Catching Up with Jake Piccolo | KTM Canada
By Billy Rainford
Jake Piccolo is the BC rider who’s been on everyone’s radar since he was on little bikes. He’s got blazing speed and is one of the most entertaining riders to watch whenever he’s on the track. He’s signed on with Al Dyck and the gang over at Sky Racing and he’s down at Club MX getting all the pre-season training that should see him take the next step in his Pro career. We got in touch with him to talk about how he’s doing down in South Carolina.
Direct Motocross: Hey, Jake. Thanks for taking some time with us today. I’d like to jump around a little for this one, if you don’t mind. Let’s go back to the beginning and ask you how you got started racing motocross in the first place?
Jake Piccolo: It all started with my uncle and my cousin who raced. We would go to the races and watch, he was pretty fast too. Really, just got hooked from there.
What was YOUR first race number and why did you choose it?
Funny story, actually, how we ended up with 81. I started as 31 and ran that for a while. We ended up going to a race out of town and somebody else had that number. Black tape turned the 3 into an 8 and it just kinda stuck. We’ve run that number all the way to Pro’s.
I’ve got photos of you on a little Polini at the World Minis in Las Vegas from 2009. Do you remember an outdoor race at Chilliwack Heritage Park when you and Spencer Knowles were the only ones doing that huge jump into a tight corner? (He was a pro and you were on a little bike still!) You were ahead by miles but kept doing it! Can you explain how you always gave it 100% no matter how big your lead was? Did people tell you to slow down sometimes?
Ya, wow, I remember that race, sort of. That’s a long time ago! Way back to the 65 days. I remember we were getting ready to leave for some big race somewhere and my dad wasn’t impressed. I think even Kyle Beaton walked out on the track and got me to stop. Lol I just loved hitting the jumps and that one wasn’t too bad if you got through the corner clean. I was just having fun. Same thing in the races. Believe me, I was told to slow down on a daily basis from my dad and others.
You’ve been pegged as a future champion from a very young age. Can you tell us what that pressure is like or if you even felt it at all?
Man, you’re sure asking the tough questions. Ha Ha. It sure would be cool to live up to that hype! I think when I was younger I really didn’t know what was going on. Lol When I got a bit older I guess at times I would think about it. Maybe ride a little harder than I should have. Probably got me into trouble more than once. Work in progress, let’s say.
You had that tough ankle/foot injury a couple years back. Can you tell us just how bad that one actually was? Were you worried your career may be over?
Yes, tib/fib and some bones in my foot. The foot was the worst. It’s amazing how many bones are in there, actually. A lot were damaged. But thankfully we were able to get a great doctor. I think that made all the difference. It was a little scary at first, not gonna lie. Definitely the worst injury I had to deal with, for sure. Everything healed up great and is solid so I’ve put it behind me. It never crossed my mind to quit at all. I knew I’d be back.
I think we can say 2020 was sort of your breakout year as a Pro. You showed you had the pace to lead races. What was your highlight last summer?
Highlight last year was definitely going 2-2 at Sand Del Lee. And being able to be up there with Jess (Pettis) and Casey (Keast) was pretty cool. Definitely looking forward to more moments like that! I’d say a close second was my race at Gopher (Dunes). I really struggled there so to have a good moto at that track was a confidence boost.
You won our “DMX Total Devotion Award” a couple years ago and with it comes a free week at Club MX, which is where you are now. How have things been going? How do you like the facility?
Things have been going very well at Club MX. This facility is unreal and definitely the place to come. I’ve got to thank you again, Billy, for that award. Since you gave it to us in Walton we’ve been planning on this trip. Took a little longer then we would have liked to get down here with everything going on but we made it. It’s nice to have a plan, so I know exactly what I need to do to get the results I want. They have it all figured out here with lots of fast guys to learn from, and everything you need to get it done.
This pre-season should give you a lot of structured training heading into the 2021 season. What do you think will be the biggest benefit to your program?
Yes, definitely lots of structure. Of course, the physical training and nutrition plan here is excellent so I’m confident I’ll have the endurance I was lacking last year. Also, putting this many laps down on the super gnarly tracks they have here will help me with the consistency I’ll need for the rough national tracks this season. It’s no secret that was another piece of the puzzle I was missing.
You’ll be on the Sky Racing team with Julien Benek and Daniel Elmore, two really fast young riders. Are you familiar with just how fast and successful Al Dyck was as a racer? Does he talk about “the good old days?”
Yes, excited to be on the Sky Racing Team with Julian and Daniel and more to come. It will be an all-Canadian team this year so that’s really cool. Al was definitely way before my time so I didn’t really know anything about him. I get a few stories here and there from him and other people, so it’s definitely cool to have that kind of experience behind me. He was a big factor in choosing this team.
How long will you stay down in South Carolina?
We’ll stay down here for a couple more months and then head up to Ontario for some training up there.
Is AMA Supercross something you’re interested in?
Supercross is in my future, for sure, and I hope to start learning it next year. Most likely back down here at Club MX, they have a pretty cool Supercross program.
Maybe a dumb question to end it here, but what are your goals for this coming summer?
Great question! I’d just like to build on what I learned last year, be more consistent, and battle for podiums regularly.
OK, thanks for taking the time with us. Good luck down there, and who would you like to thank?
Thanks, Billy, I’ve got a pretty big list of people that help. Mom and Dad right at the top then Sky Racing, KTM Canada, Fox Canada, Ryno Power, Dunlop tires, Sky Helicopters, Mika Metals, Dt1 Filters, SSS Suspension, Parkridge Homes, Mid Holdings, SSi Decals, Moto Seat, LRX Performance, Works Connection, Acerbis USA, Tusk Powersports, and Ride Engineering.