Catching Up with…Marcus Nilsen

By Billy Rainford

Marcus Nilsen is the friendly Floridian we got to know over the past few years when he traveled north to race the Canadian Nationals. The #803 became a part of the traveling circus for a couple years and he had some great finishes along the way. He earned #43 for the 2017 season, but we never saw him up here running it. In fact, Marcus has stepped away from the sport. It was his week for the Frid’Eh Update last week, so we wanted to make sure we got in touch with him to find out what he’s doing these days.

We grabbed Marcus Nilsen for a chat to find out what’s keeping him busy these days. | Bigwave photo


Direct Motocross: Hello, Marcus. We haven’t spoken to you since you were #24 last time! Before we get to what’s new with you, let’s back up and tell people a little about yourself. Where were you born, where did you grow up, and how did you get into motocross?

Marcus Nilsen: Many people don’t know I was born in England but I moved to the US when I was 8 so I grew up an American (Laughs). My dad was a world champion Speedway racer so my whole childhood until we moved to the US was spent at race tracks.

What was your amateur career like? Did you hit any/all the big US Amateur Nationals? Loretta Lynn’s? What was your best finish?

I didn’t race too much as a kid, so I started going to the amateur nationals in B class. I had a lot of top 5’s and top 10’s. My best finish was 3rd at Mini O’s in 250 A.

How did you choose your first racing number?

My first racing number was 19. We showed up to the race without numbers and those were the two numbers the shop had. After lots of bad luck with that number, I decided on my birthday 803.

What year did you turn Pro?

I turned Pro in 2013 after Loretta’s. Instead of going to the last few US nationals like everyone else, I decided to go a different route and race the last 4 British Nationals with MVRD Honda.
What made you decide to come up to Canada in the first place?
Training at GPF, we had a lot of Canadians come and train, so I got to know a lot of the riders pretty well. Also, with Josh Woods being well-seeded in Canadian motocross I had a lot of guidance.

Marcus turned Pro in 2013 and came north after training at GPF and meeting lots of Canadians there. | Bigwave photo

What is your favourite racing memory from up here in Canada?

The first year I came to Canada in 2015, I rented a motorhome and traveled to the first 4 west coast rounds by myself, hiring someone to pit for me at each race we went to (Laughs). I had a lot of time between weekends to see everything Canada has to offer. Those memories will stick forever.

What do you remember most about Canada and Canadians?

The Canadians were the most willing to help. Even the riders, any controversy is left on the track.

Did you have a favourite track up here?

My favorite track was Deschambault. I always loved the sand, and when you add in the hills, it was one of a kind.

So, we didn’t see you up here in Canada at all this year. It sounds like you’ve moved on from moto. What was the main motivator that took you off the bike?

The decision to get off the bike happened extremely fast. I ended up having a great opportunity to be a part owner of a new pool construction company. Every rider knows how hard it can be after moto and I didn’t want to give up a great opportunity. Also, with my results not being where they needed to be, the decision had to be made.

So, is that exactly as it sounds?

Yes, nowadays I build swimming pools in Florida!

What’s the main thing you miss about moto?

The main thing I miss is the whole process of preparation, hard work, and seeing what works and doesn’t work for you.

Marcus would have been #43 in Canada in 2017 but he’s busy with a new career in Florida these days. | Bigwave photo

Do you still follow the sport? Who will win Supercross this season?

Yes, of course I still follow the sport, especially the Canadian Nationals. I would like to go for an underdog and say Cole Seely.

Well, thanks for taking the time to fill us in on what’s up with you these days. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

For sure, I would like to thank everyone that supported me along the way, sponsors, trainers, friends, family, and media!