In a recent issue of MXP Magazine, we not only featured 2014 Canadian MX1 Motocross Champion Colton Facciotti on the cover, but we also looked back to Mike Harden’s unbelievable 1984 500cc Canadian MX Championship. These two championships for Honda Canada are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Honda and winning titles in Canadian motocross. In the 1990’s it was Carl Vaillancourt and Marco Dube who rode a Honda to their Championships. From 2001 to 2006, it was Blackfoot Honda’s Jean Sebastien Roy and Dusty Klatt who reaped the rewards of riding red. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s the Honda Canada Fox GDR Racing Team of Colton Facciotti and Jeremy Medaglia looking to add to Honda’s rich history of success on the track. We would like to welcome Honda Canada as a proud new supporter of this Monday Gate Drop column. If you want to see all of Honda’s line up for 2016, just log onto www.motorcycle.honda.ca.
Welcome to another beautiful Monday as we bask in the glow of yet another race weekend and more importantly, another great Mother’s Day. I hope every Mom out there had an incredible day yesterday doing whatever it was that you were able to do. Judging by the reports on Social Media, a lot of moms spent the day celebrating at the motocross track watching their kids race. It has always amazed me that even though there are many more Mom-friendly places to spend Mother’s Day, our cherished Moto Moms wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as their kids are having fun and the porta-potties are in decent shape, our Moms are a happy bunch. If you ever want to feel bad for a mom at the races, all you have to do is watch them during the start of one of their kid’s motos. They are forced to sit idle while the child they once gave birth to charges into a first turn with a group of riders that would ruthlessly do anything to win. All a mom can do is watch, pace around, fidget and prey for the best, and they do this almost every weekend from April until October. I put my poor mother through it for many years and now she’s forced to go through as a grandma. I don’t know how she’s done it for all of these years, but I have to believe that in some ways, she enjoys every minute of it as it was what her son wanted to do.
So before we celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, the Supercross world watched the final, muddy round of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross Series. Yes, I did say muddy as Las Vegas had to endure a very rare May rainstorm just as the riders were practicing on Saturday afternoon. In just a few short minutes the track and the paddock were turned into a quagmire for the rest of the evening. I guess the only positive was that for the first time in a long time the riders didn’t have to deal with the hard packed and dusty conditions that usually encompass the Las Vegas Supercross. With the 450SX title chase already decided, all eyes were on the 250SX East and West Lites classes as their main event left the gate. With both championships still up for grabs, and the track conditions still very questionable, it was one of those races where anything could happen. Well, almost anything did happen as the title contenders did their best to deal with the track and the pressure of going for a championship. In the end, it was Cooper Webb taking home the 250SX West title and Malcolm Stewart winning the 250SX East title. Both series provided a lot of excitement over the past few months and it was cool to see all of the riders putting on such a great show.
As they have been doing for the past few years, Feld Motorsports released the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross schedule during Friday’s final round press conference. Canadian fans on both sides of the country will have reason to cheer in 2017 as not only is the Toronto Supercross back on March 4th, but also the Seattle SX will return on April 8th. Next year’s series will also see a return to Minneapolis on February 18th and Salt Lake City on April 22nd. The 2017 series will, as always, kick off at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on January 7th, and then stay on the West Coast for the first five rounds. To see Toronto stay on the schedule is very exciting news as this event has become so much more than just a Supercross race for fans and us industry folk. Also, with riders like this year’s Lites Champions moving up to the 450SX class, Ken Roczen reported a move to the Factory Honda Team and more than likely Chad Reed will be returning for one more year; 2017 is going to be very exciting in the world of Supercross. Here is the official 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Schedule.
With the 2016 SX series now in the rear view mirror and next year’s series set in stone, we can now officially turn our attention to outdoor motocross. This past weekend saw Mike Alessi and Vince Friese both say goodbye to their Moto Concepts Hondas and hello to their brand new Monster Energy Alpinestar Kawasakis, which they, along with Jacob Hayes, will begin testing today out in Kamloops. Oh yes, this team will definitely be exciting to watch this summer as they compete for the MX2 and MX1 titles at the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals presented by Motovan. All three riders have shown incredible speed and aggressiveness wherever they take to the track, and when they raced on Canadian soil in the past, they’ve never shied away from controversy. All three are capable of winning motos and championships this summer, and with the backing of Monster Energy, Parts Canada and Canadian Kawasaki Motors, anything is possible. This team’s progress throughout the summer is sure going to be exciting to watch!
Another team that is more than ever ready to compete for podiums and moto wins is the 2016 Big Steel Box Redemption Racing KTM Team. With team leaders Cade Clason and Shawn Maffenbeier, as well as a great supporting cast, this team is very well prepared for what lies ahead. The team’s top MX2 rider Shawn Maffenbeier was on hand yesterday at the CMRC Gopher Dunes Ontario Provincial and he looked great. Shawn’s been training very hard in California all winter and appears very excited to be riding his new KTM. With no races right now in his native Saskatchewan, Shawn is going to stay in Ontario for the next few weeks and do some much needed racing. I know I’m not alone but I’m predicting some very big things from Shawn and from this team in 2016.
Well, that is it for me this week and my Monday Gate Drop presented by Honda Canada Racing. Before I sign off today I want to send out all of our prayers to the people in Ft. McMurray, AB. What they’re going through right now is unimaginable and one can only hope that things improve very soon. This is one of the regions in Canada that has helped lead the way in this country’s success for the past decade, and now they need our help to recover and rebuild. If you’re able to, please support and donate whatever you can to help the people there. Have a great week and please have a safe week. Here is what companies like Honda Canada and their dealers are doing to help the people of Ft. McMurray.
The Honda Canada Foundation along with Canadian Honda Dealers Donate $200,000 to the Canadian Red Cross
Power equipment products also provided to the relief effort
Markham, ON (May 6, 2016) – The Honda Canada Foundation today announced a donation of $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross in support of the Alberta Fires Appeal for use during relief and recovery efforts in the Fort McMurray area affected by recent devastating wildfires. The Honda Canada Foundation has committed to match any donation submitted to the Canadian Red Cross by its associates across the county. The company has also made various in-kind donations of Honda power equipment product to local authorities to aid in relief efforts.
“Honda’s intention is to support the many individuals and families devastated by the recent wildfires in the Fort McMurray area,” said Dave Gardner, Chairman of the Honda Canada Foundation. “As we have responded to past natural disasters at home and abroad, supporting the Canadian Red Cross is an effective way to quickly help those affected. Honda encourages all Canadians to donate to the Canadian Red Cross at this time in order to assist the most vulnerable citizens affected by this severe situation.”
Along with the support from the Honda Canada Foundation, the 232 Canadian Honda dealers have also made a collective contribution of $100,000 towards the relief efforts. The group of Canadian Acura dealerships have taken initiative to provide a generous financial contribution to the Canadian Red Cross as well.
The Honda Canada Foundation is committed to giving back to the communities where its associates and customers live, work and play and is involved with several programs including Earth Rangers Bring Back the Wild, Let’s Talk Science, CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish and Make-A-Wish® Canada.
For more information about the Red Cross or to make a donation, please visit www.redcross.ca.