Last year at the Motoplayground Race at Ponca City, Jesse Flock was running two different bikes between the multiple classes that he was competing in -- the Oklahoma native was sporting a KTM in the 125 B/C class and a Yamaha in the 250 B and Schoolboy classes. Fortunately, his stellar speed on the blue bike and his successful results attracted some attention from the EBR Performance / Altus Motorsports / Yamaha team. He shipped off to Houston to do some testing with the crew and was finally onboard at Mini-O’s a couple of months later. His capabilities and his confidence have been continually expanding since joining the new outfit, undoubtedly gaining faith in his own program and riding due to the support. Flock has showed blinding speed throughout the beginning of the new racing season; earning multiple podiums throughout spring nationals, including a second and a third overall at the JS7 Freestone Spring Championship. In addition to his racing accomplishments in the United States, Flock was also invited to compete in the MX Masterkids in Europe where he was able to clinch a gold medal in both 2015 and ‘16. Unfortunately, the event conflicts with Loretta’s this year, so he won’t be able to make the trip overseas to continue his winning streak, but Flock is hoping to bring home a win from the Ranch instead. We caught up with Jesse to chat about hauling his ten foot trophies home from Ponca, his program at Reynard’s Training Facility, and making the journey over to Europe to race.
The Greatest Qualifier Ever just wrapped up at Ponca City, how’d the racing go there for you?
I mean, the racing went pretty good -- in 125s I had some pretty good competition, Ethan Mann was on me the whole time but I got both those wins, in 250 B and Schoolboy 2 I had Carter (Halpain), really good competition there, and I won in Schoolboy 2 and he got me in the 250 B. We’re pretty close on speed and we were battling about the entire moto each race. That definitely boosted my confidence, ‘cause he’s one of the top B riders right now. If he gets a holeshot at a national, he can win. So, it boosted my confidence knowin’ that I could run his pace, be with him, and beat him sometimes.
How was the track there this past weekend?
I mean, I loved the track. That was my kind of track right there; the dirt was perfect, the ruts were just smooth, and it was gnarly rough comin’ into all of ‘em. It was really fun!
How were you able to haul those ten foot trophies off by yourself?
I mean, luckily I brought my big thirty-two foot trailer to haul ‘em back in ‘cause those were some big trophies.
You got a spot lined up for them or are you gonna have to put an addition on your house?
Yeah, I plan on puttin’ one in my room and I have one here at Reynard Training Complex, and then I gave one to my grandpa who really wanted it.
So, what’s this time of the year like for you after spring nationals wrap up and you start to focus on Loretta’s qualifiers? Does anything change with your program?
I mean, yeah. I think things get a little bit tougher and then Robbie starts workin us a little harder ‘cause we’re getting ready for Loretta’s, goin’ through regionals and you gotta get faster to make it. We’re starting to work pretty hard.
Talk about training down at Reynard’s Complex in Oklahoma. You get to train with a couple of your good buddies and there are some really fast riders there as well.
Yeah, I mean...we just wake up, ride, and sometimes we have some really long days ridin’ -- we’ll do about two twenties, work some sections, have a little fun, and practice starts a lot. There’s a great group of kids out there -- I mean, there’s a lot of fast riders like (Austin) Forkner, (Benny) Bloss, and all of ‘em. I mean, there’s a lot of fast riders out here and it’s really good to gauge my speed off them. Then after riding we normally do some bike rides, like I wanna say two hour bike rides which are pretty gnarly, and then sometimes on a really hard day we do a workout and a bike ride. I think it’s pretty good trainin’.
Do you guys do all road biking stuff or mountain biking as well?
Robbie actually has really good mountain biking trails out here that are gnarly -- just gnarly downhills and uphills that are really tough and fun.
Does it get pretty competitive on the mountain bikes as well?
We definitely still try and beat each other at that. We normally take off and we’re racin’ to see who can beat each other, and it’s pretty fun. It’s just like racin’.
