Catching Up with…Jared Petruska
By Jeff McConkey
Jeff catches up with one of the hardest workers on the Pro circuit, Jared Petruska. – Bigwave photo
It is kind of rare now a days to hear about a Professional racer that can juggle school, a Monday-Friday job and still get solid results. Jared Petruska is one of those guys. Not only does he bust his butt all week, he gets it done on the race track on Sundays. Add in the fact that he double-classed the Moncton National and scored points in all four motos. That makes Jared pretty bad ass in my books. Let’s see what the hard-working Alberta native has been up to.
Hi, Jared. How’s it going?
It’s going good, thanks. Enjoying my one day off a week (laughs).
What have you been up to since Walton?
I went back to work for a couple weeks before going to school for my final period of my apprenticeship. That was 8 weeks long then back to work right after that. My girlfriend and I went to California with my family for a week at Christmas and have been riding at the Wild Rose track with studded tires over the winter.
You are working on becoming a Journeyman Welder. How hard is it for you to juggle that and a Professional Moto career?
Yes, I actually am a Journeyman now. It’s tough. This past season was a lot to handle. I was still working full-time through most of the season. Which wasn’t so bad on the west coast, but for most of the the east rounds I would work all week, get on a plane Friday afternoon, race, then get back on a plane Sunday night and be back to work Monday.
You have been on Kawasakis your entire career but for 2015 you will be riding Yamahas. How did the switch come about?
I just felt that I needed to make some changes. It’s not that I don’t think the Kawi is a good bike or that it didn’t work for me, but I wanted to try something new. So far, I really like the Yamaha but I have only ridden it a handful of times and still have some adjusting to do.
You double-classed it in Moncton last season and scored points in all 4 motos. That’s basically unheard of. What does that accomplishment mean to you?
I decided to double-class it because I blew my bike up the weekend before and was pissed off (laughs). I ended up hopping on my dad’s 450 a few days before Moncton and decided I wanted to make up for lost points from the weekend before. I went down in the final 450 moto on the first lap, so I felt I could have done better, but overall for my first time double-classing it I’m happy with the results. It was cool to have guys like Mike Alessi and Vince Friese come up to me the next weekend and tell me how cool it was that I did that. It was a busy day, to say the least.
I heard a rumour that you may try and double-class the West rounds. Is this something we may see?
Yes, other than maybe Kamloops I would like to try and double-class the whole west coast.
You’ll have a new rider to cheer for this season as Jared plans to double-class the entire western swing of the Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals in 2015. – Bigwave photo
Your season high in 2014 was a 9th at Nanaimo. What is it going to take to get you into the top 10 every moto?
My problem this year was that I didn’t race at all in 2013 due to a shoulder injury and I think that hurt me mentally. I feel like I could have had much better results for the amount of work I put into the season, but that’s all a part of the process. I think I have the speed to run up there, I just need to put it all together which comes with experience and racing.
You are still a young guy at only 21 years old. Do you feel that with your hard work you can keep getting better and break the top 5?
I feel like I work just as hard as anyone out there but I need to work on the mental side of things and put all the pieces together. Last year was my first season injury free which has always been my downfall. As long as I can build off last season I can keep getting better and work towards a top 5, but I still have some work to do.
Do you have any Nationals that you are really looking forward to, and are there any rounds you aren’t looking forward to?
Definitely looking forward to Calgary because it’s my home round. I seem to have lots of speed there, but again, I just need to put it together so hopefully this year I can do that. If Regina is as muddy as it was last year I’m not looking forward to it, but that track looks really good as long as the rain stays away.
What goals have you set for yourself for 2015?
I would like to break into the top ten consistently and if it works out that I don’t go out east then I would like to try and qualify for some AMA nationals.
You are currently working on getting your AMA license in hopes of racing Washougal and Utah. Can you tell us some of the hurdles you are having to jump through to make this happen?
I’m working on getting a release from the CMA. First, I had to buy a CMA membership and prove that I’m qualified to be an AMA Pro and then there’s concussion testing. I’m not sure what else I have to go through after that is said and done at this point.
If Petruska doesn’t head east with the series, watch for him lined up in Washougal and Utah. – Bigwave photo
You’ve purchased a new home with your girlfriend (and top National Women’s Racer) Dominique Daffe. How lucky are you to have a girlfriend that races and knows the sacrifices needed to reach your goals?
I am definitely very fortunate to have a girlfriend that has all of the same goals as me. We help keep each other motivated on the track and in the gym. It is cool that we can help each other reach our goals and and have fun doing it. She’s helped me a lot at the races and with training from pit-boarding me, doing lap times and running around on race day and I do the same for her.
We will be taking possession of the house in the middle of race season so it should be interesting, but I am excited.
Well, thank you for taking time to talk to us, and good luck in 2015. Who would you like to thank?
Thanks! I would like to thank Todd at Bowcycle, Yamaha Canada, Alias, Oakley, Matrix, Pro Circuit, Enzo, M7 Designs, VP Race Fuels, Sosa Original, True Game Apparel, my family and my girlfriend. Also, thanks Jeff for the interview.