The Cause – Nick Wey May Have Lost His Factory Ride, But TWMX Has His Back…

To the eyes of many, Nick Wey had it all in 2004-a factory Suzuki, a team of dedicated engineers, technicians, trainers, coaches and a ton of untapped potential. When the ’04 season came to a conclusion in mid-September, however, Nick found himself scratching his head as he looked back at a year full of frustration and underachievement. With Suzuki’s signing of Ricky Carmichael and a number of teams still wrapped into multi-year rider contracts, Nick once again found himself shut out of the factory semis, and uncertain of which bike his two seven would adhere to come January ’05.

Building a team and developing equipment without the support of the factories is no easy task, but Wey is proving to himself and to his critics that the mind is stronger than the machine…that is…when the machine actually exists. Thanks to the late arrival of Honda’s 2005 CR250R, NYK was left without a shiny new-model-year steed to contend the first couple Supercross rounds of ’05. With a solid cast of friends, family, sponsors and the TransWorld Motocross CR250R test bike at his disposal, however, Nick’s been able to refine his program into a proven factory beater…

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING
2004 proved to be a frustrating year for Nick. Receiving his “big break” and the opportunity to contest the premier 250cc class aboard a full-blown factory machine was Nick’s longtime dream, but the friendly Dewitt native struggled to put it all together, and as a result, lost his ride. Somewhat frustrated and uncertain of his future, NYK put his head down and focused on making the best of his situation.

A number of support level teams eagerly threw their hats into the ring in an attempt to procure his services for ’05, but Nick knew it would take better than the “average” situation to compete with the factory boys aboard a non-factory machine. “I had other avenues and opportunities in front of me, but I really feel like MDK was the best decision and has given me the best opportunity to be competitive.” The elusive factory bike is certainly the goal of any rider who dreams of winning a Supercross championship, but for Nick, the equipment is just one piece of the puzzle. “The most frustrating thing about racing, whether you’re a factory guy or a privateer, is not having support and people behind you day in and day out, but I have that here. I had it at Suzuki as well, which is exactly why I knew what I was looking for when I made my decision to ride for MDK.”

There’s no arguing the benefits and resources available to factory riders, but Nick’s quick to point out that life’s not all that bad on the other side of the fence either. (In a sarcastic, whiney, sad-guy type of voice) “You know, I would say that a privateer team is a lot of work and it sucks because I don’t have good parts and I don’t have anywhere to ride and my bike’s always lookin’ all beat down and last weekend it blew up but we had to stuff the same piston back in and run it… (End of sarcastic, whiney, sad-guy voice); but really with this team, if we can’t get something from a sponsor, MDK has the resources to make it happen. They do whatever it takes, and that’s why I am here.”

After a few obstacles (which we’ll get to), and a ton of hard work put in by Nick, his mechanic “Dynamite”, the entire MDK team and Pro Circuit, team two seven has arrived with a package that Nick is every bit as confident in as he was his factory program of last year. “I learned a lot last year with Suzuki and all of the testing that we did. Most importantly, I learned how I want my bike set up, and Pro Circuit’s able to give that to me. I couldn’t be happier with my current situation, and honestly, I am just as confident on this bike as I was on my factory Suzuki.”

Now, we’re not going to attempt to convince anyone that there’s actually a privateer guy out there who has an equipment advantage over the factories, but it is true that what may be considered to be the best-of-the-best by some may note the perfect fit for others. “Sometimes the factories are obligated to use the stuff that’s new and state-of-the-art, but it may still need some testing and development. We, on the other hand, are able to run whatever parts we want because we don’t have sponsors on board that we’re not satisfied with, and that makes a big difference. If I want to put a 1979 Rock Shock on the back because it works better for me, I can do that.”

Nick’s comfort and confidence in his new team have helped him return to a place where he can get focused on the things that he needs to succeed. “I am in a position now where I can just focus on how I am riding and what I can do to get better each week, rather than spending all my time testing and developing, say, the bike for ’06. Without Pro Circuit it would be a much tougher road, but they’re able to put together a great bike for me, MDK’s able to fill in the gaps with the resources they have, and we’re all taking a lot of pride in our finishes and how competitive we are every week.”

DECISIONS, DECISIONS…
For a guy who lost his factory ride just a few months back, it sounds like things have come together rather nicely for Nick and his new team. In reality, the off-season-and the first few rounds of Supercross for that matter-didn’t come together as smoothly as they’d have liked. Let’s back up a bit…Initially, Nick and MDK had hoped to stay on Suzukis because of all the work Nick already had under his belt with RM development. After Suzuki exhausted their budget on RC, however, Nick was forced to think outside the box. “When the Suzuki support deal fell through I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I knew that the Honda 450 would still be the bike to beat outdoors, so we started looking at the Hondas.” After testing the CR250R back to back with the 450, Nick decided to stick with the trusty two-stroke for the Supercross series. “I was thinking that the 450 all year long wouldn’t be a bad move, but once I started riding the 250, I liked it also. With the season nearing and us lacking some of the development that the factory teams have on the four-stroke, I was a lot more comfortable from the get-go on the 250.”

