This week’s Privateer Showcase focuses on Justin Sipes. A full on privateer out of the great state of Kentucky, Justin has made a huge leap forward this year in terms of his results. After a rocky start in the 2011 SX season–making only one of the first four main events–Justin got on a roll and finished up the AMA SX East Region by making all of the last five main events. In the end, he would finish with two very solid top ten performances and a sixteenth overall in the East Region points standings. Now as everyone heads outdoors for the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship, Justin will be looking to keep the ball rolling. When we caught up with Justin he was trying to keep his eyes open after a 22-hour drive from California to Texas with his brother Ryan Sipes. Here’s how the conversation went:

Hey, Justin. How’s it going?

Not too bad, just got down to Hahn’s house in Texas. Drove all night last night.

That is a long drive. Did you guys really do California to Texas in one day?

Twenty-two hours, I think. Me and Ryan left yesterday with like 5,000 things in the back. We left yesterday at 4:00 and got here today at 2:20.

That’s a trek, man. Ryan’s got himself a nice salary; why didn’t you guys get a room halfway? (Laughs)

Yeah, but all our stuff will get stolen. All we have is a truck, so I’m just fighting to stay awake so I can sleep tonight.

What’s sad is how true that really is. So, how did Hangtown go for you?

Terrible! Terrible! The first moto I got a terrible start and started to work my way up, but I guess a rock kicked up and broke my throttle position censor. Then the bike cut out and wouldn’t run, so I had to DNF that one. Went out in the second moto and was doing alright. One person passed me, and I just started getting tired. I just rode like crap pretty much. It was just a bad weekend all together.

Did you ride much outdoors leading up to this week?

No, I haven’t been able to ride much ’cause it’s been raining like literally every single day at home. I think I rode three times in three weeks and then went out to like the roughest track in the world.

Yeah, Hangtown was in rare form on Saturday. Every rider we’ve talked to said it was one of the most brutal national tracks they have ever ridden on.

Dude, it was ridiculous!

Justin Sipes - 2011 - Brian Robinette
Photo by Brian Robinette

Let’s talk about the 2011 SX season. How do you think that went for you this year?

It was pretty good—up until the last few rounds, until I injured my shoulder. I kind of got off to a slow start: missed the main in Houston, came back in Atlanta and got like a thirteenth or something in the Main. Then, I missed Daytona and Indy, but from then on out, it was pretty solid until Dallas. I don’t know what place I was in the Main, but I crashed out and re-injured my shoulder that I got surgery on last year. Then, St Louis was just about “balls up” and make it through it.

I thought you had a solid year—a step forward for sure. If you didn’t make the Main, though, you seemed to always be in the gas card spot. How many gas cards did you win this year?

(Laughs) Too many! Way too many. Gas cards are not fun.

I was talking to your brother Ryan—who is obviously a good gauge for speed—and he says when you guys are practicing, you stay right with him, and if you could just bring that speed to the race, you would kill it.

Yeah, I don’t know what the deal is. I gotta figure that out. Hopefully when we get back home and get the track built, I can get that figured out.

Where do you see yourself finishing in the 250-class outdoors? What are your goals for the year?

I was hoping for was some top tens. I just want to get up into that top ten and do pretty decent in the points. I’m taking it race by race right now because I had to take some time off for my shoulder after SX, and then I didn’t get to ride. Not sure if I’m going to ride tomorrow because I’m jet lagging from the drive and no sleep. I’ll ride Thursday and hopefully get back into the swing of things. Then when we get back home, I should be able to get some riding in and get some good results. I’m riding my SX bike right now, but I’m getting an outdoor motor built and a fresh bike. When I get that, it will be good for sure. It will be nice to have a fresh motor.

Were you riding on SX suspension as well on that brutal Hangtown track?

No, actually my brother started ProLogics. They do suspension and stuff, and Joey—who is like part owner—built me some suspension just off the top of his head. I didn’t really have any time to test it, but we went out there, set the sag, messed with the clickers a little bit, and it was pretty dang good.


Justin Sipes - Indy SX - 2011
Photo by Brian Robinette

That track was a tough way to test out a new suspension.

It was a good way. I don’t think it’s going to get much rougher.

What’s your sponsor situation look like right now?

I’m riding for “The Privateer Journey.” They hall my bikes, have a tent set up, and cook food for us at the races. That works out pretty good for me. I have Gateway Cycles helping me out with bikes. I have a few people that I just met that are helping me out. The MotoLife Clothing people I just met this fall and they’re helping me out quite a bit. Then, there’s TB Parts. I just met him in Vegas. He just started helping me out. I’m pretty pumped on meeting all these people that are helping me out this year ’cause there is no way I’d have the money to do it if they didn’t.

Well, great Justin. Glad I could help you stay awake for ten minutes. (Laughs) Thanks for doing the interview. Go get some sleep.

Sounds good! Thanks.

Check out a video showing The Privateer Journey pit set-up. And visit to see how you can help out.


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.