Jason Thomas Interview

We caught up with the two time German Supercross Champion and friendly Floridian, while he was out spinning laps for us testing the new 2016 450cc motocross machines.

Jason Thomas at Glen Helen
Jason Thomas, 2016 Dirt Rider 450 ShootoutPhoto by Preston Jordan

Jason Thomas has been a fixture in AMA Pro Motocross/Supercross racing for almost twenty years! Jason has been there for the two-stroke and four-stroke racing eras and has been successful at each. From getting a factory ride to being one of the most successful privateers our sport has ever seen, he is now retired from the professional MX/SX circuit and is working for Western Power Sports as Co-National sales Manager. We caught up with the two time German Supercross Champion and friendly Floridian, while he was out spinning laps for us testing the new 2016 450cc motocross machines.

Give us a little background and insight on your professional racing career?

I turned professional in 1997 after I graduated high school, which seems to be rare these days. I raced professionally at a high level for over 16 years. I felt like I had a lot of longevity in a sport that usually that chews riders up and spits them out. I had a few injuries that were unavoidable but I was lucky not to get hurt too bad over those 16 years.

Tell us about all of the teams you have been on, over the course of your career and which ones stood out the most to you?

I was fortunate to be on several quality teams, but never was locked on to a factory team for too long. In 2001 I was on the Fast By Ferracci factory Husqvarna team, but that didn’t go very well. I couldn’t gel with the Husky at the time and was on the team for only a year. I then was on the Subway Honda team for four years, which didn’t turn out so well financially, but I had a lot of success there and some of my best results. I then transitioned to the Butler Brothers racing team for six years and finished out my career with them.

Jason Thomas at Glen Helen
Jason Thomas aboard the KTM at the 2016 Dirt Rider 450 MX Shootout.Photo by Preston Jordan

So now you are part of the blue-collar workforce. What is it that you are exactly doing now?

Well…I am doing a lot of things but my main gig now is with Western Power Sports (Fly Racing), I am Co-National Sales Manager. I am basically doing a mentorship with Bob Lowry that has been doing the job specifically the last five years. The long-term transition is that I will be taking over his position (as National Sales Manager) when he retires. I still have a lot to learn but I am enjoying it. Since I have such a strong racing background I have a lot to say about our rider support and amateur program. I also work with my former team (BTOSPORTS.COM/KTM) on the weekends for Supercross and host the VIP program for them. Finally, I work with Racer X and Pulp MX on some journalism/commentary that is almost not like work, but I get paid to do it! Between all those aspects it’s crazy to think how involved I am in the sport. When I was racing I didn’t think I could get more involved in the sport than I was being a full time professional racer, but now I am even more in depth with the sport that I love so much.

Tell us more about the BTOSPORTS.COM VIP Supercross experience?

It is really fun but super casual. Anyone can go to www.btosportsracing.com/VIP and sign up, and then they can pick which round they want to attend. I host a small group for selected rounds of AMA Supercross events and they get to meet the team, go on track walk, take a truck tour, get to watch the race from the press box, and really get to interact with the team/staff on the ins and outs of what happens on any given Saturday at a supercross event. It's more of a behind the scenes type day, which in our sport you really don't get much of.

When you were racing full time you were known as a world traveler, in search of big purse money, at selected events. Now with this job title has the travel cut back?

When I first got hired it was a lot of international travel. Now I will do one huge, long trip a month, but the duration is not quite as long. I get to delegate how much I travel now as well. If I feel like FLY is struggling in one part of the country I will travel there. Or if we are having a ride day in one area, I can dictate on where I need to be at any given time according to my workload.

You are out here at Glen Helen today doing the 2016 450 MX Shootout for us. Knowing that you don't get to ride as much as you used to, how was it riding all seven bikes in one day?

It was difficult, but awesome! Anytime I get to bring back that “racing life” it’s fun for me. It’s also nice knowing that I don’t have to get up the next day and have to ride again! Just being out here today on the track and seeing guys like Wil Hahn and Jason Anderson go by me and getting to tuck in behind them for a lap or so, I get those old racing feelings again. It’s tough to replicate that feeling sitting at a desk or standing at a dealership. It was the first shootout I have ever done so I got to really see what each manufacturer had planned when they developed their machines. It’s the side of the sport I think that isn’t looked at close enough. Who are these manufactures building the bikes for? When I got more time on each bike, I could really start to uncover what there intentions were and what type of customer they were aiming for.

What's one thing that you miss most about racing, now that you are a working class blue-collar citizen?

Now everyday I wake up and have to be somewhere. When I was racing I got to set my own schedule more than I can now. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of upsides to having a set income, but there are also a lot of days [when I was racing] that I was tired and would take off and sit on my couch and watch “The View”. You can’t actually do that when you have responsibilities and people depending on you. I got to race long enough and I am happy with where I am at now in my life. If I got granted one wish and it was to turn back time 10 years, I would pick what I am doing right now with FLY Racing.