KTM Canada Presents The Jess Pettis Report: Ready To Race

As you all know by now our two-time 250MX Champion Jess Pettis is not only down south preparing for the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series, but he’s training at the famous Baker’s Factory located just outside Clermont, FL. Pettis is into his final week of work at the Baker’s Factory before the opening round in Houston, and so far everything is going smooth. To get his thoughts on how the past week has gone and what his plans are for Christmas, we reached out to Jess after he was finished a hard day of training. 

MXP: Hey Jess, Happy New Year! How was your holiday season?

JP: Happy New Year to you Palms! The last few weeks have been good. Over Christmas, I drove up to Tallahassee to see my sister and her husband. I spent a couple of days there and then came back home and got right back into training. 

That’s good, taking a few days off is never a bad thing. 

That’s what I was thinking at the time. But when I came back and started riding again it took a few days to get back into the groove. Because it was cold in Tallahassee and also because it was Christmas I didn’t drink a lot of water while I was there. Then when I got back and started riding it was pretty hot outside. Anyway, I got a little dehydrated and it took a couple of days to recover. 

Jess and his mechanic are ready to race.

I guess when you’ve been training as hard as you have your body quickly notices any slight deviations?

Yes exactly! We have rest and recovery built into our program so right now we don’t really need any multiple days off. I’m back feeling good now, I just drank too much coffee and not enough water over Christmas (laughs).

Okay, so we’re a week away from when you have to travel to Houston for the opening round. It’s almost go time!

Yes, we’re almost there. These past two months have flown by and when I think back to how much progress I’ve made, it really blows my mind. Last week we spent a few days riding on the most technical track here at the Baker’s Factory and as I told you last month, when I first rode on that track it felt busy and very challenging. Last week, obviously it was still tough but I felt so much better on it. 

So with just over a week until the gate drops in Houston, you feel ready to race?

I do Palms! The training here has been excellent and now I just have to go out and do my job on the track. 

What is your plan for travelling to Houston as well as the week you have to spend there?

My mechanic Matt is going to drive the trailer to Houston and he’s going to stay in it all week. I’m going to drive our sprinter there, I think it’s like 16 hours or something like that. Then we’ll have an extra vehicle there so if I want to go riding one day we can do that. Also, I’ve booked an Airbnb in Houston so I’ll be staying there. 

In just over a week Jess will be lining up inside the spacious NRG Stadium in Houston. Photo by Matt Wellumson

Sounds like you have everything figured out. In our conversations during the past few weeks you’ve spoken numerous times about the tracks at the Baker’s Factory and how much more technical they are compared to the practice tracks in California. I’ve been watching some videos recently of riders training in California and you’re right on that one. You can see why training at a facility like the Baker’s Factory is so valuable?

For sure! The SX practice tracks in California are fun and certain sections are challenging, but they’re kind of generic and built for everyone. Also, on any given day you could be riding with one other guy, or like 20 other guys so you never know what to expect. There was a couple of days two years ago when I would have the same lap time as say Dylan Ferrandis. It was good, but there would be like 10 of us all with the same lap times. When it would time to go racing, are we all going to have the same lap times? Definitely not! So the training there was a little unrealistic and it kind of played with your head a little. 

So the training you’ve been doing is about as close to actual real racing as you can get?

I guess we’ll see next week in Houston as that’s when it all begins. Right now, I feel so much more prepared than I did two years ago when we raced the opening rounds of the 250 West Series. I had some good results then so hopefully I can improve on that and battle hard with the top guys. I’m just excited to get racing, it’s been a while. 

Well, it sounds as though you’re as ready as you can be for the series to begin. I think as much as all top athletes love the process of preparation, there comes a time when they just want to compete. Are you at the point?

I am for sure. It’s been great to train here and I do feel ready to go, but we all just want to get racing at this point. 

I know I speak for everyone in Canada when I say that we can’t wait to watch you battle at each round. Thanks again for chatting with us, we’ll catch up next week while you’re driving to Houston?

Thanks for calling again Palms! I hope everyone is good back home and Happy New Year!