Photos by Masa Shirotani/Troy Lee Designs
Jordon Smith is the newest member of the Troy Lee Designs/GoPro/Red Bull/KTM team, and we caught up with the rider from North Carolina earlier this week as he spun some laps on his new KTM 250 SX-F.
It’s October and you’ve officially been announced on the Troy Lee team. What are your first impressions of the KTM 250 SX-F?
The bike is great so far. I’m just trying to have fun while I’m getting used to the changes. I’m looking to get used to everything in time for a couple of off-season races that I plan on attending. I’m digging everything so far!
This was a surprise switch from GEICO Honda, as you had some time left on your contract. Was it a mutual decision to end things early?
Yeah, exactly. It was a decision made on both sides. I really want to thank everyone at GEICO. They’re all great people over there; Jeff, Ziggy and everyone else. They really helped me get to this point in my career. It was a decision that everyone agreed upon. I was a little unhappy with some of my results, but I did have some good ones. I think it was time for a change for myself. I guess I needed a new start.
Big changes, such as the one you’ve just made, are always exciting because everything is fresh and new. You’re hardly a seasoned veteran that could use a change, but it still has to be exciting to be doing something different, right?
Yeah, for sure. Getting to know everyone on the team has been really great. Everyone involved works hard together and they all get along really well. It’s a lighthearted atmosphere. I’m really expecting big things out of myself come 2017.
When you were still riding for GEICO Honda, did you have your feelers out for other teams then or was it an abrupt, last minute decision that left you with no plan B?
It was actually a scary point in time for me because I didn’t have anything set in stone after leaving the team. There were some things in my program that I felt needed to change, so I felt it was time. It was definitely a scary situation to be in, but I really believe everything is going to work out. 2017 should be really interesting!
Going from an aluminum chassis Japanese bike with KYB air forks to an Austrian bike with a steel frame and spring forks, there are some obvious differences. When it comes to suspension and chassis, which was the greater difference for you?
The suspension as a whole on the KTM is really good, and the traction seems to be on point, as well. There is still a lot to get used to with these bikes, but the guys on the team have told me there are a lot of different things we can try to help me get used to the bike sooner.
It’s obviously a little early, but do you have a preference when it comes to the West Coast or the East Coast Supercross championship?
I would rather do the East Coast rounds because I grew up there, and I still train there. Along with my entire family living over there. I really like the rutted dirt out there, too. However, I’ll be ready to go for the West Coast rounds if that’s what the team wants. I raced on the East Coast my rookie year and then I raced on the West Coast my sophomore year, and I don’t think I did any better on one coast compared to the other. Either way, I’ll be ready!
Before you know it January 1 will be here, as it’s seemingly the fastest three months of the year. What are you hoping to get out of yourself next year?
I really want to be up there running up front with those guys more than I have. I think my starts are pretty good, but I’m going to continue to work on them. This new bike seems really fast so far so that should really help in getting me towards the front. Landing on the podium week in and week out is the ultimate goal for me. I really want to put myself in a good position for the championship.