Like father; like son.
He may have just-turned 13, but already young Jacob Stroud is turning heads on the motorcycle road-race scene, starting on his climb up the ladder to success.
This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who follows the sport – Jacob Stroud is, afterall, the eldest son of nine-times and current national superbike champion Andrew Stroud – but to have a sponsored ride less than two months into a fledgling career is still quite a remarkable achievement.
Fresh from signing a contract to support Andrew Stroud on his David Reid Homes Suzuki GSX-R1000, Mobil 1 has also agreed to help fund Jacob Stroud’s racing career and already the youngster is repaying the leading oil company with impressive results.
After two of three rounds in this year’s annual Suzuki Tri Series, Stroud junior has taken his 150cc bike to fifth overall in the ultralites class – although that class is led by a 250cc bike rider and Stroud is actually winning the battle-within-a-battle for riders in the class on 150cc bikes.
Stroud’s proper racing debut was at round one of the series at Hampton Downs, near Huntly, a fortnight ago and he made further progress racing at round two at Manfeild on Saturday, finishing eighth and sixth in his two races among the 250cc bikes.
“Ever since I was about three I wanted to race bikes,” said Jacob.
“I remember climbing inside dad’s gear bag and hiding there, jumping out to surprise him. I remember, too, sitting on dad’s superbike and not being able to reach the handlebars or footpegs … quite a lot like now really.
“The 150cc two-stroke bike is still a bit big for me too. But everything’s too big for me at the moment, even my leathers. They’re saggy but I should grow into them.
“Dad’s been a good coach. Couldn’t have a better coach than a nine-times national champion.”
Jacob’s racing has added an extra element to racing for the Stroud family, not that parents Andrew and Karyn Stroud need the additional workload with a serious superbike campaign to manage and eight energetic siblings all scampering around the pits.
“It’s very interesting watching Jacob ride,” said his champion father, Andrew.
“It gives an added dimension to me coming to the race track. In his first race on a proper track he got within two seconds of the lap record for his class. I’m very proud.
“It looks like he may have what it takes to win bike races and he only weighs 33 kilos … that’s not even half my weight,” Andrew laughed.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com