Only a few hours after the Vancouver Supercross was over we received an email from the Chief Altruistic Officer of Wonder Warthog Racing, Scott Kandel. The email from Scott was brief:
“Jimmy finished 6th in his first SX ever!!”
With that we knew that Jimmy would make a great story for our first edition of the WWR Privateer Update. A new addition to transworldmx.com, the Privateer Update will serve as a weekly update on how privateers—specifically the WWR Interns and Hog Haven Riders—are fairing in Supercross. If you’re not familiar with these new Wonder Warthog programs, check out our Friday Feature article from a few weeks back. While WWR’s full efforts don’t begin until Anaheim One in January, a few of the interns did make their way to Canada for a little pre-A1 racing.
One of those riders was Jimmy Albertson, and as Scott reminded us in his email, Jimmy had a very impressive debut in his first pro Supercross race. With the fastest lap time in both of his practice sessions and a third place in his Lites heat race, Albertson was looking solid when it came time to line up for the Lites Main Event. And solid he was, as Jimmy piloted his MDK/WWR/Yamaha around the loose and rocky Vancouver track to a sixth place finish.
While Jimmy Albertson is fortunate enough to be a WWR Intern, make no mistake, he is still a privateer; and as the life of a privateer often dictates Jimmy’s drive home to California from Canada proved to be a long one. When we called Jimmy on his cell phone, he was pulling into Sacramento after fixing a third blowout on their motor home. Fortunately his strong performance in Vancouver had Jimmy in good spirits…
Hey Jimmy, thanks for taking time to be a part of our first WWR Privateer Update. Tell us how things went for you in Vancouver.
Things went real well. Tuesday or Wednesday we had just gotten the new stock ’07 bike in, and I knew some buddies that were going up to race Supercross, so we decided to go race it. Since they’re our new sponsor we stopped by MDK first to drop off some bikes to get done. I rode one of their outdoor bikes last year and the motor was really good on it, so I asked them if I could ride it, and sure enough they let us take that bike up to Vancouver. I put my suspension on it, and just went up there and raced. We figured any experience, is good experience.
For the last couple months I’ve really been riding a 450 on Supercross track, so it was kinda weird hopping on a 250F again, but as the week went on I got better and better. It went really good.
So you rode an MDK bike up in Vancouver?
Yeah, one of their Yamahas; it was awesome. The bike had like 12 or 13 hours on it, and it was still really fast, so we were pumped about that. We just got my suspension back from Enzo, and it was working good, but was a little bit soft since we hadn’t done any testing on it. It was just the first stuff they sent out, so I can’t wait to get some testing done to get ready for Anaheim one.
So you’re plan for the season is to run West coast lites?
Yeah, west coast lites.
How is being part of the WWR Intern program working out?
Right now it’s been great; we’ve been getting a lot of stuff in, and getting bikes in. Everything’s going great and moving along quick. It’s helped out a lot for sure. Right now we’re not signing any contracts, so if I’m putting up good results and something happens with anybody on a big team—I hate to say I’d leave the team because they’ve helped us out so much, but I guess that’s the whole idea of the program, so it’s real cool.
It’s pretty unique, for sure, that this is the only team in the pits whose goal it is to get their riders off the team.
[BRACKET “Laughs”] Yeah it is, but they’re really cool, for sure.
For some of our readers that may not be reaal familiar with your background, tell us more about yourself.
I’m from Billings, Missouri. I’m 18 years old, and I’ve been racing bikes since I was little. When I turned about 13 we started doing all the amateur nationals and I’ve got some intermediate championships, some national championships and some pro national championships. I guess my last year at Loretta’s didn’t go as well as planned. I still ended up getting on the podium with a third, but it didn’t go as well as I thought it would. I struggled with fitness a little bit coming into the pro class, but now I’m working with Ryan Hughes and everything’s been getting better and better. Hopefully I can work out my kinks and Anaheim one will go really well.
So Vancouver was your first Supercross race?
Yeah, it was my very first one, and it’s kind of a bummer because I haven’t really been on Supercross tracks much. I mean for me to go out and race against guys I’ve raced my whole life that are on factory teams, it’s kind of a bummer because I think with a little more time under my belt, I think have the same potential as some of them. But this is going to work out good because with MDK doing our bikes we have some good people around the team, and it will be a great success.
You talk about guys you’ve raced against your whole life being on factory and satellite teams. What do you think makes the difference for guys getting on a factory team at a young age, versus those that have to work at it more?
You know, it definitely makes it a lot easier for those kids. But if everything is given to you that easily, maybe you won’t appreciate it as much. I think for a guy like me that has been passed up a little bit, it’s going to make me want to work a little harder and not take any of this for granted. By me not getting a ride, yeah it sucks, but if you never give up you’ll eventually be there. If you look at guys like Tedesco or Andrew Short, they didn’t start out on factory teams, they just kept on trying and now they’re riding on the factory teams. A lot of guys that don’t get rides just give up, but you’ve just got to keep on trying no matter what.
I guess that’s the point of the Wonder Warthog program; to take guys like you that maybe had small things not go their way and hook you up with trainers, bikes, transportation and other pieces you need to push to the next level.
It will be good because we don’t have to stress with things like driving. I mean this weekend we drove like 20 hours up to Vancouver, and then on the way back we had three blowouts on the motor home. Right now I would have been home for like a day if I ‘d flown back.
So once the WWR season officially gets started your bikes will be transported to the races, and you guys will fly out?
Yeah, it will be just like a regular satellite team, except we will have like ten Hog Haven riders pitting out of the back of the semi as well.
I don’t know if the average fan realizes how much the transportation alone will help you guys out financially.
Not only that, but when you’re having to drive across the country as a privateer you’re not eating right, you don’t get the proper rest, and you can’t be focused. You’re driving down the road just eating wherever and not getting enough sleep because you’re driving all night. How can you expect to beat a guy who’s training all week and flying to a hotel where he can rest and focus on his race the next day?
The program sounds like it’s really going to help out, and we’re sure the WWR pit will be a popular stop for fans. Thanks for the update, Jimmy.
Yeah, I think it will be a good atmosphere to be around for sure. Thanks.
Brady Sheren—also a WWR Intern—had a good showing in Vancouver as well. He finished fourth in his heat race, and 12th in the Lites Main.