Once the decision was made to go with the CR250R, the MDK team finally had some direction. Unfortunately for them, as well as all the Honda two-stroke pilots out there, the arrival of the 2005 Honda two-strokes was extremely late. Unable to just sit back and wait, MDK purchased a couple ’04s so that Nick could move forward with his testing. “At the time I had heard that the ’05 would be late, but I had no idea just how late it would turn out to be. The arrival kept getting pushed back, so we kept moving forward with the development of our ’04.”Nick went on to ride his ’04 CR to a podium finish at the US Open back in October, and to very impressive fourth and second place finishes at the opening Canadian rounds in December. Heading into the first US round in Anaheim on January 8th, however, Nick still didn’t have an ’05 in his hands. Enter TransWorld Motocross…

BEG, BORROW & STEAL
Nick’s a good friend of the magazine, and knowing full well that we already had an ’05 test bike in our dirty little hands, a light bulb lit up above Nick’s head. “I thought maybe we could do a little test story or something cool for the magazine, but at the same time it would give me the opportunity to get some ’05 testing under my belt. Then, hopefully when the time came to race it, I’d have the development where it needed to be to compete.” In came the call from our pal Nick, and we were stoked to have the opportunity to help him out…not to mention see our bike go faster than it ever would in our possession.

Wey continued to race his ’04 at the first two rounds in Anaheim and Phoenix, while Pro Circuit spent some time dialing in our 2005 motor, and then at round three, again in Anaheim, Nick finally debuted our ’05 steed. “I almost raced the TransWorld bike at round two in Phoenix, but the first motor that Mitch built was a little too much. It was so fast that I wasn’t really comfortable on it. I like a smoother powerband, so Mitch went back to the drawing board, and by Anaheim 2 the TransWorld bike was finely-tuned and ready to go.” In its debut, Nick rode our test bike to sixth place behind Jeremy McGrath in the main, and was a very impressive fourth fastest after all the practice sessions were in the books earlier that day. Not bad when you consider that there were roughly 10 factory bikes behind him…

After a few calls by Swap to the powers that be at Honda, a fresh 2005 top-end was landed, and Nick again rode the TWMX test bike the following weekend in San Francisco. Nick raced to another solid sixth-place finish in the main, and left round four sitting in fifth place overall in the championship points chase. Not too shabby on a borrowed, non-factory bike!

Mid-week between San Francisco and Anaheim 3, Nick’s bike and parts sponsor, Cernics, was finally able to come upon a couple of ’05s, which they promptly got into Nick’s hands. With ’05 development already well underway on the TransWorld bike, “Dynamite” was able to build up one of the new ’05s with Nick’s setup, and at round five of the series in Anaheim, Nick finally had his own 2005 race bike to compete on. “It’s been a process, for sure, but thanks to you guys letting us use your ’05, we’re much further ahead than we would have ever been at this point.”

The road’s been quite a bit longer and windier than anyone on the MDK Motorsports team could have ever anticipated, but after all their hard work, the end result is a competitive bike and a rider with more confidence than ever. “I think from the beginning, I’ve been really comfortable on the Honda, so I am able to push it a little bit harder than before. We are limited to what we have, but I think we have a very competitive bike. What we have might not be ‘the best,’ but it works really well, and I am confident with it.” Although pumped with what they’ve already accomplished, Nick hopes to put in the finishes needed to attract some factory support for the future. “The ideal setup for me would be to have a deal with MDK for ’06 with some factory backing from Honda. If we did have a little bit more help from the factory, I think we could get it a little bit better, and that would be my ultimate goal.”

RIDE MY BIKE
(We Test Nick Wey’s TransWorld Motocross CR250R) Opinion by Rich Taylor

It never ceases to amaze me how snappy, tight and crisp-feeling a well-prepped 250cc two-stroke race bike feels. I have had the opportunity to test some of the best race bikes in the world, and the one thing they most always have in common with each other is how responsive they are at the crack of the throttle. Nick’s bike is no exception to the rule. His Dan Hissam-prepped, Pro Circuit CR250R responds lightning quick with just a slight twinge of the throttle. Let me rephrase that; his CR250R is super responsive once it warms up! I first got on the bike and it ran so poorly I couldn’t even get around the track. It turns out that with the unleaded fuel that is AMA legal, Nick must warm the bike up a minimum of thirty minutes for it to run correctly. If the bike isn’t at the optimum temperature, it will pop, sputter and fart like you would not believe. Once up to temp and running, the Pro Circuit Honda motor proved to be nothing less than spectacular. It has unreal response with decent low-end torque and monstrous mid-range hit. Top-end power is strong, but the bike doesn’t seem to have a lot of over-rev…then again, this motor was built for Supercross. I was able to run second and third gear without a hitch on Nick’s private SX track. The power always seemed to be there.

