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5 Minutes With... Jimmy Albertson

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You’re not going to find a nicer guy in the pits than Jimmy Albertson, which is why when we found out that he lost his ride for 2010 because of a disagreement with his team owner, we knew something had to be amiss. We got in touch with Jimmy to find out what happened and see what he’s going to do for 2010.

  • Jimmy Albertson rode the last three supercross for Troy Lee Honda and got sixth at the first one in Seattle.
Racer X: So, Jimmy, what’s going on with you?
Jimmy Albertson: Not too much! After the outdoor season was done, I did some local races, and I did the Pro Challenge down in Texas, and I’ve just been racing and riding still. Things have been going really well, and then actually, the other day, I thought I was all done for next year with Valli Motorsports because I had a really good season and a lot of fun this year riding for them, but then I found out that I’m not going to be with them for the 2010 season. I would love to be, but it’s just not going to work out. So I’m looking for a ride, just like 5000 other people! I need to get my name back out there so people will know that my services are available!

Tell us what you can about what happened there.
Basically, the team owner and I got into a little bit of an argument about some stuff and some things were said on my end that I wish I could take back, but obviously I can’t. That’s just how it goes sometimes. I’m young and I need to learn from my mistakes sometimes, and next time that won’t happen. It’s a bummer that it happened, but it is what it is. I still think my sentiment was correct, but I definitely could’ve and should’ve said it better. I just need to go out and find a ride so I can keep riding and doing what I love to do next year.

What are you looking for, specifically? A 250F ride indoors, a 450 ride indoors? What kind of thing are you looking for?
I’ve been thinking about it both ways, and I can’t decide what I want to do. It really doesn’t matter to me as long as I can go racing and set my goals to something and be on the track. I feel as comfortable on a 250F as I do on a 450, so it’s whatever deals come up, and whatever I can get put together. It all works just fine for me. I’m down to ride anything.

You were hurt to start the season, so talk about that.
Right before Anaheim, I was having wrist problems, and I had no idea where they came from. It just started hurting one day. Then I kept on riding and it just got worse and worse every day, so I went to the doctor thinking that I had torn some ligaments or something, and I ended up having a really bad broken navicular, and I had been riding with it for quite a while. The doctor said it was just getting worse and worse, and I ended up going in for surgery on it two days before Anaheim I, so that put me out for the next few months. I finally got back going before the Seattle Supercross with the whole Troy Lee team, and they were awesome with me last year and still helped me out after the whole wrist-injury thing, and I only got to ride a couple races for them. But I came back at Seattle and ended up getting sixth at Seattle, then I showed up at Salt Lake and ended up crashing really hard there in my heat race and wasn’t able to race the rest of the night. But then I raced Vegas and got 15th, even though I was still a little bit banged up from Seattle. As far as the races I did get to race in supercross, I did decent. I didn’t do how I wanted to do or like I felt I could have, but I finished it out. And then this year outdoors was good for me. I was injury-free the whole year, and I ended up finishing in the top 10 overall in the series. It was a good accomplishment for me to come out of the season healthy and ready for the new season. Overall, it went pretty well. It was the best one so far, so I was pretty pumped on it.

You finished pretty well at that Seattle race, if I remember right.
In the heat race, I pulled the holeshot and on the first lap, I missed the triple, then ended up getting passed by a few guys, then went back to like fourth and battled with Jake Moss and Trey Canard a little bit, and that was cool. Then, in the main, I didn’t get a great start – probably around 10th – but I worked my way up to sixth, and it was good. I was battling with Ryan Sipes and Kyle Cunningham, and it felt good to finally do what I knew I could in supercross because I had kind of struggled with it in years past. It was tough for me because I’d go out to the test track and I’d ride really well, then I’d show up at the race and kind of choke. It finally felt good this year to have a good supercross race so I know that I can go out there and do it. I got sixth, and who knows? With a better start, maybe I could’ve done a little bit better. It also helped having such a good bike with Troy Lee. They put in a good effort, and my equipment was great. It was just kind of a bummer that I only got to ride three races for them because my bike was really good in supercross this year.

That’s where I was going with that, which is that you can ride supercross pretty well. When I was racing, now that I look back at it, my main problem was that I would try and go faster in the races, and by trying to go faster I would go slower. Is that sort of what you’re dealing with?
Exactly. That’s a great point you made. But the big point is that on one hand you have to go out there knowing you have something to prove, but on the other hand you can’t go out there to try to prove something to someone else. The only person you should need to prove something to is yourself, and that was my thing because every time I’d go out on the track, I’d get so nervous because I was so freaked out about impressing other people and not worrying about just going out and doing what I knew how to do. I feel like, in the last three years, I’ve learned so much about the mental side of racing, and it’s huge. Being mentally strong is everything. You just need to keep it simple. I just practice now and then go to the races and try to do what I know how to do instead of freaking out and trying to push it extra hard. I feel like I was safe all year and got better all the time, so that was huge for me.

