Welcome to this week’s Honda Canada Racing Monday Gate Drop. The countdown is now on for MXP Magazine travelling to California to ride the all-new 2018 CRF250R. This new bike is Honda’s next generation 250F, and we cannot wait to ride it at the awesome Zaca Station MX track. Look for a full test report as well as updates during our ride day. It all happens next week so please stay tuned.
I hope everyone had a great weekend riding or doing whatever it was that you did. Our outdoor riding season is definitely slowing down as the weather is starting to be hit and miss. In Ontario this coming weekend, Gopher Dunes is hosting their annual Vet and Vintage race. Last year’s event was an absolute blast with GDR Honda rider Colton Facciotti riding an old CR500. On Saturday, the gate will drop one more time this season at Gopher Dunes. With a very cool track design and very nice weather in the forecast, this race is going to be very cool.
Out in Armstrong, BC, the 2017/18 Future West Canadian AX Championships kicks off with a host of very fast pro riders from Canada and the USA. The Armstrong arena is the smallest venue that this series visits, so you know the racing is going to be tight and entertaining. Our new 2017 MX2 Champion, Shawn Maffenbeier, will be racing the series, as well as his teammate, Jess Pettis. With this being the only series going on in Canada over the next few months, all eyes will be on BC this weekend. After this weekend in Armstrong, the Future West series moves west to Chilliwack, BC for the next three rounds in November, December, and then again in early February. This year you’ll see a few more riders from the east make the trek out to this series. As we speak, Ontario 85cc rider Evan Stewart is out in BC preparing for the opening round this weekend. Good luck to all of the riders this weekend as the official Canadian AX season kicks off.
Well, whether you watched it on television, on your computer, or whether you were there, the 2017 Monster Energy Cup took place this past weekend in Las Vegas. Over the past few years this event has always provided a lot of excitement as it has been the first time to see our favourite riders on a SX track in some time. For the riders, the Monster Energy Cup provides a great chance to test new settings and provide important feedback before they head into their official 2018 preparation. For fans, anytime we’re able to watch a SX with the City of Las Vegas as its backdrop, it’s pretty cool. Also, with the City of Entertainment still reeling from the awful shootings two weeks ago, this year’s event took place with some very heavy hearts.
As far as the racing went on Saturday evening, you had to feel bad for the riders that weren’t even able to make it through the opening main event of the night. Justin Bogle, Tim Gasjer and Eli Tomac all crashed out in the first race of the night and were done for the evening. All three riders ended up being okay, despite hitting the hard Vegas dirt. I was very surprised to see Eli Tomac make the mistake that he did while chasing Marvin Musquin. Obviously, the track was extremely slippery in the opening main event, but that was a very strange mistake from Tomac, and he’s lucky he wasn’t injured. With Tomac out, this really opened the door for Musquin to walk away with the victory and the million dollars that went with it. Other than watching some of our sport’s best riders race on a SX track, the racing on Saturday evening wasn’t the most exciting that we’ve seen. Also, for anyone out there who thinks some of our top Canadian riders should jump in and race SX, what happened to Tim Gasjer certainly showed just how tough it is to race a SX with very little preparation. Tim is one of the best riders in the world and he was also racing a full-on factory Honda in Las Vegas. To see how hard he crashed was scary. Hopefully everyone who crashed on Saturday night is okay and it won’t hamper their future training efforts. Congratulations to Marvin Musquin on a great ride in Vegas. Yes, he was the fastest rider at the MEC, but to ignore the pressure and to get the job done was pretty cool to watch.
There was only one Canadian rider on the starting line in Vegas and that was young Ben Kongmany in the KTM KJSC race. The KJSC race at the MEC features all of the winners from the KJSC races during this year’s Monster Energy SX Series. The rider that wins this event ends up taking home the KTM50 that he raced on Saturday night so it’s a pretty big deal. With Ben winning the Toronto SX round, he was invited to compete this weekend in Las Vegas. During the short three lap main event, Ben got off to a decent start, made a few passes and ended up finishing in fourth overall. It was a great ride and hopefully one that he was proud of. Considering it was also his birthday, I’m sure it was one of the best birthdays he’s ever had. With the Monster Energy Cup now over, everyone can switch their attention to this coming weekend’s Red Bull Straight Rhythm event in California. As everyone knows by now, there is a very cool two-stroke class which will see Chad Reed take on Ryan Villopoto and Ronnie Mac. What the Monster Energy Cup lacked in hype, I’m sure this event will more than make up for. Fans love two-strokes and older riders so this event has everything they need. It all goes down this Saturday in Pomona, CA.
Well, that is it me this week. I hope everyone has a safe week riding and good luck to everyone racing this weekend. In one final piece of industry news, a deal is in the making for Jetwerx to buy the CMRC, so look for the press release to come out soon. I will reach out to Mark Stallybrass as well as Justin Thompson to get their thoughts on this changing of the guard deal. One thing is for sure, our industry might be small, but it’s sure never boring! Have a great week everyone!!