Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM’s Jessy Nelson Exclusive Interview
For 2015, Jessy Nelson will be aboard a Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition for Supercross and motocross. Starting the season hurt, Nelson had a difficult 2014, so Online Associate Editor Andrew Oldar talked to Nelson about his health and goals for 2015, along with his new KTM ride with Troy Lee Designs.
Ultimate MotorCycling’s Andrew Oldar: You spent the latter part of your amateur career, and all of your Pro career, up until this point on a Honda. How does it feel to be on the factory-supported Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull KTM?
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM’s Jessy Nelson: It feels awesome being on the Factory Red Bull/Troy Lee Designs/KTM. I am really happy with the company, the people around it, everyone in my corner, and the amount of help we are getting compared to what we had with Honda. It’s unbelievable. Before I rode Hondas as an amateur, I was on KTM for about four or five years before that. It’s crazy. A lot of the same people still work here that did when I rode for them back then. I was just an eight-year-old kid doing the team catalogs and stuff like that. They are an awesome company.
UMC: You got your first official win on a KTM in the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge, correct?
JN: Yes, I won the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge and achieved my first amateur national title with KTM as well. Also, I won a lot more amateur titles with them later on in my career. It’s cool coming back to them because it is like reuniting with an old family member.
UMC: What is the biggest difference that you have felt between the KTM and Honda?
JN: The steel frame is a lot different. I think it fits my style a lot better with the way it handles and the way I ride it. The motor is catered for my style a lot more than the Honda was. Honestly, I was blown away with the amount of power and torque that it puts out. It revs to the moon and just keeps pulling.
UMC: You have always been a strong starter. Is that something that you practice or does it just come natural to you?
JN: I practice starts, but probably nothing like Mike Alessi does! I have always been a pretty decent starter. Since I’ve turned pro, the bikes have gotten a bit better compared to what I raced as an amateur and I feel like that was a bit of the missing piece. The bike has gotten better and I am naturally a good starter, I suppose.
UMC: You came into the last season injured, correct?
JN: Yeah, the last two years have been up and down with either injuries or nagging injuries causing me to miss races here and there. To be healthy is the key and I think everything else will fall into place.
UMC: You achieved your first career win as a professional at the Indiana National this past summer. What is it going to take to do the same in Supercross?
Jessy Nelson: I think coming into the season healthy is going to be the key for me along with being fit. I have been working really hard and there is no reason that I should not be winning races. If I’m not, I am not going to be happy. So, we’ll see how it goes.
Photography by Simon Cudby
Jessy Nelson Profile
Team: Troy Lee Designs / Lucas Oil / Red Bull / KTM
Sponsors: Troy Lee Designs, Lucas Oil, KTM, Red Bull, Adidas, Oakley, Fender, MavTV, GoPro
Weight: 151 pounds
Birthplace: Templeton, CA
Residence: Paso Robles, CA
Turned Pro: 2012
Mechanic: Jordan Troxell