Jake Zemke was beaming as he stepped out of the Erion Honda truck and spotted his wife and children. Motorcycle racing fans took quick notice of his presence and soon he was swarmed by a handful of people vying for a second of the newly crowned 2008 AMA Formula Xtreme Series Champion.
As one of his fans asked to take a picture with him, Zemke cordially agreed. Trying to establish a connection with the rider, the fan shared that he is a father as well.
“I have four kids,” Zemke revealed following the snap of the camera. He tried to beckon one of his children over with no success. After individually addressing the crowd around him, the No. 98 rider retreated to the corner where his family waited.
Even on the track, Zemke had his family close. On the track, there was mention of how being the number one racer meant he had the prettiest umbrella girl.
“Yeah,” Zemke agreed. “My wife is the most beautiful girl out here.”
On the podium, the family man proudly accepted his awards as he stood with two of his children.
The win was a long time coming. Four times the runner-up, Zemke was more than ready for the title.
Zemke won the race by a 1.119-second margin. Zemke’s teammate Josh Hayes and Attack Kawasaki’s Steve Rapp came in second and third, respectively. The race results mirrored the series results.
Hayes revealed that his start was a disappointing one—especially since he was the pole-sitter.
“There is no better way to disgrace a pole position than to get the start that I got,” the runner-up acknowledged. “It was bad.”
However, Zemke was on a mission. From lap one, it was obvious that the champion wanted to show how he earned his title—Hayes, the 2006 and 2007 Formula Xtreme Champion witnessed it first-hand.
"I sure would have liked to have won this race but things didn't happen for me at the end. I don't know if I could have beaten Jake anyway but I sure would have given it a good shot,” revealed Hayes. “Congratulations—the champ beat me today."
The jovial winner enjoyed every moment of the race. The two battled with Zemke leading 15 laps and Hayes leading the remaining two.
“We should have had some great races like this but it wasn't working out. One of us would have a bad start or something would happen,” explained Zemke. “But it was a lot of fun. We made quite a few mistakes and we were both pushing extremely hard. It was a lot of fun."
With the future of AMA Formula Xtreme uncertain, Zemke accepted the win as just another win. The type of race doesn’t matter, what matters is the victory.
“It’s all just a race,” Zemke revealed. “I’m sure I’ll be racing somewhere next year and I’ll be just as happy.”