supercross?
Honestly, I plan on going into this race full steam ahead and going in for the win. Yes, I’ll be testing the waters for A1, but at the same time I’m all business because I’m serious about that championship.
As of now, 2015 is a DIY type of season, right?
Yeah. I might bounce around here and there to find those one-off races and try to make some money at the same time.
You’ve been on some pretty decent teams in the past. How hard is it, in a sense, being moved down the totem pole to a privateer’s position?
I honestly don’t even really look at it like that because it’s not like I was on a Pro Circuit or Geico type of team. Don’t get me wrong, the teams that I’ve been on were awesome and they were my first experiences with great equipment and great backing, but I just feel like the top teams are on a whole different level. So coming off of the teams that I’ve been with to doing my own thing is almost a little bit more fun. It’s a “from the heart” kind of thing because I’m doing this for myself and no one else. I’m still trying to prove my talent and show people what I’ve got in my bag. There’s a lot less pressure and I’ve got a great group of people that support me. I genuinely feel this is going to be one of the best years for me and I plan on improving from here.
You obviously live on the west coast. Do you plan on doing just those races or the east rounds, as well?
Yeah, I’ll definitely be lining up for all of the west coast rounds, save for Phoenix because the final round of the German Supercross series is the same weekend. But we’re going to keep an eye on my budget for the east coast rounds and see what happens. This whole thing I have now is basically like my own personal team and if we can make it happen then I definitely want to keep racing and hopefully see if someone is willing to help pay for flights or get my bike on a rig and do as many races as I can.
When A1 finally rolls around, what are your personal expectations?
Again, this will be my first season aboard the 450, so I want to make every night show. Plus being on a 450 now, the qualifying setup is completely different than the 250 class so there’s a lot more laps involved with the heats and semis, but I feel like getting in the main is a forceable goal for me. After that, Getting inside that top ten and hanging with those guys is my main goal!