Racing at any level takes a lot of money, something many a privateer struggles with. But what Jeremy Hand lacks in funds, he makes up for in determination and effort. Thanks to a regular job he holds while trying to save enough money to go racing, Hand was only able to put in two days of supercross practice before making the 19-hour drive to Texas by himself for the opening round in Houston. He was 21st on opening night, but his results have improved steadily from there, culminating with a career high of sixth place on Tuesday night in Indianapolis. That gives him 21-13-14-13-6 results for the season. Oh, and the bike he rides? It’s a 2019 Honda CRF250R. So far this season Hand has been the epitome of doing the best you can with what you have. We checked in with Hand before Saturday for some insight on his racing efforts.
Racer X: How’s Indy treating you? Cold as hell?
Jeremy Hand: [Laughs] Yep.
Congrats on your sixth place on Tuesday! That’s a career best for you, right?
Yeah. The first practices I really wasn’t feeling too good, but as the night went on I started feeling better. I got a good start in the heat race and I think I was third before Jo Shimoda ran into me and we had a little collision. I ended up coming back and getting sixth in the heat race, and in the main event I got another good start and pretty much just rode my own race.
What was it like back in your pits? Were you pumped?
Oh yeah, I was pumped! It made it all worth it.
Before Tuesday, what had your best result been?
Thirteenth, I’d had two thirteenths this year. In the outdoors a few years ago I was 11th overall at Unadilla in the 450 Class.
Well going from 13th to sixth is quite an improvement. Is it repeatable this Saturday night?
Oh yeah, for sure. I just have to get good starts again. I felt solid the whole main event. I don’t think I made any mistakes and that helped out a bunch.
What’s funny is, you were probably happy with those thirteenths, and you should be—that’s solid. But now that you’ve gotten a sixth, you probably don’t want any more thirteenths!
[Laughs] For sure.
So does that result change your approach the rest of the season, or is it business as usual?
I’m just going to go with the same game plan and make the main events and do the best I can.
From a privateer’s perspective, how are these three-in-a-row races treating you? Are they tougher or easier?
It’s tougher because it’s so rushed trying to get everything together. I only have one bike, so just getting it ready and everything is hard. It’s not terrible though, and it’s easier from the standpoint of not having to go home and drive to the next one. But getting everything ready for the next race is a little bit stressful.
Especially when it’s freezing cold outside! I don’t even know how you guys work on those bikes with frozen hands.
Yeah, it’s not very fun.
You come from a racing family—there are a few of you who made it to the pro level, right?
Yeah. My dad [Carl] and my uncle [David], and my cousin [Michael] races pro too.
That had to be competitive growing up like that.
Oh yeah, it always is. It’s fun though, it’s always a competition.
What was your prep like coming into this season?
I actually worked a fulltime job and only rode supercross twice before I went to Houston to race. I only have one bike and it’s three years old. This is the third year in a row I’ve been racing it in supercross.
What’s your job?
Usually I work at a cemetery but I got laid off from there so I’ve been working in a factory laboring and doing construction work so I could get some money together to race. It’s cool because I’m able to pretty much get off when I need to go racing. That helps, and so does the support I get from AM Gear, Wiseco, World of Wheels, Pirelli, JM Racing, Joel Younkins Training, FMF, Rekluse, Alpinestars, GBR Performance, Motofix Industries, Motorex, Mobius, DT-1, Mike Metals, Ride Engineering, Works Connection, and 100%.
Did you ever ride your dirt bike through the cemetery?
I thought maybe that’s why you got laid off.
No. They wouldn’t be too happy about that!