Born: Warrnambool on April 21, 1986.
Parents: Reg and Carolyn. Siblings: Ben and Jessie.
Education: King's College before Brauer College Warrnambool.
Sporting highlight: Taking part in the 2008 AMA supercross in America.
Jake, we'll talk about your exploits in motorcycling shortly but did you play any other sports when you were young?
I often think back to the one game of footy that I played at Warrnambool's King's College. I failed to get a kick and soon realised I had no footy ability. I played competitive soccer on Wednesday nights and enjoyed it but then I showed an interest in basketball. From the age of 13, I played golf and I thought it was good. I used to play golf at Timboon, Deakin and Peterborough, but I found I was hooked on another sport and that came from growing up on a farm.
What sort of farm were you raised on?
It was a dairy farm at Nullawarre. It was the same farm as my uncle Max, who went on to be a legend sprintcar driver. We always had motorbikes at the farm and, from a young age, I was always riding one. The motorbike would be there to bring in the cows or just ride around the farm. My first serious involvement in motorcycling started when I went to a property at Lake Gillear some 29 years ago. The property is the home of the Warrnambool Motorcycle Club, and once I got there, I found I was hooked on the sport.
What's the background of the Warrnambool Motorcycle Club?
The club was originally formed in 1935, and at its first annual general meeting, it had 25 members, which grew to 90 members pre-war. After the war, it reformed in March 1948 and had nine members, which grew to 63 and kept on increasing. They didn't have a set property to race at and often raced at Tower Hill and district racecourses before purchasing the Lake Gillear property in September 1968 and they still race there to this day.
It took a lot of hard work and fundraising but now the club owns the land, and over the years, there have been massive improvements, including new clubrooms, new toilets and a changing of the layout and redevelopment of the track. There have been numerous purchases of machinery to make improvements and to do general maintenance. The club has been very lucky to have wonderful sponsors, supporters and volunteers who have helped in various ways over the years.
Jake, have you been involved in any official roles at the Warrnambool Motorcycle Club?
I've been on an off the committee over the years and given a hand to help out if things need to be done. My dad is a former president and secretary of the club.
One of the big assets that the Warrnambool Motorcycle Club offers is its members get a key, so they can enter Lake Gillear during the day or any time of the week to ride their bikes. It's a massive bonus for members to be able to use the facility when they want. It's been very busy at Lake Gillear over the holiday period, as our young members have been taking advantage of our facilities.
For years, the Warrnambool Motorcycle Club has staged its Pony Express mainly at Lake Gillear and years ago at Bants Quarries or Devil Gully at Cobden. This weekend the club has a two-day event at a new venue. Can you tell me about it?
We've got the Glenmore Pony Express and Hill Climb at the Glenmore property this weekend.
It's going to be a huge event for the club, with the Hill Climb on Saturday and the Pony Express on Sunday.
We've got $15,000 in prizemoney for all the senior events, which is a first for our club. The prizemoney has already attracted riders from South Australia and Mildura and we're expecting more entries in the lead up to the events.
Glenmore is the perfect property to stage such events. We've changed our format around this year, including junior races and the senior prologue on Saturday.
We'll have light towers in place for the Hill Climb, which starts at 5pm. There'll be probably 30 to 40 riders who take part in the Hill Climb.
One of our members sadly passed away last year and the club will be making a financial donation to the Let's Talk Foundation before the Hill Climb. We've had various fundraisers over the last few months to make the donation.
The Let's Talk Foundation is a charity that helps break down the stigma relating to mental health.
The spectators will have the chance to capture all the thrills and spills in the Hill Climb from great vantage points around the track and we'll also have a band playing, which should make for a wonderful atmosphere.
Sunday will see the Glenmore Express, which is an endurance event and is always a thrilling spectacle over four hours.
It's fitting that I acknowledge the Midfield Group and, in particular, Dean and Sharnie McKenna, who have helped the club go to the next level. The Midfield Group go under the radar for what they do in the local community on so many occasions, but they should be acknowledged for everything they do.
It appears it's going to be a massive weekend for the Warrnambool Motorcycle Club. Is that a fair statement?
I would think this will be the biggest event the club has ever staged. It's going to be a wonderful family event and everyone will be made most welcome and it's only 15 minutes out of Warrnambool.
Can you please explain the difference between motocross and supercross events?
Motocross is staged on natural terrain, with a few man-made jumps, while supercross is built inside a stadium with big jumps. Motocross is a unique sport. The riders are competitive on the track but afterwards they're all great mates.
Jake, let's talk about your time in America. When did you compete in America?
In 2006 and 2008 I took part in various motocross events.
It was a massive time for me, as I worked as a mechanic for various supercross teams for six months.
It was really a mind-blowing experience and I was lucky enough to live the dream, competing and going to world class events.
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