The test was set for 10:00 a.m. Monday morning, and Mark Weishaar’s plane landed at 8:30 a.m., which meant that he had an hour and a half to make it from the airport onto the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville campus. You see, Weishaar had spent the last week with his teammate Bubba Pauli in San Bernardino, California, for the MXGP of USA at Glen Helen, where he competed in the MX2 class after loading up his trusty Toyota Tundra last Monday and making the thirty-hour drive from St. Louis.
"It’s something that I thought about all summer once I realized that I didn’t have the funds to do the outdoors," Weishaar said. "I originally wanted to do the Mexico GP and just drive there, then to California, and then come home. After talking to some people, I learned that driving from Mexico to California in a pickup truck probably wouldn’t be the safest thing to do."
It turns out that this really was a once-in-a-lifetime race for Weishaar, because in November of this year, he will turn 23. Any rider who is 23 or older cannot race the MX2 class in the FIM World Motocross Championship.
"Even if I had to max out a credit card, I would have done it," he admitted. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it was super-cool."
Although Weishaar already had his FIM license from racing some East Region Monster Energy Supercross races in the 450SX Class, and didn’t have to pay the entry fee for the GP because it was free for the American riders in their home country, he still had to overcome some obstacles to make the trip. He had some American themed graphics made up, and had to call up his VP Fuels representative for some legal fuel. Then the trip was set.
It took a bit for Weishaar to adjust to the different series and the riders who came with it. He didn’t necessarily know where he would fit in speed-wise, especially since he had spent the summer away from racing the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The GP riders attack the track differently, and it caught Weishaar’s eye. He was impressed with his competitors’ styles.
"Bubba and I knew only three of the riders down on the starting line, and then the other European riders, we had only heard of them," Weishaar said. "Those guys are gnarly. I think the American riders are more aggressive, but the GP guys are so smooth. They have weird line choices, too, but that isn’t a bad thing because they go fast and also have great corner speed."
The motos may not have gone the way that Weishaar had planned, but he said that after not racing all summer, he would take it.
"In the first moto, in the second turn, I ended up going down with three people and I watched my handlebar stick in one of the KTM guys’ wheel," he shared. "I saw him hold it wide open, and it ripped two spokes out of his wheel, and right as the third spoke hit my wheel, it bent my handlebars straight down on the left side."
In all, Weishaar ended up falling two more times in the first moto, which, according to him, happened because of dumb mistakes—and probably because his handlebars were bent down to about a forty-five-degree angle.
In between motos, Weishaar switched his handlebars out to a bend that wasn’t ideal, but still better than what he had to work with for the first moto. Unfortunately, the next moto didn’t work out in Weishaar’s favor either, as his clutch was worn out. His bike would bog going up the hills, and because of this, Weishaar was forced to DNF the second moto.
Immediately following the moto, Weishaar and Pauli loaded up the Tundra and headed for the airport. Pauli and another friend had to drive the thirty hours back to St. Louis while Weishaar had the luxury to fly home.
"Right when Bubba gets back from the race, I think he and I are going to start riding supercross," Weishaar said. "I think I’m going to stick with the same program that I’ve been doing in my Tundra."
Weishaar said that he has a couple more people who are interested in helping out his Two Dudes in a Tundra program for next year; however, he is waiting to hear back from them at the moment. The current plan is to race the same bike that he has right now with a new motor. Eventually, he would like to add a second rider to the mix once again (Pauli was his teammate for the GP only).
Weishaar has used two different Tundras over the past year and a half to travel to races, racking up ninety-nine thousand miles on one (nearly half of those coming during this year’s supercross campaign), and 220,000 on the other.
Until supercross starts back up, Weishaar will continue being a full-time college student. He is studying Kinesiology and Exercise Science, and when he graduates he plans on either attending graduate school or medical school. He is very interested in working full-time in the sport when his racing days are over—with the Asterisk crew he hopes. Weishaar also stays busy by teaching fitness classes and by doing anything outdoors.
However, the real question is how his test on cardiovascular diseases went that he had to rush home to take on the Monday morning after the GP.
"It went good. I think I did okay with it!" Weishaar asserted. "I studied on the plane in the morning. I passed it for sure. I just don’t know what grade I got on it."
Weishaar would like to give a special thank you to Brad at Big St. Charles Motorsports, Todd from St. Louis Tattoo Company, and Tom from The Huddle Bar and Grill. His racing career wouldn’t be possible without them.
He would also like to thank Two Dudes in a Tundra, Fox, Shift, Ryno Power, Moto Seat, Scott, Source MX, Glory Hog, DT1, Mika Metals, Boyesen, Maxima Oil, Works Connection, Dozer Dave, Dunlop, Enzo, Acerbis, and Hinson.
If anyone is interested in helping out Weishaar and his Two Dudes in a Tundra team, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.