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Jessica Zalusky- ZARS Owner Discusses Her Riding School and Pro Action Sport History
Jessica Zalusky, owner of Zalusky Advanced Riding School and Track Days (ZARS), discusses how she created the school after surviving a stroke in 2008, what we can expect from the academy instructors, offering a 3-Wheel Program, the growth of the school, and protocols in place since the pandemic. Jessica also shares how she went from a professional snowboarder prior to her competitive race career.
Zalusky Advanced Riding School and Track Days is an opportunity for motorcycle riders to improve their riding skills and become more confident, proficient riders. ZARS offers riders affordable opportunities for advanced rider training on a closed course with instruction as well as track days at Midwest racetracks.
ZARS is for all riders of all skill levels, from the veteran with decades of experience to the rider with a season of riding under their belt, this is for you! All bike types are welcome, whether you ride a sportbike or a cruiser, you'll gain valuable knowledge and training.
Pit Pass Moto Trivia Question:
Who was the first ever female World Motocross Champion? Name the rider and the year?
Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm Dave Saki. And this week we have as our guest, Jessica Zalusky. Moto America The home of AMA Superbike Championship, featuring 190 miles per hour. Superbikes is the official sponsor of Pit Pass Moto. Moto America. The official AMA Road Racing Series for North American can be found at Moto America com. Tickets, info and complete 2021 schedule are available at MotoAmerica com.
[00:00:48.080] - Dave Sulecki
Tickets don't miss a minute of action, practice, qualifying races and video on demand with MotoAmerica Live plus streaming. Follow MotoAmerica on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook the latest news in the industry. Pit Pass Moto would like to give a Congratulations to all the writers that competed at Loretta Lens this past week. All the Champions and 2021. Great job, guys. We have results of the MX GP of Latvia Kings and the MX GP class. Tim Geiser wins it with a two two. He comes home first for the weekend, followed by Jorge Proto, who finished second with a four one, and Jeffrey Hurling, who won the first.
[00:01:25.260] - Dave Sulecki
Moto took third with a one four. So your point standings now in MGP. Tim Geyser continues to lead with 270 points, followed now by Roman Fabre, who is sitting on 250, 713 points back. Romaine has actually moved up in the standings over this last weekend, so it was great to see in. Hored has now moved up. He is sitting in 30 points back in MX two action, we've got Maxine no, the points leader in MX two, took at home with a one one, followed by Yago Girt.
[00:01:55.320] - Dave Sulecki
Teammate from Belgium finished three two for second overall, followed by Matea Garda nine, took two three for third overall. Points in the MX two class. Maxim Reno continues to lead with 271, followed by Meta Geranin, who is 34 points back. And Reuben Fernandez sits in 3rd, 36 points back. Big news out of MotoGP. The doctor Valentino Rossi has announced his retirement after 25 years of racing and nine world Championships. He will be sorely missed from the Paddock. He won titles in 125, 200 and 5500 CC and MotoGP with 115 wins and 235 podiums.
[00:02:36.850] - Dave Sulecki
Congrats on a great career and on to the next chapter in Moto GP racing. From the Grand Prix of Stereo, held at the Red Bull Ring in the Moto GP class, Joe Martin took it home on his Dukati. He's led all the way from the start, followed closely, chased him home was Johan Mirana Suzuki, followed by Fabio Quarter and third. So your point standing. Sits now. Fabio Quarter is sitting in first with 172. Yohana sits in 2nd, 40 points back, followed by Johan Mir 51 points back in World Superbike Racing from Tisa, Czechoslovakia.
[00:03:12.300] - Dave Sulecki
In Race one, Toprak Raz Got Leo Glu takes at home for first, followed by Scott Redding and third Allen Locatelli. And Race two, Scott Redding takes at home for first, followed by toprated and third Jonathan Ray. So your point standings in World Superbike now sits Jonathan Ray, and his Kawasaki sits in first with 266 points, followed by Toprak. Raz got Leo Glu, who is three points back. So you've got a close battle for first there, followed by Scott Redding sitting in 30 50 points back this week's Pit Pass trivia question is, who was the first female world mode across champion?
