I just heard the news about Jacob Hayes suffering a badly broken femur, kneecap, and wrist while practicing for the final few Supercross races in Salt Lake City. Anytime a racer suffers a severe injury, it can be horrific, but this injury is crucial in Jacob’s career. He is in his late 20s, and while this isn’t old in life terms, Motocross has deemed him “old.”
Jacob raced for the AJE Motorsports/Gas Monkey Energy Drink Husqvarna team in 2020. While this is a competent team, it was a shame one of the larger teams didn’t sign the talented former Arenacross champion. Jacob was looking to get some impressive results to finish out the season in hopes of getting that elusive shot on a factory team in 2021. Unfortunately, the 250 teams only seem interested in signing riders up from the amateur ranks, which is usually a bust. His injury all but ensures he will be a full privateer or on a low budget team similar to AJE Motorsports in 2021. I am not trying to insult to those teams, but they don’t have the resources or budget of a factory team. While Jacob has had an impressive career, one that many racers only dream about, it’s decision time for him. Is he willing to struggle against the Factory teams, hoping to impress them, knowing full well it will take a small miracle for them to hire him? These teams have a history of overlooking proven talent to hire unproven riders who show glimpses of “potential.” The sport of Supercross is behind the times regarding age, an athlete’s prime is from 25 – 35 and there is no logical reason this shouldn’t hold in Supercross. The unfortunate reality is a few out of touch executives haven’t evolved with the modern athlete, and this may leave Jacob without the opportunity he deserves.
Jacob will have some time to contemplate his future, as this is a horrific injury, and recovering from an injury to this extent will give him plenty of time to decide what is next. He can heal up and continue chasing the dream or move on to his post-racing career. Only Jacob knows what his future holds, but it’s a hard reality every professional athlete faces. I hope he continues racing and helps change how people view age in the sport of Supercross; get well soon, Jacob!