Inside Moto3: Jack Miller’s rise to the top of the championship.

29/05/2014

“One doctor told me to put an axe through the bike!” – Sonya Miller, Jack’s manager and mother.

So many people from all walks of life grow up dreaming of emulating their heroes and being the best at whatever it is they love – music, film, sport, art, writing – the list goes on.

Hobbies are the first fruit of that interest and money is quickly invested in ballet shoes, pencils or keyboards – whatever is needed.

What if your child is a massive motorsport fan?

What if they have a lot of potential and that means eventually paying to ride and leaving the country?

Moto3 rolls into Mugello this weekend for round six of the world championship with Australian teenager Jack Miller leading the way by 30 points – more than a race win – so he will head off to Catalunya as the championship leader regardless of how this race turns out.

The Miller clan minus big brother Fergus with Jack far left

The Miller family, minus big brother Fergus, at home in Queensland. Image via http://www.jackmiller.com.au used with permission.

Miller impressed last season riding the life out of his underpowered Honda and scoring some good results, which earned him a top ride for 2014 at the multi-title winning Ajo Motorsport team.

Not everyone is lucky to be cherry picked and handed excellent equipment from the off and I was lucky enough to be able to speak to Sonya Miller, Jack’s manager and mother about the struggles involved in entering Grand Prix racing as Miller’s rise to the top has been hard work, not just for him, but for his family too.

The most wonderful thing about writing this Q&A was the unique insight Sonya could give from her dual role and all the entertaining and insightful answers she provided. An awesome human being to work with.

Below is are some short excerpts from the Q&A, with the full version available at PaddockChatter.com

It’s an excellent look at the financial and often hidden side of racing, well worth a look. Why not comment or share to get involved or visit me on Twitter – @LisaLewisWrites

PaddockChatter got the chance to speak exclusively to Miller’s manager, Sonya Miller – who currently has a dual interest in the 19-year-olds career as both his manager and mother – for an inside account of the sacrifices needed to go all the way in the world championship paddock- finances, broken bones and all…

Successful start Miller takes win number one in Qatar

Successful start: Miller takes win number one in Qatar Image via http://www.jackmiller.com.au with permission.

Jack has a big personality, akin to the like of Schwantz, Sheene or Rossi – which is being embraced by the sport already as it’s been missing a true character to take to heart. He still seems very grounded though. Has he changed at all since his first taste of success this season?

I was worried about what he would be like when we went to Qatar after such a good pre-season. Those worries were soon allayed with the first hug I got – he’s exactly the same as he always was.

I think Aki (Ajo, Team Manager) has been a good grounding influence on him…

 
Not being gifted an easy route into the sport has meant a lot of pushing underpowered machinery to the limit to get noticed and that’s resulted in plenty of broken bones over the years. Does seeing your son in hospital ever become easier or normalised?

Never. You learn a lot over the years – I can now see the breaks easily on x-rays . It got to the stage where we would get in the ambulance and they would ask medical history and I would say there’s a very thick folder at the hospital with everything in it, but I can tell you he hasn’t broken this before.
How close did you and Jack come to actually having to quit the paddock when your finances were under pressure?

It was a very close call but thanks to family and the sponsorship from Macca we could continue to the end of last year.

In a team where you pay there is no financial leniency it’s just business, no matter how well you are doing…

Continued in full by clicking the link!

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4 comments

  1. Lisa
    Nice piece and love the fact you are highlighting up and coming talent. I always forget that by the time we se the Vettels and Alonsos, the Marquezs or Lorenzos they have already been involved in race for a very long time. It is just amazing to me to think what a modern day racer no matter what the discipline is has to go throughout to not just stay in at the junior levels but then to make it the next level…

    1. Thanks JP.

      Had an annoying day as I’m not too far from setting some questions to the man himself and someone at the track has nipped in for Crash, so IF it goes ahead I’ll need to rework how I’m gonna use it. Grrr.

      Sonya Miller was wonderful and her answers are both smart and funny, though still explain how hard it is to get anywhere if not ‘The Chosen One’ .(OK, I’ll say it M.Marquez, a wonderful racer, but Honda sure picked him up and sent him on his way early, no money worries there!)

      It’s a financial and relocation issue that applies to so many sports and is not often discussed. I am very honoured to have had the chance to write about it, but the content is nothing without her context. Great stuff.

      Glad you enjoyed the read and thanks for all the retweets etc!

      Loving the ‘My Take”s of late, I read all of them, wish I had more time to reply!! Keep them coming 🙂

      1. Lisa

        you know i hadn’t even given a thought to the location or re-location aspect of the equation. Man that is a lot for parents to consider when there son or daughter has such talent. but we all know the percentage of racers that really make it irrespective of this talent.

        I guessing you are referring to Crash.net. That is a bummer, but maybe it will force you ask more compelling questions as you mentioned. I am always the glass half full guy. 😉

        can’t wait to read it.

        jp.

  2. It’s a really big all-in commitment and not just financially!

    Unfortunately the content is not always the most important thing when it come to talking with riders, it’s the access! Right place, right time and some paddock access and you don’t need a middleman, I still do.

    IF it happens I can still make use of it, just a matter of changing the presentation hopefully. My set are quite different and I hope more compelling already, just need answers 😉

    Thanks as always for the interesting replies 🙂

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