Something happened this past weekend… One of the most accomplished women to ride a dirt bike retired. Yes you may have heard a blip about it – it’s been circulating that this was going down…but then once it does you stop and you pay attention – or you should. How many young girls have looked up to her – gotten the courage to give it a try for themselves? How many women have been inspired and aspired to do something resembling the same thing some day? Who am I rambling on about?… Well, non-other than 7x Woman’s Motocross Champion along with her 44 Amateur National Championships and Transworlds’ 2010 Female rider of the Year… JESSICA PATTERSON…aka…JP$!
You may have always respected this woman for her mad moto skills yet for the past three years you would have found her moto skills working on the cross country course. There aren’t many that make that transition so gracefully however this woman has been able to put herself on the top box each year shes competed… 2015 she gave a solid push to the race season in the Grand National Cross Country Series and found herself on that top box with a win at Big Buck in Union S.C. I hate to see her leaving this sport she was really improving in yet I’m certain she’ll be making appearances here and there in MX and XC.
Jessica’s elbows up racing kept you tuned in… I couldn’t help but reach out to her for some insight and bid her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Retirement is really just another word for More Time for Adventures! ~N
Jessica, you have announced that you are retiring from racing. This past weekend at the GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana was your last scheduled off-road race, looking back and comparing your very first GNCC race to this last one – how would you describe your overall experience?
I would say amazing! Off road is so laid back but when it comes to racing its fully serious but I have loved it, the people and the fans. Fans are like none you’ll ever see and just the team work they do at mud holes and what- not is just too cool and sometimes funny. I’ve loved it!
It was very rough the first year, ha-ha… Just having to learn to back it down and not be in full moto-pace the whole time. Ive learned you can’t rush things from the trail to the lappers. Trees don’t move and lappers can really mess you up just by getting in the way, sitting in the middle of the trail or just getting out of control when your passing and hit you. That for me has been the hardest to deal with. I learned pretty quickly that the tress don’t move – lol…Also just learning to ride on every type of terrain, being patient but fast. One thing Im still not 100% confident in are the really rocky tracks but again I know that I Have gotten better and learned how to ride them compared to my first year.
Most of my off road races have been battles…ha-ha. I’m racing girls that have done it their whole lives, same difference with me riding moto. There are some girls that are really good at it and I would just try to stay on their wheels to learn from them and if I felt it was time to make a move I would. This year I was more in the mix and more podiums than I had my first full year so I was pumped on that. Seems like the last few races we have had good battles going which was really fun.
It seems like there are quite a few motocross racers that have tried to transition to off-road racing later in their careers – Looking back at your own career, do you wish you had included more off-road racing during your successful motocross career?
Yes I do. And I’ve said that to many people who ask the same thing. I just think its great to mix it up and you learn so much doing either with bike skills. You can use what you learn on moto to off-road and vice versa. I’ve learned more bike skills and just being able to read different types of terrain and dealing with situations more with racing off-road and I wish I would’ve done that when I was racing because I feel like it could’ve made me a little better for sure.
This year there was some real excitement out there in the GNCC Series with a female youth motocross/off-road/crossover racer Korie Steede making her mark in the male dominated Super Mini 12-13 class with her aggressive and deliberate riding style. Have you had a chance to watch some of the up and coming female youth talent in off-road and if so what are your thoughts on the future of off-road female racers?
I’ve seen some of the youth riders but again I’m still kinda new to it all so I’m still trying to figure out who’s who. But yes I have watched some and they haul! The GNCC crew treats the women racers good I think and also was a huge step for WXC being put on the first row in the morning race which was really cool. With the wide range of talent of the women now and the ones coming up I think it will do nothing but grow more and get more exiting!
for quite a while – he has been by your side at your races supporting you and you for him – do you guys ever bust out some laps in the woods or on the moto track and if so who chases who?…
Yeah we have been together for 15 years now but only married for one. ha-ha! But he has been there and has only given me the best. He has also been my mechanic in moto and off-road which has been awesome because you know he has done everything he can to give you a machine that is 100%. Its all about trust. We do get out and ride some moto together but he’s been on it lately and he’s usually chasing me. He has ridden off-road some but its definitely not his favorite. He says he wants to stick to the moto track.
Your career has been all racing… Not a typical situation for many women. When the subject of starting a family arises if the boot were on the husbands foot there normally is not a need for a career change… However with your profession you naturally find yourself having to make the decision to take a break from racing and start a new adventure toward Motherhood… I imagine your little one will be on the track eventually! Ask anyone who has wrapped themselves up in the sport and they will honestly say they have the best memories and friendships from the sport…Great family atmosphere, awesome character builder – so on and so-forth… Is there anything you would like to see improved in the sport by the time your little one is involved? (if he or she is interested in the sport…but how could they not be when their Mama is such a ripper!)
Yeah this is my life. Its all I’ve known and its meant a lot to me and even where I met my husband. I’m definitely not going to push riding but if they want to of course we will back them 100%. I would like my kid to do a little of everything, be good at it all… ha-ha If its a girl and this is what she wants to do I hope by then that the WMX series will be figured out and would have it as good as I did with the support. For a boy, well they have it good… ha-ha Every sport has its Pros and Cons, it’s just how its going to be.
You are so respected in the sport – it’s not just the accomplishments, it’s the drive, talent and work ethic you’ve displayed. It would be wonderful to share with all riders… but for obvious reasons I will focus on the female rider – They usually feel more comfortable working with other female riders. Now that you have been successful in both MX & XC, do you have any plans for organized riding schools or camps in the near future?
Yes I do. I’ve done some schools before in the past but then I just got to where I was too busy and just serious about bettering my program that I didn’t really have time to do many more. It was just so cool to see how excited people would get when they could feel that they were getting better and learned something new. Now that I’ve taken a step back I’m ready to give back some of the things I’ve learned: from being race ready, practicing technique, training and just being mentally prepared and strong. My arms are going to be open for anyone who would like a class but of course I would love to help the girls to take that next step. I plan to start at the beginning of the year so if interested shoot me an email and we can figure something out. email@example.com
Thanks so much for chatting with me. It’s been a real treat to have this opportunity to get some of your insights on your off-road racing career and be able to share it with the #DBGA Community. You definitely brought an element to the WXC lineup that was seriously exciting and will be missed from that front row. As we all know how in the blood this racing is – I have strong feelings that we will see you again!
Please feel free to list your sponsors and supporters – I’m sure that list is long!
First I couldn’t thank my family enough for getting me a bike to start. I would have never dreamt of the outcome of where this sport has gotten me and I’m forever thankful of that. To Eddie for being there, giving me whatever I’ve needed to win and just being able to separate our lives from the riding to being normal life. To Thomas Fichter at N-Fab being a solid backbone to my program and an awesome friend. This guy has done so much for us, we would never be able to repay him and I think the world of him. Yamaha for the years of support, believing in me and the awesome surprises. Rockstar Energy has been behind me since 2012 and stood behind me when they weren’t even into off-road and now they even sponsor a team in off-road which is cool. Man, my list is going to be so long, Ive had so many people over the last 16 years of being Pro who stand behind my program and I really appreciate it. N-Fab, AmPro Yamaha, Yamaha Motor Corp, Rockstar Energy, Gear Alloy, MSR, Bell Helmets, Dubya Wheels, Polar USA, Adidas, Trek Bikes, FMF, GYTR, JGR, Virus, Works Connection, Factory Connection, Rekluse Clutch, Pro Taper, Cycra, Emig Grips, IMS, K&N Filters.
Photo Credit: Ken Hill