With the opening round of the 2020 Future West AX Championships in the books and Round’s 3 and 4 coming up this weekend, we decided to give the Race Director Ryan Lockhart a call to get his thoughts on how everything went. With new Covid-19 health protocols in place, the 2020 series has a slightly different with less fans as well as the paddock being moved from inside to outside of the arena. However, even with the changes all appeared to run smooth and as always the racing on the track was superb. Here are Five Questions With Ryan Lockhart brought to you by Atlas Braces.
MXP: Hey Newf, we know your time is like money so let’s get right into it. Overall, how did the opening rounds of the Future West AX Championships go?
RL: I think overall everything went really well and I’m happy. We were all a little nervous coming in as we had to pretty much switch up the entire program due to Covid-19 protocols. However, all of the staff and riders adapted well and we had no major issues throughout the weekend.
MXP: That’s great news as the opening round of any series brings with it some anxiety. The Chilliwack venue really is the perfect building for AX. How was the Kyle Beaton built track for the opening weekend?
The track was really good for the first round. We came in with the mindset to make things very mellow and have a good flowing track. We only had one ambulance ride throughout the weekend which I think speaks volumes about the track and level of safety that we think about when building a track. We had 300 entries each day so it was great to see the track hold up and the riders have fun. Kyle and I have a good process going when he’s building the track, while he’s building it, I’m there testing it out.
MXP: You guys most certainly have a great program going out there. One of the new health protocols was that no one was allowed to pit inside. How was it having the paddock outside?
This was a tough one for us as we have all be spoiled with the indoor pit space. There was no way that we were able to make it happen this year with Covid so everyone adapted nicely with the outdoor pits. This was the biggest reason we are having our events earlier in the year and nothing in January and February as the weather is too risky. We got lucky last weekend with no rain and this weekend looks good as well. Lot of riders are camping with RV’s etc so it’s all working out.
MXP: Hey, during these challenging times you have to do what you have to do. How was the pro racing? It look as though Meston, Benek and Keast were the fastest riders?
The racing was better than I expected. With not being able to have spectators this year we were forced to cut the pro purse so I didn’t really know who was going to show. We had 13 guys in each class which was awesome. Riders from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and our locals made up the field. Julien Benek was real good, it’s too bad Piccolo crashed out in practice and wasn’t able to race, but he’s back in for this weekend. Meston rode great, Casey Keast was super solid and even Brock Hoyer was in the mix. All of the main events were exciting to watch and I expect the same this weekend.
MXP: Unfortunately, like the rest of the country Future West had a shortened season in BC. It must have felt to good to get back indoors and begin this long standing series?
Yes absolutely! We were able to get four weekends of outdoors in Kamloops in Aug/September so that was a great lead up to AX. The outdoor rounds went very well attended with 400 entries at each round. We are fortunate that we’ve been able to do what we’re doing in all honesty with what is going on in the world right now.
MXP Yes definitely, we’re all lucky that we had racing in 2020 at all. Okay, this was only supposed to be five questions but I have one more for you. Any changes for this weekend?
We will make some track changes for sure. Nothing too crazy as it’s a lot of work when you start moving start gates etc. We’ll make a few changes in some of the lanes as well as some new obstacles to keep it fun and fresh for our riders. I’m really looking forward to this second weekend, it’s going to be fun. Before we say good-bye Palms I have to throw a big thanks out to Lesley Reid, Kyle Beaton, the track crew, and all the FWM staff for working so hard to make this happen. It’s a team effort and we couldn’t do it without everyone.
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