Whether he’s shaving seconds off lap times racing his motorcycle, or improving the performance of combat information systems technology, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jordan Eubanks brings the same learning mindset to gaining a competitive advantage – both on and off the track.
A communications officer in the Marine Corps, Eubanks is making the most of his tour at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). As a dual-master’s student, Eubanks is in multiple classes and labs studying Information Technology and Logistics Information Systems curricula. But on weekends, you’ll find him campaigning motorcycles in the national MotoAmerica series at world-famous tracks like Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Ca.
“I grew up racing dirt bikes in motocross, and only started riding street bikes three years ago, but I found the skills learned riding off-road applied readily to racing at higher speeds, and I quickly progressed,” said Eubanks. “I also think what I learned as a Marine and here at NPS gives me an edge with respect to having the discipline and grit to being prepared and professional in my approach to each race.”
Before coming to NPS, Eubanks learned a few things about grit as a platoon commander in the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). His deployment with the 26th MEU aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) included nearly 150 consecutive days at sea due to COVID restrictions ashore. “That tested everyone,” Eubanks said, “but we made the best of it and completed the mission.” Eubanks later served as a company commander for the 8th Communication Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), leading more than 200 Marines.
On the track, Eubanks’ first pro race this past summer turned out to be a combination of fortunate circumstances. He landed a ride on the OTW Racing team when the owner could not make the West Coast rounds but knew Eubanks and his abilities and gave him the opportunity.
His first event took place during the NPS summer break in June, at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Wash., aboard a highly modified 2019 Indian 1200cc V-twin motorcycle.
“I was thrilled to get the call, and it turned out to be a great experience because the category in MotoAmerica was the Super Hooligan class, which is currently one of the most popular among racers and fans,” Eubanks explained. “You have to qualify to race, and of the 27 who made the cut, I was very happy to finish 17th in the first race, and then improved to 12th in the second race earning four championship points for the team. Not bad for a rookie pro.”
In July, the MotoAmerica series came to Laguna Seca, attracting nearly 50,000 fans. It marked Eubanks’ first time circulating the local track and negotiating its infamous “Corkscrew,” which intimidates and baffles many first-time racers. Eubanks again raced for OTW, and he was one of 27 racers (of 43) to make the cut, placing 10th and 11th in the two races to pick up 11 championship points.
“The winding 800-foot drop from the top of the Corkscrew to the bottom is unlike anything in racing and was both a thrill and an honor, knowing the history of racing and racers who have competed here over the years,” Eubanks said.
After Laguna Seca, Eubanks decided to up his game, attempting to qualify for the faster, more competitive 600 Supersport category, which is a feeder class for the top-level Superbikes. Using his own converted street bike and competing it with minimal race prep, Eubanks demonstrated enough talent and determination to navigate Laguna Seca during practice day at a pro-level qualifying pace.
Eubanks then applied for his 600 Supersport license, and was granted a chance to compete in the September round of MotoAmerica for another race crew, Ready to Ride, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas – his hometown. Indeed, “Team Eubanks” descended upon the course for race weekend, Sept. 8-10, with father Dwayne, brother Christian, and friend Corey Macon helping in the pits and working on the motorcycle, and his wife Darcy and sons Jacob and Connor joining mother Micki and other family and friends cheering him on from the stands.
It worked. Of the 36 entrants for the class, Eubanks again qualified 20th for the grid, which was his first goal. However, his second goal – to finish – was in jeopardy after he crashed out of the first race without incident while running 19th. Bruised, but not out, Eubanks entered and finished Race Two at 20th, running as high as 18th before trading paint in a last-lap tussle with other racers.
“The crash was disappointing, but I did not quit, and learned a lot from it for Race Two,” Eubanks said. “I know I’m not at the level yet of a fully sponsored pro racer, and I probably won’t ever be, and that’s OK, because it’s enough to know that I can compete at this level, and do it with the love and support of my family behind me. The same is true for being a Marine – it’s not an easy life, but strong family support is what makes it all possible.”
In fact, service to country runs deep in the Eubanks family. Both of Jordan’s parents, Dwayne and Micki, are retired Marines – Dwayne was a first sergeant, Micki was a communications chief – and his sister is an active-duty Marine master sergeant logistician. Eubanks credits his parents for his ethos and successes, and was quick to credit his wife for her encouragement. He also said NPS leaders and the learning experience there have been influential on many levels.
“NPS teaches you humility and how to think,” Eubanks continued. “The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know, and how much more there is to learn. Hubris prevents learning, and being a Marine and a motorcycle racer are complementary in that we manage risk by being physically and mentally prepared for the mission, but also prepared to adapt for the unknown.”
Eubanks is on track to graduate in June 2024, and expects to go to Headquarters Marine Corps, Manpower and Reserve Affairs in Quantico, Va., where he will apply his NPS technical knowledge and racing acumen – each tempering the other’s steel while continuing to sharpen his professional edge.