NEWS Thursday 17th February 2022, 12:00pm
The latest in the very long line of Australian riders who have been part of the Monarchs setup is Jacob Hook, not 20 until August but ready to grab this opportunity in a 2022 side which is around 57% Australian!
To say we Hooked up with Jacob this morning might seem a bit of a pathetic pun, but we did anyway and first of all asked him about his life in motorcycles.
Jacob said "I didn't start riding any type of motorcycle till I was 10, and had my first ride on a speedway bike at 11, that was on a 125cc – we have 125cc, 250cc and 500cc in Australia. I didn't take to it straight away – speedway's not something that you can just get on and win.
"I think in my third year on 125cc I got third in Australia, and third in the Best Pairs that same year, with Keynan Rew. A year later I got second in the 250cc Australia in Mildura behind Keynan. In 2018 I went to the World titles in Poland for the 250cc Under-15 and got fifth there.
"A year later I got on the 500cc, and since then I've won one Queensland Under-21 Championship, one Victorian Under-21 Championship, runner-up twice; I got third in Victorian Open title, fifth in Queensland. I won the Darcy Ward Championship which was held last year.
"My family and I, that's myself, mum and dad, travel as a family so we do travel a lot which you have to do to ride speedway, and you have to ride against everyone. We go down to places like Adelaide and Mildura at the end of the year to race in meetings like the Jason Lyons event and the Phil Crump Cup when the boys are back from the UK."
Jacob, who did consider coming over last season, has the advantage of knowing half of his team mates before he even leaves Australia, and he has already been tapping in to their well of knowledge. "Obviously it's a dream to go to the UK. I thought about it last year and I spoke to Darcy Ward about it. Darcy said 'Just stay home for another year' – I wasn't quite ready. I'm only 19 now, it wouldn't have been too young at 18 but I'm just a little bit more mature now and I know a little bit more than I did last year. I want to take my career to the next level.
"It's been quite difficult this year because in Australia they locked us down quite heavily, and I haven't got too much riding in. I wasn't able to leave the state much so I mainly just rode at North Brisbane and Ipswich which is nearby. I probably had maybe six to eight meetings.
"Josh and Sam helped me at the New South Wales meeting so I've spoken to them quite a lot, and obviously Kye. Kye lives close to me and I've known him a long time. I've been speaking with all the boys. It's definitely going to help to have Sam, Josh and Kye there, I'm not walking into a situation where I don't know anyone. Sam and Josh have already said they'll help me with bike setups and suggested some changes recently which got me into an A Final where I got a second to Mattie Gilmore.
"They have mentioned that Armadale is quite technical and tight but one of the tracks local to me is Ipswich, Kye has ridden there a lot prior to going overseas last year. Kye says Armadale is quite similar to that so I've tried to practise there as much as I can. I enjoy tight technical tracks where you are always thinking and not relaxing."
He knows he isn't in for an easy ride but believes he is prepared for what lies ahead. "I've just bought two complete bikes over there, GM engines, Jawa no. 1 frames. I bought a whole package so it came with a tool box, sprockets, clutch cooler, all that kind of stuff. So I just have to go there and collect it, then get it set up how I like it.
"I'm planning on flying out on 7th or 8th of March, so I'll be over there just after that. Then I'm obviously going to have to pick up my bikes, sort my van out and probably go to see some of the Aussie boys while I'm over. Catch up with the likes of Jake Allen who I'm quite friendly with – he didn't come home this year.
"I've been watching the team releases for this season and all the teams are stuffed with riders from Premiership and Championship level, so I realise it is going to be hard but a good challenge that I'm willing to take on.
"I'm looking forward to meeting the whole Edinburgh squad and all the fans."