Catching Up With Jessy Nelson
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Jessy Nelson has begun his final season as an amateur racer the way one would hope: by winning numerous titles and being at the head of the pack on any given day. While at Glen Helen, Nelson chased after a handful of professional riders and kept the pace lap after lap, a sure indication of the teenager’s speed. Nelson will sit out this week’s World Mini Grand Prix, but will run both Mammoth Mountain and Loretta Lynn’s before making his debut as a professional racer. We spoke with Nelson on what the coming months hold after he finished one of his many Thursday motos.
This is set to be your last year as an amateur, correct?
Yeah, I am coming up on Loretta’s and Mammoth, and those will be my last two. From there, we will go on to join the pros at Unadilla.
How did the Texas and Alabama Nationals go for you this year?
Texas went alright, I just struggled with the way I was riding and didn’t feel like I was flowing right. I tightened up on some of the stuff, but I came away with three titles and a bunch of seconds. Overall, it was a good two weeks and I am happy with it.
As the only amateur on the Troy Lee Designs team and having Travis Baker and Cole Seely there testing alongside you, is it the learning tool one would assume?
Yeah, it is. Cole is a phenomenal rider and so is Travis, and they are great to be around. I can go watch the things that Cole is doing, sections were he is faster than Travis is, and then see the sections were Travis is faster than Cole. From there, I just take what each of them are doing and mix what I do in, and it has been helping out a lot. I am glad to have everyone on the team around.
With your professional debut coming in August, does coming to the track and keeping pace with racers like Josh Grant or Cole and Travis set your expectations?
As far as expectations go, I do not know yet. I want to do the best that I can do, and the main goal is to top-10 every race that I am in. But I am never happy with a top-10, no matter what race I am in, even if it is the best guys in the world. I want to be up near the front, and that probably won’t happen for a while, but if I keep pushing it will happen eventually.
Is it confidence boost for Loretta’s, knowing that you have the speed already?
It could be a confidence boost, because riding with these guys is a big help. These are National guys who have been doing it for a while, and they know all the tricks of the trade. I am just trying to learn from it for my main goal of going professional.