This week’s Gate Drop is once again brought to you by the fine people at Honda Canada Racing. With the upcoming release of the all new 2017 CRF450, Honda is looking to get back to the very top of this sport in the MX1 class. With a long history of winning races and championships, Honda Canada has prided itself on having the best riders riding the best equipment. We at MXP Magazine are very proud to have Honda Canada Racing as a presenting sponsor of this Monday Gate Drop.
Let me first start off by apologizing for my tardiness in getting this week’s Monday Gate Drop written up. This week is extra busy here at MXP as we have an issue of the magazine heading to press on Thursday evening. As you can imagine, whenever it’s deadline time things get a little hectic getting a few last minute tasks completed. I was also away all of last weekend (more on that in a minute) and didn’t return home until late on Monday evening, just in time to clean up and get my son ready for his first day of school yesterday.
As we all wrapped up our Labour Day weekend and sent our kids back to school, it’s always a good time to reflect on what we did this summer. I hope everyone had a great summer, or at the very least, carry forward some good memories. It’s hard to believe that we have now officially said goodbye to the summer of 2016. I remember back before it began in May, the summer of 2016 had so much hype and promise. As it turned out, almost every event was memorable in its own way and I cannot begin to put into words the amount of great racing that I was able to witness, from Davi Millsaps, Cole Thompson and numerous other MX gods at our nationals to the youth of our sport at all of the amateur events I attended. The calibre of riding was the best I’ve ever seen in this country, and I can’t wait to see it continue at the 2016 MxoN in Italy in a few weeks, as well as when we move our sport indoors next month.
I think it’s always been unique and very interesting how our sport is separated into two very different disiplines, indoors and outdoors. Obviously, both are very demanding in their own right and both call for different skills. Over the years we’ve seen different riders excel in one type of racing over the other. Some say that outdoor motocross is tougher with its high demand of fitness, while others say the high level of technical skill needed for SX makes it the harder type of racing. In my opinion, both are extremely difficult and my respect goes out to those who are able to master both. Every rider begins their career racing outdoor motocross as it’s the grassroots of this sport. However, we’re seeing more and more of our younger riders getting used to the tight confines of SX or AX racing at a very early age. These days, it’s never been easier to get access to some technical SX or AX tracks to practice one. In fact, Gopher Dunes recently built a new AX practice track and it’s now open to the public. The new track looks fun and if you want to try it out before the 2016 AX Tour Series begins in a few weeks, just check the Gopher Dunes website at www.gopherdunes.com for their hours of operation.
So with some AX in our near future, this past weekend was time for some very cool outdoor racing in Michigan. I must admit that usually during this time of the year I’m kind of in a recharging mode as I’m recovering from a busy summer. Well, as I’ve written a few times, this past summer was extra busy for me and without a doubt a little more stressful than usual. However, for whatever reason I feel pretty fresh, and for that reason I decided to load up and take my son racing at one of my favourite and most sentimental tracks, Baja Acres.
The first time I ever travelled to Baja to race was exactly 30 years ago when I was still racing in the 85cc class. Back then the fast 85 riders were John Kitch, Brian Swink and Eric McLear. These three riders would battle it out in almost every moto with Kitch being the better (and older) rider in 1986. Once I raced at Baja I was hooked, and from that first race in 1986 to my final race there in the fall of 1989, I raced up and down those sandy hills many times. So after 27 years I figured it was a good idea to return and let my son compete in the annual Baja Brawl.
Over the past few years the Baja Brawl has become one of the biggest amateur events in North America with national points available and event sponsorship from Monster Energy. With practice beginning on Friday morning and the final motos ending on Monday afternoon, this four day event is wide open to say the least. There are amateur motos for each age group, pro motos on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a WMX National on Saturday, a belly flop contest, pit bike races and whatever else you can think of over the four days. With 781 entries and riders from as far away as Texas, this year’s event was the largest to date. Also, with the track’s close proximity to the Sarnia/ Port Huron border, there were a ton of Canadians on hand including top pros Nathan Bles, Kyle Keast, Taylor Ciampichini and our Eastern Women’s Champion Eve Brodeur.
For us anyway, it was a great weekend, and although my son wasn’t battling for any titles in the 65cc classes, he did have fun and he improved each time he took to the track. Also, the fact that it had been so long since I had been to Baja Acres and with so much happening since my last visit, it definitely is a very special place for me. And while the track has changed slightly over the past 30 years, much of it still remains the same so it was very cool to watch my little guy race on the same track as I did so long ago. The Baja Brawl is definitely not cheap to attend, but if you want a great event for the entire family with some incredible racing, then next year you should go. Over the past few years I’ve heard many people talk about how cool the Baja Brawl is. Well, now I can say that I agree completely.
So that is it for me this week. I hope all of the kids out there are having a great week at school. It may not be as exciting as racing around a dirt bike track and flying over jumps, but if you’re smart enough to know how to ride a dirt bike, then you’re smart enough to figure out how to do well in school. ‘Good’ is different for everyone, we all know that, but as long as you try as hard as you can and find a way to be the best student you can be, then that’s all anyone can ask of you. Please enjoy the rest of your week, and thank you again to Honda Canada Racing for their continued sponsorship of my column.