Last season was a breakout year for Jeremy Mckie as he found himself on the 250 class podium on more than one occasion. However, with Jeremy being a taller rider, many felt his best days were ahead in the 450 class. So, even though he’s just 19 years old, Jeremy is set to make his 450 class debut next weekend in Edmonton under the tent of the new WLTN/Kawasaki/Seven MX Team. We caught up with Jeremy at the team’s official photo shoot last week at Walton Raceway.
MXP: Hey Jeremy! Let’s get this question right out of the way. I’ve been a big advocate for you moving to the 450 class as soon as possible. Now that is a reality. We’re less than two away from the opening round in Edmonton. How are you feeling?
JM: I feel really good right now. Obviously, the 450 class is new to me, so there will be a lot to learn this summer. Although I’m fairly tall and fit a 450 well, I’m only 19, so I definitely lack a little bit of experience to some of the other top riders in the class.
As we said, this will be your rookie season in the 450 class. Do you and your team have specific goals you want to achieve this summer, or are you coming into the series with a wait-and-see attitude?
I feel like I’m an aggressive rider, so we are coming into Round 1 with some real goals. We put a lot of work into my program during the off-season, so I think we’re ready to battle up front. The 450 class has some really fast and experienced riders, and I’m looking forward to racing with them.
Do you think it will take several rounds to feel completely comfortable in the 450 class? After all, there are a few of the top riders that you haven’t raced against before.
I’m sure there will be a few extra nerves at the opening round, with it being my first 450 race. However, I feel confident in my speed. You’re right; I haven’t raced against some of these riders before. But I rode with a good group of fast riders this winter, so I feel my speed and fitness will be good.
When you sit back and think about the 2023 Triple Crown Series, do you break it up into segments as you would a track? For instance, you have never raced on two of the opening three tracks in the west. Is part of your plan to try and be consistence and then make big push in the east on the tracks that you know very well?
Yes and no! Obviously, I don’t know the tracks out west that well, but I’ve always learned tracks quickly, so I’m not too worried about that. Last year, I think I started to have my best results too late in the series, so overall, I just need to start sooner this year.
That makes sense. You mentioned last year. Once you went under the KTM Factory tent for the final few rounds, you picked up some momentum and were instantly a podium rider. That must have given you a heap of confidence.
For sure! Anytime you can get on the podium it boosts your confidence. Especially to do it in Deschambault in front of my hometown fans was really cool. Hopefully, we can do it again this summer in the 450 class.
Before signing with the WLTN/Kawasaki/Seven MX Team during the off-season, you had been on KTM’s for several seasons. How was the transition to the KX450 from your previous bike?
It was actually really smooth. Before I began riding my new KX450F down south, I hadn’t been on a bike for almost two months, so I had a clean slate as far as how a new bike feels. I liked the Kawasaki a lot from the first moment I threw my leg over it, so everything was good. Recently we started testing my race bike, and I’m very happy with it. Overall, everything has gone great over the past few months, and I’m really happy with where I’m at.
I’m not sure if too many people know this, but even before you signed with the new WLTN/Kawasaki/Seven MX Team, you went out and bought a 2023 KX450F to practice on. Did you know or think you would end up signing with the team, or did you just want to buy a Kawasaki?
At the time, I didn’t know that I would eventually sign with this team. I really just wanted a fresh start. After last summer, I felt like my results had been good enough to have signed with the KTM Team, so when it didn’t happen, I went through a period when I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to race anymore. I wasn’t in a good place mentally, but after some time, I felt better, and then I went out and bought a KX450F. Everything happens for a reason, and here we are.
Looking back now, that was a great move for sure. Going back to your first few seasons in the pro class, it hasn’t been easy for you. You’ve had some injuries and some tough results. However, you and your family appear to be very tight, and at the races, you have a good support crew around you. How much have the people around you helped with keeping you going?
Yes! My family and I are close, and they’ve always had my back. At the races, I’m lucky enough to have a good group of people who are always there for me as well. Also, I did a lot of riding with Dylan Wright last year, and he’s helped me a lot. You can’t succeed in this sport without a solid group of people behind you.
Let’s go back to last summer and your performance in Deschambault. Over the years, we’ve witnessed several Quebec riders have their best performances in front of their hometown fans, whether it was JSR at the Montreal SX, Kaven Benoit in Deschambault in 2016, or you last year. What is it about racing in Quebec that brings out the absolute best in you?
I think it’s everything: the fans, the atmosphere, and the fact I like the track in Deschambault. Last year was good timing for me because the week before the Deschambault National, I had a breakthrough ride in Riverglade, where I went from almost last to third. So, I felt confident, and I knew I could finish on the podium again. Let’s hope I can do the same this year!
Perhaps it’s also the poutine (laughs). Okay Jeremy, it sounds as though everything is going well and that you and the team are ready for Round 1 in Edmonton. Thank you for doing this, and we’ll see you out west.
Sounds good Chris! Yes, the team has been great, and I can’t wait to get to the races.