Rumors began immediately once word of Barcia’s injury got out, but it’s now official: Jake Weimer is to fill-in for the injured JGRMX rider. Weimer was one of the many riders left ride-less entering 2017, but luck strikes for one where misfortunes occur for another. Apparently Dean Wilson and Malcolm Stewart both received the offer to fill-in for Barcia, but neither of them took it due to the shortness of the 4-round contract that JGR was offering. As it is, Weimer gladly took the 4-round deal, and will now have a temporary relief in his search for a ride until Barcia heals up. Here’s the official statement from the team:
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 5, 2017) – Jake Weimer will substitute for Justin Barcia starting this Saturday, Jan. 7 at the opening round of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship until further notice. Barcia, who was eager to debut on the Autotrader/Suzuki/JGRMX RM-Z450 suffered a wrist injury a few weeks ago when a chain broke while practicing.
After consulting with his doctors in Florida, it was determined that the injury was a fracture of his lunate bone along with some ligament damage. While no surgery is necessary he will require several weeks off the motorcycle for proper healing. Justin will attend this weekend’s event in Anaheim, Calif. to greet fans and support the team and its sponsors.
Weimer is a former 250SX West Champion, and a veteran in the 450SX Class where he has amassed a career best second place, 12 top-five, 31 top-10 results, and a King of Bercy title in 2012. Weimer also finished third overall in Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship competition in 2014.
“I am very familiar with the RM-Z450 bike having ridden for the RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team last year and look forward to working with the guys at JGR and Suzuki. I am excited about this opportunity and plan to make the most of it,” said Weimer.
As noted above, the opening round of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship is this Sat., Jan. 7 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. Weston Peick will race alongside Weimer in the 450SX Class, and Phillip Nicoletti will contest the 250SX West Class aboard his Suzuki RM-Z250. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the entire event live starting at 10:00 p.m. (EST).
My Opinion: Talk about a strike of luck when desperately needed. Weimer has the speed to be a consistent top-10 rider, and he showed this last year by finishing 10th in the 450SX standings. However, Weimer simply lacks the charisma to excite fans (and apparently team owners). He has a short amount of time to turn this all around, otherwise he will be back on the couch in a month. The glory days when he won a 250SX championship, rode for Team USA at the Des Nations, and was an up-and-coming rookie for Factory Kawasaki are gone. I expect some top-15 results in the next few weeks, but once his time is up, he will be watching the rest of the races at home on Fox Sports like the rest of us.
Photo from MX Large