I used to test Nick’s bike when he was with team Suzuki, so I felt right at home with his bar and suspension setup. We weigh about the same, so the suspension setting was nearly spot-on for me. The Pro Circuit Showa kitut the first motor that Mitch built was a little too much. It was so fast that I wasn’t really comfortable on it. I like a smoother powerband, so Mitch went back to the drawing board, and by Anaheim 2 the TransWorld bike was finely-tuned and ready to go.” In its debut, Nick rode our test bike to sixth place behind Jeremy McGrath in the main, and was a very impressive fourth fastest after all the practice sessions were in the books earlier that day. Not bad when you consider that there were roughly 10 factory bikes behind him…

After a few calls by Swap to the powers that be at Honda, a fresh 2005 top-end was landed, and Nick again rode the TWMX test bike the following weekend in San Francisco. Nick raced to another solid sixth-place finish in the main, and left round four sitting in fifth place overall in the championship points chase. Not too shabby on a borrowed, non-factory bike!

Mid-week between San Francisco and Anaheim 3, Nick’s bike and parts sponsor, Cernics, was finally able to come upon a couple of ’05s, which they promptly got into Nick’s hands. With ’05 development already well underway on the TransWorld bike, “Dynamite” was able to build up one of the new ’05s with Nick’s setup, and at round five of the series in Anaheim, Nick finally had his own 2005 race bike to compete on. “It’s been a process, for sure, but thanks to you guys letting us use your ’05, we’re much further ahead than we would have ever been at this point.”

The road’s been quite a bit longer and windier than anyone on the MDK Motorsports team could have ever anticipated, but after all their hard work, the end result is a competitive bike and a rider with more confidence than ever. “I think from the beginning, I’ve been really comfortable on the Honda, so I am able to push it a little bit harder than before. We are limited to what we have, but I think we have a very competitive bike. What we have might not be ‘the best,’ but it works really well, and I am confident with it.” Although pumped with what they’ve already accomplished, Nick hopes to put in the finishes needed to attract some factory support for the future. “The ideal setup for me would be to have a deal with MDK for ’06 with some factory backing from Honda. If we did have a little bit more help from the factory, I think we could get it a little bit better, and that would be my ultimate goal.”

RIDE MY BIKE
(We Test Nick Wey’s TransWorld Motocross CR250R) Opinion by Rich Taylor

It never ceases to amaze me how snappy, tight and crisp-feeling a well-prepped 250cc two-stroke race bike feels. I have had the opportunity to test some of the best race bikes in the world, and the one thing they most always have in common with each other is how responsive they are at the crack of the throttle. Nick’s bike is no exception to the rule. His Dan Hissam-prepped, Pro Circuit CR250R responds lightning quick with just a slight twinge of the throttle. Let me rephrase that; his CR250R is super responsive once it warms up! I first got on the bike and it ran so poorly I couldn’t even get around the track. It turns out that with the unleaded fuel that is AMA legal, Nick must warm the bike up a minimum of thirty minutes for it to run correctly. If the bike isn’t at the optimum temperature, it will pop, sputter and fart like you would not believe. Once up to temp and running, the Pro Circuit Honda motor proved to be nothing less than spectacular. It has unreal response with decent low-end torque and monstrous mid-range hit. Top-end power is strong, but the bike doesn’t seem to have a lot of over-rev…then again, this motor was built for Supercross. I was able to run second and third gear without a hitch on Nick’s private SX track. The power always seemed to be there.

I used to test Nick’s bike when he was with team Suzuki, so I felt right at home with his bar and suspension setup. We weigh about the same, so the suspension setting was nearly spot-on for me. The Pro Circuit Showa kit suspension is as good as it gets when you can’t get the real “works” stuff. Bones Bacon, PC’s suspension guru, must do the setup for Nick with stadium whoops in mind. The forks are stiff for the big hits and to keep the bike from dropping the front end in the whoops, and the shock is initially compliant for good traction with big mid and end stroke compression for the big hits. The shock also felt like it had a ton of rebound to keep the bike stable and well balanced in the rockers. I must say I was impressed with the suspension settings, and I am the pickiest suspension dude in the whole world!

Once I put the brake and clutch lever in a normal position (Nick runs his levers almost straight down), I felt really good on this bike. The motor felt very competitive and the bike handled great. Now, if only Eric Kehoe would kick down some of those extra special “works” parts that are lying around for a CR250R, we would see Nick up on the podium more often… kit suspension is as good as it gets when you can’t get the real “works” stuff. Bones Bacon, PC’s suspension guru, must do the setup for Nick with stadium whoops in mind. The forks are stiff for the big hits and to keep the bike from dropping the front end in the whoops, and the shock is initially compliant for good traction with big mid and end stroke compression for the big hits. The shock also felt like it had a ton of rebound to keep the bike stable and well balanced in the rockers. I must say I was impressed with the suspension settings, and I am the pickiest suspension dude in the whole world!

Once I put the brake and clutch lever in a normal position (Nick runs his levers almost straight down), I felt really good on this bike. The motor felt very competitive and the bike handled great. Now, if only Eric Kehoe would kick down some of those extra special “works” parts that are lying around for a CR250R, we would see Nick up on the podium more often…