How long can we keep this up? How long can we stay surprised with these incredible rides by Weston Peick? At some point, we’re all going to have to accept this as the new standard. And after a career-high fifth (FIFTH!) on Saturday night in Anaheim, now is that time. We’re no longer going to act surprised when Peick beats a dozen factory bikes. We can’t just keep saying week after week that we’re in shock that he did it again—this is where he now belongs, and saying it’s a surprise is actually more of an insult than a compliment.
So, we’ll let the old Weston Peick standard go out with a bang. There’s Chase Stallo’s “Why Not Weston”story in the current issue of Racer X Illustrated, and we’re giving Peick the Unsung Hero Award here online for the second straight week. After this, we’re retiring him from Unsung Hero consideration, because he’s too good for us to act like a fifth (or a fourth) is a big deal anymore.
But before we go, some more words on him. With all that’s been said of Weston lately, one fact escaped me until this weekend. Do you want to know the real reason why he’s not on a factory team? The real reason he’s had to come so far? Forget the rep or image or results. Here is your answer: Weston Peick took a few years off from racing during what should have been his most critical years as an amateur. That’s it. That’s all. It left him off the radar and behind the curve. I’m not even sure if Weston himself realizes that changed everything, but I’ve been around this industry enough to know that it is. Once you’re on the list as “a talent” it takes a long, long time to get off of it. And if you’re not on that list? Oh, it takes just as long to get on it.
Don’t expect to see Peick jump to a factory team this year. Or any other team. His dad assured us loyalty is key, and they’re going to stay loyal to companies that stepped up for them this season.
This weekend, Weston explained that while he started racing at age four, he and his family later quit the racing scene and just rode for fun. For a good ten years, he was out in Glamis hitting the dunes while everyone else his age was living at training facilities, doing motos on the daily, and racing amateur nationals several times each year. It wasn’t until 2006 that Weston started racing again.
“I’ve always ridden my whole life but everybody else out here has been grinding it since they were four years old at all the amateur nationals and stuff,” he explains. “I came in late. I started doing amateur nationals in 2006, 2007 and I skipped the Lites class, which is probably some of my issue with getting support. But other than that it’s definitely been a long time coming here. It’s been about three years to get a foundation down and to get everything in place to see how I work and all that stuff. It’s been good.”
The living-at-a-moto-compound lifestyle has produced some great results, but not everyone has emerged as a man on fire. Perhaps Peick staying away from all that helps him now. “Maybe some people think doing all that stuff helps, but I think it all comes down to how much determination you have and how much drive you have to actually go out there and want to do something,” says Peick. “I think that’s the biggest difference between me and a lot of other people that just have everything handed to them. Then they just fail because they don’t know how to handle it.”
The pressure of being the next big thing has certainly sapped many, but for Peick, coming in not just under the radar, but totally off of it, is paying off. “I don’t have any pressure at all, to tell you the truth. And if I did have pressure I deal with pressure very well. We keep doing our thing with our team here and I like it, I enjoy it. It’s good.”
Don’t expect to see Peick jump to a factory team this year. Or any other team. His dad assured us loyalty is key, and they’re going to stay loyal to companies that stepped up for them this season. But for next year? Well, teams have already started to talk to them for 2015. Yes, everyone is starting to realize this new Weston is really, really good.
So from here on out, we’re disqualifying Weston from Unsung Hero status, because his next big thing will be a podium or a win, and by then everyone will be singing his praises. We know and expect good results to keep coming, and so does he.
“I love going to the line knowing that we busted our asses and we’re definitely going to clean house,” says Peick.