Jess Pettis Injury Update
By Billy Rainford
When we learned that Canadian superstar Jess Pettis was headed to Aldon Baker‘s Baker’s Factory to prepare for a run at the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, the nation was abuzz. It had been a long time since a Canuck had the chance to immerse himself fully in the work that it takes to compete in this most prestigious race series.
Jess headed into Round 1 of the 250 East series in Houston with high expectations, in the best race shape of his life. But here’s what we didn’t know…
Turning the clock back to the 2019 Montreal Supercross, we all remember the first turn crash that sent Jess to the sidelines and then the hospital for ACL reconstruction. Said Jess of the surgery, “That surgery went well and it was done with a piece of my hamstring to repair the ACL.”
After a long off-season of rehabilitation, Jess headed into the 2020 Rockstar Triple Crown Tour Canadian MX Nationals with high expectations.
At Walton 1, Jess dabbed his foot in a corner during the first moto and knew he’d done some damage to the repaired knee. It turns out, he’d re-torn his ACL but the team kept that fact a secret throughout the summer.
Not only did they keep the re-injury a secret, but Jess went on to a 1-1-2-1-1 season run to take the 2020 250 MX title!
He took the Supercross portion of our series off to see what he could do with his knee to get it ready for his next step in his racing career.
He headed to Florida and put in 2 1/2 months of training with his unfixed knee and it never gave him any trouble. Said Jess, “I dabbed my foot many times, I was running, blitzing whoops, and even fell several times and it was perfect!” He felt more confident than ever, heading into Round 1.
However, when a rider clipped a block and moved it into a cornier during first qualifying at Round 1, Jess took the inside rut and kicked it with his foot the wrong way and felt immediate pain. He rode a couple more laps but then grabbed his mechanic, Matt Deroy, and headed back to the pits.
They regrouped at the truck and then decided to give 2nd qualifying a try. Unfortunately, Jess jumped into the whoops and heard the always-feared “pop” of a knee going bad. He felt instant pain. That was it for his run at the 2021 SX series.
And because he already had no ACL in the knee, the forced caused some more damage to the surrounding area’s soft tissue and “made things worse.”
The surgery Jess just had was to fix his ACL. Mike Brown and Aldon Baker both suggested a doctor in Nashville, Tennessee, so that’s where Jess went to have his knee repaired, again.
This time, the surgery was done using a patellar tendon and the recovery rate for this type of ACL surgery has been great. Jess and his doctor figure he should be able to get back on the bike sometime between 6 weeks to 2 months from the the date of the surgery. That’s great news!
Jess figures he’ll be on his KTM 450 some time in April.
He’s now been home in Prince George, BC for about a week-and-a-half and said, “In the last two days I’ve been getting back to walking.”
With the 2021 Triple Crown Series schedule just released, we will be dropping the gate on June 19th in Drumheller, Alberta, and Jess feels that will give him ample time to get himself fit and ready to race, as he makes the move up to the 450 class.
He already has a 450 at his home in BC and is just waiting for the 3-feet of snow to melt before he can begin his long journey back to the starting line.
When I asked him about his Supercross future, he was quick to add that he wants to do 250 Supercross again and that “Baker’s is where I’d go again.”
See you on the line at Round 1, Jess.