(ED-Normally we don't run many racing stories but this one
caught our attention because we had a chance to ride with Dustin Nelson in Glamis, CA,
in late January.)
- Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., is a strong supporter of ATV racing including the
West's leading motocross series, t he Yamaha QuadX Series. As title
sponsor, Yamaha is fully engrained in the Quad X Series and has been preparing
for the season opener which is this coming Saturday (March 10) at Glen Helen
Raceway in San Bernardino, CA.
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 Quad
X 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
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 Quad X
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 Quad X Series has a new schedule including more
doubleheaders 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 doubleheaders or no? How about the
Nelson: The doubleheaders 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
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
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 three 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 1 hour and 45 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.