Jeremy 'Twitch' Stenberg picked up Fan Favorite honors at the 2nd annual AFMXA Ramp Awards on Saturday, an award he says means more to him than any podium finish (though he was stoked to collect a few of those this year, too, including bronze medals in Speed & Style and Best Whip at X Games 16). We caught up with him on his way out to Arizona's Firebird International Raceway to race his truck in the Super Lite division at the Rockstar Energy Lucas Oil Challenge Cup: He's got a 22-point lead heading into the final points race of the 2010 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
ESPN: Congrats on getting voted Fan Favorite by the TransWorld Motocross online community. What does it mean to you to get that kind of recognition?
Jeremy Stenberg: I think this is probably one of the best awards I've ever gotten. It's pretty cool to be picked by the fans out of all the people in the industry. People like me the most? I can't complain.
I think this is probably one of the best awards I've ever gotten. It's pretty cool to be picked by the fans out of all the people in the industry. People like me the most? I can't complain.
-- Jeremy Stenberg
Why do you think you ranked so high in public opinion this year?
I'd say the biggest highlight for me this year was the Nuclear Cowboyz tour. I got to meet so many fans every single weekend for like four months straight. It was inspiring to me, and I guess they were pretty stoked on me, too. I like making the fans happy. It makes me feel like I'm doing something good.
Do you take being a role model seriously, knowing that so many fans are paying attention?
One thing that was cool about Nuclear Cowboyz was everywhere we went they would bring a couple kids who have Tourette's Syndrome to come out and meet me and hang out for the day. It's cool to interact with those kids and I'm honored to have them want to meet me. I mean, I have Tourette's and there's nothing I can do about it, and at the same time I think it's cool that I can help other kids who have Tourette's look at it in a different direction, like, 'Oh, sick, I actually can go do stuff.' If I can give these kids some encouragement, I think that's cool.
What are you looking forward to in 2011?
I've definitely got some big goals. I can't really talk about some of them before midnight on December 31, but the plan is definitely to go out and kill it in freestyle again all year next year. And hopefully go out and win another truck racing championship, too.
I understand you're just getting started with filming with Jay Schweitzer for the new Metal Mulisha video project. What's on your mind when you're out freeriding or filming for a video part that's different from when you're riding in a contest?
What's on my mind is I love freeriding. I love filming. I love riding out in the hills. That's what I grew up doing and that's why I ended up riding freestyle: Because it was fun. I could go out and just ride and do whatever the hell I want, jump whatever I want, with no rules. Honestly, I frickin' hate contests. I hate them. I would not ride in any contest if I didn't have to make money to support my family. If I could just go out and ride in the hills and be like these street skaters and snowboarders who can just film video parts all year, I would do that in a heartbeat.
I'd just say what I tell every other kid: If you want to go out there and do it right, there are risks you're going to take. You're gonna crash, you're gonna break bones, you're gonna get hurt.
-- Jeremy Stenberg
Anything you want to say to your fans?
Well, first I would just like to give a shout out to all the Mike Cinqmars fans. It's a shame we lost another great rider this year, and Cinqmars was one of the dudes I really looked up to growing up. He never really recovered from that crash, and it hits home for sure: We all know our sport's dangerous and we all accept that risk, but it sucks when it happens to one of your buddies.
And to your own fans, or to the young ams we're seeing coming up through the AFMXA contests?
I love seeing new kids coming up wanting to do what we do. Without them we wouldn't have a sport. I want kids to come up and motivate me and try to come beat me. It makes me work even harder, and I'm pumped to see those guys out there working their asses off. I'd just say what I tell every other kid: If you want to go out there and do it right, there are risks you're going to take. You're gonna crash, you're gonna break bones, you're gonna get hurt. But I would rather get broke off doing something I love doing than get into a car accident or fall down in the middle of the night walking to the bathroom or something. Sometimes you put yourself on the line for something you love.