There’s a lot of pressure on young racers going into a Parts Canada Walton TransCan. They try to ignore it, but it’s hard with Canada’s best amateur racers on the line and everyone watching.
Words by Danny Brault
Photos by James Lissimore
There’s a lot of pressure on young racers going into a Parts Canada Walton TransCan. They try to ignore it, but it’s hard with Canada’s best amateur racers on the line and everyone watching. It takes a special rider to win at Walton, and there’s a shortlist of riders who have made it happen, so you can imagine the smile on Mackenzie Machan’s face when he won the MX3 Junior Championship, and also the Alpinestars Bronze Boot and Wiseco Most Improved Rider honours.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said after the 24th annual Walton TransCan. “I’ve ridden well at Walton before but nothing like this year.”
One contribution to Machan’s success came from the experience of five-time Walton champ – past Bronze Boot and Rick Joseph Memorial Award winner – Kyle Stephens at his side. The longtime Kawasaki rider and famed amateur racer hasn’t raced much in the last few years, but during his amateur years, Walton was one of his strongest tracks. He won there on mini bikes, big bikes and in the ‘pro-speed-like’ class of Youth. Obviously, whatever Kyle taught Mackenzie is paying off.
“It was mostly about learning to be one with my bike and not fighting it,” says Machan on what he’s learned most from his time spent training with Stephens. “Just trying to be smooth, using less energy and really feeling the bike and suspension as I’m going around the track. It’s helped for sure working with Kyle.”
The 16 year-old Machan’s week at Walton was almost perfect as far results go. Racing three classes, MX1, MX2 and MX3 Junior, Machan had three moto wins, four second place finishes, a fourth place and one DNF in the first MX2 Junior moto, which put him back to 13th overall. “I had a clutch problem and was unable to finish that first MX2 moto,” he adds.
With CMRC allowing 250 two-strokes to compete in the MX2 class, Machan and his family took advantage of the rule, mostly due to less costly repairs with a two-stroke compared to a four-stroke. “I had a 250F blow up in the spring of 2013 so we decided to go with a YZ250 to keep costs down. I like it and plan to ride it again next year in the Intermediate classes.”
That’s right Intermediate racers, look out because this Champ is about to mess up the results board in the semi-pro ranks, and then hopefully one day Machan makes it into the big leagues. “There’s no rush,” he says, “I plan to stay in Intermediate until I am ready to go Pro. I don’t want to burn myself out too fast.”