Catching Up With…Nick Wey

After a decent 2008 season aboard a MDK KTM450SX-F, Nick Wey found himself searching for a ride for ‘09. With not much on the table, the Michigan native went out and purchased a new ’09 CRF450R just to get by while he figured things out. As luck would have it, though, a ride with his old employer Yamaha of Troy materialized and Wey now finds himself aboard a privateer YZ450F for the new season. With a fresh start, we decided to give NYK a call to see how things have been going.

How many years has it been since you first rode for Yamaha of Troy?

I rode for Yamaha of Troy in 2001 on a 125cc two-stroke.

Seven years later you are re-united with Yamaha of Troy. How are things going on the new team?
Pretty good. I’ve been riding a Yamaha that the team gave me for the past couple of weeks. Obviously, they have some sponsors that have been around for a long time—Enzo Racing being one of them. Ross has been taking care of me and making sure everything is setup just how I want it. I think things are coming along well.

Did it take you some time to get adapted to the bike?
I definitely felt comfortable on the Yamaha right away. I’ve only been riding the Yamaha for a couple of weeks, but I am trying to spend as much time as possible on the bike. I think I’ll definitely be ready for Anaheim I.

You’re coming off one of the most powerful, worst handling bikes and getting on the slowest, best handling bike…
Is that how it works?

Stock for stock, definitely.
Uh… Well, I definitely felt comfortable on the Yamaha, but I think that MDK/KTM provided a great team for me, and an awesome atmosphere. I can’t thank those guys enough for all of their support over the past couple of years. I came across a great opportunity for ’09 with the guys at Yamaha of Troy. Monster Energy is stepping up to support our team, and I believe Boost Mobile will also be joining our team. Things are coming together a bit late, but there is no reason why we wont be competitive come Anaheim.

Before the Yamaha thing came together, didn’t you go out and buy a Honda?
Once my MDK/KTM contract was up, I needed to get something going, and I thought the Hondas looked pretty cool. I was actually on a bike ride when my wife called me saying she was at a dealership. I told her not to get me a bike, because I knew they were gouging people when the ’09 Honda first came out, but she told me she was sick of hearing me complain that I didn’t have anything to ride. Honestly, though, I think she just wanted me out of the house. When I got home from my bike ride, I had a brand new Honda CRF450R in my garage. I thought that was pretty cool! I spent some time on that until the Yamaha of Troy deal came about; then AM-PM’s Jon Bratta stepped up to title-sponsor the team. I can’t thank Scott Paul, Scott Sepkovic, Dang, and Burnsy enough for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to a fresh start.

I know about the tattoo story, but you need to give us a recap so that the fans are aware of the pure pressure you were subjected to recently.
(Laughs) I got a new tattoo on my arm that has my daughter’s name on it. My wife had got a tattoo with a few friends in Hollywood and she liked the guy who did it. I guess the guy is pretty popular, because there was a three-month waiting list and my wife really wanted me to get one. I ended up getting it done on my forearm, but there were a few people in there that were egging me on to do it. After I got it done I was happy, though.

You need to tell us about the cherry blossom flowers and them telling you it was a tough guy tattoo in Japan.
(Laughs) I got the same tattoo as my wife, because I thought it was pretty cool. It has this abstract heart thing and it has my daughters name on it with some cherry blossoms. I told them that I couldn’t get that tattooed because it was girly. I can’t be rocking a heart and flowers on my arm, but Rick Thorne [BMX pro] and the tattoo guy kept telling me how it’s for my daughter and how it is also an old school Japanese gangster tattoo if you have a cherry blossom.

What are your personal goals and expectations on the new bike?

My goal is to get back to where I was in ’07. I want to be back inside the top five and battling for podiums and even better than that. First things first, I need to get back into the top five. I basically have 30 days before the season starts, but I am going to be as ready as I can be.

The fifth dragon team has always been a team contract for clothing. We know that Jason Lawrence will be wearing Fox, but you’re a die-hard MSR guy. With that said, do you have the option to run whatever gear you select?
Definitely. I’ve been with MSR for a long time. I’ve been riding for MSR for so long because their gear is so sick. I mean, why don’t we admit it, I am looking pretty dope out there. I am stoked to be staying with MSR even though I’m on a new team. I’ve talked to a few other folks with decent opportunities, but Scott Paul at Troy Racing wanted to work something out and MSR, TCX, Bell helmets, and Spy gave me a good home that will allow me to continue on the same program. I can’t thanks those guys enough for supporting me.

Have you spent much time riding with your new teammate Jason Lawrence?
No. I’ve only seen him once. I know he is riding a bunch, but Ryan Villopoto, Jake Weimer, and I share a track at Adam Chatfield’s house, and obviously Jason isn’t too down with that crowd. Jason is really cool, but he is doing his own thing, and I am spending a lot of time with Villopoto and Weimer because we all have the same trainer.

Who is going to rub off on who? Are you going to grow your hair out or is Jason going to get a hair cut?
I don’t know. I think he is going to do really well this year, but I don’t think it matters about the hair. He is obviously going to do his own thing, and I’ve always respected him for that. I am going to do what I think works best for me as well, and I don’t think what I do and what he does is going to affect anything. I am just going to concentrate on myself, and I think the whole team is going to have a great year.

Ivan Tedesco has his own signature goggle from Dragon that has his tattoos on it. Does MSR have any plans on releasing gear with cherry blossoms?
Uh… I don’t know. But I can rock it!