Catching Up with…Jay Burke
By Billy Rainford
We were unable to get in touch with the always busy Jay Burke this past Friday #38 in time for the Update intro. Here is our conversation with the Ontario rider.
Direct Motocross. Hello, Jay. Thanks for chatting with us today. Speaking of today, can you tell everyone what it is you do 9-5, Monday to Friday?
Jay Burke: Well, Billy, when I received your message I was working. Took some overtime work that had me working from 1am through the night then through the day. Long day that for sure. I am still a licensed plumber, but mainly industrial with a lot of stainless steel welding. All our work is municipal, water and waste water .
OK, so you jumped into the Nationals at Gopher Dunes and did the entire 6 eastern rounds. Your top finish was a 14th overall at round 5. Can you tell us how the series went for you?
The series pretty much went how I thought it would go. I did my best at the first round I entered because I was able to ride and train on the weeks leading towards that round. After that round I had to work longer days in order to have Friday off to head to the races. No complaints, just how it is. Each round I had some small little issue or one good moto and one bad.
You wound up 23rd for the series and will have #44 for 2017. Are you happy with that? What were you expecting/hoping for?
Had no expectations, just to have a blast and finish with zero injuries. Wife is on maternity leave so I need to be at work this year. (Laughs). As long as I was racing someone out there I was happy.
Looking back over your career, what would you say was your favourite year of all and why?
It’s been a great ride, but this career is still going (Laughs). At what level? Not totally sure yet. I have had a few years that where definitely awesome for me. Ended up with top ten number 2 times but both times was the unable to run it the next season due to a huge injury. 2009- 2012.
You have a full-time job, a growing family, and therefore very little time. What does the future hold for you, racing-wise? Will you do the east again?
I plan to race, yes. Each winter I decide at what level. Definitely do some rounds. Just purchased a PW50 for my boy so if he likes it I guess I am around for a long time.
What race stands out as your favourite from this past summer?
Best Race/round is always the Dunes for me. I get good starts and seem to finish decent. Lots of family and friends on site to help make it more enjoyable.
Did you ever head south to try Supercross or the AMA Nationals during your career?
Actually, I have never ventured south for any big Races. Did a few amateur nationals and that’s where it ends. Never really had the funds to go do one round here or there. I was always happy just racing around home.
You’ve been around the Pro scene for a long time. How would you say the series has progressed in that time?
Well, progressed? Mainly with faster guys coming, but I feel we might be further behind now than we were before. Each year I say things will be better but actually they don’t change. I was all about having a good presence at the nationals, but the last few years if you don’t have a rig then you don’t matter. It’s hard to give back to sponsors, best we can do is logo represent. But when you’re parked in the back 40 no one can see you… I can go on for days, so let’s just leave it there.
Has any rider really impressed you recently?
I always seem to know who going to do well and so on. You always see who is working hard on and off the bike and that leads to results, usually.
Who did you end up racing with at most of the rounds this year? Was there one rider you kept seeing over and over on the track?
Each round I had different battles, but I always seem to be in a race. Never once did I get to cruise alone. Tired or not, I pushed with what I had left until the end.
What did you think of the speed of the first few riders in MX1? Would you say this is the fastest racing you’ve seen in Canada?
Fastest by far, but my perspective is I am still racing for tenth at my level. Each year it is just new guys to fill the front pack, but from tenth and back lots of guys can fill those spots.
What have you been doing since we last saw you at RJ’s?
I went and did the TransCan. Used up my last week of vacation for that week. Had a blast even though the weather was horrible.
Since that week I have not even touched my bike – still dirty in trailer. Been working no less than 50 hours a week to make up for missed time during the summer. Plan to ride this weekend, though.
Will you do any riding training over the winter?
Riding? Well, that is to be determined. I will continue to try to stay in shape at the gym and then when the snow flies, and if I get the itch, maybe head south for a few weeks. If I do go south, it will be a family vacation with some moto (Laughs).
OK, good luck with everything and who would you like to thank before we let you get back to work?
I would like to thank first off my family for supporting me over and over no matter what, Steve Simms at SSR for never-ending support. The amount of time he gives up does not go unnoticed. John Nelson, Label it (Brad Coles). A huge thank you to every single [person] at FXR for the years and years of never-ending support, 100%, Deft gloves, 180 decals and if I forgot anyone, thank you.