Between the Motos: Nick Wey

January 31, 2007 8:15am

Nick Wey is the popular privateer riding for the MDK/Xyience Honda team. And unless you were hiding underneath the floor mats of your box van last week, you probably know he scored a podium at Anaheim 2, only to be told five days later by the AMA that his fuel was out of spec. As a result, Wey was disqualified, along with Butler Brothers MX rider Jason Thomas and Team Yamaha’s Josh Hill. Nick checked in with Racer X yesterday, and we asked him if we could hit the RECORD button and chat a little about his tumultuous week.

Racer X: Nick, one month down on this AMA Supercross season; how do you feel so far?
Nick Wey: Yeah, I started the season a bit injured. I partially tore a muscle across the top of my forearm—it’s basically the muscle you need to use the throttle. So I was having a hard time for a while. So this is only the second week that I’ve been able to get a little riding in. So, I struggled through that for a couple weekends.

Xyience/MDK Motorsports' Nick Wey

How exactly did it happen?
I was just lifting weights and just strained the wrong muscle. I kept doing what I usually do, and I kept riding, and it just kept getting sorer, and then I realized I had a problem. It was like I had a bad charley horse in the top of my forearm as I was riding. If I did anything else it wasn’t too bad.

So that knocked you out of at least training for the first few rounds. And then you got to round three and really turned everything around…
Yeah, at the second round I was feeling better. I got a really good start in the main and was running second till the red flag. On the restart I crashed on the first lap, but I definitely felt like I was riding well there and carried some of that momentum into Anaheim and felt great all weekend.

Back up to Phoenix: That red flag not only cost you the$1500 in Progressive Direct holeshot money, it actually cost you $1510 dollars, didn’t it?
Exactly. I told Villopoto that I was going to holeshot, because we ride together all the time and he was holeshotting me during the week when we were practicing and he was thinking he was bad. I told him I had it. He didn’t holeshot and I did, so he owed me ten bucks, or so I thought. But then the next weekend, Anaheim, I said double or nothing. So I holeshot Anaheim, and I’m thinking I got $1,520 bucks in the bank from that holeshot, and then Whitelock calls me on Thursday and tells me that my gas isn’t legal, so I missed out on it again!

You lost the holeshot money, which was up to $20 from Villopoto, and the whole podium thing. Did you have to give the trophy back?
I’m not giving the trophy or the big holeshot check back, that’s for sure!

Have you tried to cash the big holeshot check?
I thought about taking it down to the bank, but I think they’d laugh at me.

Nick is keep his head held high through all of this.

Well, I read the open letters from MDK, and we’ve seen this before. I’m sure this had to be a cold bucket of water over your head when you got that call.
Well, just talking to the AMA and them informing me that I was disqualified—at first it was just disappointing. I’ve been racing for a long time—through all of the strict regulations that you have going through Loretta Lynn’s growing up—and we just always stuck to the rules. And then to come this far and get disqualified for fuel, it was the first time that ever happened to me. So I was pretty bummed to be accused of breaking the rules.

In Jason Thomas’ case, it was argued by the Butler Brothers team manager Forrest Butler that it was the exact same fuel container that they used in Anaheim 1 and Phoenix, and it had been tested. Was that also the case for you and the MDK team?
Yes, that’s exactly the case for us. We had one 15-gallon barrel of fuel that we used for the first three rounds, and it got tested in Phoenix also. And as far as we knew we had passed Phoenix. But from what we had found out this past weekend, I guess the AMA wasn’t sure if it passed or not from Phoenix as early as Friday before Anaheim 2. We wish we would have been informed that our fuel wasn’t in compliance so we could’ve made the changes to be within the rules.

Let me play the devil’s advocate for a second. I know it’s hard for you to say, but is there some culpability here on VP Racing Fuels’ part? They supply a majority of the fuel, and it seems that they are the ones who should be on top of these regulations and not get that close to it—not you the rider.
Yeah, absolutely, and I think that’s part of the problem. We’re spending a lot of money to get this fuel that isn’t in compliance with the AMA’s rules. We get this fuel from VP, and we’re assured that this fuel is legal. That’s why it’s such a shock to us after hearing the news that it wasn’t legal. I don’t know if it’s a testing mistake, or if the stuff we got from VP was off. Either way, it’s tough for our team to tell because we don’t have the funding to test each can of gas that we get to make sure that it is legal. Even if we did test the gas, it’s not tested by the same people who the AMA has, so it could be different. I think there are a lot of loopholes in the system, for sure, and I think the bottom line is that everyone would like to find a solution to the problem.

Now let me throw this out. I seen Martin Davalos go off the track and almost crash and miss a bunch of tuff blocks; everyone saw Ricky come off the track and go down the inside off the finish line. Neither gained time, but they did go off-track for a while. But those are judgement calls, where they can say “Oh, he didn’t really make up time.” Doesn’t it seem like the fuel penalties are excessive for the amount of advantage that may be given, kind of like the “Rockefeller” drug laws in New York, where one drug may mean 20 years in prison, and another means not nearly as much?
Well, the hardest thing to swallow is that we get tested after the fact. If we would’ve known before the race that something is wrong and we could possibly get disqualified, we wouldn’t take that chance. For me to say that I was trying to get some extra horsepower out of my fuel is absurd. With the dirt being so slick, I’ve actually been trying to slow my bike down the best I can to try and get as much as traction as possible. Basically I’ve been trying to detune my bike and make it smoother. And then I get disqualified for supposedly looking for performance gain through the fuel. That’s not the case at all. It’s definitely tough and it’s hard to swallow. You work so hard to get in that position, and to have it taken away the following Thursday from a fuel technicality is definitely a bummer.

I think that for what it’s worth, Steve Whitelock is in a bad position too. These unleaded rules and all were not invented by him; I believe it’s sort of a leftover landmine from the Jam Sports/Paradama/FIM days, and a relic of the two-stroke era. Is it time to get rid of that altogether?
With all of the controversy it caused with Ricky and everything, and ultimately him getting his points back—and rightfully so—last year it kind of set a precedence that they don’t want to have a fuel issue decide the championship, and I think it kind of set the precedence that this rule is a little bit too strict, and I think the raised the levels a bit this year, but it’s maybe still too strict. But I’m just racing. I don’t work for the AMA, but I wouldn’t be bummed if anybody was running any fuel in the 450s. I could see if we were running 125 two-strokes, where you’re searching for power to begin with, maybe you could find an advantage through fuel. But there’s plenty of horsepower on a 450 where you’re not looking through the extra quarter-horse that you can get through gas.

Scotty deserves a raise!

We’ve read the open letters and I know Whitelock is looking for some resolution, but how do you go on from here? Tough race this weekend and a tough track at San Fran.
I’m just going to try and put my head down and improve like I’ve been doing. It really doesn’t change anything. I was able to get my sponsors some recognition on the podium there, and basically had it taken away on paper on Thursday. So it takes my down from where I should be in the points standings, but other than that I definitely have the same goals, and that’s to be on the podium every week and improve to try and race with James.

I wish you luck, and I wish you and the MDK team, as well as Josh Hill and Jason Thomas some vindication in this. It hasn’t been a good situation for everyone. Good luck with it.
Yeah, thanks, I appreciate it. The biggest thing is that I want to be a fast racer. The team gets a lot of notoriety out of doing well, and I can’t thank the Xyience/MDK Motorsports/Honda/MSR—just the whole crew for being behind me 100 percent. We’re just going to keep going to the races and doing our best.

Oh, by the way, everyone in West Virginia kind of had a poll, and we think you should give your wrench Scotty Adkins a raise.
A raise? Done!