Jay Irwin

Fall 2007

You are a long-time competitor at Raceway Park. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m 34, from Howell, NJ and I sell cars for a living for a family business (Irwin Lincoln Mercury Mazda) in Freehold, NJ. I race in +30A and +25A and once in a while 250A

How long have you been racing? Well, I raced BMX from when I was 5 or 6 until I was 12 and have been racing MX ever since – So I’ve been racing MX for 22 years

Your dad Kerry and uncle Jay started Raceway Park. Could you tell us about the history behind Raceway Park? Both my father and uncle were into motorcycles as kids riding minibikes in the sandpit and trails by their house. My uncle Jay ended up taking it a little more serious and racing MX as my father did more enduros. As Jay kept racing MX, my father Kerry started drag racing at Englishtown. He got to know the Napp’s (the owners of Raceway Park) and suggested putting an MX track in the empty field by the track entrance. He laid out the track and ran the first race ever there and from what I’ve been told, about 700 riders showed up. My father realized that it was going to be more than a weekend thing to run the races and already had a commitment at our family business – that’s when Uncle Jay came in and started track management duties along with Ken Landerman.

What was it like growing up at Raceway Park? It was great! Imagine being a little kid around dirt bikes, trucks, bulldozers and everything else… I spent a lot of time at the track with Uncle Jay while he would be prepping the track – helping as much as a little kid could. Raking wood chips on the track, aiming sprinklers and picking up trash was about all I could do though! Raceway Park is even where I learned to drive. Uncle Jay and Ken Landerman were a huge part of my life as a kid!

So they got you into racing motocross? Racing was in my family – between my father racing MX, enduros, drag racing, and go-karts and Big Jay an expert motocrosser you knew I was going to race something with an engine. In the early 80’s it seemed like people didn’t start as young as they do now so they kept me racing BMX until I was 12. I was really into BMX at the time and didn’t start getting the itch for motocross until I was about that age anyway so it worked out for them!

Back when Jay and Kenny Landerman ran the track motocross was really just starting to gain ground in NJ. Riders like Bob Hannah used to go there often. What was it like to spend some time with the Hurricane? It was really cool. I have a picture of us together and I was so excited and nervous to be taking a picture with him! It was really cool for me because I got a lot of time with riders like that but in a relaxed environment – not like the autograph signing sessions. I got to talk to and hang out with people like Tony D, Jo Jo Keller and Jeff Ward and plenty of others too.

How about the time you got to meet Malcolm Forbes and Liz Taylor… I didn’t even know who Malcolm Forbes was at the time but everyone knew Liz Taylor. Malcolm Forbes had a motorcycle club and took a ride with the whole club one day and the came to watch the races. I guess he and Liz Taylor were dating so she came with him. They made their way to Ken Landerman and my uncle and asked for people to watch and root for. I was one of the people they were told to root for and I got to meet them and have a picture taken.

You spent some time working with Brian Deegan back at the beginning of the Mulisha, what was that like? It was a lot of fun! I moved in with him because I wanted a change and Ronnie Faisst (who also was his roommate) told me there was an open room and to come on out! It was the very beginning of FMX and riders were just being able to make a living from it and we spent a lot of time riding BMX, wakeboarding (Deegan got a boat to use every summer as a sponsorship deal) and going out to clubs just about every night!. But as the sport grew my responsibilities grew too. I ran the business side of the metal mulisha, shot video for 2 movies he put out, worked on his bikes and I also worked at skin industries in sales too. Don’t get me wrong – I had a lot of responsibilities but most of them were all part of the fun. I mean, is carrying a camera everywhere we went or wiping the dust of a bike at the xgames really considered work? Unfortunately for me, I was not really fitting into the whole mulisha thing and Brian as my boss and landlord told me to hit the road! Oh well, I missed Jersey anyway.

What is your best Raceway Park memory? I don’t know if this is best but most memorable – being involved in lighting the staircase on fire with hay bales after the Kawasaki race one year. Because of that I’m not even allowed to light a grill at Raceway Park! I’d have to say the best memory just meeting my friends Tommy and Shawn Ulikowski, Richie Zupko, Rich Rike (rip), Ken Landerman and the Kesslers. Without Raceway Park there is no way I would have met these people.

Do you have a favorite race or favorite rider over the years? My Favorite race would have to be the 1991 KROC when I won 500 amateur on my father’s bike when I weighed about 130 lbs.! Favorite racer would be Mickey Kessler. I’ve learned so much from him over the years and still learning to this day.

What does the future hold for you? First I want to heal up after breaking my heel 2 months ago so I can start riding again! Long term is I just want to keep riding and racing and be involved at Raceway Park

Jay Irwin Photo Gallery