I first rode with Jett at a track day in late 2005
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Doug Chandler
Being an instructor at track days means paying close attention–to flags, hazards on the track, riders’ mistakes (or impending mistakes) and strengths. With my antennae up like this, I start to notice patterns: the lady who’s never ridden at a track before and rides slower than she does on the freeway; the guy on the Hayabusa who parks it in the corners and pins it on the straights; the cocky dude on the Gixxer battling with his buddies who rides completely over his head; and those ultra-aggressive racers who can ruin anyone’s day if they cross paths. It’s all very entertaining, but it can become somewhat monotonous. Fortunately, there are a few riders who break up the monotony. Who are they? The ones who can really ride–who have that magical talent that leaves all who see them ride wondering, “How do they do that?” One of those riders was at Buttonwillow Raceway the last time I was there. His name: Jett Wayne Chandler.
If you know anything about motorcycle racing, you know Jett’s dad. Doug Chandler is a three-time AMA Superbike Champion, raced in the 500cc Grand Prix World Championships (now known as MotoGP) and is one of only four riders in AMA history to achieve the Grand Slam with national wins in mile, half-mile, short track, TT and roadrace competition. Doug is still racing AMA Superbike and started his Champ Racing School for roadracers to hone their skills. His number-one student: his 16-year-old son.
I first rode with Jett at a track day in late 2005. He was riding with his dad at a lively pace, but it was apparent he still had some learning to do. Since then, Jett began club racing with the Arroyo Seco Motorcyclist Association and attended many of his dad’s schools. Nearly a year later, I was blown away at his progress. His super-fast and effortless riding, coupled with a graceful-yet-aggressive style, gave me chills. He’s got it–and mark my words, he is going far.
Having his dad as a mentor certainly helps. Look at Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi and Kenny Roberts Jr: Their dads started them out young and it paid off. I have no doubt in my mind that Jett will be a future MotoGP star. If you ever see him at a track day or a race, you may be as inspired as I was.