One thing you can count on with the Honda Canada/GDR/Fox Racing Team is that each year they will do a few very cool things. This past Tuesday, down at Gopher Dunes, Derek Schuster and his successful race team held their second annual race team intro/media day for the industry to attend. Not only were most of Canada’s media there, but so were the riders and personnel from each of the team’s sponsors. The weather was also perfect, so from 10 am-2 pm, we all enjoyed each other’s company while celebrating the beginning of a new race season.
The day got underway with a press conference in the room that normally serves as the GDR Team’s gym. After some introduction and a description of what the day would entail, MC Ryan Gauld introduced Jetwerx CEO Justin Thompson. During his five-minute interview, Justin spoke about the upcoming Triple Crown Series, specifically the opening round in Edmonton and the WSX round in Vancouver. Listening to the upcoming series being talked about instantly got everyone excited about what’s to come early next month. The opening round in Edmonton will be a mix of SX/MX, with the track leaning more toward the MX side of things. It’s very exciting, and it was great to hear that the city of Edmonton is firmly behind this event. With just over three weeks to go before round one, it’s definitely time to start getting excited.
After Justin Thompson left the stage, it was time to bring up Derek Schuster and of course, the two people that everyone wanted to hear from, Dylan Wright and Jacob Piccolo. With this team’s success over the past several years, it was great to hear Derek talk once again about how the team operates. There are no passengers on the GDR Honda Team, as everyone has a job to do, and as the team owner, Derek leads his crew by example. It was also interesting to hear from Dylan Wright and his new teammate Piccolo as they both spoke about their off-season training at Jett and Hunter Lawrence’s facility in Florida and the upcoming summer. It was clear that these two are ready to go and win more championships this summer.
As the press conference wrapped up with some final words from key people at Honda Canada and Fox Racing, everyone was moved outside and back to the main Gopher Dunes track so we could all watch Dylan and Jacob spin a few laps on their finely tuned race bikes. This was the best part of the day for most, as the sun was shining, and the riders were doing some big whips over one of the biggest jumps on the track. After watching the riders entertain for 45 minutes, we returned to the shop and under the GDR Honda Team race truck tent for a tasty lunch. There is something about gourmet pizza and bench racing that just go together!
After lunch, it was time to call it a day and begin my long journey back home. During my two-hour drive home, I reflected not only on the day but also on how great the racing will be this summer. Other than listening to Derek Schuster talk about his team and the upcoming season, my favourite part of the day was a behind-the-scenes chat with Dylan Wright, where he was filling me in on all of the changes they’ve made to his 2023 CRF450R. For the first time in a long time, Dylan is coming into the season completely healthy, so you have to think that he could be even better than he was in 2022. On paper, it will be hard to beat his perfect season from last year. However, Dylan said that even with all of the moto wins there was still a lot of room for improvement. As far as his new teammate goes, Piccolo looked and sounded as fit and as confident as he ever has, and I think we can all agree that he’s a title favourite in the 250 class this summer. As you can tell, it was a great day at Gopher Dunes, and thankfully James Lissimore was there and sent us these amazing photos.