Jimmy Decotis has been through a lot within the last year. After a career-best Supercross season in 2017, Jimmy D went through a nightmarish summer: he was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and was let go by GEICO Honda. Despite all this, he managed to get his health back on track, get a new ride with JGRMX, and in his first race back (this past weekend in Arlington), he scored his first career podium.
We caught up with Jimmy after the race. He opened up about his health struggles, and talked a lot about what that first podium truly means. Here is what he had to say:
Moto Now: First podium; congrats. How much does this mean to you? Will we see more from you now that you got the first one out of the way?
Jimmy Decotis: Yeah, this is just a huge confidence booster for me, and to get it at the first round, right off the bat [means a lot]. I have a lot of tracks on the East that I love. I love Daytona, I really like Minneapolis; my fiancé is from Winnipeg, Canada right up there, so that’s kinda like a home race for me with a lot of family. And then we have Foxborough too. I’m really excited for that triple crown format too, so honestly, coming in here I didn’t know what to expect. I was just like, “hey, let’s just see where we’re at”. But from the first practice everyone around me was like “you’re good”. I felt good all day in practice. Honestly, the worst I felt was in the heat race, when the track was fresh; that’s normally my best time. But it just shows that I have my bike dialed in the tricky conditions. So yeah, I’m definitely thankful, and it’s for sure a confidence booster.
Did you make the decision to race East? Or was it more of a team thing?
It was more of a team thing. I think at the time, Hill was going west, and I was going east. That was the plan, and that’s how it unfolded. So unless Hill had an injury; that’s when I would have gone west. And J-Bone wanted that too.
You mentioned you had a good off-season. Is it weird waiting a couple months for the start of the east championship while those other guys are racing?
Yeah it is. And I’ve raced west the last couple of years. So going to A1 this year, I went to watch and I was like “this is so weird!” Everyone has jitters, and I’m just hanging out! I don’t know, it’s different doing east. But for me, I’m an east coast boy, so I really like it. I’m stoked; I like the dirt, I like the tight tracks, I feel like I did good work in the off-season setting my bike up for the races. Just learning, you know? I’m 26 years old now and I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years. So to finally get [this podium] off my back, it’s about time.
You mentioned all the jitters at A1. There’s so much hype going into that race; is there a difference starting on the East? The 450 guys have already raced 6 rounds, we’re in the midst of the season now. Does that mean the jitters are less for you 250 guys starting East?
No, I don’t think so. All of these dudes, you heard Zach [at the post-race press conference], he had jitters. All of these guys want to win, and when you come in defending it’s hard. But we all had jitters, everyone was tight. That was weird about me actually. I was nervous all week, but then when I sat on my bike and went into first practice, I was like “I’m good man, I’m good”. That is what it’s kinda like for me, I calm down when I’m on the gate, that’s when I really come into myself. I’ve raced so many years on the local level and stuff, so I really calm down when I get racing. I just knew I had to take it smart, stick to my program, do the right things, and good things will come.
With regards to sticking to your program, you opened up a bit this off-season with health problems (Lyme disease). Did that significantly alter your program? How are things going on with that?
I have such a clear mind. I over-thought a lot of things before with the Lyme disease. Physically it affected my body, the disease, but it was mental man. I was with GEICO Honda, doing pretty well, and I was still down in the dumps. My fiancé and I didn’t even want to get dinner sometimes. I would get done from riding and be just “meh, maybe I’m just tired from riding”. I don’t know. And after a while we went outdoors, and the in the heat my body shut down. So I went to see Dr. Corey King who pretty much saved my life. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that guy. He showed me so many different things to get me where I’m at now: I don’t eat bread, I don’t eat cheese, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t mess with any of that shit. It has changed my life. I’m so toned and fit, and I just feel like a different person. I’ve never felt like this racing a dirt bike. It sucked getting diagnosed with Lyme disease this summer, it sucked so bad laying in bed for 3 months, but to feel how I feel now, it was all worth it. Now it makes me change my life, eat healthy, and do the right things.
Now that you have it figured out, you’re kinda untapped potential. You don’t know where you could go. So what are your genuine expectations? Podiums or championship?
I feel like I could win the championship. I can win races, I truly believe that. There are a lot of things I need to work on for sure, but I qualified 0.2 seconds off the lead, and that’s nothing. I got to fix my whoops a little bit, and for me, that’s pretty much all it comes down to right now. Get a little better in the whoops, hit my marks, and being able to bring that intensity to sprint the whole main event. I fell off a little bit halfway and then picked it up, so I gotta bring that intensity the whole race. If I can do that, then yeah I can win races and fight for the championship.
Is there added pressure having the defending 250 West champ Justin Hill on your team? Does that set the expectations to championship level?
I felt a little bit of relief when he finally got on the podium and then when he won. I was like “shit, this is all on me right now”. Kyle Peters and I, we were both like “we gotta get up there!”. But yeah, we both made bike changes. Obviously it’s a new brand, it takes time to get used to it. But I’m just thankful that JGR trusted me and what I wanted to change on the bike, and getting the things they told me to change. The stuff we did, everyone sugarcoats the off-season, but it’s not easy. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of changes. We’ll bicker amongst everyone, but we got it right, we got me happy, and I’ve just been rolling from there. I’m pretty good right now.
Cover photo from Supercross LIVE