CW 5Q: Jayson Uribe

Fourteen-year-old Californian tackles British Superbike Championship support series.

Jayson Uribe race action shot

Last April at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, I met the Uribe family from Angwin, California. Fourteen-year-old Jayson was on track aboard the family's BMW S1000RR and riding well. His father, Allan, and mother, Rebecca, exemplify the best in mature, intelligent, and caring people. I followed Jayson's season on a Honda RS125 in the British Superbike Motostar 125 Championship and later asked him about his experiences.

What prompted you to tackle BSB?

Last January at the WERA opening round at California Speedway, a British team called and asked me to join their team. We discussed it as a family and decided to make the jump. Eight weeks later, my dad and I flew over with my 2009 Honda RS125 in hundreds of pieces, seven boxes, and then reassembled it in freezing conditions—snowing and minus two degrees Celsius.

The first two weeks we lived in a hotel next to the main UK motorway, the M1, and it was never, ever quiet. That was tough. We house-shared with another racing family for four months, and my mom and I shared a tiny room to save money then found a two-bedroom apartment with garage out in the country that was in our price range. It took time to find the right place with a garage so we could keep our parts and bike safe.

We ran with the team for two rounds and decided we liked the series so much that we wanted to run under our own Rock and Sons Racing banner with Ian Emberton as my chief mechanic.

How did you plan the trip with your need to stay on top of your education? Were you able to attract any sponsorship?

We went to my school principal and told him about the opportunity. We worked out a schedule that would allow me keep up with my studies while racing overseas. My parents let me test out of seventh grade, so I’m young for my class; I have a little room to spare with the credits I need for graduation. I’m working on a home-schooling program through the University of Missouri and attending regular high school when I’m home.

I’ve been lucky to have strong backing here in the States. Pirelli and LeoVince USA contributed hugely to my BSB program. I’ve been protected by the best: Arai helmets, Daytona Boots, Twisted Core compression gear, and Helimot leathers and gloves. Motion Pro and Chicken Hawk Racing were also generous, and that made a big difference in my mobile toolbox and tire warmers.

My first UK sponsorship came from HEL brake lines. They’ve taken care of all us really well in the paddock. I haven’t attracted any teams, but I’ve made great friends in the paddock in both the 125 and 600 classes. So far, there have been no bad team interactions or anything I’d consider negative about my BSB experience.

Fourteen-year-old Jayson Uribe in-action race shot

Did you find traffic strange? How did you get around?

Before we went, my mom and dad found a used converted mail van on the Internet. That little blue van carried the bike, tires, fuel, pop-up, food, tables, everything! We had to unload everything before we could sleep at night. When we got tired, we'd pull over into the "services," set our phones for the two-hour "free" time allotment, lean against the windows and sleep until the phones went off. Then, we were back on the road until we could get home. I've never been so tired.

I couldn’t sleep when my mom was driving; I was the navigator, and it was my job to help get us home safely. The traffic was intense. It takes much longer to get places than you might think because there is so much traffic; 70 million people on an island makes for crowded roads at rush hour. I think the worst experience was when our van blew up, and we had to replace the radiator and a head gasket. I tried to fix the van myself, but it was a mess. We had to be towed for two and a half hours to get home.

How were the bloody Brits?

The Brits are awesome! The culture is more different than I expected. I realize now that I’ve lived in a very small town all my life and that moving to a big city, Nottingham, forced to me to be more aware and less trusting. I even had my shoes stolen from my locker at the gym. On a good note, I’ve made great friends over there. Two of my Brit buddies are coming to stay with us for two weeks over Christmas. We’re going to take them to see Anaheim 1.

Language is different. The accent was hard to get used to, and the slang was confusing at times. We have different meanings for the same words, like “fit.” In the US, “fit” means you are in shape; in the UK, it means a person is attractive. The weather was great. Apparently, this past summer was the best they’ve had since 1973, so I have no complaints.

What are your prospects going forward?

I finished 11th overall in the Motostar 125 Championship—the only racer to score points in every round. My best qualifying was fifth at Silverstone, and my worst start was from pit lane at Donington due to a mechanical gremlin on the warm-up lap. My favorite track was Silverstone because it is flowing, a lot like American tracks. It was bumpy and slippery and reminded me of Thunderhill, in Willows, California. My least favorite track was Knockhill in Scotland. It was just too short; I could never get into a rhythm.

We’re heading back to the BSB in 2014. We’re still in the planning stages, but we have some fantastic opportunities that we are considering as a family. If our budget allows, we’re planning a few test days in Spain in December on a Moto3 bike. Ultimately, my goal is to race a Honda Moto3 bike in BSB, and we’re looking for sponsorship. I want to continue training on a GP bike as much as possible and, if I’m fast enough, head toward Spain in 2015.

Jayson Uribe leaning into a turn during a race

Jayson Uribe laps Cadwell Park.

Jayson Uribe race action shot

Fourteen-year-old Uribe hails from Northern California.

Jayson Uribe pops a wheelie

Uribe races a 2009 Honda RS125.

Jayson Uribe race action shot with grandstand in background

Motostar 125 class is a support class for the British Superbike Championship.