It seems like more and more of the younger off-road racers coming up through the ranks have grown up in the sport. Whether they have been around the sport from a young age with family or getting taken under the wing of a veteran there is no doubt that in today’s off-road world the young talent that will continue to push the sport to new levels.
Jerett Brooks is one of those racers that, at the age of 19, has made a huge impact in the sport. From a young age, Jerett has had plenty success in the sport and a big future to look forward to. He has raced in The Off-Road Championships (TORC), Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS), Stadium Super Trucks (SST), and the X-Games.
Jerett is currently running in the Pro Lite class with LOORRS and leading the 2016 points championship going into the final round. We had a chance to catch up with Jerett after his weekend sweep in Lake Elsinore, California, September 23-24.
How did you get into off-road?
Jerett Brooks: I always went to K1 Speed, the go-kart racing place, with my family and enjoyed it. I was pretty good at it and wanted to race go-karts. We ended up finding a trophy kart and instantly bought it without even having seen one of the races. Even though we were beginners, we went out to our first race in Lake Elsinore to go check out what went on. These were just the Junior 1 cars which we raced in the CORR (Championship Off-Road Racing) series in 2008. We raced the Junior Karts for about three years and I won my first race in CORR my first year.
We then went to the LOORRS series after we got a Modified Kart. For the time being, we ran both Mod Kart classes in that series. We won a few races in the highly competitive Modified Kart class during the next three years before hopping into a Pro Lite.
Jumping into a Pro Lite was like getting into the kart for the first time; we had no clue what was going on. Thankfully, I knew RJ Anderson from my sister, and we went out for a test day which was my first time driving the truck.
From that, we met Chad and Doug Mittag. I learned a lot from them before they built me my new truck. We went out our first year with the old truck and learned even more. Every time we took it out, we got faster.
We made the switch over to TORC in 2014 with all the bugs worked out. We went in and dominated. I was running mid to front of the pack in Lucas, but in TORC, I was out front. It was a big surprise for us. We won the Pro Lite Championship that year with 12 podium finishes and three wins. We jumped back to the LOORRS series in 2015 and continued doing well.
My mentality when I went back to TORC was: this is what I want to do, and if I want to do it, I have to do it now. From then on I have just been going for it. My family is fully dedicated and we are in it full force.
What has it been like being taken under the wing by other drivers in the sport?
JB: A lot of guys have taught me what to do, and I have always looked up to RJ. I have gone to Cory Kruseman a couple times, which has made me feel like a veteran in the Pro Lite class.
Nowadays, I know where the dirt is getting dry at and when to make a run. I feel that being taught by them has given me an advantage against the new drivers entering the class.
What do you enjoy most about racing?
JB: Winning! I love winning, but I just love off-road because it is totally different than anything else. You are in a cage, so you feel pretty safe. You have the ability to jump 100 feet in the air and go side by side with another driver down the front stretch, which is pretty cool.
I love the feeling of being able to control what I want to do, and slide sideways on two wheels. I have raced all sorts of stuff, but my heart and soul is in off-road because of how fun it is.
What do you find most difficult about racing?
JB: The most difficult part of racing is trying to get the setup down. It is different with off-road because you go out there and the track could be perfect, you could be perfect, and the truck could be perfect, but when you go out for the next practice, the track could be rutted and you end up fighting the truck.
I feel that it is about 70 percent driver and 30 percent setup. The changing track and how you have to adapt to it has to be the most difficult part of off-road racing.
Any plans for the future?
JB: Next year, we are jumping up into Pro 2. I have really been inspired by guys like Brian Deegan and Rob MacCachren. I have been watching Rob race since the first year of CORR. He was the guy, and I really looked up to him.
It is going to be pretty insane moving up to that class. I have a lot to learn, but it is just another step. Off-road is hard to make a living out of, but that is my main goal.
I will always want to race. I look at Bryce Menzies and everything that he is doing in Dakar, to RJ driving Polaris UTVs around and making videos out of that. I would like to give desert a shot, but I just want to make sure that I am always racing something.
We wish Jerett all the luck in the rest of this year’s season and going into next year. Be sure to watch him October 22-23 when the LOORRS heads to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona for the season finale.