Jeff Nix has been Wrenching for 17 years…riders such as Johnny Marley, Jacob Martin, Robbie Reynard, Beau Hudson, Jason Anderson, and Terren O'Dell are just a few of the talented riders who have had the Screamin' Zero touch. The tattooed, Red dirt, country music listening mechanic now spends his time traveling across the country with Team Green Kawasaki phenom Austin Forkner. This is moto life from a mechanics perspective.
girls I’d spend the most time possible with them if I travel full time again like I’m doing with Austin. Once we have ate dinner and Ariel & Ellie are headed to bed I’ll head back out to my shop if I need to, a lot of the time working till 2-3 am. Shower and sleep then do it again tomorrow.
MP: What made you want to be a mechanic? How did you get into it?
Jeff: My dad tells me stories and I remember parts of his stories myself about me working on my pw 50s when I was barely old enough to ride them. Now, my dad knows just enough about mechanics to get himself in trouble! LoL.... so I don’t think it all came from him. I always wanted to work on bikes more than ride them growing up and in '98 I bribed old man reynard enough with pepsi and potato wedges to give me a job at his shop. Starting what has been a carreer that has led me to many friends, successes, rocky roads, wins, losses, championships and my wife megan! So if I had to end it now I’d still claim I won....
Years ago I promised my wife and Ariel that I wouldn’t work full time for anyone ever again and focus working in my shop so I could be home more often. After many long talks with them and realizing that riders like Austin don’t come around very often we decided that it would be a great opportunity for me to work with Austin and they would understand that I could be gone extended periods of time from home. If they would have rolled out in a big motorhome and just a foofooed up traveling road show, I would have said no I didn’t want to work on the road at this time, but seeing that his mom don’t freak out when he wears his boots in the RV, I knew this was going to be a simple family to work with. All I had to do is make sure his bikes are 100% and that’s the easy part. In my mind I have no doubt Austin will be in the record books once he turns pro! He has so much talent on and off the track. His riding style is super smooth and he don’t waste any energy on the bike when he rides. A few greats like Reynard, Villopoto, and Dungey all ride that way and they have made great names for themselves in the Moto world.
MP: That's awesome, you guys seem like you have a great connection. Tell me about your recent trip out to California.
Jeff: Thanks. We set up the trip to Cali initially to test suspension with bones at pro circuit but Austin and I were able to get the bike pretty well dialed on our own after a couple trips to Texas, so we used the time to ride as much as possible in good weather cause it was a bit cold back here in the middle of the country for riding. We're lucky enough to have great sponsors like Aaron Nixon from Monster Energy who hooked us up with a place to stay at the Grindstone compound for the 2 weeks we were there. He also threw us the keys to his personal truck so we could limp around SoCal. I did say limp around, cause Aaron’s truck although freshly detailed and waxed, was on its last breath when we he gave it to us. Good thing I understand most vehicles that take petrol and did a lil heart surgery one evening to get his truck back running smooth. Lets just say, now it will probably pass emissions test again haha. We hit up Milestone, Perris, Pala and Glen Helen while we were out there, plus we found a couple skate parks to ride scooters at which helps break up the stresses of SoCal traffic. We also went to A2 with kawasaki. The next Monday we got to take a tour of fox inc. world head quarters. It was was awesome to see the innovation and style that go into a company like that.
MP: As a mechanic tell me what runs through your head before a race?
Jeff: With Austin I’m pretty relaxed right before the motos. I think that is due to the level of confidence I have in his riding ability. I don’t worry much about bike issues because kawasaki makes sure Austin has the best machine possible at every race. Thanks a ton to Casey Stewart at team green for building me a perfect bike to maintain during race weeks. After each moto I have a pretty good routine for checking everything on the bike before the next time he rides. I think this is an important part of racing to be confident in, I know that confidence passes on to Austin and ultimately into his riding. The very last thing a rider needs to question, is the condition of bike he’s riding.
MP: Some people that may have been around you or have seen you may have noticed your hand. What happened to it?
Jeff: At a motorcycle rally I was riding a custom street bike which started overheating while in slow moving traffic. So I thought I would coast till it cooled down or until I could find a place to park on the side of the road. When I reached down to turn the kill switch off located thru the chain under the seat area , I got my hand caught in the chain and front sprocket.
MP: What's one piece of advice you would share to other motocross riders that may not know much about taking care of their bike?
Jeff: Listen, watch, ask questions and don’t throw away the "stupid manual" that comes with your bike. That booklet has a ton of good info inside.
MP: Thanks for taking time to sit down with us, I think that will wrap it up. Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you get this far?
Jeff: A very special thanks to my wife Megan & my girls Ariel and Ellie for giving me a reason to work, thank you Forkner family for letting me torture your kid with red dirt country music while driving cross country, thanks to my dad for being one of the only people that didn’t tell me to get a real job when times got tight, Dr. Dan Norris for keeping us aligned & walking upright, all my riders the past 16+ years, all our support this year... Monster Energy Pro Circuit Team Green Kawasaki, Fox, Dunlop, Maxima, Dubya, UNI, Renthal, Motion Pro, Hinson, Cometic, Braking, VP fuels, GET, Kicker, Chan Baker and the Baker family for being my first "second" family, and last but not least Harold Martin... you're the man!