[00:03:58.620] - Dave Sulecki
Name, the rider and the year the answer to that question after our interview with Jessica Zalusky.
[00:04:16.340] - Jessica Zalusky
[00:04:27.620] - Dave Sulecki
Would like to welcome to pick past Moto today, the name behind Zalusky Advanced Riding school, Jessica Zalusky. Welcome to the show, Jessica.
[00:04:36.370] - Jessica Zalusky
Hey, thanks for the welcome. Dave. Excited to join us.
[00:04:39.400] - Dave Sulecki
Oh, that's great where we want to talk about motorcycling today, but before we get into motorcycles, it's an interesting fact about you. You are an action sport athlete. At one time. We want to talk about what your career was like before motorcycling.
[00:04:53.080] - Jessica Zalusky
Yeah. So as a young child, I got into skiing and snowboarding. And so I spent most of my childhood and teen years and early adulthood competitively snowboarding, traveling around the world, competing in the World Cup circuit, competing at the world Championships, training and competing with the US snowboard team. And also, coincidentally, during that time, turned a huge passion of mine into motorcycling and picked up a motorcycle in my teen years. So that's kind of my segue of bouncing around two different sports in my lifetime. So it's been pretty fun.
[00:05:32.510] - Dave Sulecki
So what was the catalyst that led you from one sport to the other? I mean, they're obviously both adrenaline sports, which is really what motorcycling is for a lot of people. Is that the thing that really kind of drove you towards motorcycles, or did somebody introduce you to the sport?
[00:05:46.400] - Jessica Zalusky
No one really introduced me. I've always had a passion for two wheels just from having pit bikes or scooters when I was younger. And when I was 17, I bought a Ninja 250 just for fun and I would bring it out to the mountains with me in the summer when I'd go out west and always really enjoyed it. At some point, I just started going a little too fast on the streets and decided to go and check out a pro race up at Brainerd International Raceway. Seeing these guys flying around the track, I just knew I had to try it.
[00:06:21.180] - Jessica Zalusky
And I have a competitive spirit. And I loved snowboard racing as well. And so it was just a great Avenue for me to follow and start racing.
[00:06:31.140] - Dave Sulecki
So it was that adrenaline outlet for you, and it led to a racing career, as I understand.
[00:06:35.940] - Jessica Zalusky
Yeah, I did. I started off club racing with the Central Road Racing Association back in 1999 when I was younger and just fell in love with it. I had so much fun. I didn't know much of what I was doing. I didn't do well at the start, but I I stuck with it and really put a lot into a program as an amateur club racer and eventually became expert. And then started in pro racing in 2002. And it was just an amazing career. It's been so much fun ever since.
[00:07:08.610] - Dave Sulecki
And we all meet great people along the way when we do that. And you rode on some serious equipment to go from a Ninja 252. The bikes that you were riding in road racing kind of give us an idea what you started out on and what you ended up riding towards the end of your career.
[00:07:24.900] - Jessica Zalusky
So my first bike that I raised was a Honda F three. Absolutely loved it. I had an R six for the street at the time, and after a year on the F three, I decided I needed to put the R six on the track and really enjoyed it. Spent a ton of time on a Yamaha for a couple of years. And then in 2002, I decided I wanted to try my hand at pro racing. And that was also my first year as an expert, coincidentally. And I'm not sure how much you know the history of AMA, but back then we had a class called Pro Thunder and it was all the twins.
[00:08:00.170] - Jessica Zalusky
There was also a lot of talk that it was going to be the last year of Pro Thunder. So I thought this would probably be a great way for me to get started in pro racing because it was probably the least competitive class. And I had an opportunity to get on a Ducati. And so I jumped on it and competed in Pro Thunder in 2002. I just had a blast. It was probably one of my highlights of my life was doing Pro Thunder that year on a Ducati.
[00:08:29.270] - Dave Sulecki
Yeah, it was a great class. I do remember those years. It's good to see the AMA and Moto America doing the things that they're doing for road racing now. And it's always awesome to see. And I know you've been involved in some of that now. How did that segue? I get kind of segue into where you are today with the riding school track days with SARS. How did it kind of merge into that?
