Rider Spotlight: Matt Weidman
NEWS April 5, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAP: Where are you from?
MW: I’m from Westerlo, N.Y., just south of Albany. I’ve lived here my whole life with my parents. We live out in the middle of nowhere, but have 75 acres, a flat track, motocross track and woods to go riding on. The winters are sometimes pretty bad, but this past winter has been very nice, so I’ve gotten to ride through it for the most part.
AMAP: Do you ever get to do any ice racing?
MW: Yep. It’s actually picked up quite a bit here in New York over the past few years. I used to ice ride a lot when I was younger. I only got to do one race this past year, because we didn’t have that much ice. It would warm up right after it got cold.
AMAP: How did you get into racing motorcycles?
MW: I started racing when I was four years old. My parents bought a Honda/Kawasaki motorcycle dealership, and I started racing shortly after. I think the real reason why I got into racing was because of my mom. She and my uncle raced flat track when they were younger for about 15 years. It’s kind of where my flat track roots came from. My mom quit when she was at the top amateur level and just shy of going pro.
AMAP: Have you ever tried your hand at other forms of motorcycle racing, like road racing or motocross?
MW: I ride motocross just to stay in shape and keep on a bike. Locally, I run the expert class and am top-ten, but haven’t really dedicated myself to it to see how competitive I could be at it. I’ve never done road racing, but have ridden supermoto here and there. I really enjoyed that. In all, I’ve dedicated myself to flat track racing, and it’s gone really well.
AMAP: We can imagine, and it paid off at Daytona Flat Track.. (Click here to see celebration)
MW: For sure. It was a pretty exciting start to the year. I’ve never really had that much success on the 450cc singles program, as my twins program is where most of my success has come from. It was really nice to start the season like that. I feel that I’ve performed well at past Daytona Flat Track rounds, so it wasn’t unexpected, but I didn’t expect to go down and have that good of a week!
AMAP: You mentioned on podium that your parents couldn’t make it to Daytona Flat Track, we’re guessing you’re pretty close with them.
MW: We have been doing the whole racing program ourselves with my dad as my mechanic, and they funded the program my first two years as pro. The past two years have been up to me to find funding, but they still went to all the races with my dad continuing to serve as my mechanic. This year is really my first year without them. This is also the first year they missed Daytona, so it was kind of disappointing having them miss my first AMA Pro Flat Track win. I’m riding for Greg Crow Racing out of Illinois this year. Daytona was our first two races together, so it was nice to start off the year like that.
AMAP: New team and new season… you’re really starting it off right then!
MW: It was a lot better than we all expected. We were working out the bugs to our setup, as we only got one day of testing beforehand. The bike setup was great, and it helped us out big time.
AMAP: Out of all the motorcycles you’ve ridden, what would you say is your favorite?
MW: Definitely the Harley-Davidson XR-750. There’s nothing like riding it.
AMAP: Out of all the tracks you’ve raced at, what would you say is your favorite, or do you have a preferred style of track?
MW: I’ve always liked the half-mile tracks on my Harley-Davidson. I’ve done well at short tracks and TTs, but the half-mile tracks are where my success has come from. I grew up racing cushion half-mile tracks, so Lima would be my favorite. We haven’t been to many other cushion race tracks in the past few years, so Lima would the top.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
MW: It’s really the competition and the desire to win. That’s what has kept me in it till now. It has to be one of the most competitive sports out there. It’s tough being the best at a particular track at a particular day and time.
AMAP: You’re going into the Springfield Mile at the top of the points standings .. What expectations are you setting for yourself for the rest of 2012?
MW: I’m trying not to set the bar too high. We finished the season eighth in points, so I want to be top-five at the end of the year. Springfield is one of the tougher race weekends for me. I haven’t fared out too well at that event, so I’d like to get through it and put up some great results. Lima’s after that, so I’m excited to go there.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
MW: I’ve had a few growing up. Steve Beattie and Roger Durkee are two of the many that have helped me coming up through the years.
Be sure to follow Matt throughout the 2012 season on his Greg Crow Racing tuned racebikes and White’s Harley-Davidson backed Twins racebike in the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com