For this week’s Yamaha Motor Canada Behind the Lens, we travel back to the final round of the 2017 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals in Barrie, ON. Back in the 1990s and into the turn of the century, RJ Motosport Park track used to be a staple of our national series. Then after a lengthy hiatus, this famous track was once again back on the schedule last year as the final round. With this sandy track replacing the long standing Walton Raceway as the series bookend event, our sometimes nostalgic industry didn’t really give RJ’s much of a chance of being able to hold a quality national event again.
Well, thanks in part to the efforts of the RJ’s staff, as well as the CMRC and its series crew, this track was a great host to the final round, both last year as well as this year. For 2017, both the MX2 Championship and the MX1 Championship came down to the final moto of the series at RJ’s, and the rough and challenging track provided a perfect canvas for this drama-filled story to unfold. With its sandy soil, a long fast start straight, and great views for spectating, RJ’s was a fan favourite of the series. As a rider from Ontario, I spent a lot of time riding this track during my younger days, and it was great to see it come full circle and be back on the national schedule.
With changes coming in 2018 and the national series now becoming the Rockstar Energy Drink Triple Crown, the round at RJ’s is once again gone from the 2018 schedule and most likely won’t return for some time. As much as this move is understood and accepted by the industry, it’s still a shame that the series will once again lose an iconic track. This James Lissimore photo was taken in the early hours of Sunday’s final round and is one of my favourite photos of the summer. It doesn’t show any type of action or any of the riders, but it does show just how peaceful a national track looks just prior to the powerful bikes going out for practice.