Have you actually done any legitimate mountain bike races?
I’ve done one mountain bike race ‘cause Robbie wanted us all to, but I wasn’t very good at it. There’s some gnarly people on mountain bikes out there. But, the downhill stuff is sick; I do it out at Mammoth and it’s so much fun.
There were some recent additions to the track down there at Reynard’s and there’s now a huge booter that makes for a pretty sick whip jump.
Yeah. I mean, he made a few changes and that jump -- I just posted a video of that today on my instagram; it’s really sick, you just get nasty off of it and it’s gnarly. We’ve got a bunch of 85s out here hittin’ it which looks really sick. But, he made a few changes to the track and I’m lovin’ the track here. It gets gnarly and rough, it’s really nice.
You posted a video on instagram sometime last year of you absolutely railing this berm on your 125 at Reynard’s place and it absolutely blew up, even Travis Pastrana reposted it or something. That must’ve been pretty cool.
Yeah, it was really cool. I was pretty pumped about that.
Fourth gear wide open?
Yeah, that was fourth gear. I was in third comin’ out of that one corner, clicked up to fourth and just didn’t let off around it.
You know when the trolls are comin’ out on social media and droppin’ the “sped up” comments that you’re really going fast.
Yeahhhhh, I had some many kids ask me that and I was like “No, it’s not!” I honestly surprised myself, like it didn’t feel that fast when I did it, and then I saw the video and was like “Dang, that’s a sick video!”
You were on KTMs for a long time leading up to joining the EBR Performance / Altus Motorsports / Yamaha team, how has that transition been for you?
Yeah, I’ve been on KTM since 50s and I’ve done alright with those, never had any problems with them. Then the whole EBR team came along and told me they could get me some Yamahas, so I tried them out and I loved them. I thought they were sick. The EBR bikes are amazing, I love them all. I mean, they’re really fast and the suspension’s been working great for me, too. I love my Yamahas.
Yeah, you were actually on two different brands of bikes last year at Ponca if I remember correctly.
Yeah, I was actually testin’ the Yamahas at that point. I was still on my KTM and I didn’t have a Yamaha 125 yet. I mean, I love my KTMs obviously but those were just stock KTMs. So, last year at Ponca I was riding a Yamaha 250 and a KTM 125. My dad wanted me to try the Yamaha ‘cause he was curious to see if I’d do better on it and progress a little bit more, then once EBR saw me riding it at Ponca, they called my dad and asked him about 125s and everything. I ended up going out to test with them in Houston, so that was pretty great.
Now that the spring nationals are over, are you content with how they went?
Yeah, they could’ve been better. Freestone was really good -- I mean, I got a second and a third in 125, and I find that really good. But uh, I feel like I could’ve won but I’m satisfied with that. Daytona didn’t really go as planned -- I had some bad luck really and crashed just about every moto, but I dunno...I’m still satisfied with it. I’ve never done that well at spring nationals before and I love it.
You were ripping at Freestone and had some really good battles with Jalek (Swoll) throughout the entire week, talk a little bit about racing against him.
Man, Jalek’s the top competitor right now and he’s fast, and I was just happy to get on him and see his lines, and gauge his speed. Y’know, I feel like when I get behind him I can really stick with him and see how he does everything, and see if I can do it better.
There were a lot of different conditions at Freestone throughout the week. How much does your setup change to adapt to that?
I mean, I think I was better when it rained a little bit; the track got pretty gnarly and rutted. In the dry stuff, you gotta be a little more careful ‘cause it’s kinda slick and you gotta have control over your bike. The last day I rode it was muddy and I honestly had a blast in that. I love ridin’ in the mud and it was just nice and slick, and I felt like I was riding pretty good in it. There’s not much that changes with the bike, most of it’s just adapting to it. I mean, we changed the suspension a little bit on my 250 to make it a little bit stiffer when it got a lot rougher, so we had to make a few adjustments there. In the mud, I actually ran the MX11 which I thought helped a little bit, but it wasn’t as deep as I thought it would be.
