Jordon Smith is another young pro rider doing everything he can to transfer his success in the amateur ranks over to the pro level. Jordon exploded on to the pro scene midway through the 2015 Supercross season where he surprised many by scoring his first top five in just his second race.
Since then it’s been a rollercoaster for the young rider with many highs and many lows. Now, Jordon has gotten a breath of fresh air with a new team and is looking very comfortable with the changes. We caught up with him as he preps with his new team for the up and coming season.
Thanks so much for doing this Jordon. How are you doing today? I’m doing pretty good, thanks! Just working my way home for Christmas!
Okay for some of us who don’t know, where does Jordon Smith come from and how old were you when you started working on this career? I grew up in North Carolina, started riding in my grandpas field when I was 4 and I also did my first race when I was 4. I started out racing woods races and didn’t start racing motocross until I was 5.
When was the first time you realized that you could make a living out of riding a motorcycle? I don’t really know exactly when I thought I could maybe make this a living. I think it really probably didn’t click until I actually signed with Geico as an amateur in 2012.
What kind of role did Geico Honda play in you turning pro and did everything go as expected once you did reach the top level? Geico helped me out tremendously as an amateur! I won a lot of titles when I first joined the team and then unfortunately broke my femur at the end of 2013. They stuck behind me the whole time through the good and the bad. When I turned pro I had pretty high expectations and I would say that I got close to those expectations at times but I also had very many disappointing weekends too.
How would you describe your 2016 season and how did it hold up to your expectations? To my expectations I would say 2016 was a little bit disappointing. I had some good races where I was running up front but that is where I wanted to be every weekend. I worked hard enough that I knew I belonged with those guys up front. I just couldn’t quite get it to happen every weekend like I wanted.
Surely that podium at San Diego boosted your confidence though. The podium at San Diego was great! Like I said I knew I belonged up front with those guys, it was just a matter of doing it and proving it to myself. Unfortunately, I got hurt about a week after that in a practice crash and that kind of stopped the momentum of the season a little bit.
How did the TLD KTM deal come about, did everything end well with Geico? I think everything ended well with Geico. Ziggy and Jeff are awesome and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunities that they gave me in my career. We both kind of parted ways mutually and we are all still going to be friends at the races. Once I knew that I wasn’t going to be riding for them in 2017 I had to start calling around and looking for a job. I had multiple places to go but I felt like TLD Red Bull KTM was a good place for me to go and a place that I would feel comfortable at. I think the opportunity to get to work closely with Roger, Ian, and all of the guys with KTM. Along with Tyler, Luke, Wayne, and my mechanic Kristian at TLD, it was an opportunity I definitely couldn’t pass up and I’m going to try to make the best of it.
You’ve had some ups and downs in the last year, do you feel like you kind of have a fresh start going with the new team?Yeah for sure. It’s kind of sparked a new fire and I’m feeling more confident coming into this season than I ever have. I think it’s time for me to start running up front every weekend.
With these big changes taking place, how is your off-season going… or lack there of? The off-season has been going pretty good. I got to do a few races with the team when I first got on the bike. So that was good to be able to work with them in a race environment. For the races to go as well as they did too I think said a lot for how this year should go.
How was Red Bull Straight Rhythm? You looked very comfortable on the new bike. Yeah I absolutely did. That is always one of the most fun races of the year for me. It’s different and I like different. It’s something that we can go into and don’t really have much pressure. Pure fun and it’s just you versus one other guy.
What’s your week-to-week schedule like right now as we near crunch time going into Anaheim although you won’t be racing until East Coast correct? Yeah I have been out in California doing some testing and riding with the team for the past few weeks. That has been going really good and I’m looking forward to watching my teammates when they start west coast. I think that we are all riding very well right now but really we won’t know until that gate drops and it’s time to go racing.
What are your goals for the 2017 season? Like I said, its time for me to start running up front every weekend. I feel like I’m a really good started and should start in the top 5 every single race. My bike is good enough for me to be a podium guy every week so it’s time for me to get it done!
Alright well good luck to you this year, who would you like to thank? Thanks! I would like to thank TLD Red Bull KTM, GoPro, all of the guys on the team that go in there every day to make it possible for me to go race my dirt bike. All of the people at MTF for the great tracks and facility they provide me with. Of course my family for helping me get to where I am today!
Interview Bubb Lannan