Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2013:
2012 was quite the year for PJ Jacobsen. A rider that began the season having been named as part of and then released from the PTR Honda team in the World Supersport Championship without even turning a wheel, Jacobsen would end it having grasped a 'one-off' opportunity to join Tyco Suzuki with both hands to not only win in the Superstock 1000 class, but even the ultra-competitive Supersport category.
Still only a teenager, in Jacobsen Tyco Suzuki appeared to have found an exciting star of the future. That said, his immediate elevation to British Superbikes in 2013 alongside Josh Brookes was certainly perceived as a bold move by Philip Neill's squad.
With Neill committed to honing Jacobsen's talents, while he had the undeniable benefit of riding the competitive Tyco Suzuki, it remained a steep learning curve for the youngster in his first season aboard a Superbike around circuits he barely knew. In short, even compared alongside fellow rookies like Keith Farmer and Josh Waters, Jacobsen was particularly 'green around the ears'.
And yet, Jacobsen showed few signs of inexperience as he comfortably established himself as a top ten rider from the off, the American favouring a cautious approach that would see his results make a steady, yet linear trajectory over the course of the season.
Indeed, it is no coincidence that Jacobsen's best results would come on more familiar territory, the 19-year-old cracking the top five for the first time on his second visit to Brands Hatch, before repeating that feat at Cadwell Park.
Though he was never quite able to get embroiled in a fight for a Title Showdown spot, it was during the three-round shootout that Jacobsen would show his potential at BSB level, scoring his maiden podium at Assen – where he won his one-off Supersport race in 2012 - with a run to second position. He'd have probably scored two podiums but for a qualifying problem that left him at the back of a grid on a weekend where he was never outside the top three in practice.
A feisty performance next time out at Silverstone, one that saw him tackling – and beating – team-mate Brookes added further credence to the suggestion that Jacobsen had matured into a potential front runner at this level.
In the end, Jacobsen would conclude his season in ninth overall, well ahead of both experienced rivals and rookie counterparts, in doing so establishing himself as hot property going into the off-season. Unfortunately for the BSB teams, Jacobsen would favour a return to Supersport for 2014, where he will ride a Kawasaki on the world stage.
If his 2013 season is anything to go by, BSB's loss is definitely WSS' gain…
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2012:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:
7. Chris Walker