More Than a Racer - Jeff Pickens
Welcome back to More Than a Racer, a blog series brought to you by GBC Motorsports exploring the lives of professional and amateur ATV and UTV racers across the country. The sport of ATV/UTV racing requires intense commitment and dedication. It is an investment of time, money and energy, but the rewards reach well beyond the racecourse. Today, we would like to introduce you to GNCC racer and Pennsylvania native Jeff Pickens!
Off of the track, Jeff is a hard working business owner. “I actually own a construction company, it’s called JP Environmental. I’ve had the company going on two and half years. I build and update water and sewage plants. Kind of a specialty construction, everything’s out for bid. I’ve done it ever since I got out of high school, I was a superintendent for another company, they shut down so I started my own business,” Jeff says of the work he does.
Before that, Jeff worked as an independent laborer. “I went to work with my dad and went to Pennsylvania American Water Company, a division of the biggest water company in the country. I worked for them for a couple years, didn’t care for it as much and that’s when I decided to start JP Environmental”.
Despite running a successful company, Jeff still finds the time to train at his home in Shamoken, Pennsylvania. “Yeah I live out in the country, I have a little practice track right here at the house, that’s what we ride on. We’re pretty rural. I did not grow up in this area, we grew up about an hour outside of Pittsburgh”.
Surprisingly enough, this racing champion didn’t get his tires dirty until later on in life. “As far as racing, I didn’t get into it until I was about 16 or 17. My parents bought me a 4 wheeler at age four, which I play rode around the house. Growing up I was more into sports. As I started to drive and high school sports came to end, I started hanging out with people that raced, got hooked, and made it a lifestyle.”
It didn’t take Jeff long to make his mark, excelling into the XC1 Pro class and becoming a top competitor in the GNCC racing scene.
Racing brought something else to the table for Jeff, when he met his wife Traci- a fellow GNCC racer! The couple have a 3-and-a-half year old son, who plays a big part in their racing life now.
“It’s how we met, it’s what we do on the weekends. This year I decided to do all the races and try to win a championship. My wife is still racing, same story as me, she stepped back a bit with the kid. Last year she only did 8 races, but this year has the same plan. It’s hard to step away, it’s what we’ve been doing for 15-16 years. It’s a family thing now with the little guy. It’s a lot of hours out on the road, but it’s with the people I want to be with, so it’s a good time,” says Jeff.
Jeff tells us where he’s at now in his career as a father and what his life looks like these days. “Racing takes up a lot of my spare time, at least it did until I had a kid 3-and-a-half years ago. I retired from the Pro class in 2013 when we had our little guy. When we’re not racing we’re just hanging around the house with family and friends, running our businesses.”
Throughout his professional racing career, Jeff has had a strong relationship with GBC Motorsports, something that has been consistent for him in the last 16 years.
"I’ll give you my opinion on GBC. They have expanded in the GNCC world over the years. One of the reasons I think that is, is that when I came on board I met and talked to the owner of the company, Randy Tsai. I know I can get in touch with him, he’s very personable and able to talk to the riders, not like a typical big corporation. When they brought on Kory Ellis, that was big. They went to next level with him on board. GBC is great to deal with, they have a great staff and make you feel like you can call and talk to somebody anytime. You can put your two cents in, unlike some other companies”.
Thank you again Jeff, the GBC family is proud to support you! Both Jeff and Traci Pickens continue to race and you can follow them here on their social media pages!
Instagram- @jntpickens https://www.instagram.com/jntpickens/