I saw in one of the mud motos you ended up having to ditch your goggles and everything.
Yeah. Actually, I didn’t put enough tear offs on; that was my fault, I should’ve. I pulled most of ‘em on the first lap right behind Swoll and I was just tryin’ to hold my spot once I took ‘em off; I slowed down probably four seconds per lap. I was super bummed about it, but I still came out with a third so that’s pretty good.
So, the past few years you’ve gone over to race the MX Masterkids in France. Talk a little bit about that experience.
Man, going overseas was sick! It’s so weird being over there -- I couldn’t even understand people just talkin’ on the street. It’s really weird, but it’s super cool though how they have a totally different atmosphere over there. The racing is -- I dunno, it’s weird -- I mean, there were kids running roll-offs and it was even raining, it was completely sunn; I was so confused! They’ve got some weird setups over there and you can tell they’re all European riders ‘cause they’ve got that style.
What were the tracks like that you raced on over there?
I raced an old GP track and it was pretty dry and rocky. I mean, it wasn’t too bad -- compared to here it was pretty bad, but I didn’t think it was that bad. It got really rough and gnarly, and it was just super dry, so the ruts were just all rock hard. They barely prepped it at all, they just kinda let it go.
Is it hard to adjust to the time change, the food, and the differences in culture and not let that affect your racing?
Yeah, it does take some time. Just the time zone difference, like I’m up until three in the morning ‘cause I’m still on America’s time. The food is a lot different, too. They love bread over there, I dunno what it is, but that’s all I ate -- just a bunch of bread. I found a McDonalds and then I just ate as much of that as I could.
It’s definitely hard to risk it with some sketchy food when you’ve got to focus on racing.
I mean, I tried a bunch of different stuff they had, but I dunno...it’s weird. I went to like a donut type shop and I was excited, I thought they were gonna have normal donuts, and I get in there and it’s like I don’t even know -- weird croissant things that have this weird jelly. It was honestly the nastiest thing I’ve ever tasted. I tasted it and I just spit it out; it was disgusting!
You’re two for two over there now, are you planning on going back this year?
Yeah, I won on the 85 and then this past year I won on the 125. I’m not sure about this year ‘cause it’s a week closer to Loretta’s and I think my focus should be more on Loretta’s, so I’ll probably stay and train.
You used to rock long hair back in the mini days, are you gonna bring the flow back sometime soon?
Man, I dunno if the girls would like that very much. They’re diggin’ the short hair more I’d say, so I think I’m gonna keep it short. I dunno, I might grow it out sometime; it’s gettin’ pretty long now.
You can’t beat the flow out of the back of the helmet, man.
I know, it looks sweet! That’s the main reason I liked it.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year and what sort of expectations do you have for yourself at the major nationals?
I mean, I’m focused on winning Loretta’s -- that’s all I want. I just wanna win Loretta’s, that’s where all of my focus is. I’ve been so motivated to just win. I’ve never really won very much -- I mean, I’ve won over in France and everything, but I’ve never beaten the kids here that I wanna beat. At Loretta’s, I just wanna win it and I’m hopin’ I can get it this year. I feel pretty confident comin’ into it. We’re thinkin’ about going to Mammoth, but I’m not sure yet; I love going out there and riding my mountain bike. We’re gonna do Baja in September, we’re for sure doing Ponca again, and then just Mini-O’s.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
Yamaha, EBR Performance, Altus Motorsports, bLU cRU, Fox Racing, RTC Training Facility, Velocity, Dunlop, Nitro Lubricants, FMF, Boyesen, SDI, Vertex, RADMX, Renegade, Fastway, Tamer Holeshot Devices, AnkleSavers, HBD MotoGrafx, Sunstar, ODI, Rekluse, Advocare
/ Words /Images / Lake Kilpatrick
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