Hey Jimmy! How are you doing today?
I’ve been better. (laughs) I’m sick.
Oh no! How long have you been sick?
I’ve been sick for about a week now. It’s just sinus stuff from all of the pollen down here.
Is the weather nice in North Carolina, at least?
Yeah the weather is good! It was a little chilly last week but it’s nice now.
You’ve been spending a lot of time in North Carolina. Is this your typical training routine?
Yeah, this is kind of the schedule I’ve been on the past few years. I go to Florida early, then I go to a friend’s in North Carolina until Big Buck and then I’m headed home after South Carolina.
I bet you’re looking forward to going back home.
Definitely! It’s been about 85 days since I’ve been home. So I’m looking forward to being back and getting back to my routine again.
How has training gone for you so far?
It’s been going good until last week. Right now, I’m trying to shake this cold, so I’ve not been doing too much this week, but I feel better today- so I’ll take today off and hopefully ride tomorrow.
I talked to Scotty last week about his transition to the new bike-How’s the new ride going for you?
I think it’s great. I haven’t had any issues with the bike. Once Factory Connection did the suspension, for me, it was spot on the first time and I haven’t changed a thing with it. Even though we were a little late getting the bikes, we were really pumped about getting the deal. My races from Florida until now have gotten better and better and I’m looking forward to getting the bike on the podium for them.
So-despite the cold- How are you feeling about Big Buck this weekend?
Despite the cold, I feel good. I rode well the last race, and just had a couple little mistakes that got me away from the top three guys. I’ve figured out how to start my bike now so it shouldn’t be an issue this weekend. So, I just need to get a good start and not make any mistakes early. Josh, Charlie , Paul and Cory have a fast pace going from the get-go. If you don’t get with them, you’ll never see them. I need to get with them early and not make any mistakes.You have to put yourself in the position at the end of the race, in that last lap, to win.
Last year you got your first GNCC win in 10 years, has that rejuvenated you?
For sure. It had been so long since I had won a race. I had a million 2nd and 3rd place finishes, but I just didn’t get myself in the position to win. After that win, I told myself I could still do it. You’ve got to have yourself the in position to win it on the last lap. This year I haven’t been able to do it yet and I’m looking forward to being able to. I just have to be there when it counts.
You’re also going to be returning to the OMA’s in less than two weeks after a bit of a break after the first round. After a few weeks off, how do you think this next round is going to play out?
The first OMA, we had just gotten the bikes out of the box and basically went to the race, so there wasn’t much preparation. We’ve been on the bikes for awhile now and we’re definitely getting ready and looking forward to the race in Arkansas.
You’re also a familiar face at the ISDE, which is coming up in a few months. Any plans to go race it?
I’ve been talking to Caselli about it, and I for sure want to go. They’re working out the details now, and seeing who wants to go because it’s going to come up soon. It’s in Finland this year, and pretty early, so in the next couple of months we’ll start to get things ready and get everything shipped over. If they want me I definitely want to go back. I love that event.
You’ve won quite a few medals at the ISDE. Why is that event so special for you?
I like to travel, and when you get an opportunity to go to countries you’d never get to go without the motorcycle thing. I’ve also become friends with some of the European riders, so I always look forward to riding with those guys.
And then, here, it’s the same thing week in and week out, but there everything is different-the language, the food, the terrain- it’s something not too many people get to experience. In Finland, I think it’s going to be a good event.
So, not only do you have new support this year with Honda, you’re also running a new number. What’s the significance of 44?
There’s not really any significance to 44. I’ve been doing GNCCs and OMAs for so long and I always have a new number, so it takes a few races for people to get used to who’s who. The Supercross guys have it good, everyone knows who 22 is, and who 7 is. Anyways, a couple guys in GNCC like Nate Kanney and Thad DuVall all stuck with one number and I think that’s a good idea. My favorite number is 4 but you can’t always have that and 44 is an easy number to recognize. I think it’s a good idea and it’s a lot easier for the fans to keep track of who’s who.
You said you’ve been doing GNCCs and OMAs for a long time now, how long?
I’ve been riding GNCCs since 1993, that was my first year and this is my 7th year in the OMAs.
After all of these years- what keeps you coming back?
It seems like it’s a new challenge every year. There’s always new faces coming in . At one time I was the young kid coming up through the ranks, and now I’m the veteran watching all the new young faces coming in, and they are really competitive.
I think as long as I’m having fun, I’ll stay in it. When I’m not, I’ll call it quits but when I’m
done racing I‘m not going to park the bike. I’ll have a bike until I’m in a nursing home. I’ll be involved in racing for the rest of my life in one aspect of it or another.
Alright, Jimmy! We’ll see you in a few days!