After 16 years in the pro race game, Jason Thomas (known the world over as JT$) has called it a career. A true professional and ambassador for the sport, it’s sad to see him go. While he will no doubt still be involved in racing in some form or fashion, we will no longer be seeing #47 dart out when the gate drops. In short, the bank is closed. The accounts have been cashed in. No more bets! The money has left the building.
Here’s some music to accompany you as you read on- get you in the mood to celebrate the career of JT$!!!
The following is retrospective of his career- and a fine one at that…
There are many young motocross riders out there, wondering how to get from the amateur ranks to the big time. Skill and hard work are always the first two ingredients listed, while some would argue that you either have it or you don’t- it’s just in your blood. Well, as a pro rider for better than 10 years, it’s safe to assume that Jason Thomas has motocross in his blood. The son of a former pro rider and skilled mechanic, Jason was in the dirtbike gear at an early age and was racing around the tracks of his native Florida. His amateur career featured battles with the likes of Ricky Carmichael and Nick Wey, so you could say he was a seasoned rider before he ever turned pro. All that would change in Indianapolis in 1997, when JT$ made it official and joined the pro ranks.
As JT$ shifted to the bigger circuits, there was an adjustment period for the first few years. But by 1999, he was turning heads- racing hard and fast on his way to a breakout campaign. Ending the 1999 East Region Supercross season with a string of top ten races and a respectable ninth place overall finish, his star was on the rise. But shortly after, he signed on with the Ferracci Husqvarna team in 2001. While it was exciting to be on a team, the equipment and resources proved detrimental to his confidence and thus his progress. The marraige was short-lived. In 2002, he got to strap on a dirtbike helmet for the Subway/Honda Team. There he got a few years to regain his career momentum, and even received the Top Privateer award in 2006, before financial difficulties dissolved the team and JT$ was on his own again.
In 2007, Jason Thomas was an established pro and was looking for a ride. He wouldn’t wait long, signing with his friend and fellow Floridian Forrest Butler and his DNA Energy/BTO Sports/BBMX team. After a fourteenth overall finish in his first year with Butler Bros., it’s been a very rewarding relationship for everyone involved. JT$ has been a constant presence in main events across the country, and has proven he belongs with the sport’s elite. He’s also a familiar face in Europe as he has been trudging his motocross boots on foreign soil- running in races overseas since 1999, gaining invaluable experience moving forward.
In 2010, JT$ has had some strong showings, making several main events and fine-tuned his starting position to get up there with the monsters of the sport. As most of you may have saw, his race was cut short in Houston after a crash with James “Bubba” Stewart left him hobbling off the track. Word has it that he had a sprain that should get him back earlier than expected- perhaps as early as the Atlanta Supercross later that month. To be sure, Butler Bros. and BTO Sports were happy to have JT$ flying around the track for their team, and wished him both a speedy recovery and a great finish to an already exciting Supercross season. He did just that, to the roar of his many, many fans.
The final years of his career were like that of so many greats, marred by injury and Father Time. A new generation of talented riders had swept in and taken over the sport, and the podium kept getting farther and farther away. After the 2012 season, one that was clearly not his best, he decided to hang up his dirtbike boots and motocross helmet. JT$ would pass the baton to the new breed of championship racers- names like Villopoto, Dungey & Barcia. But no one will forget keeping their eyes on the money… JT$.
Enjoy this video, detailing JT$’s bike setup- killer bike!