Thereâ€™s a reason they call him Kamikaze Kaylor.
With a slew of first place trophies for motorcross racing and a â€œno fearâ€ approach to 65-foot jumps, Jesse Kaylor has earned the name.
â€œIf I wreck or something, they know Iâ€™m coming back and Iâ€™m going to be at the front of the pack,â€ said Jesse.
Since picking up the sport a little over a year ago, the West Lincoln High School junior has competed in more than 200 races.
The dangerous sport, however, has not left him unharmed â€” last August he broke his collarbone.
â€œI just hit the jump wrong and too fast and flipped over,â€ he said.
His mother, who was at the race, ran to him as bikes whizzed by her.
Once in the hospital, Jesseâ€™s mother and grandmother asked him if he wanted to slow down his racing. He told them he planned to go even faster.
Jesse stayed true to his word. He continues to race every weekend. His most recent first place win was at the Cleveland County Fairâ€™s â€œCatch-N Air at the Fair.â€
While, his mother has occasionally had the panicked thought, â€œHeâ€™s going to die,â€ while watching her son race, she wholeheartedly supports him.
â€œI know what he can do and I just sit back and let him do it,â€ said Janeen Kaylor, Jesseâ€™s mother.
In fact, Janeen has been known to take her sonâ€™s motorcross bike for a ride, making her mother remark sheâ€™s just as crazy as Jesse.
All of the family, including Jesseâ€™s father, Richard McGhee, support his love of racing. They say it keeps him out of trouble and â€œclean as a whistle.â€
They also know this isnâ€™t just a hobby for Jesse, it has turned into a way of life.
â€œI want to be a pro rider,â€ he said. â€œI want to race with really, really good people and see what I can do.â€
Jesse Kaylor stands with his trophies, which are proudly displayed at his grandmotherâ€™s house. Sarah Grano / LTN Photo
His family supports his dream â€” as long as he keeps making good grades and tries to be safe.
â€œIf he donâ€™t get killed, heâ€™ll make it,â€ said Jody.
Paying for his equipment and races, however, has proven difficult.
â€œWe take our last dime to get him there, we sure do,â€ said Janeen.
For that reason Jesseâ€™s seeking a sponsor. The first step is going to bigger races with fiercer competition.
Already, Jesse has been moved up to higher classes five times. He is now in class 125C â€œUnlimited AMâ€ and has competed against men in their 20s and 30s.
Until he does achieve his dream of going pro, heâ€™ll continue to ride in local races, pop wheelies in his Grandmaâ€™s backyard and wash his motorcross bike every two to three days.
â€œItâ€™s his first love, Iâ€™m telling you,â€ said Jody.
by Sarah Grano