AURORA, Ill., (Jan. 9, 2007) – North Carolina’s Jim Neese, of the Carolina Xpress team, couldn’t have picked a better time to step up his racing this past weekend, sweeping the AMA Arenacross Lites classes at Charlotte’s Bobcats Arena, Round Five of the 2006-’07 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series.
Neese’s performance in Charlotte launched him into first place in the overall Eastern Region AMA Arenacross Lites class points chase. Currently, he leads Pittsburgh’s (Pa.) Kevin Hoge 47-27 for the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series’ eastern No. 1 plate.
A former regional AMA Arenacross Lites regional champion (2002-’03), Neese also made the podium on Friday in the AMA Arenacross class – something that’s become more and more difficult as many of the top racers elect just to race the AMA Arenacross class versus doubling up. Neese is currently 13th overall in the AMA Arenacross class points chase, 38 points out of the top 10.
We caught up with Neese for an interview following his excellent performance in Charlotte.
Question: Talk about this past weekend in Charlotte.
Jim Neese: “Charlotte was awesome! Everything from the of press we received to the racing couldn’t have gone much better. I had good starts all weekend, which helped me get through the qualifying easy, and that makes a huge difference. I won both nights in the AMA Arenacross Lites class on my new RMZ 250. I love the bike.”
Question: How are things going with the new team?
JN: “The Carolina Xpress is really starting to take off. The whole idea of getting our state behind us has worked out great. Our industry sponsors have been behind us 100%, and now we are starting to get all kinds of interest from outside companies. It really surprised me how much press and attention we have been able to generate for our small, privateer arenacross team. I have big expectations for our team in the next couple of years.”
Question: How do you intend to carry the momentum to Baltimore?
JN: “I am letting the momentum carry me! The first three rounds of the series were tough on the team and me. During the break, I changed my program up a little (physically and mentally) and it obviously paid off in Charlotte. I am ready for Baltimore.”
Question: What do you think about the overall competition this year?
JN: “The competition this year is probably the toughest it has ever been. The number of entries alone makes qualifying a nightmare. We have a bunch of guys that have a lot of racing experience, and that makes for a great season. Racing with experienced riders is always fun. The problem is that some of the rookies are going for their Pro license. I guess they think that they may only have one chance to make it happen, so the cheap shots are frequent.”
Question: How did it feel to be on the podium with two other North Carolina riders at your side in front of a hometown crowd?
JN: “That could not have worked out any better. It was definitely a big win for the Xpress team, and I was proud we did it in Charlotte. Obviously, I was happy about (Jim) Chester and I being up front - but Tyler Bright finishing 2nd was cool as well. Tyler has been riding with me for a while now, so I was happy to see him up there with us.”
Question: Thanks for your time, Jim.
JN: “Sure thing. See you guys in Baltimore!”