In case you haven’t had access to a television or the internet this past week, it rained at Unadilla. Mud races are always interesting, and it’s not unusual for unexpected riders to “shine” (pun intended, because, well nothing shines in the mud) in the results column. An example of this is privateer Jeremy Hand. The rider out of Ohio is pretty familiar with racing in muddy conditions and put up 11-13 scores for 11th overall in the 450 Class.
Aside from Hand’s results, we thought it was interesting that his father and uncle both competed as professional racers in the eighties and nineties, and Hand has a younger cousin racing this weekend at Budds Creek as well. So we fired off some texts and had a chat about racing in the mud, his season, and working in a cemetery.
(Note: This interview was conducted via iMessage and has been lightly edited for clarity.)
Racer X: Jeremy, first things first, let’s talk Unadilla. What a wild, muddy day.
Jeremy Hand: Yeah, it was wild for sure. Practice started off prime. Track was amazing, but [it] started raining after second timed qualifying. Muddy is an understatement.
Any fun at all? Or just a suffer-fest?
I had fun. I’m used to the mud, being from Ohio [laughs]. Thirty-plus-two in the mud isn’t the funnest, though.
That was my next question. Being from Ohio, you probably welcome the mud.
Yeah, definitely. A lot of years spent riding in the mud, being from Ohio.
You finished pretty well, too—11th overall. How did that feel?
Yeah, it felt awesome to finally get good starts and run up front.
How have the rest of the rounds gone for you? This was obviously your best finish, but how’s the season been?
This has been my best year so far. [I] finished 19th in a moto at RedBud, and top 25 most of the rounds. [I] struggled at Millville with a few things, [but] overall it’s been good making steady improvements.
How many seasons have you been racing Pro Motocross, by the way?
This is my fourth season.
Motocross is kind of a family tradition for you, it seems. You’re dad and uncle both raced pro too, right?
Yes, they both raced pro back in the day. Now me and my cousin race pro.
What’s that dynamic like? Fun, competitive, both?
I try to have fun and be competitive at the same time.
Did I see where your dad is racing the 125 race this weekend, too?
That’s actually my younger cousin.
Right on. So what’s daily life like for you? Work, train, school? All the above?
I work every day for a city near me in the cemetery, weed whacking and mowing. [I] start at 7 a.m. [and] get off at 2 p.m., then I try to work out and train at least twice a week and ride when I can. [It] gets a little much at times, especially when racing on the weekend and having to get everything ready between me and my dad.
You may be the only racer who works in a cemetery. There’s a nickname here somewhere!
Yeah [laughs]. Most people think it’s weird, but you get used to it.
With two rounds in the series left, what’s one of your goals to finish out the year?
Racing [my] 250 this weekend, because my 450 needs some work after this last weekend. Didn’t have time to fix it. [The] goal is to get top 20s for the rest of the motos.
Yeah, talk about some of the aftermath a privateer effort faces after a mud race like that!
The clutch is completely gone, suspension is leaking oil from all the mud, needs new graphics. Mud was packing in everywhere. Just didn’t have time to fix all that, and my 250 was just sitting there ready to go, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
#PrivateerLife. Being a good mud rider and from Ohio, I have to ask. Did you grow up riding with Plessinger at all?
Not really, since he’s from southern Ohio. I’m from up north.
Cool. Thanks for taking time out of your evening to chat, Jeremy. Anyone you’d like to thank before we end this?
I’d like to thank my dad for everything he does: getting my bike ready all week, driving the motorhome and being my mechanic, and my mom of course. World of Wheels, JYT Training, Pirelli, Wiseco, John Mitchell Racing, Alpinestars, Cometic, FMF, Ride 100%, Motorex, Ride Engineering, Rekluse, Works Connection, Pro Taper, Mobius, DT1 Filters, Bell Helmets.