JALEK SWOLL INTERVIEW: A BUILDING YEAR WITH A NEW TEAM

JALEK SWOLL INTERVIEW: A BUILDING YEAR WITH A NEW TEAM

If you’ve been following the 2024 250 motocross series you know it’s been up and down for Triumph Racing’s Jalek Swoll. It’s not that the Floridian has been riding bad, it’s just the mechanical issues that he’s been having that are typical of a new motocross bike brand. Swoll, who won the 2022 High Point National by taking both Moto wins. Despite yet another moto DNF at Red Bud (due to an aftermarket, not Triumph-made part) Jalek is taking a positive approach. Having recently slid down to eighth in points, Jalek is also looking forward to a better 2025.

 

BY JIM KIMBALL

JALEK, HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT YOUR MOTOCROSS SERIES TO DATE? I feel pretty good.  Obviously, it would be better without the bike problems that I have had this year which honestly for the most part have not even been a Triumph thing either.  It sucks to be around fourth through sixth every moto this season and then random things happen. Then you see your name dropped throughout the point standings but for the most part, I feel like my riding has been good. It has been a little bit off from guys like Haiden Deegan and Chance Hymas for first through third.  We have been working and we have been trying to close that little bit of a gap. If you are battling around that top five every moto, that is where you really want to be.

We have just been grinding and trying to get the last little bit – and for the most part, things have been going well.  I have been feeling a lot better and better throughout the season and I think you would have seen a good at Southwick without what happened.

Jalek Swoll currently sits eighth in points.

WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET INTO THAT TOP THREE? For me, I feel it is clear on what I need to change, which is being able to send it the first few laps.  You know for the most part, I have been able to get decent starts but when I get decent starts, I know I am going to be in the position where I ride good, but I am not sending it like a couple others. I ride smooth and in place; making sure I stay up when these guys in the front absolutely send it. If they go down, they go down and that is the mentality I need to break a little bit.  I have always been known as a smooth rider, so now it is at the point where I almost must break that habit and just hang it out a little bit.  That is what it is going to take.  In most of these races, I go back and look at the lap times and I will have some of the quickest laps in the races, but it is almost too late.  I know my fitness is pretty good and my speed is pretty good.  It is just about getting the quick twitch speed in the beginning.

Building speed each weekend trying to adapt to the new bike.

I USED TO RACE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, AND IT TOOK ME A LAP OR TWO TO GET MY SPEED UP. It is just one of those things you must learn. I have now been doing it long enough, and for the most part, you can get a good start and stay up there, but it takes that last little bit of just being on the edge to really break through and be one of those top three guys.  Once you get five or six laps in, you get your pace and that is where you are at. But what separates everybody is that “out of the gate quickness for the first few laps”, and then once everything spreads apart it is more so just maintaining than it is fully sending it.  That is why I say for me it is the beginning of the motos holding me back. I just need that quick twitch going and breaking away a little bit or breaking off with the top two guys.  Then your race is not easy, but it is easier to maintain that pace.

OBVIOUSLY, YOU RACE SUPERCROSS ON YOUR TRIUMPH BUT NOBODY HAS RACED IT IN MOTOCROSS.  HAVE YOU CHANGED MUCH SINCE OUTDOORS BEGAN? I have changed a lot.  It is no secret, it is a new bike.  We are learning every time.  We have nothing to fall back on when it comes to what works and what doesn’t.  We are learning every single time and honestly, that is all we can do.  I have been showing up and have been competitive. I have pretty much been a top-five guy. Honestly, I think that we have exceeded our expectations with being on a new bike, so I am in a good spot. The team is super happy with me but obviously, I know that I can get a little more and I know I am capable of it, so that is what we are grinding for – and I think it will come.  Obviously, I almost got on the box a couple of times in Supercross, and things did not go my way, but it has been nice to just be there and be a part of that conversation such as “he can do it this year”, which has not been a thing for the past couple of years on the other bike I was on.  It is nice to have my speed coming back around and my confidence growing and growing.  I feel more and more like myself, the more we do it.

Mechanical issues have kept Jalek from showing his true potential in the last few weekends.

CAN YOU SHARE WHAT YOUR RIDING AND TRAINING DURING THE WEEK LOOK LIKE? I have been by myself all year.  I have just been pretty much just me and Brownie, my trainer.  we go to the test track or whatever with Triumph which is Matt Walker’s old spot.  we do all our riding there right now and Joey (Savatgy) is in Clearmont, so it has just been me pretty much.

THAT IS INTERESTING BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW IF THAT IS GOOD OR BAD TO BE RIDING BY YOURSELF. I feel like when you get to a certain speed, it is fine, and you can ride by yourself. You already know the speed, but for me, I have always worked better when I can be around faster guys and try to latch on and learn that way.  I more so go off the fact that if somebody is faster at the track, I can get to that speed.  It is hard to be by myself and have that speed.  When we go to the races, I can tell a little bit from just not being able to train with anyone. But I will have some teammates next year so that part will be gone. I have been proud of myself for being able to be this competitive just riding alone.  most of the top guys you see winning are training with a big group.  For me, I have been proud of myself for having the speed, just based on my riding.  I know that the last little bit could be easier to obtain if I had some more riding partners, but I am going with the cards that I am dealt right now.  It is no excuse.  I am just a fifth-place guy right now.  It is what it is.  I will keep on working and grinding but I do feel like the gaps are closing the more and more we race. But it is hard to get a race pace without anybody to ride with.

Building a solid foundation for next year is what the Triumph team is looking to accomplish.

YOU SHOULD BE REALLY PROUD OF YOURSELF.  YOU ARE ON A COMPLETELY NEW BIKE AND RIDING BY YOURSELF, THAT IS IMPRESSIVE. Yes, and we know that.  Me and the team we know that obviously, you need people to train with and fast guys to ride with.  I think it just gives us a little more confidence for next year.  To be honest, we will have all the data from 2024 to fall back on next year and we will iron out some of the kinks. Then we will have some teammates to come in with. It boosts my confidence a little bit knowing that I tend to ride better and get faster being around people, and I am not doing that and am a fifth-place guy right now. I will take it and it gives me a lot of confidence for next year for sure.

LET’S JUST WRAP UP WITH THIS. BEING HALFWAY THROUGH THE SEASON, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE REST OF 2024? For sure, I always look forward to Highpoint.  It is gone now but that was one that I was looking forward to. it sucks that we got a lot of rain, and it made the track a little different, but I always look forward to Highpoint.  I really love that track, along with Budd’s Creek.  Budd’s Creek is my second favorite. I would put Budd’s Creek above High Point.  For me, Budd’s Creek is a fun track and, I got third there last year. So, I am looking forward to that track and Unadilla this year.  I feel like my bike will be good at Unadilla, which is a track that I have struggled with in the past. With the way my bike handles now, it almost makes me excited to go to Unadilla.  I feel like my bike will be really good there.  Unadilla and Budd’s Creek are two tracks I am really looking forward to.  Honestly, from this point on, there are not really any tracks that I dislike.  It is going to be a good time for me.

The post JALEK SWOLL INTERVIEW: A BUILDING YEAR WITH A NEW TEAM appeared first on Motocross Action Magazine.

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