MILLVILLE — Nick Jackson and his motocross buddies were together practically all the time anyway, so they figured: Why not make it official?
“We always rode together, traveled together, raced together,” Jackson explained. “Now, we have a team together.”
Local motocross racing fans will have more than just Minnesota-born stars Jeremy Martin, Alex Martin and Ryan Dungey to cheer for Saturday at the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
A new Minnesota-based pro racing team led by Jackson, a 27-year-old Lake City man, will be racing in the La Crescent Wine & Spirit Spring Creek National.
Jackson is team manager and the most experienced pro rider for Tenkom Motorsports, and his teammates include Austin Kohnke, 22, of Austin; Joe Perron, 22, of Elko; and Logan Marzahn, 24, of Waterville. They all ride Yamahas in the 250 class.
Tenkom Motorsports is sponsored by Twin Cities-based National Dizzy and Balance Center (NDBC), and team owner Ken Ginkel is a former motocross racer who co-founded NDBC with his brother Dr. Todd Ginkel in 2004.
“Ken had helped us out with travel money before (as privateer racers), and last fall I approached him about putting a team together,” Jackson said. “He wanted to (promote) his clinics and was very receptive.”
Jackson said that he and all of his teammates have gone through NDBC’s concussion testing.
“I’ve had eight (concussions) over my career,” he said. “But I haven’t had any this year; so far so good.”
Jackson grew up in Zumbrota where he began racing motorcycles when he was 4. He graduated from Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School in 2007 and turned pro as an MX racer the same year.
Jackson has been close
Jackson has had limited success as a pro racer and makes a more reliable income operating his own graphics company in Lake City called Black Diamond MX. He took a break from racing in 2012 and 2013 to get his business established.
“My best finish was a 30th overall in 2011,” he said. “I was running 18th at Spring Creek in 2011, when my engine blew up.”
Spring Creek will be Jackson’s fourth pro race this season and he has yet to make it out of the morning qualifiers. There are two qualifying races on the morning of a pro race, and the top 40 advance to the afternoon championship motos.
“I’ve been close, but I’ve missed by three, six and seven places,” said Jackson, who came up short in round three at Thunder Valley, Colo., in round four at Bloutnville, Tenn., and round seven at Redbud, Mich.
Jackson’s teammate Joe Perron qualified at Colorado and Tennessee, and Logan Marzahn qualified for one main event during the 2015 Supercross season.
“We’ve all qualified at one point or another; we’ve all had our taste,” Jackson said. He has enjoyed the process of building a team from scratch.
“Having a team is more work, but it’s a lot of fun with a team atmosphere,” he said. “Having that support of one another is great.”
Jackson said the goal for Tenkom Motorsports on Saturday is to get everyone out of the qualifiers and then put in two consistent, competitive motos.
Beyond that, Jackson wants to just keep riding for as long as his body allows it. He hasn’t been deterred yet by a broken hip, a separated shoulder, a broken collarbone or a shattered pinkie knuckle.
“I plan on doing it at least a couple more years,” he said. “I feel like I’ve still got a lot left in me.”