Motocross phenom finishes second in points race
From the moment he could walk, J.J. Delligatti knew he wanted to ride dirt bikes.
“When he was old enough to walk, they (he and his father) would go the bike shop, and he would start climbing on the bikes,” said Sunni Barker, Delligatti’s mother.
Delligatti got his first bike when he was 4.
“My dad had a street bike, and we would always go down to Michael’s (Reno Powersports),” Delligatti said. “I would see all these dirt bikes, and I would really want one, and then finally I got one.”
Barker is amazed at the progress her son has made all before the age of 10, and she has noticed that it is common for kids to get involved in motocross as early as 3 or 4 years old.
“They’re in their motocross outfits, and they look like little miniature people,” she said. “I’m surprised they can even feed themselves let alone get on this machine.”
In just five years, Delligatti, born and raised in Truckee, has already made a name for himself in motocross at the tender age of 9.
Coming off his first season of competitive racing in the Motocross West Nevada State Series in Northern Nevada, Delligatti finished second in the points standings in the junior 60cc division.
On his current ride, a 2003 Suzuki RM-65, he finished first in two races and consistently finished in the top five throughout the year. A first-place finish late in the year in a Fernley competition propelled Delligatti to second place in the points standings, one point ahead of the third-place finisher.
The individual points awarded for each event is based on an average of two runs. The season lasts from February to November.
He might have won the point title if it wasn’t for an injury – a compound fracture to his tibula and fibula in his left arm – he sustained June 11 in Carson City. The injury caused him to miss only one race in the entire season.
Wearing foam padding over a cast, Delligatti was able to continue his season, not at all discouraged by the injury.
“He had to wait in the hospital for four hours to get surgery,” Barker said. “I remember he was laying in the hospital all morphined up, and he said to me, ‘I was always afraid of wrecking and falling, but it’s not so bad.'”
Delligatti is not shy about showing off his two scars, left over from the surgery, running up each side of his arm, in which they placed two plates.
It is that kind of toughness and positive attitude that has allowed Delligatti to earn 12 sponsors after his first year, some notables being No Fear, Fox Racing, Thor, SoBe, Suzuki and FMF, which provides Delligatti with a lot of his specialty parts.
Sponsorships are granted through applications, and most have basic requirements like excelling academically.
Delligatti’s father, Joseph Delligatti, has had a major influence on J.J.’s young career. Sometimes Joseph rides with his son, but mainly he is there for support.
“He’s practically my mechanic and my coach,” J.J. said.
His favorite place to practice locally is the tracks near Prosser Reservoir. He also practices and competes mostly around the Reno area.
Even though the Motocross West season is finished, there is no offseason for Delligatti. Currently, he is competing in the AMA West Coast Region Arenacross Series. In a recent event held in the Reno Livestock Events Center, he finished sixth.
Delligatti does not beg the question when asked why he loves racing on his dirt bike.
“Mostly I enjoy it because it’s something I’m good at,” he said. And Delligatti backed up those words of confidence in 2003.
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