This year saw Ashford venturing into Supercross, sponsoring a young lad from Kingsfold West Sussex with aspirations to be the best in the sport. Jake Collins, son of Richard Collins, a project manager for Phoenix Electrical is only 9 years old, but is already making an impression in the sport.
For those who don’t know, Supercross is motorcycle racing involving off-road motorcycles on an artificially-made dirt track consisting of steep jumps and obstacles. It derives from Motocross but differs in the respect that the tracks are more technical, not as fast as motocross but with a much higher difficulty level, further adding to the injury risk factor. The term "Supercross" was coined as the event name for the first organized motocross race that was successfully held inside a stadium in the United States back in 1972.
Jake races in a championship based in the South East, where there are three clubs, his being regarded as the best in the south, a boast that recently became fact when they finished third in the country. Jake has progressed very quickly in his first full year of racing. In February he raced his first ever Supercross, an indoor event held at the O2, where all the top riders around the country and Ireland compete.
Qualifying races are carried out during the day with the top twelve riders going through to race in front of a six thousand strong crowd in the evening. Top professionals also compete at this event. Jake qualified to race in the evening, making all his family (and Ashford) very proud. He held his own in the main event against kids who had been racing for three years, until a crash. Luckily he wasn’t hurt and managed to remount, but there was not enough time to make an impact. His dad thinks the excitement got to him. During the year at championship rounds, your points accumulate towards a nation championship race. The country is divided into four, each holding a semi final with the top 10 from each semi making the final. Jake made it through to the semi finals.
When it came, the semi final was an eventful day. After two races Jake was placed in 7th place, however, in race three Jake’s engine blew up and he was unable to complete. Dads fault according to Jake. Despite this he still only just missed out finishing 11th overall. Obviously, Jake was very disappointed, “but that is racing unfortunately” is Richard’s sanguine response. Jake has now moved up a group and has taken to his new Ashford KTM bike very well. His Dad says he is enjoying the bike even more, if that were possible! He has already beaten children who have been racing at national level in this new group for two years.
The plan for the future is to concentrate on the South of England for this season, with a few national races mixed in and hopefully a full season of nationals next season.
We think Jake has a very bright future and we will be cheering him on in 2012