If you were a motocross fan throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, you most certainly came across the name, Jim Neese. A household character throughout the professional circuit, it’s easy to speculate how a last name such as the aforementioned, can add a serious amount of pressure to whom it’s passed. Enter Luke Neese, a son who’s now carrying the torch for the family, and creating a flame as vivid as ever. He hasn’t shied away from the expectations at all; in fact, he’s chosen to embrace, and hopefully reciprocate his father’s preceding legacy, putting a stamp of his own on this sport. With that being said, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Luke, and see just how he’s been doing as of late.
Why motocross Luke? What made you attracted to this and not other sports?
My dad raced professionally for 20 years so I’ve always watched him race and always wanted to race. It’s in the blood. I got my first bike for Christmas when I was 3 years old and I was upset there was snow on the ground and couldn’t ride it for a few weeks. I’ve played other sports growing up but to be successful I learned quickly that you can’t spread yourself thin so I made the decision at 9 years old to focus 100% on motocross and haven’t looked back.
Do you have a memory that sticks out to you from your early years of riding? Crash? Win?
My 2nd year qualifying for Loretta’s (4 years ago now) I was racing at Muddy Creek and fractured my ankle 2 weeks before we were supposed to leave. I was devastated but also know everything happens for a reason. I had 6 weeks downtime and came back physically and mentally stronger.
Any reason why you chose the number 125?
It’s my birth month/day. My dad also liked that McGrath used to run it.
North Carolina is quickly rising to fame with the amount of talent that resides there; do you get to ride with any of the top professionals from the area?
I’m fortunate enough to train with my buddy Dax Bennick at the Bennick Compound. It’s an awesome facility as there are different tracks to ride on and the end of the day we can hang on the lake to have fun and relax. I’ve also been training with Cooper Webb and the Star team, which has helped on and off the track.
You took a trio of wins at the Mill Creek Spring Classic this year; how awesome was it to feel like the baddest dude out there?
I really didn’t think about it like that but now that you mention it, it felt pretty dang good, haha. Honestly there is a lot of talented competition in my classes this year and I know that to stay on top I have to keep pushing and finding ways to constantly step up my game.
Picking up yet another victory at the RC Amateur SX, do you feel more at home on the tighter tracks?
Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed AX/ SX but also had a great coach as my dad was an AX champion and has given me great tips over the years.
Sum up the regional at Ironman for us; it’s not too often someone qualifies multiple classes with firsts and seconds.
It just feels to me like everything is coming together. I was a lot more relaxed and confident this year. I was able to treat my Regional like it was a regular race. I had a lot of fun verses the pressure I had felt in the past years.
How are you preparing for the grueling Loretta Lynn’s event this year?
Gareth Swanepoel has put together a training program for me to better prepare me for Loretta’s this year. Outside of that we aren’t changing a lot just stepping up the intensity.
What are you expecting as you make the trek to Tennessee?
My goal is to win as I really feel like I’m ready, but at the very least I expect to be in the front every moto. I also have some decisions to make as I’ve qualified in 4 classes this year. I do like having the options though.
Following Loretta’s, what are your plans for the rest of 2017, and into 2018?
It’s not set in stone but I’ve love an invite to Monster Cup, hope to dominate Mini O’s, and then we are thinking of hitting some AX for 2018 so I can start to get my feet wet in some “A” stuff.
Five years from now, tell us about your vision; where do you see yourself?
This is an easy one... I see myself on a factory team being a top contender in National SX/MX.
Off the bike, what do you like to do? How do you relax?
Hang with friends and stay on the lake wakeboarding as much as possible.
Any sponsor’s you’d like to thank?
I’m so grateful for everyone who continues to support me as I couldn’t have gotten this far without all their help. Jim Neese Rider Development, Triangle Cycles, BluCru, Dunlop, Thor, Boyesen, TCX boots, G2 Trading, Total Control Suspension, Scorpion helmets, Ti-Lube, Liquid Performance, FMF, Ti dezigns, Cycra, OGIO, Pit Posse, EKS Brand Goggles, Works Connection, Sunstar, Braking, Rydcrew, Pro Taper, Peters Auto-mall, Protel, and the Bennick Compound.
DAILY BREAD BY / LOGAN MATTINGLY
IMAGES BY / COREY ALLEN & JESS TEN HAGEN
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