Rider Spotlight: Jimmy Wood
NEWS December 8, 2011
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAPro: So where are you from?
JW: I was born and raised in Redlands, Calif.
AMAPro: Is that your current residence?
JW: Currently, I can’t keep up with myself, but I have my mail sent there, so I claim that as my home (laughs). I’m always out going to new places. This last summer I stayed at (Jared) Mees’ house in Michigan. During the winter time I stay in Northern California, around Hollister, to do trail riding. That’s where I’m at most of the time during the off-season. During the season, we’re in the transporter heading from one race to the next.
AMAPro: What was your first motorcycle?
JW: I had a PW50 for a short period of time when I was 6 years old. I rode it around for a little while, decided I didn’t like it, sold it, and bought a remote control car. I didn’t get another motorcycle until I was 14 years old. My cousin Alex’s Yamaha YZ-80 was the first bike that I rode consistently. His dad bought him the bike to move up from his 60 but he was still too small.
AMAPro: How did you get into motorcycle racing?
JW: I got into it through my family. My dad and uncle raced back in the day, and my cousin Alex started a little earlier than I did. My dad and uncle started a vintage series in southern California, and they did a couple races. When Alex’s dad got a flat track bike, my dad followed suit. It’s all history since then.
AMAPro: Do you ride on the street?
JW: I actually don’t ride on the street, but I road raced before I did my first full year on the AMA Pro Flat Track circuit.
AMAPro: Out of all the bikes you’ve ridden, which one stood out the most?
JW: I’d have to say my favorite bike that I’ve had the most fun on was a Suzuki RM-Z450 in a flat track chassis. I’ve had more fun on that than anything else. I ride it when I can, and am pretty sure I’ll never get rid of it.
AMAPro: How has starting the team A And J Racing gone since the beginning of last season?
JW: It’s going really well. Alex does a great job marketing our team, he’s a marketing director for two clothing companies. On top of that, we get along great, and he’s one hell of a motorcycle rider. I want to grow our team within the series.
AMAPro: What’s your favorite racetrack?
JW: There was a short track in Northern California that was a quarter mile track, deep cushion, and had a lot of grip. Unfortunately, they tore it down a few years back. Springfield's short track is a real fun track too. I was injured the last time I was there, but before that, it was a blast to ride. I like all tracks, but I feel more at home on tighter/shorter tracks. The miles are different, but still fun.
AMAPro: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
JW: Nowadays, the competition is super tough. Especially, with flat track, you can have 15 riders win on any given day. The comradery with racers is like visiting your extended family every weekend. It’s different in the dirt track world than anywhere else.
AMAPro: What’s a typical day like for you?
JW: I don’t really think I have a typical day. We’re always working on our race program, equipment, or trying to take care of our sponsors. Every day revolves around racing flat track.
AMAPro: What are your expectations going into next year?
JW: Well, this last year was my first year racing a full-season, so I’m hoping to continue building off of the momentum and finish on the podium.
AMAPro: Who's your racing hero?
JW: My racing hero… there’s so many people in our sport to look up to, but I’d have to say Chris Carr. He’s done so much for our sport. He’s so approachable and has brought so many good things into our series.
What's your take?
Do you wear a helmet? If so, who makes it?