Mini Major Racer Profile

Mikayla “Kay Kay” Nielsen
Age: 13
Hometown: Riverside, California
Classes Raced: Women’s 85/150, 85/150 Open
Sponsors: Troy Lee Designs, Pro Circuit, Mika Metals, DT Filters, Hinson, Dunlop, Alpinestars, Spy, ASV, Panic Rev, Three Brothers

The fastest female of the weekend at the Mini Major is undoubtedly 13-year-old Mikayla Nielsen. The Riverside resident has turned in a couple dominant performances aboard her KTM 85 SX, and she has big goals of helping to elevate women’s motocross racing in America.

How did you get into motocross as opposed to something more traditionally labeled as a girl’s sport?

My dad’s friend asked if we could go race, and started off with MotoX kids and got into it there.

Do you do any other sports?

I do cross-country, basketball, soccer, water polo, wakeboarding, surfing, sometimes volleyball and swim. I’m an all-around athlete.

For most people, one of the toughest parts of racing is the endurance it requires, but it sounds like you should have no problem with the endurance side…

Yeah usually I don’t get tired or get arm pump because all the other sports work different muscles. I don’t like working out straight like weightlifting stuff. That’s why I do other sports to work those muscles. Working out seems boring to me when it’s just straight activity. So if there’s a competitive edge to it, it’s more fun for me.

Is motocross your favorite? Or are you more into something else?

Yeah, motocross is my number one sport. All those are just crash training and other fun activities to do.

How long have you been racing at this level? We saw you win your moto by a good margin yesterday.

Nationally, my first big race was at Mini-Os in 2016, but I’ve been just racing local stuff since I was seven years old.

Do you like our TWMX Race Series events?

Yeah, they’re well put together. I like racing them.

What do you think about the Mini Major as an all kids race?

Yeah, it’s fun without the big bikes, but we don’t have enough ruts. I still like Mini Major, it’s a lot of fun. But, I actually do like the way big bikes make the track rougher.

So you like the ruts that the big bikes make? Normally, a lot of kids say that they like the track because it’s not as rough. We scaled the jumps down for minis, can you tell?

Yeah, I can tell. Milestone has pretty big jumps, and they narrowed it down for all of the 50s and 65s. It’s really good!

Do you have a regular group of riding buddies, or is it just normally you and dad?

I ride with Talon Hawkins, Haiden Deegan, and sometimes Ryder DiFrancesco. All of those fast kids.

I’m sure your dad has to keep a close eye on them because you are a cute girl and they’re sneaky motocross kids, right?

Right! (Laughs)

What are your goals and aspirations with motocross?

I’d like to keep riding and winning Nationals for the girls and try to build up to earn a spot on Orange Brigade and Dunlop Elite…all those big teams. And really just to take the girls sports a little higher from where it is now.

Motocross for women was really big a few years ago when Ashley Fiolek was around and the series was at AMA Nationals. Fast forward to now and the women’s series is kind of scattered, like some in Mammoth, here and there. Is that discouraging at all or does it not matter because you just want to race?

Doesn’t matter, I kind of just want to race and win. I only focus on myself, I don’t worry if some of the women are quitting and bringing down the sport. It’s up to me and some others to bring back the sport.

Do you sometimes race against the boys?

Yeah at every National, I race a girls class and a boys class.

What’s it like racing against the guys? Do they treat you just like another racer or are they like, “Awh man I can’t let Kay Kay beat me cause she’s a girl!”

Yeah, it’s kind of both… It’s funny when I pull off and all the dads are looking at me weird cause their sons just got beat by a girl.(Laughs)

Thoughts about looking like a girl on the track versus blending in? I see you have graphics with flowers and stuff.

I like standing out because then they all know that I’m a girl, I’m here to race, and win. It’s funny with the flowers because then they definitely know I’m a girl.

I think you’re the only person I’ve seen to look cool in the pink and black polka dot Troy Lee gear.

Haha, thank you.