This week’s Monday Gate Drop is once again brought to you by the fine people at Honda Canada Racing. With their lead rider Colton Facciotti already training for the 2017 season, Honda Canada and the GDR Fox Racing Team is very excited for what lies ahead. We at MXP Magazine are very proud to have the backing of Honda Canada and we wish them luck on the race track in the future.
I hope everyone had a great week and if you live in most parts of this great Country, winter has finally arrived. Thankfully, I had forgotten what minus temperatures and wind chills felt like. I guess it’s late November, so this is pretty much typical. Before I get rolling here, I want to send a big congratulations out to east coast motocross legend Johnny Montes, who this past weekend got inducted into the Maritime Motorsport Hall of Fame. As you all know, Johnny almost lost his life in 2012 in an auto accident, but has since made an outstanding recovery. I’m sure it was an emotional night for Johnny when he received this incredible honour. Great job to all involved, and enjoy being part of history Johnny.
Speaking of Mr. Montes and one of his favourite races, have you ever made a post on Social Media that just blows up for no apparent reason? This was the case for me on Friday when I posted a photo of myself from 1997 using the hashtag #flashbackfriday. It was a photo of me holeshotting a heat race at the Riviere Du Loup AX on my trusty 1997 CR125, a bike that I absolutely loved, as John Nelson and Chris Bondi had secured a factory Honda ignition for it. That bike was so fast, yet so easy to ride at the same time. Anyway, I posted this photo on Instagram, as well as on Facebook and it turned into the planning of a RDL AX reunion for a bunch of us 1990 riders.
You see, back in the 1990s and early 2000s, almost anyone who was anyone in the pro class attended the RDL AX at least once. In fact, of all the top Canadian riders from that era, only Blair Morgan and Darcy Lange (to the best of my recollection) did not race in this event. Yes, it was that popular as the promoter, Paul Thibault, not only paid start money to most riders, but everyone left the city with a cool story from either the race or the festivities surrounding the event. It didn’t hurt either that the mostly French speaking city welcomed the visiting riders with open arms from the moment they arrived. If a rider went for a walk through the town or the local mall, it wasn’t uncommon that they would get stopped numerous times for an autograph. This was of course back before our Canadian teams had semi-trucks and most riders weren’t getting paid a salary. We had to race to make money and that was, at times, very stressful. That is probably why getting the royal treatment for a few days in late May at the RDL AX was so cool!
After posting my photo on Friday, riders like Carl Vaillancourt, Mike Treadwell, Ryan Lockhart, Chris Shipclark, Mike Jones and Keith Johnson all commented, and it went on and on. With this famous race still taking place each and every May, Paul Thibault even chimed in and invited us all back in 2017 for a legends race. Over the years, so many races come and go and we naturally just think about the next event. However, for anyone who has ever attended the RDL AX, I’m sure they all have at least one or two memories that will stick with them forever.
So from one famous event to another, this week down in Florida is the beginning of the 45th Annual Thor Mini Olympics at Gatorback Cycle Park. For years, this event has coincided with the American Thanksgiving so it’s obviously a huge deal. Since I can remember, Canadians have been attending this race hoping to shine in the spotlight before the official season concludes. This year, we have a host of Canadians to cheer for such as Marco Cannella, Preston Masciangelo, Max Filipek, Tanner Ward, Chloe Metcalfe and Austin Watling, just to name a few. With three different disciplines of racing over the course of the week at Gatorback, all of the riders’ strengths and weaknesses will be put on display. Stay tuned for race results and stories from Florida this week on mxpmag.com. If you want to follow along, the live results link is http://wintero.escoremx.com/liveresults.asp.
This coming weekend, the 2016 Future West AX Championships resume at the spacious Heritage Park Arena in scenic Chilliwack, BC. Series favourites like Jess Pettis, Ross Johnson, Shawn Maffenbeier and Ryan Lockhart will all be looking to pick up where they left off a few weeks ago. With four rounds remaining in this long running series, the race for the championship is wide open in the pro classes. Our staff photographer James Lissimore will be trackside all weekend getting some great photos as he always does. Good luck to all of the riders this weekend!
That is it for me this week, I hope everyone stays warm and please drive safe on the roads, now that they’re getting slippery. Finally, best of luck to all of our riders in Florida this week, we know you’ll all be warm down south.