Where Are They Now: Jimmy Weinert

August 3, 2006 2:06pm

photo: Dick Miller Archives

“The Jammer,” Jimmy Weinert, wasn’t hard to find: You can always count on finding one of New York’s finest racers at one of New York’s finest racetracks, Unadilla. We found him hanging out at the factory Kawasaki rig at ‘Dilla a few weeks ago and immediately started rolling tape, because few in this sport can talk it up like The Jammer.

Soon Jimmy was covering everything from his selection for the 1974 Motocross des Nations team (where he was a wide-eyed 19-year-old in Europe for the first time, in an era where the world was much larger) to becoming the AMA’s 500cc National MX Champion. As he watched his grandson wheel around on a brand-new four-stroke minibike, he talked about the old-school four-strokes he grew up racing. Eventually, we talked about his current job, which is working for his family’s auto-recycling business.

Weinert was known as a fierce competitor on the track—hence the nickname—and the mind games he used to psyche out the competition are legendary. Today, things are much more laid back. “I’m back in the family business, auto recycling, which we’ve had going for a long time,” he says. Weinert was originally involved with that family business back in the early 1970s, but then he moved to California to take his factory Kawasaki ride. He also rode for Yamaha and Can-Am, among other brands.

Weinert (left) and Tony DiStefano made the cover of the February 2004 issue of Racer X Illustrated

“It was a lot different back then because we all used to drive to the races,” he explains. “We would all travel together and train together. And then, slowly, things got bigger. Someone at the factories realized that for all of the money they were spending keeping us out on the road, they could actually spend less to fly us to the races. So then we started flying, and you didn’t see each other as much. The mechanics would still be on the road, but then you see that someone realized the same thing again, because now you have the mechanics flying to the races.”

Weinert talks about the evolution of travel in the sport because it has had a major effect on the camaraderie of the racers. He may have played his games and tried like mad to win races, but there was still a bond between him and his competitors. “Today, it just can’t be like that. I don’t blame them,” he says. “This is serious, and these guys make a lot of money, so this is the way it has to be.”

But weren’t they serious back then? “Oh, we were serious when we were racing, but that stuff was still fun,” he says. “You know, the psych jobs and things like that were there. But we were still friends with each other. And now we’re not like that with each other anymore.

Jimmy Weinert today

photo: Jason Weigandt

They just did one of the Motocross Files shows on me, and Hannah calls me and says, 'Jammer, this is your chance. You can say whatever you want about everyone! No one is going to stop you.' But that’s not what we want to do now. It was all fun, and we’re all good friends. I’m going to be 60 years old in a few years, so there’s no reason to make trouble now!”