JESSY NELSON | LUCKY NUMBER 13
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM is going through some slight changes as they prepare for the 2016 race season. The team has come a long way in a short amount of time, as they are now backed by factory KTM strictly for the 250 class in the upcoming year of racing, and long time rider Jessy Nelson is going one slight change, as well. His number! Nelson will hold down the superstitious lucky number 13 and prepares to debut his new AMA number at this weekend's Red Bull Straight Rhythm. We caught up with Nelson, as he prepares for the one-off event to discuss the team's new changes and to see what he really thinks of his new number.
You have a new number for the 2016 season. Is the number 13 lucky for you?
Yeah, absolutely, you can't be superstitious with that number. A number is a number, to me. My dad was born on Friday the 13th, so he's always really liked that number, and I always thought it was cool, too so when I had the opportunity to pick 13 vs. something in the 20s, I just thought the lower the better. My mom and dad really like the number, so I stuck with that!
You had a really good season this year, but are you stoked to have Supercross coming up since that's your forte?
I actually don't know if I'd say that Supercross is my forte, but I have had the most success indoors. I feel like I'm a pretty well rounded rider, but yeah, I am looking forward to Supercross and I'm looking forward to building a good program leading into the first round, whether that be East or West Coast.
TLD/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM is officially transitioning into KTM's factory effort in the 250 class. Have you felt any difference in the bikes or benefits from new equipment?
We're definitely getting a lot more support and yeah, I've noticed some things here and there and even some things that we didn't get before. For the most part, everything is about the same, but I'm really stoked on it! It's been a great effort and it's crazy to see how far this team has come in the last five years.
So do you have a plan yet for East or West Coast?
No plans as of right now, but I do like the West Coast because everything's close, so you don't have to worry about a lot of travel and things like that.
What about the differences in dirt when you compare the two coasts? The East coast tends to get a little more rutted while the West has tendency to become dry and hard packed.
Yeah, but we've all ridden dirt bikes our whole lives and that's just another thing that we would adapt to pretty quick. We'll see, though. The last few years have been pretty tame (laughs), so if it's going to be like that again, then maybe I'll think about going over there and hopefully getting a title.
What about your mechanic? Will you get a new factory mechanic or do you still have to work with that Troxell guy?
(Laughs) I still have that blown out Troxell guy. He likes duct-tape and spoke wrenches, but that's about it. He's definitely learning (laughs). All seriousness, though, Jordan is an awesome mechanic and he's been my mechanic since I was an amateur, so we've worked with each other for quite a while. When I turned pro, I didn't get the chance to work with him, though, as he went to work with Tara Geiger, who was another rider on the team, at the time. It was a conflicting situation since she was in another class. But, we're back working together and my year was so successful because of him, so I'm glad to be back working with him.