Monday Conversation: Jake Weimer

It wasn’t exactly the best-kept secret in the sport. By the time the 2008 AMA Motocross Championship was halfway through, the word swirling around the pits was that Jake Weimer of the heavily backed GEICO Powersports Honda team would, at season’s end, be making a move across the paddock to the much admired Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki hauler. Despite placing 15th in the 2008 AMA West Region Supercross Championship and posting up some rather erratic results, Weimer did win his first race at Chase Filed in Phoenix, and as the season wound down to its climax, had caught the eye of Pro Circuit chief Mitch Payton. Thus, by the time the first few National rounds were over and in the books, Weimer had a letter of intent in his gloved hand and henceforth, a transformation began. Weimer’s results began to spool-up and were punctuated by consistency. He was on his way to the house that Mitch built and felt good about it. It’s now the 21st of December and the season-opening Anaheim Supercross is just two weeks away. Cognizant of the fact that Jake Weimer would likely begin his tenure at Pro Circuit at Angel Stadium, we hunted him down to get a read on his master plan.

Jake, what are you up to this evening?
Well, I just did a little bit of riding at Ryan’s [Morais] house and now I’m on my way to Pro Circuit to drop my bike off.

To that end, do you know what Region you’ll be riding yet?
No, but I intend on going down there to Pro Circuit and trying to get an answer out of Mitch [Payton] tonight.

Would you rather have Mitch say “East” or “West?”
Uhm, I mean I would probably prefer to ride West, but either way, it’s not that big of a deal. But for sure I’d prefer to ride West.

So you’ve kind of been mentally preparing for that, huh?
Yeah, for sure.

I spoke with Ryan Morais last week and it sounds like you two guys did the majority of the testing for the team for 2009…
Yeah, yeah, because [Austin] Stroupe got hurt and then [Christophe] Pourcel got hurt right after. I probably was the first one to start testing because I was healthy and I just got on the bike so they started testing with me. I think Stroupe started testing the 2009 first and then I did a bunch of stuff after that. So, yeah, Ryan and I have done a lot of testing, for sure.

Just how long have you been riding and testing the bike
Well, I have been on a pretty good, solid program for probably, I don’t even know, it’s been a couple months. Before that I was riding a lot and testing and I got sick for a little bit, so that put me on hold. But I’ve been going pretty strong for a couple months.

Is your race stuff pretty close to being done?
Yeah, that’s actually something we’re trying to work on right now — trying to figure out a way so I can ride my race set-up tomorrow. We have a good setting that I’m comfortable with, so I’m going to try and finalize everything,

So if you do ride the West Region, you can pretty much lock everything down for Anaheim tomorrow, huh?
Yeah, I would be ready to show up there right now, for sure.

This autumn, you came over to the Pro Circuit team from the GEICO Powersports/Honda team. How do you feel about your Pro Circuit bike?
It’s good. It’s really good. It’s been really enjoyable getting used to the new bike and getting used to the new team. And as far as the bike goes, it’s definitely something good. I think everybody knows that the PC is probably the best one on the track. It’s definitely living up to its reputation.

We all hear so much about the team’s work ethic and the substantial amount of testing the organization performs, now that you have the best seat in the house, what’s you take on the Pro Circuit team?
Yeah, well that’s definitely all true. There’s definitely some work ethic going on down there. They’re not afraid to burn the midnight oil. Like I said, when I was testing a bunch, there were times where I would test until I couldn’t see anymore. You know, it’s definitely tough sometimes, but it’s just good to be around a team where everybody wants the same thing — to go out there and win. It’s definitely good. I think sometimes it is a little bit difficult because everybody does work so hard and I think that’s probably where a little bit of the pressure comes in with riding for Pro Circuit. It’s there because everybody works so hard.

Is the atmosphere within the team different then that of Factory Connection’s?
Yeah, I would say that it is for sure.

I don’t want to get anybody mad at you, but it what way?
I’m trying to think of how I’m going to say this… I just think when you’re riding for Pro Circuit — you’re expected to win. I think that’s why you get hired to ride for Pro Circuit, you’re expected to win, and I think that helps bring the best out of you. You know you’re expected to go out there, and maybe not win every weekend, but you’re expected to do well – very well. Whether that means winning every race or whether that means getting on the box every race. It varies from rider to rider, but I think their expectations of you help bring the best out of you. You’re expected to do well and if you don’t then they’re not going to be happy. I think that makes the difference.
You closed out the 2008 Nationals in a very strong manner. In the final four rounds, you were never out of the top six and then found yourself on the podium at Steel City. Were you beginning to become more confident?
Yeah, for sure. I think I’ve always been one of those people who have a little bit of a tough time believing in myself. Pretty much all of us in the amateurs were winning at some point. I think everybody likes winning. But you get beat for so long that you finally get to a point where you get tired of getting beat. That’s kind of where I’m at and I’m trying to make steps to where I don’t get beat. I’m tired of getting beat and I want to win again. So that was kind of the mentality that was going on in the last couple outdoors.

So it felt good to stand on the podium again?
Yeah, it did, for sure.

What did you think of your 2008 supercross season?
It was like being at Six Flags and riding the biggest roller coaster there. It was tough! I worked my butt off coming into supercross last year. I was training hard and was doing everything I could do and I really believe that. I was ready to win; I wanted to win. I went to Anaheim I and ended up going down pretty hard in my heat race and hurt my shoulder really bad. I didn’t know if I was even going to be able to race Phoenix. I went there and won that race. Then I had problems at Anaheim II. Then at the races that came after, I kept winning my heat races and going to the main and I would fall all the time. It was one of those deals that got into my own head because I would win my heat race and then I would go to the line and be like, “Alright, here we go.” And I would be like a golfer saying to himself, “Don’t miss this putt! Don’t miss it!” And then they’d miss it. That was the same thing I was doing. I would be like, “Get through the first lap and don’t fall! Don’t fall! Don’t fall!” Then I would fall. It was tough and it was a bit of a mental battle for me, but I learned from it. It is something I can at least look back on and learn something from it rather than saying, ‘I don’t know what happened.” I do know what happened. I got inside my own head and it was, mentally, a tough season.

{LINKS}And you were able to explain that to Mitch?
Yeah, he knows. He knew. He watches everyone, whether they know it or not. He’s been around for a long time and he knows what’s going on.

If you do ride the West Region, as far as end results go, what’ll make you happy at the end of the season?
To win the championship, for sure.

That’s the masterplan, is it?
There’s no negotiating that one. That’s what I need to do.