Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., is a strong supporter of ATV racing including the West’s leading motocross series, the Yamaha QuadX Series. As title sponsor, Yamaha is fully engrained in the QuadX Series and has been preparing for the season opener which is this coming Saturday (March 10) at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif.
As part of its participation throughout the series, Yamaha has established a track-side support program including donating Yamalube products available through Roy Bloodworth and Big Kid Racing, established GYTR and Yamaha Generator holeshot awards for pros and amateurs, and hosted a year-end celebration and awards ceremony giving away a Yamaha Generator along with many other awards and prizes.
Yamaha Racing also sponsors the returning and five-time QuadX champ Dustin Nelson. We talked to Nelson leading up to this weekend’s race to find out how he’s been preparing and what he expects …
Q: What have you been up to in the off-season? How do you train to stay in shape and sharp for motocross?
Nelson: With the long schedules of both the WORCS series and the Quad X Series there isn’t much off time so it’s almost hard to fall out of shape. I have enjoyed taking my kids to the desert a few times with friends and family, so we can take the Rhino out and they can ride their quads. For training I pedal a mountain bike quite a bit, and I’ve been spending lots of time on my YZ450F motorcycle as well as my YFZ450R.
Q: After all of these championships, what keeps you motivated coming into a new season?
Nelson: Every year there are new challenges, whether it be an up-and-coming rider, a guy you’ve raced before who is stepping up his game or new tracks. Staying motivated is easy for me. I’m a very competitive person, and I’m never truly happy unless we are winning.
Q: How’s the YFZ450R working for you in practice this season?
Nelson: The YFZ450R has been working great. We have such a good foundation from racing the last couple years, and we still keep making small adjustments that we hope will keep us on top.
Q: What do you think will be your biggest challenge in QuadX this year?
Nelson: Every year the field changes, and I have to figure out new ways to stay ahead of the competition. Staying healthy with no crashes is always very important as well as good starts. It’s going to take being mentally and physically strong and maybe a little luck to be consistent all year and bring home title number six.
Q: The QuadX Series has a new schedule including more double-headers and more races closer to home for you in Southern California this year. How does this impact your preparation and planning? Are you a fan of the double headers, or no? How about the travel?
Nelson: The double headers I’m not so sure about, because we really like to get a full prep on the bikes between races and there is no chance of that racing back-to-back days. The travel schedule staying a little closer to home is definitely nice. The gas prices have made getting to the races even more expensive, so I’m sure all the So Cal racers appreciate it.
Q: What’s your favorite track and why?
Nelson: I really like Speedworld. It’s a night race and has a fun kind of atmosphere. The track is also usually very slippery, so it takes just the right amount of aggression and smarts to get the most out of every lap.
Q: Take a look at the field — who’s your biggest competition?
Nelson: Well, you never really know how fast everyone is going to be until that first gate drops, but I see Beau Baron, who I had lots of good battles with last year, and his new teammate Davi Haagsma to be tough. Josh Row is also back from 3 shoulder surgeries at the end of last year, and he has been riding great when we practice and train together.
Q: You’re also racing WORCS again this year. Can you briefly describe some of the main differences in the tracks and competition? Is there one you prefer over the other?
Nelson: The WORCS series is more Off-road than MX. The tracks are usually based around a moto track, but they also include 3-5 miles of trails. The pro main event is one hour and forty five minutes long, so it’s a much different kind of conditioning and bike set up than Quad X. All the players in the Quad X series are at the WORCS series as well with the addition of Josh Frederick and Dillon Zimmerman. I grew up racing MX on motorcycles, so I’m more comfortable at the Quad X Series.
Q: Just last year you brought in Josh Row to race under Nelson Racing. Tell us a little about Josh and how it feels to have another member of Nelson Racing gunning for your title.
Nelson: Josh is a real good kid, and I thought he deserved to be racing on good equipment. He’s a very hard worker and actually amazingly fast out in the desert. If I had to lose “my” title, I would definitely rather Josh takes it than anyone else. That way at least all the team sponsors would still be happy … Josh will have to work really hard to take it from me, though!
Q: As a veteran of both motorcycle and quad MX, what advice do you have for new racers or people just considering racing?
Nelson: Racing at the entry level is all about fun. Getting out on the track and testing your skills against others can build friendships and stories that will last a lifetime. Whether it be on two or four wheels, I will always love racing and the memories I have from it.
Q: Any predictions for this season?
Nelson: I predict lots of good racing. Of course I want to be on top again this year, but it will be tough. There are plenty of fast guys out here, and they are all gunning for me.