By age three, most of us were still playing with Legos, dolls, and Play-Dohs.
But for the Jamison family, their favorite activity during their toddler years was a little more challenging than coloring books.
Joey Jamison said he remembers being on a racetrack and riding a Suzuki JR50 minibike when he was just three years old.
“I’ve been on a dirt bike all my life,” he said.
He passed on his fascination with motocross to his two oldest sons – 17-year-old Josiah and 13-year-old Jeremiah, who both rode quads and dirt bikes when they were four years old.
However, it wasn’t until two years ago that the boys’ fascination with motocross turned into a huge passion.
“One of Josiah’s friends, Marshall, he wanted him to come to the Turkey Bowl – it’s a rookie race in Fort Worth – and he did,” said Lorena Jamison, Joey’s wife and mother of their children. “He got fourth for his first race, and he was sold. The rest is history. Jeremiah didn’t want to race at all, then a few months later he was in.
Motocross is a family passion – so much so that the Jamisons now have a personal three-and-a-half-acre dirt racing circuit at their home in Tolar, off the Paluxy Highway.
“We have a small group of kids who come to train with us, and we have coaches to train the boys,” Joey said. “Everyone calls it the sandbox, so if you ever hear some of the kids who come to our house and train, they call it either the Jamison MX complex or the sandbox. It’s a track designed for endurance and it will make you scream because it’s so sandy so it’s twice as hard, what you want for a training center, than any other normal prep track out there- low which has earth and clay.
Joey said normally six of their friends ride the track regularly, but every time someone does, the track has to be maintained.
“They wear down the track when they ride, so he has to go back and resurface it,” Lorena said.
“We just have to fix the ruts and make it passable,” Joey said.
But the track isn’t the only thing runners need to maintain.
The Jamisons travel to motocross competitions about twice a month, and preparing for them takes a lot of work.
Every time the brothers compete, they have to make sure to load up everything, including their bikes, tools, gas, gear, and food.
Gear is one of the most important components in motocross because it keeps riders safe.
“We wear knee pads, leggings so the knee pads don’t hurt the rubbing against the skin, boots, helmet, chest protector, jersey pants, goggles, and gloves,” Jeremiah said.
“They do so much work for all of this because they load everything, then they go home, then unload everything, change their filters, change the oil, tighten all the bolts. They have to carefully and meticulously review their bikes,” Lorena said.
The boys should also be sure to bring different tires depending on the terrain of the track.
“Every race track is different,” Joey said. “There is black dirt, red clay, sand or a mixture of sand and clay, so each track has different conditions, so having the right tires and knowing how to bring the right tires is huge.”
Even using different types of gasoline can help a bicycle’s engine have a longer life expectancy.
“To get to the level that we’re trying to get to and are at, you can’t get there without knowing those key things,” Joey said.
Motocross is considered a high-risk sport, but so far the boys have avoided any major injuries. Of course, they still suffered from occasional burns and a few concussions.
There is also a slight disagreement in the family over whether motocross is more dangerous than football.
“Football is way worse than motocross,” Joey said.
“I’m going to agree with dad,” Josiah said. “It’s dangerous, but I think football is more dangerous.”
“I’m going to say that’s absolutely not the case,” Jeremiah said. “Motocross is much more dangerous. You don’t fly 30 or 40 feet in the air in football. You don’t go 40 to 60 miles per hour in football.
But dangerous or not, the boys still want to pursue a career in motocross – that’s why they spend so much time and money on the sport.
“They’ve really given up on the whole video game for the most part,” Lorena said. “They don’t have time for girlfriends; they are too busy working.
“It’s great to see that dedication and focus and drive to be faster and better,” Joey said. “It’s four or five days a week with training and work on the bike. We leave for the race on Friday and return Sunday evening at midnight. It’s amazing full time.
Joey said that over the past year and a half, Josiah and Jeremiah have placed in the top five 56 times in various motocross competitions.
“Their first year racing, they won the championship, first place,” Joey said. “Then we just won it again two Saturdays ago in the Crosstown series.”
At the 2022 Crosstown Series in Fort Worth on August 20, the two boys won first place in one of their classes. Josiah took first place in the 125cc B/C class 12-17 and second place in the 250 C class 12-16. Jeremiah won first place in the Supermini class 12-16 and third place in the open 85 class 9-14.
Even their younger sister, 9-year-old Sophia, ranked among the best in motocross competitions.
She earned first place in the Stacyc class during the 2021 Crosstown Series and third place in the Stacyc class during the 2021 MiniXcross competition.
“This little guy does too,” Lorena said, pointing to their 3-year-old son, Jedidiah. “He can’t even ride a bike, but he can rip one of those bikes. It’s crazy. He makes the hills.
“He has an e-bike that he started using when he was three years old,” Joey added. “Princess over there (Sophia), she was my chef over the weekend, bringing an umbrella and drinks. It’s a family for me. It takes a team to do what we do.
For average competition, motocross riders typically hit speeds between 50 and 60 mph on a straight line and can jump more than 50 feet in the air.
“I have video of Josiah and from the top of the earth he’s probably 85 feet in the air and flying 111 feet,” Joey said.
“That’s the part I didn’t know I was getting into,” Lorena said, intervening. “Now he’s starting to overtake people in the air on those jumps.”
“You can imagine you’re on a dirt bike, and you don’t want to take the jump because you’re just not there yet, and while you’re jumping the small hill, someone is above from you and lands in front of you on the third hill. I mean, the rush,” Joey said.
When asked what the boys love most about motocross, Josiah replied, “the camaraderie.”
“I’ve made so many more friends since I’ve been there,” he said. “It helped me to be more social. It’s very competitive. It helps you to love, to be more efficient and self-productive. It helps you with your confidence. It is definitely an experience to live.
“That, in my opinion, over 50% of the battle in this sport is confidence,” Joey said.
“It’s not cheap,” Jeremiah said. “But it’s something to put on a to-do list.”
Joey said he misses motocross himself, but loves seeing his boys follow their passion and their dream.
“They’re doing so awesome,” he says. “The progress is really incredible. I’m not saying this just because they’re my kids – we win championships so we’re doing something good – but it’s my turn to get them out there and let them succeed, but I’ll try again .
The next achievement the boys try to accomplish is to compete at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Tennessee, which Joey describes as the “Super Bowl of motocross.”
“That’s by far the main goal that everyone who races competitively is trying to achieve,” Joey said. “We qualified for the region. We are qualified to participate in the regionals. We just didn’t go there. We held back because we wanted to do more practice and local races before we got there, but we’ll get there.
Until then, the boys will continue to train every week to achieve their goals.
“It takes a giant team, sponsors and a family,” added Joey. “It takes so much to get to where we are. Anyone can just go buy a bike and just go to a race and have fun, but for us, we’re trying to make it a career for the boys if that’s what they want to do. It’s crazy, but man I wouldn’t change it for the world to see them smile and do what they do; it’s really unbelievable.
The Jamisons are grateful for their sponsors and all their support: ProSource, Baker Services, Hill City Chop House, Evo Suspension, Progressive Powersports, Adventure MotoSports, North Texas KTM, Village Creek, Terry Cordray and Gryder Motor Sports.