That’s quiet confidence that some guys just have, like Trey. He has confidence in himself and his bike and he knows that all he has to do is go out and put in his best effort and everything will probably be okay.
Yeah, and I learn a lot from Trey. He’s definitely got it together when it comes to the races, man. The whole thing with Trey is that he works so dang hard! Sometimes I even tell him, “Man, you need to chill out!” you know? He takes it so seriously, so there’s not one guy out on the track who wants it more than he does. He’s gnarly. If it doesn’t have anything to do with making his career better, he doesn’t want anything to do with it. He’s the most focused, dedicated person I know, and I love being around him because it rubs off on me, and I think it’s good for him, too, because I rub off on him and I can loosen him up a little bit. Trey’s great, and everyone knows that. He’s a champion. I just like being around him because surrounding yourself with good people is a good thing, and he has helped me out tremendously over the years – even helping me get to the races at one point. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be riding right now.

The coolest thing about Trey, to me, is that he’s such an incredible competitor, but when he leaves the track he leaves the attitude there. Not everyone can do that.
Yeah, Trey takes his job very seriously, but he doesn’t look at himself as anything special, like some type of hero or role model. He gets paid to go out there and do his job, and that’s his work, and anything outside of that, he’s just a normal person. He doesn’t see himself as some big thing, even though in the eyes of the fans, and in the eyes of a lot of the people in the industry, he is a big thing. He’s one of the best riders in the world. It’s cool to hang out with somebody like that who has had the success that he’s had and see him look at it the way he does. He’s just a regular person just like everybody else.

When you’re staring down the barrel of the 2010 season without a ride, what are your fears and hopes?
My fear is not having a ride for the 2010 season. That’s scary, especially for me right now. Even after the season was over, I did some races down in Texas, and I went down and did a little bit of racing with Trey, and I’ve been riding really good lately. I just feel like I’m at a high level right now, and I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m going faster than I ever have and it scares me because I don’t have a ride. It’s really scary. No matter how good things are going, it can all disappear just like that. But on the bright side, I do have my health, and I can be in a lot worse spots. A guy like Justin Weeks or Tim Stephenson, they’re sitting in wheelchairs right now, so I feel blessed that everything’s good with my body and I’m healthy, but I really want to go out and race, and I want to do well this season, and in order to do that, I feel like I need to be on top equipment. I hope that somebody out there will find a spot for me. I’ve been blowing up the phone for the last two weeks since I found out I wasn’t going to have a ride, and it sucks. I don’t want to call people because they’re getting a billion calls, but I have to, because what else am I going to do? The other day, I was going to call Mitch [Payton], but I know the guy already has a billion people calling him at the shop. Do I really think he’s going to give me a shot? So I didn’t call him, but then he picked somebody right after that, so did I miss out? I don’t know. You never know until you pick up the phone and call somebody. So if there’s a ride out there, I’ve just got to keep looking for it.

  • Outdoors, Albertson switched to the Valli Motorsports Yamaha team and rode a 450.
Yeah, unfortunately there is a bit of sales involved. You have to sell yourself to someone. And I know as riders you guys don’t want to do that, you just want to ride, but at this level, it’s just not that simple.
Yeah, no kidding. It’s hard, because in my mind I feel like I’m bugging people, and I don’t want to bug anyone. I don’t want to call up and beg anyone. But it’s just what you have to do. It’s either that or not going racing. I can find another way to go make a living, but I love to race. I love to have goals and to work at being the best. I know it’s a long ways away, but I like going out there and being competitive. So, if I can race, shoot, it doesn’t matter that much how much money I make. I just want to go out and race because that’s what I love to do. Outdoors, I’d come off the track with sixth place, and I would be pretty pumped, but it wasn’t because of how much money sixth place paid, it was about the accomplishment and knowing that I could build on it. When I think about winning a race, I don’t think about the money, I just think about how awesome it would be to win a race. You don’t think about how awesome it would be to win that much money. Winning is about beating the competitors, not the money. When you’re five, you don’t think, “Man, I really want to be a professional motocross racer so I can make a whole bunch of money.” You think, “Man, I want to race professional motocross because this is the coolest sport ever, and it’s fun to win!” I still have that in me. Yeah, you need to make money to live, but I just want to go out there and race and be competitive and not worry about stuff like that.

Would you like to give me your email address so that the people reading this will know how to get in touch with you if they have a ride for you?
My email’s Albee_702@hotmail.com, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to list some sponsors, too, because a lot of people helped me get here. I’d like to thank, for this season, the whole Troy Lee Honda crew for the supercross season, and then for the outdoors, the Valli Motorsports team with Chad Lanza and Charles Holcomb. They did a great job. We started from pretty much nothing and build the team up. It was a great deal at the end of the season. Two of us placed in the top 10 pretty consistently, so that was an awesome thing. So I’d like to thank those guys. Also, I’d like to thank my brother, Greg, and my trainer Greg DiRenzo, and then the Canard family for letting me stay at their place again this year. And then my mom and dad, too. Thanks, everyone!
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