Rider profile: JL Bitz

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Rider profile: JL Bitz


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The 2000’s in the 775 was a formidable time for JL, as there was really not better guy than JL Bitz. Lotsa guys had raw speed, like Jimmy Hazel, Jimmy Nelson and Nate Tierney, but damn, was JL a stylish dude. I remember, on this very website, a picture of JL shredding the gnar and handing everyone their ass on his CR250 with a flannel flying proud, before you lumbersexuals made it so contrived. JL was faster than you, funnier than you and he has always been a good dude.
During his mini career, he was an unstoppable force here in the 775 and he talks a lot about that below.
Jl1 Jl2 Jl3
I had the pleasure of working with JL at BVH for a couple of years and got to know him pretty well. A couple of scraps on the Peavine whoops and we were pretty good buddies. I will always respect him and call him a friend.

JL has really turned his life around and we should watch out for him! Ha.

 

He gave me an interview, over email and here are his answers to his questions. He answered them honestly and frankly, and its refreshing to hear him talk about his struggles and successes. Enjoy!

 

Sup, man?! Thanks for doing this. You’re the dude and Ty and I both agree that you deserve some play on the website. Anyway, here goes! Answer as truthfully as you want, as this interview is going up unedited unless you let me know something is off the record.
Q. So, how did you get your start riding? Was it like every other prodigy, or did you start another way?
 A:Ya I pretty much started like everyone else; Dad got me a bike at 3 years old, down hill from there!
Q. About 5-8 years ago, you were unbeatable. What made you so formidable during that time? 
A: Well not totally unbeatable, but to be honest I just loved riding my dirt bike. For real though it’s all about surrounding yourself with good people and making reasonable goals for yourself.
Q. We worked together at BVH – how did that help your racing career? How much fun was that shit?! :)
A: BVH was hands down a big help with my career. The people at BVH when I worked there I considered family! Except a few. They know who..

 

Q. About five years ago, you fell on hard times and got mixed up with some shit. What happened?
 A: Ya I fell flat one face when I lost my mother to breast cancer.. But when I look back I wouldn’t change a thing! It’s made me who I am! I had a serious problem with prescription pain killers and I’ve been through a lot to try and stay clean. Injuries just made it easier to take them. So it got to a point to where I didn’t care about riding or racing. It was survival mode at that point.

 

Q. Your style, in the 775, was sick. No one has your style. I remember you racing with a flannel and being stoked out of my mind. Anyone you tried to emulate, or were you just giving the middle finger to the moto establishment, JL Bitz style?
A: Haha I love it!! Ya the flannel was raw, i remember saying to myself fu%k it I’m cold!

 

Q. Can you kinda give me an overview of some of your results?
A: Oh ya raced hangtown but never had good results on big bikes. Minis I was pretty much unbeatable I was ranked 7th in the AMA at one time. Here are some stats, raced mammoth 7 years in a row. From 99′ to 2006 some of my best finishes were 80 int, 1st place 2 years, 125 int, 4th. I also went to Loretta Lynn’s in 02′ I raced 80 int and 80 open/supermini, I think I ended up 14th and my supermini blew up. Raced Ponca City in 04′ on big bikes in the 125 B class and school boy. Results were bad but a good experience, think I ended up 10th had some mental issues at that race. Other than that I raced all over and I mean all over I can’t even remember some of the names of the tracks we raced. But on 80’s anywhere I went I was top 5 if I wasn’t winning! Raced Marysville a lot in the CMC series also AMP series, both I had 1st places on small and big bikes, int or B class I have to say though growing up in the 775 made it fun! My best finish as a pro at Mammoth was 9th also I raced Washougal a lot when I was on Suzukis and I actually won the last RM Cup on 2 strokes.

 

Q. Who’s the best rider in the 775, besides you?
A: I’ve always liked Nate dog(Tierney) style! Really looked up to him when I was racing a lot!!
Q. You are expecting a child – how has that changed you? Is being a dad the best feeling on the face of the planet?
A: I have one on the way! So I’ll have to get back to you on that one.. Due date is October 3rd
Q. Have you had your defining day, as a man, yet?
A: Yes I have! It was about 4 years ago, I got into some trouble and finally just had to say, ya know what it’s time to grow up and start doing right!

Q. Are you planning on racing in the future?
A: Yes I am! Just bought a brand new yz 250 2stroke!! Yeeeuuuwwww flannels are comin out!!
Q. What have you been up to? What makes JL tick these days?
A: Well to be honest I’ve been really wanting to open my own shop for a while now. People can say what they want but good work sells itself! I plan on having a lot of satisfied customers!!
Q.Finally, thank the people that help you, have helped you and those who you hold true to your heart!
A: well I would really like to thank my family!   Layne kolbet, Rich Thorwaldson and Cliff Campbell (ED: the other Cliff. Ha.) Ty was always willing to help just to see me ride so I should probably thank him as well!!

Cliff Kump
cliff.kump@me.com