TURN ON THE JETS:
Jet Capps was one of the standout competitors in the 51cc Jr. classes throughout the 2019 season, finishing on the podium at all of the high profile races that he contested throughout the year. The Alabama native started off with an impressive podium finish in the Special Limited class at Spring A Ding Ding, earning himself a fake mustache and cowboy hat to go along with his 3rd place podium result. Capps was on fire in early August at the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Motocross Championship in Tennessee, finishing on the podium in all three of his motos. The Cobra rider pieced together 3-2-3 moto scores in order to earn 3rd place overall, joining a very select group of riders who have made the trek onto the podium at the Ranch. A few months later, Capps managed to snag a moto win at The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City, following it up with a 2nd place finish in the second moto on his way to 2nd place overall in the 51cc (4-6) Special Limited class. The young rider out of Alabama had some bad luck at Mini Os, breaking his jaw in a crash, and subsequently ending his season in the process. Unfortunately, he had another small setback when he broke his collarbone at the beginning of 2020, but Capps didn’t let that hold him back as he’s determined to bring the same speed and intensity to the 51cc Sr. class this year as he did last year in the Jr. class. We caught up with Jet to talk about some of his race results last year, dressing up as Evil Knievel, and what the rest of the season has in store.
What did you do for the few months that there was no racing going on?
Played Fortnite and Roblox mostly. I rode my Oset and BMX a lot too.
Did you take some time off when racing was postponed?
Yes, I did a lot of resting.
What was your riding situation like during the quarantine?
Me and a few of my buddies went to Monster Mountain MX to do some riding and training during the quarantine and I went wide open in a deep sand section and my bike got loose and I slammed (into the ground), breaking my collarbone. So I was out for six weeks during the quarantine.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time away from riding and training?
I love to fish, watch YouTube and play on my Xbox.
How did your week go at Loretta’s last year from your perspective?
It went great. Our goal was a top three. My first moto I was battling for 2nd and I jumped a double and the other rider came over a little into my line and I came down bumping him, then that sent me off the track crashing. I jumped up as fast as I could and got on my bike which was facing the opposite direction. By not giving up, I passed the 3rd place rider and almost caught 2nd place but he beat me by .57 of a second at the checkered flag. So to podium for my first time ever at Loretta’s was a dream come true. My second moto I rode really well and got 2nd place. And my third moto I was so nervous because we all know anything crazy can happen at Loretta Lynn’s. So I went out and rode smart and got on the podium again with a 3rd place finish, giving me a 3-2-3 for a 3rd overall, so we accomplished our goal!
Talk about your weekend at Ponca and what it was like to win the title in the 51cc (4-6) Special Limited class.
It was our first trip to Ponca and it was so much fun and the track got super gnarly! My first moto went perfect, I got the holeshot and led every lap, but the second moto I battled with (Kayky) De Pinho, changing the lead five different times. It was an epic battle, but the last turn I tried to go low and got stuck in a deep rut. I still managed a 2nd place finish, giving me a 2nd overall.
What was your week at Mini Os like at the end of last season?
It was going great. I hadn’t ridden a P-Dub in over a year and a half and since I was aging out of the (4-6)class I thought I would give the Shaft Drive class one last shot. I went out and got 2nd the first two motos so I was battling for a championship, but my dreams of winning a title got cut short in my third moto of the (4-6) class where I was sitting I think 6th overall going into my last moto. Long story short, I got hot in staging and I took off my helmet. They were running behind on motos so they started speeding up everything. Staging is a long walk for the mechanics, so by the time my dad got there they were getting ready to drop the gate. I had a black jersey on and my chin strap got behind my motovest so no one ever saw that my helmet was not buckled. On the last lap, I hit a step-on-step-off and when I hit it, I landed in a Ronnie Mac style wheelie. When I came down, it made me whiskey throttle off of it out of control, hitting the roller nose-first which shoved the triple clamp into my chin and snapped my lower jaw in half on both sides. So the day before Thanksgiving, I had surgery to get metal plates and screws in my lower jaw. The worst part was not being able to eat the Thanksgiving feast. So parents: always double-check, no matter what, that your kid’s chin strap is buckled!!!
What has it been like for you to push back and recover from those injuries?
Believe it or not, I came back from my jaw injury riding faster than I ever had. I was feeling so good on the bike and then one small mishap put me behind another six weeks. So breaking two bones within six months definitely puts you behind but that just means you have to try and work harder to get back to that elite level. Since we do not live at a compound we try to ride every weekend somewhere, and when Matt Walker has a weekend camp at Moto X Compound we try and do those.
That was a pretty sweet Evil Knievel costume you were sporting on Instagram. What was that about?
Thanks! My school had a wax museum and I chose my favorite stuntman Evil Knievel. I got to study his biography then share it with all the classes and parents that day as if I were him. I thought my parents' homemade suit they made was spot on.
What has the transition to the 51cc Sr. class been like for you this year?
It’s been great! I started racing a 50 Senior as an AMA 6-year-old this past year in the 50 Open class so that helped me on the transitioning part. I love the suspension on it.
What races have you been able to do this season and how did they go?
I have only raced twice. The first one was at Silver Dollar and it was stacked with some of the top riders in the Nation. Only riding four hours total since my injury, I thought I did good my first moto getting a 6th place out of like forty riders. In the second moto, I landed on a kid who didn’t jump a double and luckily we both walked away but I finished in 15th, giving me a 9th overall.
At the Backyard Bash a couple of weekends ago, I got my first two overall wins in the (7-8) year old class that had the most entries ever at McLarty MX. It was awesome seeing these huge turnouts this year!
What do you think about the Super Regional format?
I think they did a great job putting it together with the little time they had to organize it all. It’s been a crazy year for sure!
What’re your goals and plans heading into Loretta’s this season?
Of course my first goal is to punch my ticket to Loretta’s. We are gonna give it two shots. The first one will be the Southeast and the second Regional will be the Northeast. Our last goal is to place in the top ten being a young buck this year.
Do you know what classes you’ll be racing heading into 2021?
2021 is going to bring something new and exciting. I will be racing in the 65cc class along with my last year in the (7-8) 50 class.