Before actually doing it, I have wondered what it’s like to take the next step from racing locally to competing in the Canadian Pro Nationals. I asked myself, is there really a big difference besides the speed and skill level in the pro ranks? The answer to my question is yes, there is a lot of new challenges to adapt to when opening this new chapter in your racing career. Some of these challenges are the timed qualifiers, large classes full of some of the fastest racers, and a big one, your own thoughts inside your head. Showing up at my first pro national race was a little intimidating especially when I saw who I was lined up against.
One major aid to coping with my thoughts was trusting in myself and all of the hard work I’ve put in to get ready during the off season. Having a strong base to support yourself is the best thing you can have. I knew this before, but fitness definitely plays a big role in your results at the pro races. Never mind racing the fifteen minute motos that I was used to. I would now have to race thirty minutes on some of the roughest tracks against 39 of the fastest racers if I made it in! The endurance to be able to charge during the whole moto is something many racers lack, so I made sure I had a steady training schedule for several months before racing. I know that the best athletes in our sport have years of fitness and specific programs to fall back on so they can progress and improve their results. There were often days where I didn’t feel like putting the work in but I knew having better fitness than my competition would definitely help me in a sport of such demand. Therefore I worked hard and gave every day of training my all-out effort.
When my day started at the Kamloops, BC National, I noticed an area where fitness helped me. That was in my timed qualifying moto that took place early in the morning. In this particular moto I had about twenty minutes to pull off a fast lap amongst the 38 fastest guys. This was a bit challenging given the bigger crowd of racers that showed up for the day. In this moto I simulated sprints while cycling, trying to push hard for at least one fast lap to make it into the main event. After the qualifier ended I knew I made some mistakes and I fell once which would disturb my lap time for those laps. I found myself placing forty-fifth fastest out of seventy-four guys. The last guy to take the qualifying position was just over a second faster than my fastest time. The lap times of the five guys ahead of me was all within a second. This tells me that if I was a little more constant with my riding I would have made it into the main event no problem. The next place I had to go was the last chance qualifier (LCQ) where they will take the top two fastest lap times.
When we were set loose onto the track for the LCQ I found myself at the front of the thirty-six rider moto. After the first few turns I moved into the lead and I felt fast. I was riding with the throttle right to the stop on my stock Yamaha 250 two-stroke! Soon on the same fast lap I cross-rutted on a double and was thrown over the bars, and as I fell the bike came landing on top of me. I got up as fast as I could, shook it off, and got back on my bike to, again, try to pull my first fast lap of the session. I managed to increase my lap time from the first qualifier but I didn’t manage to make it into the main event.
With everything that happened in the morning of that day I still felt confident with myself as I know I can make it into the next pro national I try to qualify for. For me I feel like one of the big differences with the pro national over a local race is the intensity of racing and how hard you need to be able to push to get the results you’re looking for. After going through this new learning experience, I have picked out certain aspects in which I will be working on, so I can progress my young career as a Canadian motocross racer.