Catching Up with…Marcus Nilsen
By Jeff McConkey
When we first saw the fast 3-digit rider in Kamloops on the Husqvarna this summer, many of us were left scratching our heads wondering who it was. From the moment we walked up and spoke to Marcus Nilsen, we knew the friendly Florida rider would be a perfect fit for the Canadian series. Should he return in 2016, he will turn in his #803 for #24 as he finished 12th in MX2 with a best overall finish of 8th in both Calgary and Moncton. Jeff caught up with him to help us all get to know the well-traveled motocrosser from England/Florida.
Direct Motocross: Hi, Marcus. How are you?
Hey, Jeff, I’m doing awesome. [I’m] just hanging out in sunny Florida.
What are you up to today?
You actually caught me on a pretty busy day! As it’s Labor Day Weekend and most people are off work Monday, one of our local tracks had a ride day with a Dash for Cash. So, this morning I headed down there for some practice. I had some bad luck and ended up getting a flat tire right before the start of the race. Some friends tried to pump it up on the line and I gave it a go but after a few laps of battling for the lead the back end was just too sketchy and I had to pull it in. I then headed straight home to get my bike washed, grab some lunch and clock in to my valet job.
Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you and where are you from?
Well, my name is Marcus Nilsen, I’m 23 years old, I’m originally from England but I moved to the States at a very young age. My dad is from Sweden and my mom is from England. I moved to Florida at a very young age so I pretty much call myself a Floridian nowadays.
I first met you at GPF (Georgia Practice Facility) this winter. How’s that?
I’ve been staying at GPF for almost four years now. It works out really well. We have a lot of awesome tracks like MTF, Bells, and Climax within 30 minutes of us, and not to mention always good riders to train with. I bought a house right across the street from MTF and GPF that I rent rooms out to riders to come and stay and train with a workshop that we can ride our bikes across the street to the tracks. So, any Canadians that might want to come down to get a break from the snow in the winter, don’t be afraid to shoot me an email at: Marcusnilsen803@aol.com
How did you get into racing?
My dad is pretty much a legend in the sport of Speedway so I have been around motorcycles and racing since the day I was born. I never really took it serious until I was around 10. I had some bad injuries and decided to step away from it for a while to focus on school and having a normal life. After high school I had a good job and decided to buy a bike for fun, not knowing what it was going to lead to, and I’ve pretty much been full throttle ever since!
How was your amateur career in the US?
I had some pretty good results, a few podiums a lot of top 5’s and top 10’s but didn’t get to clinch any titles. Being as I didn’t get back into racing until I was 18, I was pretty far behind the eight ball and had to learn pretty quick and try and move up the ranks fast if I was going to make this work. We all know we don’t stay young forever!
Although you are still pretty young, you are well-traveled. You recently raced over in Europe. How did that come about?
Yeah, I always wanted to travel and experience different racing. I was talking to Jeff Cernic at my last amateur national last year about wanting to go and race in Europe. He knew the owner of a Honda team (MVRD) in England that races the British championship series. I’m originally from England so it worked out really well.
How did racing in Europe compare to racing in the U.S. and racing up here in Canada?
It is definitely hard to compare to anything else. The U.S. and Canada tracks and racing are kind of similar whereas in Europe those guys have been brought up racing gnarly ungroomed tracks. It’s a completely different style of racing, but I had a lot of fun and I really feel it helped me become a more well-rounded rider.
What brought you up to Canada?
This year I had a great opportunity from one of my best friends, Steven Clarke, to come and be the second rider on the Apico Husqvarna team, after having all of our race bikes stolen at the third MXGP the team was low on budget. I talked to them about coming back to race in Canada. Luckily, all the sponsors were very supportive, so I caught the next flight home.
You’ve now raced all over the world. What could our series do to improve?
I thought the Canadian motocross circuit was run pretty smoothly. Racing-wise, I really liked how the race day schedule fit together more than anywhere I have ever raced. Mostly, I would say to keep growing to get more exposure and pushing to have more depth in the fields. This year I saw that the CMRC was able to get a deal with Fox Sports Racing so it seems they are already in the right direction and I cant wait to see what the future holds.
Is there a chance we will see you back up here for 2016?
For sure! I really liked everything about the Canadian Series. For me, I felt like it had a lot of “at the end of the day its about the fun” feel to it. My plan for now is to race some Arenacross races in the States during the winter and be back for Rd 1 of the CMRC series in 2016.
Thanks for your time. Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
First of all, I would like to thank Jeff and Billy from DMX for being the first people to come up and chat with me and welcome me to the CMRC, and giving me this opportunity for the interview. Also, I would like to thank mom and dad, Ohlins, TCD racing for bringing me to all the East Coast rounds. Without them, I would still be in my rental motorhome with a U-Haul. TLR, Husqvarna Canada, and Ryan Lockhart from 100%.