Champion Chat: Jimmy Filice
NEWS March 11, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Motorcycle-USA.com
AMAP: How did you get into motorcycle racing?
JF: Well, back in 1972 when I was nine years old, my father told me that if I did well in school, stayed out of trouble and kept out of fights, he would buy me a mini bike. That’s how I got started. I’ve had a long career and was fortunate to be able race in the Moto-ST series up until 2009; it’s been a good career. I’ve been there for a lot of changes over the history of the AMA, going from GP bikes to SuperBikes. I was fortunate to be able to be involved in that, riding for Super Team for Dirk McDugle, Tom Tucker and Mr. Jim France. They kind of started the SuperBike revolution where all the manufacturers came in and got involved and made the move from two-strokes to four-strokes, which was one of the best moves they could’ve made. It was great to be part of that.
AMAP: What was the transition like to SuperBikes?
JF: SuperBikes didn’t fit me that well, but I made it work. I had a couple really good finishes, though I never got to win a SuperBike race. I came close a couple times, but we had legends like Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey and Doug Polen for competition. Everything I attempted to get to at the top level, I achieved. All of my success came from people around me that influenced me. Kenny Roberts was my mentor when I was 17 years old. I’ve had a long career that was very rewarding and sometimes difficult. The AMA is a great organization and I’m proud to be in the hall of fame. I’m proud to be involved with so many different manufacturers. Yamaha was one of the best companies that I raced for. I raced for them from when I was 16 years old until 1982. I was Kenny Roberts’ teammate at Daytona in 1982. It was kind of a thrill for me there. I got to ride the Daytona 200 at 19 years old on a two-stroke. I could talk all day about all that I’ve gone through over the years. All in all, my factory SuperBike days were amazing.
AMAP: Tell us about getting the ‘Pair-of-Nines’ Moto-ST team going and racing with Springer, and about how special those times were hanging out with Gary Nixon again on race weekends.
JF: You know, that’s one person I really miss is Gary. We had a lot of fun and got to spend a lot of time together in that series. To have those moments that late in my career, and the funny events that we had, I know you guys know Gary and he’s the craziest guy in the world, but we got to ride together late in his life and share a lot of special moments. I also got to win the 8 Hours At Daytona and have my son involved, so that was pretty special. Those last few years were great. Their influences are around me still. It was a neat series because young riders that didn’t have the support or budget could go out and showcase their talent. I think it was a good venture. Looking back, that’s another great chapter in my career.
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