Jeremy Fappani has been at the top of the amateur motocross landscape in the 65cc and 85cc divisions throughout the last couple of seasons, reinforcing his speed and prominence with incessant titles and podium finishes throughout the last few years. The 2019 season was no exception as the rider out of Arizona earned a spot on the top step of the overall podium at Mammoth Motocross in the 85cc (10-12) class as well as multiple podium finishes at The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City. Fappani came out swinging at the beginning of the 2020 season after ending the year on a high note, carrying lots of confidence into the Supercross Futures rounds at the beginning of the season where he recorded more strong results. He continued in the same form with some solid finishes towards the front of the field in a stacked 85cc division at Spring A Ding Ding, carrying him into the quarantine with a growing amount of self-confidence in his program. Fappani is currently out in Oklahoma putting in some motos at Reynard Training Complex, switching up the scenery while he passes the time until we return back to racing. We got on the phone with Jeremy to check in on what he’s been up to the past few months, talk about spectating the Supermini classes, and the competitiveness of Mini Sr. this year.
What have you been up to lately with the lockdown in effect and racing on pause?
Well, I've been riding about three days a week, sometimes four. Right now I'm at Robbie Reynard's training and I've been riding a lot at Arizona Cycle Park and my track back in Arizona. With nothing going on, we decided to change up tracks for a week or two and head down to Oklahoma. I've been doing a lot of mountain biking and a lot of gym work, but riding pretty much the same amount that I would during the normal race season.
When did you decide to make the drive down to Reynard's?
Pretty much about a week or two ago. There was nothing really going on so we just decided to head down here. We love comin' here and I usually come down here for a week or two in the summer. My parents ride horses and there's a horse show over the summer so I usually come down with them and stay the week at his track. With the show not goin' down and nothin' goin' down we just came up here right now -- if the show does end up happening, we might come back for some more but we don't know yet.
Does that normally line up in the summer so you're able to go there and prep for Loretta's?
Yeah, before Loretta's we'll come down here for about two or three days, ride, and then finish the drive back to Tennessee. We come down here probably about two to three times a year 'cause if we go to a race far away we'll make it a halfway point and ride here for a couple of days and then keep on goin'.
What was the riding/training situation for you back home in Arizona?
Yeah, I would ride pretty much two days a week at my track at my house and then Wednesday nights at ACP.
After racing got canceled and delayed for an extended period of time, did you take a little bit of downtime or keep up your normal program?
We pretty much stayed on and kept on doing what we usually do. Now that we know that everything's comin' back we're happy that we didn't stop training for a while and kept on going.
Looking back at some of your race results from last year, you grabbed a title in the 85cc (10-12) class at Mammoth. Unfortunately, it's canceled this year, but how did things go for you there in 2019?
Yeah, I really like the track at Mammoth. We've gone for the past three years, this would've been our fourth year, but for the first two years I was sort of always a mess at the beginning on the first day then I really picked it up on the second day. I could always get a day championship, but I could never get the full overall. Last year, I was feeling really good on the bike and I held it together the first day and I think I won the overall. I got 2nd the second day and everything worked out, so it was pretty good.
What about The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City last year? You came away with some solid overall podium finishes in multiple classes there.
Yeah, so we went to the Supercross Futures National Championship in Vegas and I had really good results there. I think I got like a 2nd overall and a 3rd overall so I had really good momentum comin' into Ponca of last year. That track has always been cool 'cause of how gnarly it gets. The first day was super cool; it was gnarly and it was raining, and then the second day racing got delayed so I didn't even race the first day. The second day the track was really good and me and Casey Cochran were having some really good battles. I won the first moto and I think he won the second moto, so I went 1-2 and he went 2-1 which got him the championship. It was really cool 'cause I was starting to focus on the Mini Sr classes and that's when all of the big names didn't move up to Supermini yet, so I was still mixing it up with them. I think one of my last races in Mini Sr. 1, I was running top three in it and I ended up crashing the second to last lap, but I think I ended up getting 6th.
Did you raise your confidence by showing yourself you can run the same speed as those kids on a rough and gnarly track?
For sure. I had a lot of confidence going into the Futures this year from last year at Vegas. I was riding really good and won almost all my motos but I ended up crashing one moto and I think I got a 2nd there. The other moto it was me and Drew Adams and a kid crashed on one of the big triples -- I saw the yellow and I saw the incident but I thought it was when you pass the yellow flag. I even went single-double instead of double-single, so I thought once you see the accident you can start jumping and you just have to show caution. So I got docked a few positions for that, but then we went to Phoenix the next weekend and ended up having a clean sweep there which was really nice.
