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5 Minutes With... Jake Weimer

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Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer is somehow not being talked about coming into Anaheim I. He only won three races last year in supercross, and three more outdoors, and the Motocross des Nations, so maybe that’s why people seem to be picking other riders to win the title. On Tuesday, we went out to the Kawasaki test track and sat down with Weimer to talk about this, and anything else on his mind.

Racer X: I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but I have noticed that you aren’t really being talked about much going into Anaheim I, which seems weird considering you won three races last year and were within five points of the title...
Jake Weimer: (Laughs) What’s funny about it is that when you texted me last night and asked me if I’d be available to do this with you today, I said yes, but then I started thinking about it, and I realized that I haven’t really done anything! We’re two weeks away, or whatever we are, and I’ve really done nothing. It’s hard from my standpoint to say, “Oh, I should be getting interviews and videos and all of this,” because that’s not my call. And does it really concern me? No. But it is a little bit weird. For sure, last year, when nobody even knew how I was going to do, I did more interviews and other things last year at this point than I’ve done this year. I did way more. I did a whole feature for a couple different magazines out here at the Kawi track. I remember doing it, and you did one of them, I remember. So, last year, I did way more than what I’ve done this year, so it’s weird, but I’m fine with it. I really don’t care. If the people want to watch the same videos and read the same things about the same guys every week, then give the people what they want, right? If that’s what people are asking for, and that’s what they want, then give it to them!

Yeah, in the meantime, you’re riding and testing and training for Anaheim I, so it’s not like you have something missing from your life...
Yeah, I’m doing everything I need to do, and I’m concerned about myself, obviously. I’m sure that some riders who have won championships, and who have been doing it for years, they can really care less about the videos, but I think for someone like myself, who is only progressing, and who still hasn’t won a championship, it’s cool for someone to do a video or a photo session with you and put it on Racer X. It’s kind of cool, for sure, but whatever. (Laughs) It doesn’t really matter, but it is a little bit odd that I’ve done less in that regard this year than I did last year at this point.

There was a poll talking about who was going to be the go-to guy in the West, and I think you were third or fourth in the rankings, and I was thinking, “Well, he was second in the championship last year, and the one guy who beat him is on 450s now, but people think he’s going to be behind at least two of the guys this year.” It was just kind of odd.
I mean, regardless of it, the fact is that everybody has the right to their own opinion, and I obviously have my own opinion about how the series is going to go. Nobody knows. Nobody has a crystal ball and knows what’s going to happen. Everybody has their own opinion, and they have their right to that, just like I have my opinion, and I have a little mental picture in my head of how it’s going to go. If they think I’m going to get third or fourth, then that’s their opinion. That’s fine. They have a right to think that, and I’ve got my opinion. So that’s that.

When you’re staring down the barrel of the 2010 season, how much different is it for you this year than last year? Last year, you had only won one race, and you were generally very inconsistent, but you hoped and thought you could be a top contender every week. This year, you were a top contender every week last year, and your biggest competition in supercross moved up. So how does it change your approach?
Actually, I want to say something else about the last question you asked...

Okay, go ahead.
Something I don’t understand is that there are select riders, or a few people, who people on websites are just begging to do well. They just want them to do well so bad. Maybe the dude’s getting fifth place all year, but then I’ll read something and the person will be saying that this dude is going to mop up! This dude’s going to kill ‘em this year! Where do they get this? Like, the dude finishes top-10 in the outdoor series, and then coming into supercross three months later, he’s going to dominate? That, I don’t understand. But anyway...

(Laughs) Okay, so answer the other question.
What was it again? I wasn’t listening.

When you’re staring down the barrel of the 2010 season, how much different is it for you this year than last year? Last year, you had only won one race, and you were generally very inconsistent, but you hoped and thought you could be a top contender every week. This year, you were a top contender every week last year, and your biggest competition in supercross moved up. So how does it change your approach?
Oh, yeah... There are a couple different ways to look at it. As far as the off-season training and preparation for supercross, nobody really knows. You hear how other people are doing, and how they’re riding, or about this guy or that guy getting hurt, or about this guy struggling on a new bike, or whatever, but you never really know until the gate drops at Anaheim I. I feel extremely confident right now, and I feel very good going into 2010. I feel faster than I’ve ever felt, and I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt. Last year was a huge year for me, even though I came up short on a few of my goals. Overall, though, I was leaps and bounds over where I was previously. It was a huge year for me and for my confidence, and it transitioned immediately into supercross. The first day I started riding supercross again this off-season, I felt like, “Okay, this is going to be good. I already feel good.” I wasn’t where I wanted to be yet, but for where I was, I was happy. But for all I know, there could be one guy out there who has figured something out and we could show up at Anaheim I, and I could be three seconds off this dude’s pace. You just don’t know. It is possible for that to happen. Records show that it doesn’t really happen, but it is possible. So everybody’s just kind of going in there blind, and you just have to be confident in yourself and confident with what you’re doing. Last year, going in, I was with a new team, and there were a lot of new changes as far as that was concerned, with clothing, bikes, personnel – everything was different...

You had to find a way to get a new brand of helmet to fit your tiny head...
Yeah, I did, too! But I felt good last year, and I felt confident, and I felt like I could run up front, but like you said, I didn’t know. I’d done it a few times, but not consistently. With last year, I was a lot more consistently up front, and that’s big for confidence, just knowing that you’re able to, week-in and week-out, no matter what, when you’re sitting on the line, you can get on the podium. It’s not like, “Oh, man, if I get a start, and I do this, and I do that, I might be able to get on the podium.” When you get past that stage where even a podium isn’t good enough – where only a win is good enough – then it changes things. Obviously, you’ve got to be smart, and you’ve got to back it down sometimes...

Like Phoenix last year, when you crashed out of the lead?
Well, yeah, but I mean, that sucked and all that, but it is what it is. That’s how it happens. At that point, [Ryan] Dungey was my biggest competitor, and he fell down in some races, too. That’s just how it goes. That’s what happens when you’re trying; you’re going to make mistakes sometimes. I fell yesterday practicing. That’s how it goes. When you’re pushing yourself, you’re going to fall once in a while.

I never like to use the term “100-percent healthy” with you guys because everyone always has a nagging ankle or shoulder or something, but how do you feel coming into this season, physically?
Yeah, if you want to get right down to it, I feel like I’m 100-percent ready, but if you want to talk about sitting at home on the couch and thinking, “I feel terrific,” no. I have an injury that I did last year that has bothered me since. But thankfully, I can ride through it and it doesn’t affect my speed or endurance or anything like that. It’s painful, but I’m able to continue to do what I need to do, and it doesn’t hold me back on the bike.

It’s not an excuse.
No, it’s not. But it is worse some days and better others, and it’s painful.

There’s only one thing that you’re going to be happy with this year, right?
Yes, for sure. That’s to win the title. Last year, I won a decent amount of races, so there’s really nothing left for me to do. It’s my last year in the Lites class, and then I have to move up to 450s, so there are a couple different reasons why I will only be happy with winning the title. First, I want to win. But second, I need to win because of where our sport is. There’s a lack of 450 rides right now, and next year there’s going to be a few more of us looking for 450 rides, so it’s important to win this championship. But you hear the same thing all the time: “I work hard. I work hard.” We all work hard. We are all trying hard and we’re all putting in laps and doing it. That’s our job. That’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s not really a cookie in your bag because you’re working hard. That’s your job. You’re supposed to work hard. So, I want to win, and I need to win. I need a 450 ride, or else I’m going to be unemployed, and then I don’t know what I’m going to do. (Laughs) So it’s important for me to win.
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