[00:08:51.660] - Jessica Zalusky
So back in 2008 was my last year racing in AMA pro racing. Last year doing any club races for fun. After the season was done, I suffered a massive stroke, and at that point I knew my racing days were numbered and they were done. And so I wanted to somehow get more involved. And so prior to 2008, on a very small level, did some coaching and put on some track days and such nothing too serious. And in 2008, when I realized I would need to look at some other avenues to keep my foot in the door with motor sports, I decided to go full speed into doing track days and riding schools, and it's been such a phenomenal ride for us and for our family.
[00:09:44.200] - Jessica Zalusky
It's a way for me to stay involved in road racing and in the motorcycle community without having to actively race. And also just a great way to give back to riders into our community and hopefully just advanced riders skills across the Midwest and give opportunities for riders to also get on the race track. So it's been an amazing opportunity over the last 1314 years.
[00:10:09.880] - Dave Sulecki
I agree a great way to stay connected. And I agree 100% with what you said about giving back to the sport that's given so much to you, something you've enjoyed your entire life. Now talk about the advanced riding school, what kind of rider expect when they sign up for the program and attend one of your events.
[00:10:25.370] - Jessica Zalusky
So it's a really unique opportunity, something that I don't think you find anywhere across the US. We have a 1 mile road course minutes from Minneapolis and St Paul, and it's right in the Metropolitan area, a road course with 15 turns, and you could have your rider who's on a sport tour sport bike, a Harley, a vintage Supermoto, anything on two wheels. And you could come out and advance your skills on a motorcycle. It's a really awesome opportunity. It's a small enough track that we don't require, for example, full leathers.
[00:11:01.980] - Jessica Zalusky
They wear their safety riding gear. They come out to work with a great lineup of coaches, and we advance their skills to help them become better riders out on the street or if they're track riders, whichever the case may be. We think it's made a huge impact just on the motorcycling community in the Midwest with hopefully we feel that it's helped reduce rates with motorcycle incidents, crashes and deaths and so on. It's been a really awesome opportunity for riders here in the Midwest.
[00:11:32.580] - Dave Sulecki
So I noticed on the website that you list a large number of instructors for the course, which includes yourself. You have a very high what I would call a teacher to student ratio, where you've got a very attentive crew to the number of riders that attend. Is that important to the success of the program?
[00:11:51.300] - Jessica Zalusky
Absolutely. At our advanced writing school, we try to keep, especially for our level one and two, our entry level into advance. Right. And we try to keep the ratio three to one. So that really allows the coach and the rider to individualize the training because everyone is at a bit of a different level when they come into our training. We have some that have been writing for 30, 40 years, and we have some riders that have three or 4000 miles. So everyone is a bit unique with their skill set and experience.
[00:12:21.680] - Jessica Zalusky
And so we're really able to narrow down to that riders specific needs and be able to provide this opportunity to do this training on real road riding. We're not in a parking lot. We actually have turns. We have asphalt and they come out, they have a great time and they learn so much.
[00:12:40.040] - Dave Sulecki
It's always interesting to me to see the reactions, too. Obviously, with new writers. They're getting a lot of it because it's kind of an open landscape for a new rider to learn the skills. But talk about some of the experienced writers going away from the school, and what do they have to say about the program?
[00:12:57.140] - Jessica Zalusky
So we've had riders that have started off at Dakota County Tech College. That's where we do our advanced writing schools in Rosemont, Minnesota, that have worked their way up to the big race tracks and doing track days. And we've had riders that have become season track day riders. We've had riders become MSF coaches, and we've had riders follow an amazing progression all the way up to a handful of my riders that got their start at our advanced riding school. We're just racing at Moto America a few weekends ago at Brainard, so it's pretty awesome to see, you know, what riders can do with their riding, just getting up their start here with their advanced riding school.
[00:13:37.550] - Dave Sulecki
And I'm always curious to ask now, at least in current events, power, sports and motorcycling in general has had a huge uptick in participation over the last two years. I think, as a result of the Covet situation, how has that affected the school? Have you had to do anything differently, or does that impact the riders, or how does that affect the school? For you guys?
