“Jammin’ Jimmy” Weinert was a pioneering motocross and Supercross champion during in the 1970s, the early years of the sport in America. He won 22 AMA nationals races and three AMA championships during his 11-year professional racing career.
Here are a dozen fun facts about Weinert, who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
1. Weinert was born in 1951 in New York. His father, Albert, was a motorcycle dealer, and Jimmy started riding motorcycles when he was 6.
2. His dad said he could race only after he was strong enough to do 100 push-ups. The youngster soon managed 75, and dad conceded. He started racing amateur dirt track, scrambles and motocross at the age of 16.
3. As an amateur, he won the first 23 races he entered.
4. Weinert was a leading dirt tracker as an amateur and traveled the circuit for a time with legendary AMA Grand National racer and future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Gary Nixon.
5. He looked to be on a sure path to fame in dirt-track racing before he suffered a couple of bad injuries and decided to concentrate on the burgeoning sport of motocross.
6. Weinert turned pro in 1970. In November of that year, he finished the top American (seventh overall) at the Trans-AMA race in Franklin, Ga., riding a CZ.
7. Weinert gained a reputation on the MX circuit as “the life of the party.” He played guitar and loved to stay up late into the night at the track, sitting around a campfire and entertaining his fans with impromptu performances complete with wacky songs he would make up as he sang them.
8. He loved to try to psych out his competition. Some say Weinert was the original trash talker.
9. His nickname, “Jammin’ Jimmy,” or “The Jammer,” came from then-editor of Cycle News Gary Van Voorhis. During a Florida winter national race, Weinert got a bad start and quickly moved up the field, or, as Van Voorhis described it: “He jammed his way to the front.” The next week’s headline read “Jammin’ Jimmy” and the nickname stuck.
10. The breakthrough win for Weinert came on November 4, 1973, at a muddy motocross track in Houston. There, amid many of the finest motocross racers in the world, Weinert made motocross history when he rode his factory Kawasaki to victory to become the first American to win a Trans-AMA. That victory marked one of the turning points that brought American motocross up to par with the then-dominant Europeans.
11. Weinert finished his pro career in 1980 riding for an underfunded Can-Am team.
12. After leaving the pros he raced vintage and age-category events and continued winning.