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Jeff Alessi is aware of his checkered past, completely of his own doing. Once a promising young racer with spots on top teams in the early part of his career, the support ceased when the injuries and personal issues accumulated. The general perception of Alessi tanked in 2013, for reasons we’re all well aware of, and for a while he was forced out of the industry circle.

Until now, that is. With help from his family and MotoConcepts, Alessi is back for a limited run at the Monster Energy Supercross Series in the 450 class. The Anaheim opener marked Alessi’s first SX since 2012 and between timed qualifying sessions, where Alessi ranked twenty-sixth overall, we spent a few moments discussing his return and how important the sport is to his life.

As for the night show, Alessi was unable to make the main event. He acknowledged his speed has taken a hit from the time off and that the competition has stepped up considerably, but all of this was taken into consideration before signing up for the race. Undeterred, he’ll try again this weekend in San Diego.