[00:13:58.880] - Jessica Zalusky
It has impacted us, as in new protocols and new ways of coaching and structuring our events. We've adapted as the situation has changed, and we're still cognizant that COVID still exists. And so we're still watching carefully and modifying as needed, and it really hasn't had too much of an impact. We tried to obviously, motorcycling were outdoors. We've brought all of our classrooms outdoors as well. And so the impact has been pretty minimal. We've just been using a lot of common sense, great protocols that we've developed, and we continued to develop to this day to keep all of our riders safe on and off the track and minimize that risk.
[00:14:41.550] - Dave Sulecki
One thing I found on the website I thought it was very interesting was your Association to train new riders on the Cann Riker the three Wheeler, because when you look on the website, you see a lot of various motorcycles, like you had mentioned earlier, cruisers to sport bikes to turning bikes included. How did that program come about in that partnership?
[00:15:00.080] - Jessica Zalusky
So a few years ago, we had a good friend of mine who does a lot of events with us on two wheels, had mentioned our school to Can Am as a candidate to branch out and provide three wheel training. And when we were contacted, we were excited about the opportunity. I think any opportunity that we can get riders or just get your everyday folks on to two or three wheels. I think it's a win. And so we were excited for the opportunity and we decided to begin to offer this essentials course to train your average Joe or Jack or Jill to ride three wheels.
[00:15:43.970] - Jessica Zalusky
And it's been so much fun. We've had hundreds come through our three wheel program and we also offer advanced rider training for three wheels as well as riders develop and build their skills. They need those advanced skills as well. So we cater to that whole three well program from from their first time to their days of being an advanced three wheel rider.
[00:16:04.370] - Dave Sulecki
Which I think it's really a great program because I think in a lot of ways it's a gateway to the two wheel world by having people start out possibly on the three Wheeler and maybe matriculate to a two Wheeler as things go.
[00:16:17.860] - Jessica Zalusky
Absolutely. The clientele that we've come out or have come up for our classes for three wheel have been amazing. We've had kids in their 20s to later that are widows in their Seventies and Eighties like they all just have this interest and they're intrigued by motorcycling. And I think it's been a great segue as well to get them onto two wheels and that's happened as well. So it's been pretty awesome to see how this has come full circle for us and that's great to hear.
[00:16:50.120] - Dave Sulecki
I think it exposes people to just the world of power sports in general in a way that they wouldn't normally in the first place. So kudos to you and your team for driving that and bringing that program to bear as well as the advanced riding school and the track days. Jessica, our time, unfortunately, is running out, but I wanted to take these last few minutes. If there's an opportunity to direct folks, where can they find you? Where is the best place to look for you and find out about your school?
[00:17:17.650] - Jessica Zalusky
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Dave. They can get all the information they need from our website at Riders com and that's R-I-D-E-Z-A-R-S com. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our handle is riders as well, and we love to connect with anyone who's passionate about advancing their skills on two or three wheels. We'll have a lot of fun and we're still going strong through October, and then we'll be back at it in April of 2022.
[00:17:49.680] - Dave Sulecki
Awesome. Thanks again for joining us today. Jessica, it's in great having you.
[00:17:53.720] - Jessica Zalusky
Thank you so much, Dave. I appreciate it.
[00:18:05.350] - Dave Sulecki
We would like to thank our guest Jessica for being with us today. This week's Pit Pasture via question was who was the first female world Motor Cross champion? Name the rider and the year. And the answer is Livia Lancelot. She won the first ever women's world Championship in 2008 and upcoming events. We've got MotoAmerica at Pit Race on August 13, through 15th AMA Outdoor Motocross at Nadella New Berlin, New York, August 14. Motogp Grand Prion Stretch The Red Bull Ring, Austria, August 15. For our guests for being with us today, and thank you for tuning in.
[00:19:10.530] - Dave Sulecki
If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and review so we really appreciate it. Make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and visit Pit Pass Moto com where you can check out our blog. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, producer Leah Longbrake, an audio Engineer Eric Koltnow. Now I'm Dave, and we'll see you next week.