Jordan Jarvis knows how tough it is to blaze a new trail in SuperMotocross
When things get tough, sometimes they only seem to get tougher and that’s how the weekend went for SuperMotocross rider Jordan Jarvis at Daytona International Speedway.
Set to be the only female rider taking on the 2023 edition of the Ricky Carmicheal-designed Supercross course at Daytona International Speedway, Jarvis went into the weekend with high hopes, even though she only had the chance to train for Supercross since mid-October, unlike the top riders that have been training since October and racing for the last eight weeks.
Luck would not be on her side this weekend. The weight of her preparation lay heavy on her shoulders.
During Media Day for the Daytona Supercross race, Jarvis made a mistake on a small jump when she missed her back brake pedal and was sent to the ground. In the split-second decision, she pulled her arms in and the impact of the fall radiated through the bottom half of her arm and elbow.
Unwilling to quit, Jarvis checked in with Alpine Stars medical team before Saturday’s free practice, got taped up, popped an Ibuprofen and headed to the course. But the writing was on the wall before she completed her first jump as her dad had to help her zip into her suit.
“When that happened,” Jarvis said to NBC Sports, “I was guessing that it wasn’t going to work. And when I took off towards the front of the group and hit a couple of breaking bumps it hurt.”
She thought to herself: “The whoops are going to suck.”
“I just came over the face of a jump and was in excruciating pain,” Jarvis said. “I cried out immediately, in tears trying to just push through it, but I couldn’t, so I just pulled off the track.”
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Still, this year Jarvis made it slightly further into the Daytona Supercross round than in 2022, but with the time and money invested could not help but feel deflated after a string of bad luck.
Jarvis’ expertise has always been Motocross. That made Daytona’s course, combining some motocross elements into a traditional supercross course, a great testing ground for her foray into the stadium series. Between this and knowing how many friends, competitors and eyes would be around, she knows the importance of entering this race each year.
Jarvis now calls Central Florida home, but the Daytona Round is an important race for her for multiple reasons outside of mere proximity. She knows exposure is important if she wants to stay on the motocross circuit and in the future complete a full supercross season as well.
“I’ve been racing here since I was a kid,” Jarvis said. “I did all the amateur [events] when I was growing up. I’ve got quite a few titles here in the girls’ and women’s classes. I actually got my final two supercross points here a couple of years ago.
“It would’ve been big”, Jarvis said of racing through Saturday events, “It’s nice to see everyone… Normally everyone comes down to this race to hang out and it’s nice to see everyone. It’s nice to show my progression. I didn’t have a ton more time on the track this year than last, but I had some so I wanted to show the difference that it made.”
It’s Tough Fighting Trolls
Every athlete sets out to prove themselves internally, to their parents, competitors, the fans. It’s tough in the best of times and Jarvis has found that in today’s day and age Twitter, can be especially caustic. As a female athlete in a male-dominated sport this need sometimes feels magnified tenfold.
“You know you always get these keyboard haters, people that automatically think ‘she’s a girl, she shouldn’t be out there.’ I wanted to try and prove that every time I race with the men on the professional schedule I belong.”
While using social media is an important tool to find and interact with fans and potential sponsors it can quickly sour. Everyone has something to say and the worst comments are usually the loudest.
“I posted a video on TikTok where I cased a triple,” Jarvis said. “It was one of my first times casing it and you know I have a Supercross suspension now.
“It’s nothing compared to [Eli] Tomac or [Chase] Sexton’s, their stuff is a lot stiffer than mine, but mine is stiffer than average. I posted a video of it because it looks cool, I’m casing it and the bike is completely compressed and when it comes back up it doesn’t shoot me off the bike it soaks it up and does what it is supposed to do. Someone on [TikTok] commented ‘Are you really a professional supercross rider or can you not even keep up in the LCQ?’
“First off, don’t hate on the LCQ Supercross riders because they’re fast. I mean, look at it compared to five years ago, speed can not compare. The depth of the pack is ridiculous now versus what it was a couple of years ago.”
Secondly, every rider on a weekly Supercross entry list got to where they are by dominating their local classes.
Women’s Pro Motocross DOA
Jarvis, 21, has been a card-carrying AMA member for 17 years, collecting a ton of trophies through Loretta Lynns and the amateur ranks before taking the risk of going into Motocross and Supercross on the professional level. It’s a choice she’s worried many other girls and women are not taking or being put into the position to make.
“It sucks because there are some girls a little younger than me or my age that still do the amateur stuff, but they don’t really have the desire to keep trying to go cross country and go to all the amateur races like we all did when we were younger,” Jarvis said. “They just don’t see themselves making any sort of career out of this. I mean realistically they can’t. It sucks because there are a ton of really talented young girls coming up right now and if we can’t get anything changed, I don’t think they’ll go past 18.”
This realization was one of the driving factors that led Jarvis and her dad to attempt to revive the Women’s Pro Motocross series last year; an attempt that came up just short before it went to vote before the governing body.
The funding was in place and multiple locations secured, but the risk of rebooting the series even at a small level seemed to be too much as every series fights to stay alive and funded.
“We got really close, we had the funding to have a good payout and the funding to do little highlights of both motos and put a video together. Unfortunately, not enough to broadcast it and have both race and practice, but we had the money to do highlight reels and certain amateur tracks, and pro-Nationals tracks gave us a go-ahead.”
While Jarvis loves racing in the top class against the men, she knows it’s a choice that others can’t make, sometimes because they or their guardians think it’s too dangerous or due to lack of funding to pull oneself up through the sport. The reward needs to be equal to the risk.
When racing in a female class, Jarvis is at the front of the field. All eyes are focused on her as her fellow riders gun her down. In this field, Jarvis learns how to play defense and the mind games that come with racing for a win. In the men’s field, she practices offensive and survival.
“I’ve learned a lot more racing with the men than I ever did with the women,” Jarvis said of running in the back of a full men’s field vs. compared to her experience in a women’s class. “You get out front and that’s great. You’re winning, but you’re not learning.”
“As much as it’s tough and you know, stupid stuff like this happens sometimes, I’ve learned a lot,” Jarvis said while pointing to her new injury.
Jarvis now turns her attention to getting ready for the outdoor season, announcing with Race Day Live and taking every opportunity that comes her way. She knows all too well that they don’t come every day.
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Jordan Jarvis knows how tough it is to blaze a new trail in SuperMotocross originally appeared on NBCSports.com