Jason Weigandt's "Rockstar For a Day" story ran in the July issue of Racer X Illustrated. Subscribe today to read the full feature and for in-depth stories about the 1984 supercross season, Tony Alessi, and more. Here's Weege to tell you how his story came together.
When Monster Energy Supercross hits the Midwest, our Morgantown, West Virginia, staff gets to log old-school road trips to the races. We really mean old school, too, because we still run the same mean green 1998 Ford van that we did back when the magazine started!
Having the full staff on hand makes races like Indianapolis, Toronto, and Detroit extra fun for us, and also lets us cover extra things. In Detroit this year, I let the other staffers work in the press box while I spent the entire day with the Rockstar Energy Racing Factory Husqvarna team. I wanted to find out what really happens behind the scenes at the races, and this was the perfect team for it. Rockstar Husqvarna is the rare team that competes at the top level in both the 450SX and 250SX classes, none of the riders work out of motorhomes, and on this weekend the team’s second semi was attending an amateur race at Freestone County Raceway in Texas. This meant Jason Anderson, Zach Osborne, and Dean Wilson would be working out of one semi all day.
Best of all? This team is full of personalities and team owner Bobby Hewitt fashions himself as a Texas straight-shooter. I told him he could tell me if anything needed to be kept off the record, and he just scoffed, saying his door is always open and they have nothing to hide.
What did I learn? On a normal weekend, when I talk to riders after the race, they’ll basically talk about starts, starts, and starts. They’ll also tell you if they crashed. Otherwise, they leave no trace of lines, riding technique, bike setup changes, or anything else specific that happens during the day. When you spend the day in the truck, you hear a ton of things you don’t hear in interviews. The team broke down every inch of the track on film, and they discussed lines and strategies throughout the day.
Anderson, for example, talked about trying a new rhythm in a section, and lo and behold Osborne tried it on the very first lap of the next session. Also, trainers Aldon Baker and Tyla Rattray stopped by periodically to expand the conversation, and even Christophe Pourcel showed up to add some humor (yes, Christophe is a a pretty funny guy when the time is right).
The conversation made the day. These dudes were hilarious! You know what it’s like to bench-race with your buddies all day, just busting on each other for everything and anything? That’s what went on here. And if these dudes didn’t bust on each other, they found something else—from whatever random channel was playing on TV, to talks about food, girls, marriage, other teams, other sports, other bikes, other riders, everything.
Unfortunately, racing has a way of turning everything serious again. By the end of the night, Anderson had put a block pass on Wilson to steal the final transfer spot in a heat race, and then Osborne got tangled in the first turn and had to stop in the pits during the 250SX main event. He ended up losing his points lead.
You can read my journal on the day in the newest issue of Racer X Illustrated available now.