What happened to Jess Pettis last year at the Montreal SX is a perfect example of how quickly your luck can change in this sport. One second, life is good and you’re charging into the first turn going for the holeshot, and the next you’re lying on the ground with an injured knee and you’re looking at surgery followed by six to seven months of rehab. In a nutshell, that pretty well sums up Jess Pettis and what he’s been going through since that September night in Montreal. However, now things are looking up as Pettis is back on the bike and working towards being ready for the opening round of the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MXTour Series on July 13th at Gopher Dunes. Currently Pettis is down south riding at Ricky Carmichael’s track, so we caught up with him as he was driving out for another day of hot motos under the Florida sun.
MXP: Good morning Jess, you’re off to early start today.
Yeah, right now I’m just driving out to go riding at Carmichael’s track so it should be another good day!
Riding at the Goat Farm, that’s very cool! You also had a birthday the other day so Happy Birthday!
Thanks, it was good as we had a little celebration down here. I’m feeling old though Palms!
How old are you now?
That’s not old! I mean, I’m sure your body is feeling a little old some days, but really, you’re coming into your prime!
I sure hope so!
So, you’re down in Florida and judging by Social Media you’ve been riding at a few different tracks. How has the riding been going?
Everything has been going great and little by little I’ve been getting back into riding shape. As I said, today I’m heading to RC’s track, but yesterday I was riding at Justin Barcia’s track and before that I was at GPF. This is a great area as there are a few different tracks all within thirty minutes of each other, and there’s even a sand track we can go to if it’s been raining.
That does sound like every motocross rider’s dream! How was riding with Barcia?
Yes, it’s definitely a great spot to ride and train as everything is here. Barcia is pretty cool and he was a lot of fun to do motos with. He invited me out again tomorrow to ride but I’m not sure if I can make it. Each day I’ve been feeling better on the bike, and so far, it’s been just about doing laps and getting seat time.
You were off of the bike for a long time, how did you feel when you got back on the bike a few weeks ago?
To be honest, I felt great when I started riding again. Obviously, I was a little worried that I’d get back on the bike and forget how to ride it, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. So far everything has been going as planned, and my knee feels strong and my body feels good. If the series was beginning on time in Calgary next month then I know I would be ready to go.
That’s good to hear. Actually, that was going to be my next question. How is the knee feeling? You definitely took your time before riding again so it must be doing well.
My knee feels great right now and it’s been responding really well to riding and the amount of training I’ve been doing. Looking back now I’m glad I took my time and did all of the proper rehab for it. I was very fortunate to have a great team of people helping me and that really was the key to my recovery. I spent a lot of time at the gym and made a few trips down to Vancouver to the Red Bull Athlete Centre to rehab my knee. While there I really learned how the knee works and how important it is to not rush back with this type of injury. So now I’m riding and like everyone else I’m waiting for racing to begin…whenever that is!
Yes, let’s hope the latest Triple Crown schedule goes ahead as planned and we’re able to be at Gopher Dunes for the opening round in July. Does the new three moto format worry you at all?
No, I think it will good to have a moto on Saturday and then two on Sunday. I know the GPs have a long qualifying race on Saturday’s so it will sort of be like that. All that is really going to change is that on Saturday night you’re just going to have to really look after your recovery after racing a long moto that day. At this point I think we should count ourselves lucky that we’re even going to have a series. Hopefully it starts in July and then we can have a few months of great racing.
Exactly! So, you’re riding today at RC’s. After that what is your plan?
Yes, I’m riding today and then I will most likely ride again before the weekend. Sadly, on Sunday I have to fly back home to Prince George because my USA health insurance runs out. So, I’m heading home and I’ll just keep training and riding there. Thankfully, the weather has been decent back home so I’ll be able to ride and do all of the normal training. After that, if the series begins in July then I will most likely travel to Quebec sometime in June to train there and to get used to my race bike. I spent a lot of time last summer in the east and it really helped me at the Nationals, so I’m going to do the same this summer.
That sounds like a great plan Jess! Hopefully our lives will begin to return to normal here in the next month and then we can all start planning for the opening round at Gopher Dunes in July.
Yes, it’s been tough on everyone with all of the uncertainty and not knowing when we’re going to be racing. For me, I just have one goal and that is to get back up to speed, so my plan has been a simple one. All we can do is take things day by day and go from there.
Thanks for your time Jess, enjoy the day at RC’s track and safe travels home. Also, please say hi to your family!
Thanks for calling Palms! Give your family my best and hopefully we can all hang out at Gopher Dunes in July.