Jarred Jonker’s ISDE 2017 Race Report
As the weeks went by, I got more and more excited for this race. And then the day came that my flight left. Then it really started to set in- This is really happening! We arrived in France on Saturday morning 1 week before the race started. Got our rental car and headed to the town of Brive where we were staying. We took it easy for a few days trying to get rid of the jet lag. On Tuesday, we began to start walking all the special tests, getting a good feel for what we were getting in to. We walked about 2 tests a day. By Friday, we had all of the tests done. On Wednesday, I got my rental bike. It was a 2018 Beta 300RR factory bike. The bike came set up pretty much exactly the way I like it. Made a few adjustments and it was good to go. There was a test track right by the pits, so I was able to test the bike before the race began. Bikes all went into impound Saturday night and were there until race day- Monday morning.
Monday morning finally came around- race day! It was 42 degrees out for the first 2 days, so proper hydration was a must. My Thor Verge helmet and Moose Racing M2 pants were both awesome in the heat, awesome ventilation and very comfortable for those long days. They also matched very well with the team jerseys! (See pictures). My start time was at 8:30 AM. Rode out of town about 5KM and the very first test was right there. There was hardly any warm up. I stayed calm and eased into it. Wasn’t 100% sure on how the timing worked, so I watched the guys in front of me who looked like they knew what they were doing and did the same as them. Finished that test and kept riding. There was no time to stop or I would be late to the time check which there was 5 of them per day. I ended up going into a time check 1 minute early on day 1 by accident, which added 1 minute to my overall time. I knew the race was 6 days long so I had lots of time to make that back up. Continued on and finished the day with no bike problems/ injuries. I had all the timing rules figured out after the first day. Once I arrived back to the paddock (start/finish area) I had 15 minutes to work on my bike immediately after I finished riding each day. I did a back tire every day, and a front every other day. The name of the game was to stay calm during the work period. The faster you try to change tires, the more mistakes you make. I was able to do a front and rear tire and an air filter in about 11 minutes. Once I was finished at the work period, I rode over to the impound before my 15 minutes was up. Then the bike would stay there each night until the next morning.
The tests were pretty much all grass tracks with very little woods. The transfer sections were a whole other story. They tried to beat you up as much as possible in the transfers, and they did a good job at it. They sent us through some pretty gnarly stuff. We rode the same course on days 1-2. Day 3 was its own course and the same course on days 3-4. Day 2 was probably the hardest day, as the course was beat up from 800 riders going through it on the previous day. All the tests consisted of deep ruts, braking bumps and lots of dust, which was very tiring to ride. The dust was so bad I could hardly see where I was going at times. I was also changing my air filter at every check to make sure my bike stayed alive. Day 3 I could really feel my body starting to get sore from all the pounding from the previous days. Luckily day 3 was an easier day. The extreme heat finally started to die off, and there was some slight rain overnight which lessened the dust. The course was also slightly shorter at about 250KM. It was nice to ride a different course that wasn’t beat up. Day 3 was probably my best day as far as results go. Felt pretty good all day and didn’t make too many mistakes. Think I finished 93rd overall against the top riders in the world. Days 4-5 were my favorite days, even though I was sore and tired. Lots of super fun transfer trails and awesome, flowy grass tracks. By the time day 5 came around, I really didn’t feel like riding anymore. I could hardly hold on to my bike. My arms and shoulders were completely done. Advil extra strength was my best friend at this point! That morning, my team manager Derek Rockel told me that I was in contention for a silver medal. That gave me some more motivation to keep pushing! My goal at this point was to finish the day without making any costly mistakes. The end was so close! Then the last day came- The motocross race. We had to complete a 20 minute motocross race and we were finished. I was probably the most nervous for this part of the race, as I do not race motocross, let alone lining up bar to bar with the best riders in the world! I had a mid-pack start, and then got caught up in a crash in the first corner which set me back a bit. Passed as many people as I could and finished it fast enough to secure my silver medal! All you could hear in the finish area was bikes on rev limiters doing burnouts on the pavement and all the fans cheering them on. It was super cool to watch!
This has definitely been one of the biggest accomplishments of my riding career. It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot and met some amazing people.