Soaring around numerous amateur circuits across the globe, Jett Burgess-Stevens is a pilot who’s capable of conquering any condition that’s placed in front of him. Turbulence, an assortment of climate variables, as well as dodging other machines, you name it, and Jett can conquer the task. He’s as versatile as they come, as he’s been able to adapt to both foreign courses, and a contrast of cultures. You see, Jett has been destined for speed since birth, (hence the name). Growing up, he was constantly dreaming of the day he could reach professionalism, as idols such as Chad Reed, a native of his fellow Australia, were of significant impact to him. Bound and determined to do everything in his power, he followed many of his countrymen, and leaped across the waters, testing out American soil. With family in Florida, he’s juggled both his southern base, and an Illinois residency, while attacking any, and every series he could across the national circuit. Although the competition here is much more dense, and talent-ridden, he was holding his own from the moment he stepped foot on the grounds of his initial area qualifier. Solidifying himself as a definite contender, he and crew headed to the infamous MC Motopark, to secure a bid to the none other than, the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National. After fine-tuning the bike early on, with the help from PR2, and his mechanic, his results gleamed excellency, taking a spectacular win and third overall. Beyond ecstatic, he knew that he must continue to prepare, in order to capture a good showing in Tennessee. Upon arrival to the dude ranch, his nerves were calm, as he didn’t have the amount of pressure that many of his fellow competitors possessed; he knew, that with decent starts, and riding to his full ability, that solid results could come to fruition. Each moto of the 85cc 9-11 limited class, he would hover near the top ten. Carving the grotesque ruts with pure precision, you could see his true talent and skill level rising as the track began to deteriorate. After two tenth place finishes (paired with a holeshot award), he would cap off the week with a very respectable thirteenth, registering in eleventh overall. With Loretta’s now in the rearview, it’s time to head back home, as he’s planning on attacking the Austrailian Junior MX Championships; once that’s concluded, he hopes to claim gold at the notorious Mini O’s event at the end of the year. With time seeming to fly by, 2018 will be quickly upon us, and Jett plans to be on the big-wheeled TM 85, replicating his 2017 success, and looking to build. None of this could be possible, however, without his sponsors, including: his Uncle Danny and Aunt LaRae, two individuals that have been vital to his success around the globe; PR2 Engines and Suspension, who’ve kept the bikes running top notch, Ralf Schmidt, John Grove, Andy Mansfield, Total Motorcycles, and coach Steve Jenkins.
With a name such as “Jett”, you seemed to be destined for speed; was motocross your first love?
Yes it was. I have loved dirt bikes for as long as I remember.
Who did you look up to, growing up in Australia?
Chad Reed. I have always wanted to be like him.
When did you decide to make the move to America?
I haven’t moved to America full time as of yet. I would love too, however. Living in America full time is my ultimate goal.
What’s the racing scene like, back in your native area?
I live in the smallest state in Australia, Tasmania. We have some great tracks here in Tassie. But our population is only 500,000 people.
Where are you residing currently in the United States? Do you do your training there as well?
My Uncle Danny lives in Florida, I stay with him while I am racing. So far this year, I have flown straight to the races, we haven't had time to train in America.
You rode solid during the area qualifier portion of the qualifying process; were you confident you would qualify for Loretta’s?
I was feeling quietly confident, but the competition is so tough in America, you just never know until the weekend is over. This year, I am at the optimum age for the 85 9-11 and one year young in the 85 9-12.
MC Motopark’s regional went so well for you; can you recap the event for us?
Uncle Danny and PR2 had my stock bike running perfectly. I was so comfortable on it I rode it in both 85 classes. The track was fun and I mostly had really good starts. It is so important to get good starts in America, there are so many fast kids you've got to bring your A game to every Moto.
Do you have a favorite professional rider? Anyone’s style you try and copy?
I try hit the whoops like Chad Reed. I can't wait for Roczen to start racing again.
What do you think is your biggest strength, coming into Loretta’s? Starts? Stamina?
The lack of pressure. Just making Loretta’s is a massive achievement. My family is so happy to be part of such a massive event. There is nothing even close to Loretta’s in Australia.
Results wise, what are we shooting for at the ranch?
If I could finish inside the Top 10 that would be huge.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2017?
After Loretta’s we have the Australian Junior MX Championship at the end of September. Then I hope to come back to America for Mini O's in November.
Going into 2018, are we staying in the same class? Moving up?
In Australia I will be racing on a TM85 in the big wheel class. Over in America I am not sure of the classes yet.
With as stressful as racing can be, what do you like to do for fun, off the bike?
I love riding my scooter, mountain bike, making vids and hanging out with my friends.
Any sponsor’s you’d like to thank?
My Uncle Danny and Aunty LaRae. Without them I would never, ever have been able to come to America to race. They also help me race in other states in Australia.
PR2 racing engines and PR2 suspension. I run the same suspension set up on all my American and Australian bikes. This is very helpful, I can rock up to a race meeting and ride any of my TM's to the max straight away.
Ralf Schmidt in America for all his help with my TM 85's. John Grove in Victoria (Aust) for making sure my Victorian TM85 is always ready to ride. Total Motorcycles and Andy Mansfield for working tirelessly on Jett's bikes here in Tassie.
Steve Jenkins is my coach and friend in Tassie. He is a great coach and is helping me work on my corner speed.
DAILY BREAD BY / LOGAN MATTINGLY
IMAGES BY / JESS TEN HAGEN
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