By Brendan Lutes
Being successful in the 450 class is difficult. It takes hard work, dedication, talent, and a little bit of luck. And for Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, he has finally been able to draw from every single one of those facets, as 2012 marked his first full season of racing where he made it through all 17 Supercross races and 12 outdoor events without getting injured. Ultimately, Jake landed on the podium numerous times and completed the outdoor season ranked third overall in points. With his lucky number 12 now adorning his KX450F, Jake is working hard and looking towards the 2013 season. We caught up with him while he was on his way to the test track.
What are your thoughts on how the 2012 outdoor season went?
It was obviously a little bit up and down, but it was fun to get on the podium a few times and make it through the whole season. It was really cool to get third overall in the series. There were a few people hurt, so that made it easier for me, but nevertheless, I think it was good for me to get a full year under my belt and know more of what to expect for next year. This year was the first time I’ve done a full Supercross and outdoor season. It was a long season, but I had fun. I would have liked to throw a couple of my races away, but overall, I had fun with it.
Being that it was your first full year, did you learn some stuff that you’ll carry over into next year?
Well, I just think that it’s really important for me in the off-season right now to get more ready than I was last year. Last year, I came into Supercross and felt like I was close to ready but maybe not quite where I wanted to be. Then you go through 17 rounds of Supercross and it takes a lot out of you. I think it’s just going to be important for me to really buckle down right now and get more prepared than last year—get faster really.
You just finished the Monster Cup. How was that race for you?
I think the race was fine, but they need to groom the gates or something, because two years in a row now, the gates have been pretty bad. Behind the gate, it’s usually rock hard then leads into powder, or powder that leads into rock hard dirt. And that makes it difficult. In the first main event, I was maybe like fourth or fifth, then Dungey clipped a tuff block, I hit it, and it put me on the ground. I got up from that, but it was a short race and being down in the first couple of straights makes it difficult. The second one, I was doing pretty well, was in third, and then made a mistake and washed the front end. Then in the third one, I had a terrible gate pick and that’s where the quality of the gates comes into play. My gate was horrible and difficult to do anything. Overall, I think the event is really cool, and I was riding alright. I think it’s a good event.
You also just got your number 12 back. You won a Lites Championship with that number…
Yeah, I was pretty excited about that. It’s not a massive deal. It kind of sucks, though, because they changed the rules this year where the Lites Supercross points count towards permanent numbers. If they had done that back when I was on a Lites bike, I would have had a permanent number a long time ago. So the first year that I actually earn a permanent number, I was thinking that a couple people in front of me would maybe pick 12. I don’t know what it is, though, if I’m nuts about the number or if it’s because I won with it, but I’m glad to have it back. I like the way it looks.
Gives you some good mojo going into next season, huh?
[Laughs] Yeah I’m hoping so.
What do you have coming up? Are you doing any off-season races?
I’m doing Bercy, so I leave on November 7th for a few days. Other than that, I’m just busy testing, training, and all the off-season things that we do. So I’m just going to race Bercy and then continue on getting ready for Anaheim.
When you do off-season races like Bercy, is it to help you learn more or to keep your race pace up and skills sharp?
It can be both. Sometimes you think that everything is good to go, but in a race situation it’s always different than practicing. Sometimes in racing you push a little further than you would if you were just practicing and some little things might pop up—whether it’s yourself or your bike. I think that’s good to just have it as a test run. There’s a long break from the last round of the outdoors to the start of Supercross, so I think it’s good to get a little race time in and do the gate drop and the whole thing.
It’s still a few months out, but now that you have a full season of racing under your belt, what are your goals for next season?
The goal is to try to be a podium guy. That was my goal last year, but obviously there were quite a few top guys that got hurt, which made it a little easier for me to land on the podium. As of right now, I want to be a podium guy when everyone is healthy. Then I also want to work towards getting my first win. For right now, though, I want to be a podium guy when everyone is healthy. That’s the plan.