This weeks 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.
As I sit here and compose this week’s Monday Gate Drop, me and my fellow Air Canada passengers are somewhere over Texas, I believe, on our way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Up until about two months ago when we booked this vacation, the only time that I had really thought about Puerto Vallarta was when I was a child and my sister used to watch the television show “Love Boat,” and they always used to stop at that city. It was always about the time in the show when Gopher, Doc or one of the other crew members would fall in love with one of the passengers. Of course, they would then get into a fight, break-up, and then fall back in love before the show ended, much to the delight of the ship’s head honcho, Captain Stubing, who just loved it when a plan came together. Actually it was the A-Team who loved it when a plan came together; I think Captain Stubing was just happy that he was able to get his ship back to port without a major catastrophe. Thinking back, there were very few things better than television shows in the 1980s.
Anyway, here I am sitting at 37,000 feet on my way to our first real family vacation in four years. Since our 2012 cruise, we have been to places like South Carolina, Calgary, and even California for a weekend. However, those trips all had something to do with motocross, whether it be riding or watching a race. This is a true vacation; no bikes, no hockey, just fun in the sun and watching the sunsets on the Pacific Ocean. Although, if our resort has bikes or ATVs to rent then maybe, just maybe my son and I will have to moto. Like really, what is a vacation without a little motorized fun?
Things in our sport were pretty quiet this past week as everyone I’m sure is now thinking about the upcoming holidays. The 2017 Future West AX Series wrapped up last weekend in Chilliwack, BC with MX101 FXR Yamaha rider Jess Pettis winning the Championship. This was very well deserved win for Pettis as he’s battled back from numerous injuries in recent years. This is also a proud moment for his family, who have been right at Jess’s side since the beginning. Although motocross is the most intense individual sport on the planet, it takes a supportive team behind each rider to be successful. I think back to my racing days when my family and I would load up our truck every weekend and travel to the track. We all walked the racing tight rope together for a lot of years. When I finished well, my entire family was happy, when things didn’t go well, we all hung our heads together.
I remember when I broke my femur at a race in Cobourg, Ontario in June of 1990. With the race being so close to Peterborough and Brighton, ON (the two cities where most of my relatives reside) everyone from my Aunts and Uncles to my elderly Grandparents were on hand to watch me race. Well, on lap two of the second 125 moto, while trying to keep Jeff Surwall in sight, I made a small error in the whoop section and went over the bars. While it was probably the slowest and most gentle crash of my career, I could not get away from the YZ125 and it landed on my right leg, breaking my femur. For a few minutes, there wasn’t really any pain, there was just the realization that I wasn’t able to get up because something was obviously very wrong. Once we figured out that my leg was probably broken, I was put on a stretcher, carried by my numerous family members and put into a waiting ambulance.
With all of my relatives in tow, I was driven to the local hospital for care. While I was being treated, the emergency doctor asked me if I was famous. When I replied with a curious “Why?” he said that the entire waiting room was full with my family members, all worried about how I was doing. As my condition worsened, the doctors decided to call an air ambulance and transfer me to a bigger hospital in Toronto. I’ll never forget getting wheeled out of the hospital with a bunch of machines hooked up to me and into a waiting helicopter, with all of my relatives waving to me and wishing me well. Obviously, I ended up being okay and lived to race another day. However, my somewhat long winded point is that even though the riders are on the track all by themselves, it takes a big support team behind them. And they all live and die by their rider’s results. Next time I see Jess Pettis’s dad Doug, I think I’m going to give him a big congratulatory hug!
I was also pretty happy to hear that after winning his AX title, Pettis loaded up his potent YZF250 and headed south to California to prepare for Anaheim 1. With Cole Thompson racing on the east coast in 2017, having Pettis and Brock Leitner to cheer for on the west coast is going to be cool. I feel like Pettis, in particular, is really going to surprise a lot of people in the West 250SX class. I know the stage is going to be big, but if he can maintain his high level of confidence and continue to get good starts, I don’t see why Pettis won’t be a top 5-10 LCQ rider to start, and maybe get himself into a main event. BC riders have a long history of success in West Coast SX, so hopefully Pettis and Leitner can carry on that rich tradition.
As I mentioned last week, MXP, Honda Racing GDR Fox Racing, James Lissimore and their riders all got together to shoot a cover photo of new MX2 Honda rider Dylan Wright. To make things even more exciting for the future of all involved, Wright is continuing his well composed ‘Wright Out of the Gate’ bi-weekly column on this web site. His first blog went live this week and I’m telling you that this kid can write (no pun intended). In case you missed it this week, here is the link http://www.mxpmag.com/honda-canada-racing-fox-canada-presents-words-dylan-wright-wright-gate/ With Casey Keast, Marco Cannella and now Dylan Wright, we definitely have a great line up of young riders showcasing their writing skills. If any riders out there want to write something and have it published on our website, go for it! Write something and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post it. This is a great way to either talk about your past season, your upcoming plans, or to thank your family and sponsors who make your racing possible.
Finally, don’t forget about our Honda Canada Racing sponsored contest where we’re giving away two pairs of tickets to the 2017 Toronto SX. All you have to do is tell us how many Canadian MX1 Pro Championships Honda has won since 2000? Email me your answer and if it’s correct, you’ll be entered. The draw will be made on December 22nd and the two lucky winners will be contacted. Good luck, and I hope everyone has a great week! It’s hard to believe that next week will be the week before Christmas. I guess it’s almost time to get some shopping done.