ICYMI | Catching Up with Jayce Pennington

By Billy Rainford

Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada
Catching Up with Illinois rider, Jayce Pennington. | Bigwave photo

I’d seen Jayce racing down south in the past but had never met the rider from Illinois until he came north to race out series in 2019. He came in with a ton of potential, but struggled with a few lingering injuries that prevented him from performing at the level he was hoping for.

Here’s a look at his 2019 Rockstar Triple Crown Tour season:

He ended the motocross season pretty strong and then capped it off with a strong moto 2 at the Montreal Supercross, finishing 3rd. Here’s what Jayce had to say when we got in touch with him this week in Illinois:

Direct Motocross: Hello, Jayce. Thanks for taking some time with us today. Let’s take it back to the beginning to let everyone get to know you little better. How did you first get started racing Motocross?

Jayce Pennington: I started out riding in my backyard on a JR50 and loved every second of it! Around 8 years old I decided to start going to local races just to have fun and decided after 2 years that I wanted to start taking it seriously and that’s where I started racing amateur nationals.

What was your first number and why did you choose it?

My first number was 101. I actually chose that number because I was a fan of Jace Owen who was number 401 at the time.

Where did you grow up and who did you come up through the ranks with?

I grew up in southern Illinois. I raced Chase Sexton a lot, Tanner StackLance Kobusch, and Austin Forkner. All of us were from the same general area so we raced a lot of the same tracks.

Jayce joined the series in 2019 for the eastern swing of the motocross portion of the tour. | Bigwave photo

What was your best result as an amateur racer?

I would have to say winning a moto at Loretta’s.

How did your deal to come up and race in Canada in 2019 come about? Had you ever been here before?

2019 was my first year up in Canada. The deal came about when the team I was on, Traders Racing, decided to partner with Club MX. The team decided together that we wanted to go up to Canada. New experience, new riders…we were excited.

You came in for the MX portion of the series and ended up pretty strong with a 6th and 7th. How do you think your series went?

I started the series on the 4th race. I actually was not happy with how my series went. I struggled with injuries through a lot of it. I had 6 ribs that kept popping out on my left side, and I had just came back from a pretty big wrist injury which is what caused me to miss the first 3 races. So, even though my speed was there, I wasn’t able to handle everything how I normally would when I got tired or the track was extra brutal. No excuses!! That’s just what I dealt with through the series and overall I was hoping for a stronger ending to it.

After struggling in the first moto, Jayce came back for a 3rd at the Montreal Supercross. | Bigwave photo

And then you raced the Montreal Supercross and got 10th. How was that event for you?

I had a blast at Montréal. I did place 10th but I went 19-3. I got the holeshot the first moto then biffed it. Haha. My bike was tweaked from the crash and that was hard to come back from. Second moto I had last gate pick and managed to get a good start. I rode my own race to a podium. 

What did you get get up to after that?

After racing in Canada for the year I came back to Club MX to start training for the Supercross series in the US. Shortly before New Year’s I decided I wanted to step away from motocross. 

Oh wow. And what are you doing these days?

Job-wise, I am currently in training to be a general manager for one of the car dealerships my family owns. I spend more time at home, more time with my family, and I have a girlfriend. It’s nice to get to see what it’s like having a more normal life compared to racing and training everyday.

Jayce has stepped away from the sport and, hopefully, it’s nothing but smiles for him. | Bigwave photo

Looking back on your racing career, is there a memory that stands out for you?

I would say the memories that stand out the most is all the times motocross brought people together as family. The times a rider would get hurt and every person at the track felt for them. The times all the 50-65-85 and big bike riders would be sitting waiting for their race just talking. The times your dad was next to you on the gate telling you “go kick some a**”. The feeling you get when you’re riding and there’s not a single thing going on in your mind other than, “How can I go faster?!“. And, obviously, the times you exceeded expectations, put it all on the line and it worked, it got you the race win, or the podium. 

Well, I wish you all the best in the future. Stay healthy and thank you for taking this time with us. Is there anyone you’d like to thank before we let you go?

I want to thank my family for their nonstop support and encouragement. The teams I raced for that went above and beyond for me: Club MX, and Traders Racing. Skip Norfolk was a big part of helping in my pro career, I want to give a special thanks to him. Other than that, everyone, everyone along my journey of racing helped me…the good and the bad. I’m just grateful for the experience.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Jayce. All the best. | Bigwave photo