GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Jordan Ashburn And Chuck Lemaster

Tuesday Toolbox: Jordan Ashburn And Chuck Lemaster

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 | 4:45 PM
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 | 4:45 PM

Each year a rider is selected to represent GNCC at the final round of JNCC Racing in Japan. This year Jordan Ashburn got the pick after his best season so far. Team Faith’s Chuck Lemaster tagged along as well for the trip. We caught up with the guys to hear more about Jordan and Chuck’s Japanese Adventure! How’s it going today, guys?
Jordan Ashburn: It’s going pretty good.

Chuck Lemaster: Same here, going good!

Ashburn was picked after the Ironman GNCC to head over to Japan and race the final JNCC of the season.
Ashburn was picked after the Ironman GNCC to head over to Japan and race the final JNCC of the season. Photo: Ken Hill

So first off, what did you guys think of Japan?
Jordan: Japan was amazing. The country was beautiful from the steep mountains to the volcanos. It really wasn’t anything like what I imagined an island to look like. I was thinking it was like maybe tropical or something (laughs)

Chuck: Japan was awesome! I worked for Yamaha for about 10 years and never got to go, so this trip was pretty cool. I always wondered how Yamaha Japan developed product, and since Jordan is a Yamaha rider, and Yamaha provided him a YZ250FX that we didn’t even have in the United States at the time, I finally got to see how that works!

Jordan, how did it feel to take the win there?
It felt great to take the win in Japan especially on Yamahas new 250FX. It was great feeling going to another country and not really knowing what to expect and going back home from the center of the box.

Was it very much different than racing here in the US?
Jordan: The terrain was a good different than the US. The mountains were more rugged and lots of deep loamy black dirt. The race course seemed to be much wider than here in the states too. But other than that I mean, as soon as the flag drops all races seem the same. You just want to be the first one across the finish line.

Chuck: I walked the track with Jordan the night before and we were both struck by how they laid out the course. There were arrows, pretty standard. But then, when we got into the woods, the arrows disappeared and there was banner tape on the left and right. Our guide said "stay between the banners and you are on course." At first, the banners were only 25 feet apart. But then, they widened to probably 200 feet. They were so far apart that you couldn't see each banner through the trees and the riders were expected to choose their best lines through the woods; no trail! I figured Jordan would be good at that. I've been trail riding with him and he gets easily bored. He's always wandering off trail and looking for slick logs to hop whilst I crash (laughs).

So how did the racing go?
Jordan: The race was kind of tough at first. I got a bad start and that lead to me pushing a little hard causing a couple of crashes early. One of which lead to me bending a radiator and having to stop in the pits the first lap. Then after that I was in second place and I took off on a mission to catch first place. I ended up catching him toward the end of the first lap. I just keep pushing out after that trying to get away from him almost three hours later ended up taking the win.

Ashburn won the JNCC finale on Yamaha's new YZ250FX.
Ashburn won the JNCC finale on Yamaha's new YZ250FX. Photo: Courtesy of Chuck Lemaster

So how did the race go for you, Chuck?
I thoroughly enjoyed it! I was busy snapping iPhone pics and updating my Facebook page. We were in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan, which is very mountainous and rugged. It was peak season for the turning of the leaves and it was probably the most beautiful setting for a race that I've ever been to.

What were your observations compared to a race here in the U.S.?
Jordan: I believe the speeds are a little faster here in the U.S. and the competition here is a little stronger. But don't get me wrong they’re still really great riders.

Chuck: The speeds are definitely different. Yamaha had a brand-new, just-launched YZ250FX and so several of the design engineers were on hand, as well as a test rider. It was very telling that during the race, one of the engineers shook his head and in broken English said, "We never see bike go so fast!" Basically, one of their test riders is about a top ten A rider over here. Yet, they develop the bike for the rest of the world. This was the first time that Japan got to see how we will actually abuse, uh, I mean "use" one of their bikes (laughs). Of course, it's Yamaha, so it's good stuff. Jordan only turned the stock clickers about 3 settings and was good enough. So, their test riders might not have the speed, but they have the expertise.

Jordan, do you have plans lined up for 2015 yet?
Yeah, I’ll be back on a N Fab Am Pro Yamaha for 2015 with Randy Hawkins.

And Chuck, I guess we'll be seeing you back at the races in 2015?
Yes sir! No place I'd rather be. I get to bring the church to the racetrack and even ride my dirt bike, too. I'll have the Team Faith rig on Vendor Row every Saturday and Sunday and want to invite everyone to come out to chapel services. Occasionally, I'm even funny. It won't be boring!

Chuck Lemaster will be heading back to the races in 2015 with Team Faith. 
Chuck Lemaster will be heading back to the races in 2015 with Team Faith.  Photo: Ken Hill

What goals do you guys have for 2015?
Jordan: Well, after ending up third overall this year and finishing with a couple of second places, I'm looking for my first win this year. I also want to stay consistent and be there on the podium all year.

Chuck: The GNCC Racing Nation is like a huge family. I get to be the pastor, but there are so many people I haven't got to know. I'm looking for ways to expand the ministry, get more people involved, let them know of God's love for them, help with spiritual concerns, bike problems, life issues, whatever. And oh yeah, finish top 3 in Vet B.

Alright, before we wrap this up, who would you guys like to thank?
Jordan: I’d really like to thank God for giving me this amazing talent to chase my dreams and give him all the glory. My girlfriend, mom, and dad; I couldn't do it without them. The GNCC series and JNCC for making it possible to go race in Japan. N-Fab AmPro Yamaha, MSR, Sidi, EKS Brand googles, Pro Taper, Cycra and everyone else involved with the team, thanks.

Chuck: I wouldn't be here if it weren't for God's blessing; I get to be a preacher on the biggest and best series in the world, so all glory to Him! Thanks Racer Productions for sending me to Japan. I was honored and humbled to represent. Thanks to Team Faith and everyone who stands behind us.