5 Minutes With... Jake Weimer

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer has had a breakthrough year in 2009, winning exactly half of the Western Regional Lites Supercross rounds going into the break nearly two months ago. The other half were won by championship rival Ryan Dungey, who leads the title chase by a slim two-point margin with two rounds to race. The Lites West resumes at Seattle this Saturday night, so we got in touch with Weimer to find out what he’s been up to.

Racer X: For the last two months, basically, the whole world has been watching Christophe Pourcel and the rest of the guys back east go at it, and it’s almost like you didn’t exist! What have you been doing while no one’s been watching?
Jake Weimer: We really didn’t change much. We worked. After San Diego, we were able to really train and push hard and try and make gains, because I didn’t need to be fresh on the weekends. It was okay if I was tired on the weekends. So, for a while, we were pushing really, really hard and trying to make gains, and I feel that we did that. Also, we got into some outdoor testing and got the outdoor bikes all set up, and we’ve been doing a little bit of supercross testing just getting ready for the last three rounds.

Did it get really quiet for you?
Yeah, it’s good. It’s fine. I think everybody needs a little bit of time to themselves and a little bit of time with no distractions, just to put the head down and make some progress and go to work so that there are no distractions and you’re able to really do what you need to do and do your homework, so that was nice. It’s nice to work hard and be able to make gains during the week rather than just worry about being ready to go on the weekend. It’s hard to get better while you’re racing because you always have to think about the weekend and make sure that you’re not tired or worn out. It’s hard to push yourself to get better. When we’re not racing, we’re able to push a lot harder and try and make gains. That’s obviously hard work, but it’s fun to be able to push hard and get better.

Was it all work the whole time? Or did you get some time to hang out or maybe take a short vacation?
I didn’t really do anything. Honestly, in previous years I’ve taken about a week off during the break, but this year, I was at the Kawi track Monday after San Diego, so I’ve been pretty much just keeping my head down trying to get better and trying to be as ready as I can be for Seattle. Obviously, we have the weekends to kind of just relax and hang out, but I didn’t do anything too spectacular. I went home to Idaho for a little bit and rode some outdoor stuff up there and rode my supercross track a couple of days and then came right back down here. I didn’t really taken any time off.

Have you been following the 450cc racing?
Yeah, of course.

What do you think?
I think it’s good. I think it’s good for the sport, good for the fans, and as a racer, it’s fun to watch. It’s close, and everybody seems to be riding really good. There’s a lot of competition, but I don’t know, it’s racing. It’s dirt bike racing. I love to watch it.

You’ve got two rounds left in your championship chase. Obviously, it’s you and Dungey coming down to the wire just like the 450cc guys. What have you done to prepare yourself mentally to be able to be in there and make a push in these last couple races?
As far as the mental side goes, I’ve never been in a situation like this, but I feel like I’m in a really good spot. I’ve been fine. I haven’t been freaking out. I’ve been really calm about it, and I feel good going into the last two rounds. I’m riding really well, and I feel stronger than I did before the season started, for sure. Mentally, I just tried to focus on getting better and not focus on the championship because the championship doesn’t really matter. You’ve got to get through Seattle before the championship even matters. Obviously, anybody’s going to think about it, but it’s been motivating for me. I’m super-excited. I’ve never been in a situation like this. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life, and it’s fun to be in this situation. I mean, yeah, if I lose, it’s going to be a huge bummer, but that’s how any kind of racing is. You work for something, and when you finally get into a situation that you’ve dreamed of being in... If I don’t win, it’ll be a bummer just because I came close, but all eyes are on the prize right now. I feel very confident that I can win, and I’ve been working hard. If I don’t win, then it’s because he’s better than I am, so...

It’s funny, because before the season, you wouldn’t say you were going to win. You just said you were going to do your best. At the time, I thought that was kind of a defeatist attitude, but since then, I’ve figured out that when you say you’re going to try your best, it literally means that you’re going to give it all of your effort, which isn’t a defeatist attitude at all. But it’s different from a lot of riders that seem to try to talk themselves into going fast.
I’m a firm believer in being realistic. Everybody’s different, and I’ve always been super-realistic with myself. If someone’s faster to me, I’ll be the first person to admit it. I’ve never been one to be like, “Oh, yeah, I’m faster than this guy or this guy,” I’ve just been super-realistic. But some people have been able to not be the fastest guy and then talk themselves into thinking that they are. That’s never been me. And the honest thing about it is that when I go to Seattle, I’m going to give it 100 percent, and I’m going to try as hard as I can. If I do that, I believe that I can win. It’d be foolish for me to say that I’m going to win because I don’t know...

Not to cut you off, but some riders do seem to need the bravado in order to build themselves up to have enough confidence to believe they can win.
That’s what I’m saying with the people that can talk themselves into believing it. They’ll be third-fastest on the sheet, but in their head they really think they’re the fastest guy. I’m not like that. If I see the piece of paper that says I’m third-fastest, then that means there are two guys faster than me. I don’t let it defeat me and be like, “There’s no way I can beat them,” because racing is a whole different thing. And I’m not one to go to the media and say that my goal is to win every race. I’ve worked on it this year with my trainer, Randy, because you can’t look at it like that. I look at it like I just need to get a good start, do the best start I can do – and you know in your head if that was the best start you could do – and from that point, you have to push 100 percent. If you don’t do that, you know that you didn’t do that. It’s really that simple. You can get all scientific and you can look at the gray areas and do this and that, but the truth of the matter is that all you can do is try as hard as you can. That’s it. That’s all you can do. So that’s how I choose to look at it.

Good luck in the last two races, Jake.
Thank you very much.