‘I want to fight with Leon and Shakey every week’
He may only be 21 years old, but Jake Dixon came of age when he did the double at Knockhill BSB and now he wants to push on
“I don’t do things by halves, I go big or go home,” Jake Dixon laughs when asked where Sunday’s double victory at Knockhill came from. His incredible achievement took the racing world by storm, especially given that prior to last week’s wins Dixon’s best result in BSB had been a sixth place at Snetterton last year.
Since starting racing at the relatively late age of 14 in 2010, Dixon, son of former sidecar World Champion Darren Dixon, has been quick wherever he’s ridden, from the Aprilia Superteens class to National Superstock, British Supersport and he even showed pace as he made his debut in the MCE British Superbike class halfway through last season, but a lack of consistency always held him back from the big time.
‘Crashing is the story of my career’
“I started racing in 2010 in the Aprilia Superteens,” Dixon explains. “I finished third in the championship after winning a lot of races but also crashed a lot. That sort of became the story of my career, quick but crashing! It was always a problem for me, I sort of had to go away and think about it and I came back in 2015 with Smiths Triumph and started to dial it out. I still had too many crashes, but I was more consistent than I’d ever been.”
However, the real change came when he stepped up to the Superbike class mid-way through the 2016 season with Lee Hardy’s Briggs Equipment/ RAF Reserves BMW team. Out of the 13 races he started he only failed to finish twice, and one of those DNFS was the non-fault crash that ruled him out of the remainder of the season with a badly broken hip.
“Since moving up to superbikes I’ve really taken a different approach. I’ve had to treat the bike with so much more respect than I have any other bike and it’s really paying off. It’s just about having to grow up, that’s a big part of how you achieve results in racing. The sooner you can grow up the better the results become.
“I’m not saying we don’t have a laugh, you know me! You’ve got to have character. There’s no point in being somebody that’s boring, plain and has nothing about them. I have a laugh with the boys when we’re at the track but when it’s time for the session to start we get our heads down and think about the job in hand.”
‘Crying my eyes out’
Dixon’s debut victories are all the more remarkable when you realise the extent of the injuries he sustained in a nasty crash at Oulton Park just last September.
“I don’t think people realise how big my injury was,” Dixon says. “They told me there was a 50/50 chance of the ball in my hip dying and if that happened I’d have to have a hip replacement. That would have ruled me out for the rest of this year and maybe beyond. That hit me hard, I can’t tell you how much of a tough time it was.
“I was devastated, crying my eyes out and thinking that I’d never be able to come back from it. I’d broken bones before but nothing as big as that. I had to work 10 times harder over the winter to get back to where I needed to be this year. I’ve put a lot of hours in, I swam 200 lengths in six weeks when I wasn’t even meant to be doing anything. At the start of the season my hip wasn’t 100%, maybe it’s still not now but we’re getting where we need to be.”
The effects of Dixon’s injury are still hampering him today, his training regime has to be designed around what he can and can’t do with his weaker hip and he’s still having physio twice a week.
“I still can’t lift heavy weights and do certain types of training, but it’s not even been a year since I had the surgery. They told me it would be a year-and-a-half until I was fully sorted so it’s good to be where we’re at now.”
No time to celebrate
Most 21-year-olds would have a big blowout after achieving something as big as Dixon did last weekend, but he celebrated with a five-hour drive back from Scotland before heading straight back to the gym with one thing on his mind.
“The night after winning I drove back with my fiancée Sarah and my Dad, we didn’t get back until 2am! I didn’t do too much t he next day but since then I ’ ve been back training twice a day every day. The world doesn’t just stop because I’ve won two races. The other riders don’t stop training and working, I’ve got to keep going. I want this to be the start of something that can go on, so I need to be out there, training as hard as I can to make this happen again.
“I’m not very good at chilling out anyway. I only have one focus and that’s to become World Champion. If someone said to me to do that I need to do 1000 push-ups a day I’d do 2000. I always try to go the extra mile.
“The closest thing I get to chilling out is when I go karting, Sarah bought me my own kart for Christmas and I try to get out as often as I can, but even when I’m doing that I’m pushing on a bit as it keeps me sharp.”
For someone who admits immaturity may have held him back in the past, Dixon remains very level-headed about his chances for the rest of the year.
“The Showdown isn’t out of the question. We’re 12 points off the top six but we also have to be realistic. Yes, I’ve had two wins and I’d like to think I can carry on doing that but the main thing is to be consistent and recognise that when the podium isn’t achievable we need to settle for the best result we can get on the day rather than throwing it down the road.
“If we’re in that top six we can then fight for the championship. These boys are all human, they’re consistent and have a lot of experience under their belts but I feel I’ve taken a big step forward and there’s no reason I can’t fight with the likes of Leon and Shakey.”
‘If I had to do 1000 push-ups a day to be world champ, I’d do 2000’ JAKE DIXON
‘If I can get in the top six, then I can fight for the title’ JAKE DIXON
Jake Dixon woke up on Monday, June 19 as a double BSB race-winner
Jake Dixon takes a bit of time out to see where he can improve
Dixon wants to be battling Shakey and Haslam every week Jake with his fiancee Sarah Roberts, his two BSB trophies and his dog Dixon trains hard despite a serious hip injury in 2016 that ended his season early Thrashing his kart around is Dixon’s only real escape from motorcycle racing