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Catching Up: Tayla Jones

By: Aaryn Minerds

Posted: Monday, 15th January, 2018 - -




2017 Turned out to be one heck of a year for Australian Tayla Jones.

After winning everything there was to win in Women's racing in Australia and spending 2016 racing the E1 class against the men for the Active8 Yamaha team in the AORC, Jones backed her bags and took aim at her dream of racing full time in the U.S

Signing on to ride for the KR4 Arrive and ride team aboard for Husqvarna machinery for the Grand National Cross Country Championship, America's biggest and most well known off-road series, Jones won all before her in just her first year in the States winning not only the GNCC championship, but another two American national championships.


There were plenty of #1 plates on the way to three U.S national championships and a 5th ISDE title for Tayla Jones in 2017.
 
If that was not enough she played a staring role as the Australian Women's team won their 5th straight ISDE title alongside Jemma Wilson and Jessica Gardiner.

We caught up with Tayla over the Christmas break for a quick catch up to talk about here fantastic 2017 and what lies ahead for 2018.

Fullnoise: First up Tayla, congratulations on a hugely successful 2017, you have three American championship titles to your name and another ISDE title, you would have to be more than a little happy with how your year has gone, looking did you ever see yourself having this much success in your first year racing full time in the U.S

Jones: I am over the moon with how this year went. In no way did I ever think I’d go to America and win a championship in my first season, let alone 3 of them. I was planning on this year being a learning year and adjusting to the different races over in the US but it needed up being my year of racing ever.

Fullnoise: The GNCC series is probably the better known here in Australia of the two championships you raced this year. It is a series you have raced a few one off events in the past, how did you find racing a full year in the GNCC championship.

Jones: Yeah the GNCC series is the biggest off-road championship in America and the one that everyone wants to win. Over the past few years I did a couple GNCCs to figure out what they are like so I’d be more prepared for when I got the chance to do it full time which I’m glad I did get to do because the GNCCs are so different to any other kind of racing we do here in Australia.

Doing the full series this year and was good, some tracks I had already raced at and some were new to me. All the tracks are very different to each other so it makes it cool to be able to showcase different skills and be an all round rider.


Tayla Jones on her way to a round win of the FullGas Enduro Series, a championship she also wrapped up in 2017 - Credit: Darrin Chapman
 
Fullnoise:Tell us a little about the other two championships you competed in this year, the Full Gas Enduro series and the NEGP Enduro series and what it took to win both of those titles.

Jones: We do sprints here in Aus and the Full has series is pretty similar. It is a two-day race weekend and each day we do 6 tests on 2 different tracks, one woods track and one cross test (grass track). After the 12 tests for both days the times are added together to get the winner.

The sprint series is my favourite just because of the all out speed for a 1 lap and how tight the racing is. Sometimes after 12 tests people can be separated by just a few seconds so it’s pretty intense.

The national Enduro is different to the Australian and European style Enduro. The Americans still run off time so you have to stay on you minute but there isn’t really any trail and the tests can be anywhere between 20-35 minutes long. Also they love to make them tight! You can be cruising along and then get into such a tight section of woods you can barely fit your bars between the trees. Figuring out how to ride the tight stuff has been my biggest challenge this year for sure.

I really enjoyed being able to do all the 3 series though just because they’re so different to each other but they all teach you new skills to apply in the other races also. My training doesn’t change from each event I just adapt to the different styles.


Tayla Jones lead the way as the Australian Women's team made it five straight ISDE Trophys. - Credit: John Pearson
 
Fullnoise: The other big win of 2017 was a record breaking fifth straight ISDE title as part of the Australian Women’s team, how important was it to once again play a huge role in that victory.

Jones: Yes the ISDE is an awesome event to be a part of and it is a great privilege to be selected to race for Australia. This year was incredible to get our 5th straight title. There is no way anyone would’ve said 5 years ago that we wouldn’t loose for 5 years straight.

Knowing that this past year I was the top Aussie is a great feeling and to be as close to Laia Sanz as I was was awesome. Hopefully we will be able to make it six ISDE titles next year in Chile!

Fullnoise: This year seen you race for Husqvarna in the U.S, take us back to the end of 2016 and the decision to make the big move to the U.S and the deal with Husqvarna, how did the whole thing come about?

Jones: Last year I went to America and did a few races and spoke to a few teams to see if any could be possible for me to race there this year but nothing really come about until basically December of last year.

I was just planning on staying in Australia until Frank Keegan, the owner of the KR4 arrive n ride program sent me a message asking me if I wanted to come race the GNCCs for them. I jumped at the offer and the team was aligned with Husqvarna so that’s what I was to ride. I really like the Huskys and the whole Husqvarna factory team are very supportive and helpful.


Tayla Jones (Centre) will be aiming to make it six straight ISDE titles in 2018 as well as focusing on racing in the U.S full time for the second year.
 
Fullnoise: Will we see you back in Australia racing at all in 2018, or any time in the near future?

Jones: I’m signed for 2 years in the US so I’ll be heading back in January for another full year. I do 3 series so it doesn’t leave any time to come back for any races.

Depending on how it all goes next year I am hoping I will get the opportunity to head back for a few more years after that.

Racing in America has always been my dream and I am loving it!


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