From there you went onto Spring A Ding Ding and kept up your speed and consistency with a couple more podium finishes in a stacked Mini Sr class. How'd the weekend of racing go for you there?
Yeah, I had one bad moto in the 85 (9-13) Open class but other than that it was really good. In the far back section, there was this really deep rut after the uphill tabletop I really laid into it -- it was a lefthander so it was on my shifter side and I think I laid into it too far. The bike went into a false neutral so it was like slow motion, I was like "Oh nooo!" I think I was riding in the top three and I was in cornering position so my leg was on the shroud, so I was stuck there for awhile and the flagger wasn't flagging and I was getting pretty messed up like kids were goin' all over! I was having a tough time 'cause I went down pretty hard in the turn and the bike was pretty tweaked after that, but I felt really good after Spring A Ding Ding goin' into Freestone. There were no kids that didn't show up (in the Mini Sr class) that were top-five riders, so I felt really good after that and next thing you know I do practice and we hear it's getting canceled, so we packed up and headed home which was a crazy ordeal.
How were things back in Arizona when you got home from that trip? Was there lots of panic buying and all that stuff happening?
Not like it is right now, but people were definitely being more cautious. It was pretty normal until probably about half a month ago. People really started making it to where you have to wear masks to go into public places and stuff like that. Even when we were in quarantine and all that, I would pretty much go to school, come back, do my gym work, ride, mountain bike, then go to sleep, and repeat. We're pretty much doin' the same thing right now.
What's the depth of competition like in the Mini Sr class this year? It was pretty stacked at Spring A Ding Ding.
Yeah, this year people have really stepped it up. There's Krystian Janik and he's always been a top guy, then Logan Best who really stepped it up this year -- I was really surprised with how much better he's gotten compared to last year -- and then of course Haiden Deegan, he's always a top rider. I think I holeshotted every single moto but always got passed by either Haiden or Logan. I was pretty much on the podium every moto but this year compared to last year, I feel like there's more people that are healthy and there are a lot of fast people; it's pretty deep right now.
What do you think of the track layout down there at Underground?
It's really cool. I think it'd be a little sketchy on a supermini 'cause you're having to do these ginormous jumps where it's like "Is the supermini fast enough or is it not gonna make it?" Like the big step up triple, I feel like that one is super sketchy 'cause you're like "Screw it, I'm just gonna jump it!" There are so many bumps on top from the other bikes 'cause there are only like ten classes that are able to jump it and the rest can't, so there are bumps on the backside and that one is pretty gnarly. The Supermini class is insane right now 'cause I feel like they've just been doing crazy stuff on the bike and how fast they're going and all that. I feel like the 85 is getting you ready to get that full send action goin' on to where you don't know if you're gonna make it or not but you have to try 'cause if you want to win you have to do it.
Is the Supermini class your favorite class to watch when you're not racing?
Yeah, I've always gone up and watched that class 'cause of course they're the next class up for me so I'm going to be going into that in the next two years. They're not big bikes yet so they're still riding a two-stroke and they're still showing good lines that I can also do 'cause I'm pretty much on the same bike, their bike is just a tad faster. Those kids always hang it out to get the championships and stuff and that class with 250 A and B are really entertaining classes to watch.
What do you think about the Super Regional format MX Sports has proposed for Loretta's this year?
I definitely think it'd be better than having just the free-for-all at Loretta's 'cause you'd always get those people that make it to the Regionals but they can't get past the Regionals, so it would just be a madhouse. There would be so many people and not the forty-two people per class with a couple of extra alternates. I think it'd just be a madhouse and even though it'd be pretty crazy having a Regional and an Area Qualifier in one weekend, I still think it would bring the number of people going to Loretta's way down. It would just be crazy, there'd be split practices for like every class and as if Loretta's isn't crazy enough with how many people end up going.
Have you figured out what your plans are for the remainder of the year following Loretta's heading into next season? Are you planning on getting on the supermini?
I think we're going to play it by how much I grow by the end of the year, but right now I'm riding a big wheel with a 112cc motor. I'm just training on it, I haven't raced it at all. I think I'm gonna start doin' Mini Sr. 1 and 2 and then probably Supermini 1 next year to give me another class, but we're not for sure yet. We have to see how comfortable I am on the bike. If I'm right up there with the other kids riding it then I'll probably race it, but if I'm a little behind on the supermini then I probably won't race it until the middle or end of next year.