TWMXRS Racer Profile
By Megan Maeda
Hometown: Corona, CA
Classes raced: 250B, 450B, Schoolboy
Sponsors; KTM, Troy Lee Designs, Alpine Star, GoPro, Renthal, Cartier, Spray washers, Oakley, Mom and Dad, Dunlop, Sonic, FMF, and Adidas.
Max Lee comes from a family that’s rich with motocross tradition. That’s right: his father is Troy Lee, painter to the stars and owner of Troy Lee Designs and the Troy Lee Designs/GoPro/Red Bull/KTM race team! We caught up with Max last weekend at Pala Raceway, where he ran at the front of the pack in every class he raced.
With a dad like Troy Lee you’ve grown up in motocross, but it didn’t seem like you got serious about racing until recently.
My dad has always been a little all over the place, and I grew up kinda doing a little bit of everything. I played soccer, football, rode tons of bicycles, BMX, and we love to go to the track together. It’s more of a family fun thing, we never took it seriously and he just stayed busy. I got my driver’s license and I always loved racing, growing up around it, so once I got my license I just wanted to ride as much as I could. All my close buddies were racing, so that’s why I loved it so much cause I love hanging out with them, I just can’t get enough of it. I’ve been working day in and day out with my trainer Ross, we are slowly putting the pieces together working our way up, but it’s a ton of fun.
How long have you been racing and what led you to choose motocross?
I chose motocross cause I grew up around it, you know? My dad being Troy Lee and all, I always got to go to the races and meet the riders. I’ve always around the atmosphere of racing whether it be cars, moto, off road. All my friends and I grew up racing and I’ve been racing for about three years seriously now. I raced here and there growing up, but I would only race if my dad was racing. Now that I’ve gotten my license, I’ve been able to ride almost every weekend now and travel across the country. It’s been a good ride.
Do you still participate in any other sports or have any other hobbies?
I mountain bike a ton! I really love bicycles, their my roots. Growing up riding BMX, dirt jumps, mountain biking, and really anything that involves my friends right now is a hobby to me. Whether it’s surfing, skating, camping, fishing. Racing has always been my main focus though.
How seriously do you take racing, and is it just for fun or do you have bigger aspirations?
I take it seriously, I mean you have to. You dedicate your whole life to it, if you don’t take it seriously then it’s not worth it. Especially when the margin to make it is so small, it’s all or nothing. I’m putting everything I have into it, but my dad really wants me to kinda take his spot in the business and design and take it over for him, I think he’s getting a little tired! I’m having so much fun racing, I don’t think I am going to be stopping anytime soon.
Who is your biggest influence in racing?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I’d say one of my biggest influences in racing is my good buddy, Jessy Nelson, I’ve always looked up to him whether it’s personality, riding style, or everything he does, he’s always been a solid dude. There’s nobody that really doesn’t like him. Super kind, super fun, and you can tell he loves racing so much. I’ve actually moved in with him recently, and we just help each other out. I also look up to my dad, even though he wasn’t a super serious racer he always kept me open-minded, he’s always giving me options in case racing doesn’t work out. He keeps it fun for me in case I need a plan B.
What would you rather do, holeshot a race and run away or come from behind to win?
Definitely, come from behind! I think that’s what I’ve been having to do today since I haven’t gotten a single holeshot, but a holeshot would be nice but definitely coming from behind is always fun.
At the TransWorld Series, we try to offer a better racing experience. What do you think of our events?
I think they’re really good! Especially down in SoCal the moto is so big, they do really good events that are run really well, safe, and efficient. It’s always tough coming out to races and you’re spending all day out at the track, but here they get it done quickly. The people that run it are awesome, everyone treats you like family. I think it’s a good crowd of people, definitely a good vibe and I enjoy coming to these every time I can!
Tell me about your bike and why you chose it. And what have you done to make it work well for you?
I ride a KTM 250 SX-F, I chose it because I had to a little bit! I grew up riding a Honda CRF150R, I was on that for a long long time and then my dad’s team ended up switching to KTM, so obviously, I had to go to KTM. I was a little skeptical about it first and actually, the first time riding the KTM I took my Honda and KTM out to the track, rode my KTM once and loaded my Honda back up in the van! The KTM stock just worked too well and it’s just an awesome bike that is engineered really well. It runs good, is fast, and comes with super nice parts. It is what it is, ready to race. You can buy it off the shelf and it’s ready to go! My bike is pretty much all stock, I got the suspension done from WP.