Seven years after making his 125cc Grand Prix debut in 2008 at the legendary “Brickyard,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway, PJ Jacobson became the first American to earn a pole position and a victory in the FIM Supersport World Championship. That season, 2015, he finished second overall to five-time WorldSSP Champion Kenan Sofuoğlu.
Since then, Jacobsen has raced World Superbike, British Superbike, MotoAmerica Supersport and Stock 1000, and even American Flat Track Twins. This past season, he once again contested the MotoAmerica series, where he earned a Superbike pole position and three podium finishes on a Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR.
Yet time waits for no man, and Jacobsen is not an exception. The 29-year-old New York native, who now calls Florida home, remains laser-focused on his personal racing goals, but he is looking toward the future and several promising youngsters with whom he is sharing his experiences through the Jacobsen Motorcycle Training Establishment.
Jacobsen believes children can begin to grasp racing concepts at an early age. “I have worked with a kid who was five years old,” he says. “He learned a lot, and he improved significantly. I think around five years old is the youngest age you can really start working with someone. At five, they just want to have fun.
“Working with kids, I know how they get frustrated. They’re kids, after all. So often, a kid is just there to do the lap time and to be fast. They get frustrated with themselves when they can’t do the lap time. I know how it is, and I can get in their minds, because I was in that very same place at one time.
“When I was going into the professional ranks at 16 or 17 years old,” Jacobsen recalls, “I was riding around with other kids. I saw the struggles and what parents do with their kids — all the stuff I didn’t do. I try to help the kids and their parents, steering them in the right direction. ‘I was in a similar situation, try this.’ Or, ‘You should probably go this route.’”
Jacobsen’s more experienced clients have watched him race, seen his posts on social media, or witnessed his success with other riders. “I spent a full year with Sam Lochoff, developing him into a top-three rider — a race winner,” he says. “That brought a lot of attention to my coaching. Other people wanted to do that program and see the benefits from it.
“Some of the young kids I work with are super-fast. I try to do my best so they can believe in and catch their dreams. Eventually, they will be where I am. I guide them and not just with coaching on the bike. ‘Should we go to Europe? Should we do this? Should we do that?’ I can give them my input, because I’ve already done all that stuff.”
Sometimes, students need help getting through a rough patch in their riding. “One kid that I coach was having a bad race weekend,” Jacobsen recalls. “He was really down. I was there, helping him refocus and forget about the crashes. I’ve been in those same situations. It’s hard. Mentally, as a rider, you have to be the strongest person.”
Jacobsen continues to grow as a rider, as well. He has studied and even replicated the aggressive, rear-wheel-in-the-air braking of 2021 Superbike World Champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu. “When the rear end is up like that,” PJ says, “I have really good stopping power and more confidence in the front end. When the rear comes down, I can go right to the corner, not skate through it.
“When I’m sliding into corners, I don’t hit my apexes correctly. I work on that a lot with the Ohvale minibike, and there were a couple of MotoAmerica tracks this year with second-gear corners where I did it on the BMW. I did it in Turn 12 at Brainerd, and I was close to the top of the field in the last split. It gave me really good front-end confidence, and I hit my marks.”
Techniques developed on smaller-displacement machines ridden on kart tracks directly relate to what Jacobsen does in MotoAmerica competition on a 200-plus-horsepower Superbike. “Faster, more-developed riders can practice on an Ohvale or a 450cc supermoto bike,” he says. “If they need coaching, I can teach them that type of stuff.”
Jacobsen aims to instill a sense of purpose in his students, and fitness is essential to his formula. Preparing for the racing season, Jacobsen spends one to two hours, twice a day, in a gym. He believes in building a cardiovascular base and runs at least five miles per day or spends an hour cycling. Jacobsen also offers nutrition plans for his students.
Jacobsen clearly enjoys working with others and watching them become better riders. Some have more success than others, but they all learn something, which is satisfying. “Most of my students are really open to change,” he says. “I have a couple of kids that I work with in the MotoAmerica Mini Cup, and they’re really fast. Coaching has been really good for me.”
PJ Jacobsen is just one of a select group of riders that represents the REV’IT! brand in top-level racing series all over the world, including MotoGP, WorldSBK, MotoAmerica, and more. Get to know all the passionate professional athletes in the REV’IT! racing family.