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Psyche-out 101 with Jammin’ Jimmy – Part 1

Submitted by on July 26, 2009

One of the great characters of the burgeoning American motocross scene in the early ‘70s was Mitchell Nelson Weinert – better known as Jammin’ Jimmy Weinert.

The Jammer can lay claim to several milestones including being the first American to beat the tough as teak European riders in annual the Trans-AMA Series, the first dude to have his call sign ‘Jammin’ Jimmy’ stitched onto the back of his leathers, and the first rider to employ carefully crafted psyche-out tactics to befuddle his rivals.

Early in his professional career, the Jammer had more than a few run-ins with rivals of all nationalities which helped hone is psyche-out routine. Years later, Weinert admitted he was scared of some of his opponents, but knew he could never show any fear.

In an excellent feature article written by Sam Moses for Cycle magazine in February 1975, Weinert described his first encounter with tough Dutchman Pierre Karsmakers, who ironically would go on to become Jimmy’s neighbour at Mission Viejo, California – after Weinert moved in.

“I remember when Pierre first came over, we almost got into a fist fight down in Florida,” said the Jammer. “Brad [Lackey] and I were in about seventh or eighth, going for first American and this guy was behind me, running into me and things. At first, I didn’t realise he was there because I was so much into racing with Brad, but then I heard him yelling and screaming and I said, ‘Oh, wow’ and let him pass. He came over to me after the race and he says, ‘You should have moved over. I’m the Dutch champion and I’m faster than you’, and all this, and I’m going, ‘Hey, I don’t give a damn who you are. I’m out here racing trying to be first American. I always move over when I see you guys coming, but I wasn’t thinking about that this time.  If you can’t handle it, well…’ We had a few words, but then he apologised because he knew he was wrong and I apologised too. We’re pretty good friends now, but like I tell him. ‘Hey, on the race track, I don’t give a damn, man, you’re my enemy. If I have to run you over, I’ll run you over. That’s money out there’.”

In 1972, Weinert was Yamaha team-mate to Gary Jones, with Gary’s dad Don Jones in charge of the team. Weinert said he should have won the 1973 250 championship secured by Jones, but was thwarted by a number of mechanicals to finish fourth.

“We had a few fights, me and Gary and the old man Don, but never any fist fights. Gary knew better than to mess with me because he knew he would probably get the short end of the stick.

“Pierre and Jones had something going once too, but Jones was too afraid to hit him. I think Pierre would hurt him. I remember one time at Atlanta, Don Jones came looking for Pierre with a crescent wrench.”

Weinert had a reputation for his hard-partying lifestyle until he married Kathy, “a quiet alert blonde with a degree in psychology” wrote Moses. Mmm. So the Jammer got his psyche smarts from his wife!

“I should train a lot more then I would be so good,” said Jimmy in 1975. “I’m happy-go-lucky. So is Joel Robert and he’s been six-time world champion. But I’m more serious than people think. I’ve got this image that wasn’t ever completely true, and it definitely isn’t now. But I guess I encouraged it. I remember once in Michigan I couldn’t sleep the night before a race so I went out at 1am to get something to eat, and who should I run into at a Jack-in-the-Box but Don Jones and some other guys. So I pretended I had been out partying and was drunk, and they all look at each other, like, ‘This guy is smashed.’ But I was just hungry.”

Darryl Flack

Image credits: twm1340 and Photos Copyright D. Broberg, used by permission

Read part II here

Read part III here

More Features stories here

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