Back in our September Issue we did a feature story on the ECAN in Deschambault, QC. As you may remember, the skies opened up all week and the races turned into a muddy mess. Despite the bad weather, the 2017 ECAN was still an amazing event with riders competing from as far away as BC. Here is that story with photos by Summer Denzler.
Over the past three decades, racing in Quebec has always been something of an adventure for riders that live outside this unique Province. With its French language, its impressive historical landmarks, and its one of a kind motocross tracks, from the moment your map tells you you’re in Quebec, you just know you’re in for some kind of exciting adventure. My first experience racing an outdoor national in Quebec was in 1991 with a race just south of Quebec City in a town called Vallee Junction. At the time, this famous track had been an annual stop on the national tour, and with its sandy soil and steep elevation changes, it was easy to see why it was a favourite among riders. That day, like any day that I was lucky enough to race in Quebec, there were large crowds hanging over the fence cheering with a beer in their hand, with an incredible vibe for a motocross race. Yes, racing in Quebec was very exciting back in those days, just as it was in 2017.
The first time I ever visited the Deschambault track was back in 1993 when I made a rare fall trip to Quebec to race a Provincial event. In those days, promoters used to pay start money to all of the top riders who were interested in coming to race. Even to this day the track itself hasn’t changed too much with its layout and sandy soil. However, the one thing that has changed drastically since that fall day in 1993 is the paddock. Back then there were very few trees in the pits as it was pretty much one large open space. Now, from the moment you enter the property, the tall trees define where you park and how much room you have. As the Eastern Canadian Amateur National (ECAN) in Deschambault has grown in popularity in the past few years, the compressed paddock area has become a big topic of discussion. Unlike most tracks where you can come and go as you please throughout the event, once you arrive at MX Deschambault and get your vehicle parked, you’re pretty much wedged in for the remainder of the weekend. This year, with credit to promoter Daniel Thibault and his crew, more space was added to the pit area and parking was improved. With more and more riders travelling to the Deschambault National each year, the extra room in the paddock area was a welcomed sight.
In 2016, this fine facility hosted the CMRC Grand Amateur National Championships for the first time in its history. While the event didn’t have too many entries from west of the Ontario/Manitoba border, it did have an influx of fast Ontario and Atlantic riders. Those Ontario riders must’ve gone home after last year’s event and told all of their fast friends, because this year there was a real Ontario invasion at this growing event. Ontario riders like Jake and Luke Tricco, Kobi Cox, Nick Cryer, and even BC rider Jacob Piccolo all made their way to Deschambault for the their first ever race inside Quebec.
This year’s event not only featured some of the best amateur racers in Canada, it also added a Straight Rhythm race, a concert, and of course once again, everyone’s favourite, Sunday’s Rockstar Energy Drink MX National. From Wednesday to Sunday, this was the place to be in Canadian motocross. With new additions like a permanent stage and a snack bar added, Mr. Thibault told me that even more improvements are planned for 2018. In talking with the riders and families that travelled to Deschambault for the first time this summer, they all said they couldn’t wait until next year. In just a few short years, the ECAN at Deschambault has become one of the largest events in Canada. Judging by everyone’s posts on Social Media after this summer’s event, it will be even bigger in 2018 and beyond.
For the 2017 ECAN, MXP sent upstart photographer Summer Denzler to cover the entire week at Deschambault. Summer is a talented 17-year-old from Ohio who loves motocross, travelling, and of course photography. Thankfully, these three things all came together this summer as she and her family travelled right across Canada following the CMRC Pro Nationals. With her brother racing in the MX2 Pro class, this adventure provided a perfect opportunity to not only shoot her favourite sport, but also to see Canada from coast to coast. We hope you enjoy these photos from Summer Denzler @sdenzlerphotography.