Jake Bowen has become somewhat of a celebrity in the world of freestyle motocross. The local lad has made a name for himself riding for Crusty Demons both here and overseas. Jake’s passion for the sport has taken him to new heights.
> How old were you when you first started riding?
At the age of four I started riding motorcycles. My parents got me a little 50 and my uncle (who also rides) taught me how to ride it. While growing up, he taught me more and more, which has helped me a lot throughout the years.
I grew up just riding my bike and having fun doing jumps, but I never raced. When I was 15, I entered a comp in Lismore, not knowing what to expect. I went there and rode my best, and I ended up winning the event and bagging a couple of grand for it. It was such a good feeling, and I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
> You’re touring with Crusty Demons these days. How did this eventuate?
After that first comp I started to pick up sponsors, get shows and coverage in magazines, and I was also entering more comps and getting good results.
At 18 I rode my first show for the Crusty Demons. It was in my home town of Coffs Harbour, and the show went really well. Throughout the next few years I rode Crusty shows here and there.
Their shows are like no other and display the world’s best FMX riders. The latest tour starts in October – it’s the capital city tour and will be one awesome show.
> Is self confidence important?
In 2003 I was invited to ride at the X Games in LA – a dream come true. Rocking up to the Coliseum in LA, I was excited to ride, but coming from Australia doing shows and comps with average courses, I was not ready for the huge, crazy course that was there. I got through practice pretty good jumping most the jumps, but was not confident with it all. It was too overwhelming for me, and I pulled out.
After x games I was bummed on the whole thing, but I flew straight into Perth to do some shows. I ended up over-jumping the portable landing and smashing my ankle, cracking it and snapping the ligaments. It was really painful, and my ankle has never been the same since. From then on my confidence was shot, and I took a step back from it all to find the fun in it again.
I never actually stopped riding; I still rode whenever I could. Me and my mate Ben fixed up my FMX course, making it technical and lots of fun. I started riding really well again, and my confidence was coming back to me.
> What encouraged you along the way?
Freerider mx magazine came out to do a photo shoot on me – a bit of an update on what I have been doing and where I have been the last couple of years. I was riding well, and people must have noticed. I started to get shows again and more coverage.
I bought a new bike and was loving my time on the bike more then ever. I’ve always said to myself that if I’m not having fun doing something, I’m not going to do it.
So the last 2 years have been pretty good for me. I’ve picked up a bunch of new sponsors, been doing shows here and overseas and entering comps.
> What’s it like to compete again?
My first comp back was a natural terrain comp in New Zealand. The course was so fun and gave you the chance to be creative, as there was only one metal ramp on the course. I ended up coming home with second place to Levi Sherwood. I was stoked and can’t wait for next year’s event.
These days in FMX you have to have be able to flip to be at the highest level, so I made my mind up that I was going to try to learn the flip.
After a few trips up north to my good mate Robbie Marshall’s place, and heading out to Matt Schubring’s foam pit, I was able to get the 75ft flip down to dirt.
It was such a good feeling, and I can’t wait to get variations and be really comfortable flipping my bike.
> Tell us about your trip to LA.
I have just recently returned from a 2 week trip to the USA. My mate and I decided to head over for the 2010 X Games in LA. It was such a good time to be over there again.
This year there were so many AUSSIE guys competing, and it was good to see them do so well. It was also really good to catch up with all my USA mates, who I haven’t seen since my last visit.
We went along to a VIP RED BULL, DC party on the rooftop of a well known club /motel in Hollywood. It was so flashy, and there were heaps of celebrities and athletes there. X Games is huge in LA, and the industry parties that go on every night are not to be missed.
So now I’m home with a brand new YZ 250 in the garage, hanging out to ride and progress. We have had a lot of rain lately, which hasn’t helped with my flip progression, but it’s all good.
> What have you got planned for the rest of this year?
The next few months I have shows and demos all over the place, from demos in China, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Brisbane to a big comp in Sydney. It’s going to be a fun few months.
But of course, none of this would be possible without my sponsors, who have been awesome to work with and so much help to me – DC, LKI, MOTUL, SKULL CANDY, MOB SYNDICATE, KUSTOM MX, SMITH and ABSOLUTE TATTOO.
> What advice would you give to any riders who might want to get involved in the sport?
For anyone out there wanting to give FMX a crack, my advice to you is get your bike skills down first. Tricks come easy, but it’s all about knowing how your bike is going to react on different terrains and to different jumps. Bike skills are everything, so time on the bike is crucial.
But most of all, just have fun with it!
> Thank you Jake.