Motocross

Teenage kicks!

Teenage kicks!

After a sensational rookie year on the adult scene in 2003, Jason Dougan almost disappeared into oblivion last season. But his return to the Motovision ranks has seen him explode back into the limelight in ’05 with a top 30 world ranking. After a sensational rookie year on the adult scene in 2003, Jason Dougan almost disappeared into oblivion last season. But his return to the Motovision ranks has seen him explode back into the limelight in ’05 with a top 30 world ranking.
The 18-year-old from Farlington near Portsmouth has never done things the normal way. "I used to go every weekend to the races when I was young but my dad used to race southern centre AMCA and I was just the paddock racer who cheered him on. He wasn’t very good but he had a lot of fun."
At age nine it was Jason’s turn to take to the track and within a year his talent persuaded the family to look further afield for their racing. "We started doing the BSMA Nationals but there was so much bitchiness. We both felt youth racing was not what it was cracked up to be in England – we were sick of the tracks and some of the people so we decided to do something new."
And something new meant catching the ferry most Friday evenings each summer! "It’s just so different in France. Everyone is so relaxed and none of the parents expect anything from their kids except that they enjoy it. There are no massive trucks, everyone is just in small vans and we were the same. We raced about 25 times a year over there.
"We used to go over on the ferry from Portsmouth on Friday night and get back on Monday morning in time for school. And we were able to arrange a special deal with P&O because we travelled so much which helped keep the costs down."
So what makes France – and the French – so different?
"The basic schedule for the weekend at the French races is pretty much the same as in England but everyone is so much more chilled. They seem to arrange it so that there’s more time to do stuff – back home everything is more rushed and hectic.
"They have the same number of classes and the races are longer but they manage to do everything without getting into a panic. Saturday evening is also relaxed. The French will barbeque with their friends and we were accepted very quickly.
"I was the only English rider and it was weird when we first went over not knowing anyone but we soon got to know a few of them and even got invited to their houses for weekends. We were accepted very quickly and I used to stay out there in the summer holidays with a friend – Jean-Francois Ruelemeur.
"My French isn’t great. I mean I can get by but the French riders were always keen to improve their English. They all picked up the swear words pretty quickly!"
And Jason’s speed and style certainly didn’t suffer from racing in France. "I was leading the Minivert championship until the last round in 2002 but I crashed and ended up fourth. It was so close. Maxime Lesage won it from Christophe Pourcel and Nicolas Aubin."
The UK importer teams were all full up with their home-bred talent but Jason’s achievements had not gone unnoticed among those with their ear to the ground and for 2003 his career progressed another step with the fledgling Motovision team.
"We worked so good together and it really brought me on. I just felt so comfy on the team. I started doing the British championships and won the Culham round with two seconds. I was running second in the series until I got hurt at the final round at Pontrilas when I collided with Jeff Dement in the air and smashed up my ankle."

For the rest of the story pick up a copy of September’s dbr…

Words and photos by Alex Hodgkinson