By Chase Curtis
Johnny Jelderda, 25
Hometown: Menifee, CA
Sponsors: Trinity GFX, Schmidt Performance, Autism MX, Pro Kitchen, Daniel Crower Racing, Yoshimura, Bell Helmets, Dunlop, VP Racing Fuels, Vonzipper, Vortex
The TWMX Race Series attracts some of the fastest riders in California, amongst those riders is Johnny Jelderda. Although the 25-year-old racer has a full-time job, he is currently racing the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series in the 250cc West Coast class. Racing professional Supercross requires a significant amount of training and practice, as the sport is one of the most physically demanding out there, but having a full-time job limits Johnny's ability to train and ride during the week. Although he is faced with a disadvantage that most of his competition does not have, Johnny continues to race for the pure enjoyment that the sport provides. Aboard a borrowed bike, the Menifee resident joined us at Competitive Edge to earn several moto wins, and dominate his classes.
You managed to park along-side the starting gate…why?
My boss is parked over here, and he is letting me borrow a bike for today (laughs). I figured a-little noise wouldn’t be too bad.
Why aren't you racing the bike you showed up with today?
My Suzuki's a little hurt. She's a 2008, the same bike I raced in my closing amateur days. My 250 is currently set-up for Supercross and I can’t ride it outdoors, since the closing rounds are approaching. So, I decided to put the old-450 together and come out to race. When I rolled up, my boss told me I could race his bike, and I definitely wasn't going to turn that offer down.
I know you've tested out the bikes before, so how do you like the KTM?
I love the KTM. Yeah, I do a lot of test riding, and I really do enjoy the KTMs. The power is ridiculous on them, along with everything else, it definitely blows the old Suzuki out of the water. (Laughs)
How many rounds of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series have you raced?
I'm racing the West Coast rounds, but I missed Oakland and Texas because of how far they are. I'm doing everything on my own budget, and traveling fees get up there. Also, I knew Oakland was going to be a mud-fest, so I skipped it and tried to save some money. I'm going to be racing the last three rounds (Washington, Utah, and Vegas).
How has Supercross gone for you so far?
I struggled pretty bad going into the season. I decided I was going to race about two weeks before Anaheim one, and I kind-of just came off the couch to go race. I knew I was going to struggle, but I put my head down and worked through it. We've progressed pretty well throughout the season, but the main goal is to make a main event before Vegas.
Aside from the racing life, I know you are a-bit of a fabricator. What do you do besides racing dirt bikes?
I work full-time at Trinity Graphics, and I'm there 9-5 for most of my week, sometimes longer. I enjoy working on my trucks and bikes in my free time.
I've noticed your white Ranger around town, although it doesn’t appear to be street legal…
Well, it has a license plate on it, as well as tags. We did work the system a little to get it on the street, but it's a good time for-sure. (Laughs)
Do you race any of your trucks?
Yeah, I race the bee-hive class at Lake Elsinore MX Park and Glen Helen every once in awhile. They throw the 1450 trucks on the Short-Course track and let us run into each other, so it's fun. (Laughs) When Supercross starts, I put the trucks aside to focus on getting training time in and hopefully progress in the sport we all love.
You have a full-time job, so it has to be hard to put time aside for training and preparing for Supercross…
Yeah it is a complete struggle. After working all day, I want to relax and get ready for bed when I come home. But you have to push through it, and go to the gym to get some training time in. We recently built a track at my house, so I am able to get a few laps in after work. Although, I'm racing for fun now-a-days, so there isn't much pressure.
Legend has it that you were quite a sender in your amateur days…
The good ole "Jumping Johnny" nickname. (Laughs) Yeah, I got that nickname in my 50cc days, when I would jump pretty much everything in sight. In my amateur days, I wouldn’t say I rode over my head, but I did get hurt quite often. I've learned to calm down a-bit since then, and just have fun with the sport. I definitely ride smarter now. (Laughs)