Privateer Profile:  Jimmy Albertson

Privateer Profile Jimmy Albertson

October 15, 2013 3:25pm
It was supposed to be a rather simple procedure. Jimmy Albertson would be racing by Hangtown, or even Vegas. But his wrist wasn’t healing and Albertson eventually needed a second procedure done—essentially ending his 2013 season. With the market on riders all but shutdown until 2015—when many top riders hit the open market—Albertson was searching for his own deal. The charismatic Missouri native, whose called Oklahoma home for many years, found help from local businessman Chris Crossland [Crossland Racing] and, and has formed a new team for 2014. Racing will debut at this weekend’s Monster Energy Cup. We caught up with Albertson earlier this week to talk about the team and more.

Racer X: You’re debuting with a new team at the Monster Energy Cup. That has to be exciting. Talk about what the team will entail.
Jimmy Albertson:
The whole team started about a month ago. It’s actually kind of a funny story. Guy Cooper was out building a track at Chris Crossland’s, which is Crossland Racing, the owner and the guy doing this team. I got invited out there by one of my friends that works for Chris and we went out there and rode and hung out for a couple of days and talked motocross. From there he decided that he wanted to step up and help me out with a program. We all kind of started working together and contacting sponsors and ended up coming up with the MotoSport deal, and got some other sponsors nailed down. It’s only been a month, but it seems like everything has gone super quick. We went out and bought the old JDR semi and got that as our rig for next year. We’ll have it all wrapped with our MotoSport logos and we’ll be ready to go racing at Monster Cup. It’s been kind of a wild and crazy show the last month.

After missing the entire Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, were you nervous coming into the off-season about what you were going to do next season?
I was never nervous, because at the end of the day I always seem to work something out. I have really loyal sponsors sticking behind me and helping me out, like Fly and X Brand. Even though I was hurt they were happy with the way I was promoting their product. It’s good to know that those guys are sticking behind me. At the end of the day you are nervous, because you haven’t raced in so long and you begin to second-guess yourself. Since I started riding again, I’ve done a lot of off-season races around here and I feel really good. My speed is better than ever. When I got hurt I got hooked up with Coach Seiji and I’ve been training hard with him and trying to really work on my fitness for next year, because I feel that was one of my really big downfalls last year. I still plan on working with Jim Lewis at Merge Racing next year. He’ll actually have a big role with the team. Merge will handle the logistics side of it and the bikes and everything like that. To answer the question; missing the whole summer, yeah, it was nerve wracking but it also gave me a lot of time to get stuff planned for next season. Here we are at Monster Cup and we have a whole new deal and a semi. We’re trying to give the motocross industry a little bit of refreshment. Hopefully see some new faces, and do things a little bit different to help build the entire motocross industry.

After missing all of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross with a wrist injury, Jimmy Albertson will return to action at the Monter Energy Cup.
Simon Cudby photo

A lot of teams do struggle getting the word out about their team, and in general, making the sponsor feel like they’re getting their money worth. Do you have plans to go in a different direction that nobody has seen before?
The whole deal with MotoSport … they are really wanting to push out media and video production. We are going to end up doing a reality series with me and my wife, Georgia. It will be about the team and us, and just everyday trying to go racing. And with us, trying to get a new team established and started. Between Georgia and I, as far as the media side goes, we will be able to really get things going. On top of that, with Andy Judkins, who is helping us out managing the team, and Chris at Crossland Racing, with those two people and the connections they have, trying to pull in the outside sponsors and showing them this is worth it for companies to come in the industry you can get the advertisement you want. I just feel we are going to kill the media side of it and it’s going to be a good thing for everybody.

How important is it to have the media presence, which many feel you have, to attract sponsors that many struggle to get?
I think it’s very important. At the end of the day big corporations they don’t … yeah, results matter, and results matter to me, trust me, they matter to me more than anything, but at the end of the day what matters to corporate people are numbers. If you’re getting a majority of people to come by your pit, you’re getting cameras in your face, however which way you can get them I feel that’s what people are looking for. We have Guy Cooper coming on as kind of the Vet rider of the team. He’ll be making appearances and stuff like that. We’ll also have Ronnie Mac coming on the team every now and then and making appearances. I think people are going to be really pumped on the whole deal and want to come and see how were going to make things happen.

Let’s talk about you getting back on the track. You’re first wrist surgery didn’t go as planned and you ended up having to go under the knife again. How are you feeling now? Are you back to 100 percent?
My wrist isn’t quite back to 100 percent, but it doesn’t bother me when I race or ride. That’s the big thing. As long as I can go out there and be my normal self on the track it’s fine. Day-to-day it hurts, but everyday it gets better. Honestly, the guys down at Allsport Dynamics have helped he out a ton on getting a special wrist brace made. As far as the wrist goes it’s good, because after the second surgery I had this summer, I was really worried that I may never race again. Luckily everything came together good and I feel like in the next month or two it will be 100 percent back to normal. Every motocrosser will tell you, “As long as it doesn’t bother you riding, it doesn’t matter.” It’s good to put my wrist injury behind me and be able to focus on other things.

You mentioned it might be career threatening. What goes through you head at that point? You have been doing this a long time, and that is obviously not the way you would want to go out.
Yeah, for sure. I feel like last year in supercross, with the amount of preparation that was put in and the amount of money we had to go racing on, which was nothing—I was riding stock bikes and just going out and doing the best we could—the results were pretty good considering the preparation and everything we had. I’m pretty sure I had a different mechanic at every round. This year we have a team, we are really going to be able to put a budget into the bikes and make them good, where people look at what we’re riding and be like, “That’s awesome, that’s some cool stuff.” Hopefully everyone will be a little envious on what I’m on this year, instead of going, “Imagine what you could do on a better bike.” No excuses this year. Everything should be great with Jim and Merge Racing and the entire team.

Albertson will ride for the new Racing team starting at the ME Cup.
Simon Cudby photo

Will you be back on Hondas this year?
Yep, back on Hondas. Shawnee Honda, which is our local bike shop, is helping us out. We’re going to try and keep this local Oklahoma thing going and hopefully do well.

The Oklahoma thing is really growing. You, Justin Bogle, Trey Canard and more all train out there. How important is it, especially coming back from injury, to have that talent around to gauge where you are?
It’s great. Between Robbie Reynard, Colt Nichols, Justin Bogle, Trey Canard, it’s just awesome. There is a big competitive streak in every one of us. Although we’re friends, we still want to go and give it our all in practice and push each other. Between Bogle, Trey and I, we all own homes in Shawnee, so we are trying to open a new little hotspot for riding and training here in the Midwest. That’s kind of always been the goal. Our team will be based out of Oklahoma as well. It’s pretty cool, man, because I sure do love it out here and we wouldn’t really want to live any other place.

How important is it to be based out of somewhere you like? Some people like Cali, some don’t, but I think everyone likes home, yet many riders are unable to be home during the season.
It’s nice. To also have something a little unique that you feel like is a benefit gives you a little extra confidence. Between the tracks and the people and the easy way of living out here, I really do think it’s an advantage to be from the Midwest and have all this stuff out here. When you’re out in California, it’s a rat race. It takes you away from the core part of motocross a little bit. I think this is a really good set-up, and we’re going to roll with it.