Well, that was a great weekend of racing! Between the Washougal National in the USA and the grand return to racing at Riverglade Raceway, we were treated to action on both Saturday and Sunday. In the Lucas Oil Motocross Championships, Chase Sexton was finally able to interrupt Eli Tomac’s winning streak and took home the 450 overall. If you haven’t watched any of the 450 motos this summer you have to at least check out the highlights on YouTube. The speed and the endurance of Eli Tomac and Chase Sexton are incredible right now as they’re able to go wide open for 35 minutes without slowing down. Last weekend they battled in Millville, yesterday it was fans in Washougal that got treated to the Tomac/Sexton show. For the past four rounds, it’s been Tomac coming out on top but on Saturday it was Sexton. The riders will now get two weekends off before resuming the series at Unadilla. On August 13th.
With Tomac and Sexton pretty much sure bets for the two big bike classes at the MXoN event at Red Bud, the only question that remains is who is going to race the 250 class. So far the talk has centered around the possibility of moving 450 class riders Justin Barcia or Christian Craig down to a 250. Barcia was even spotted riding a 250 this week at a local track in California. Also, Barcia rides his 450 like a 250 so maybe he would a good pick. Of course, so would Craig considering that he raced one in SX earlier this year and won a title. However, after Justin Cooper’s moto win and riding of late, I think you’d be a fool not to pick him for the 250 spot. For one, he’s coming off a serious injury that caused him to miss all of the SX season so right now he’s fresh and motivated to win races. You have to assume that from now until Red Bud he’s only going to get stronger and he’ll definitely be one of the favourites to win the MX2 class. Finally, as J Coop mentioned in an interview on Saturday night him not being part of the title fight this summer has allowed the team to try things on the bike that they couldn’t last year. He admitted that because he was battling for the championship last year he and his team couldn’t risk doing anything too radical with his bike. He wasn’t happy with his bike in 2021 but this year he said he loves where his bike is at. I predict that if Team USA consists of Tomac/Sexton and Cooper then they will win the 2022 MXoN on their home soil!
As for Team Canada, we are in a similar position to Team USA as I think our 450 riders are set. I mean, Dylan Wright is a sure thing if he remains as healthy as he is now. As for the other 450 rider? How do you not pick Tyler Medaglia as he’s probably riding as good as he has in years. Tyler is steady and since he’s been to this event multiple times nerves won’t be an issue. The big question is who do you pick to ride 250 as we have a couple of riders that could go and do a good job. Our defending Triple Crown Series 250 Champion Jacob Piccolo went last year and showed some great speed. But to me, there’s been something missing from his riding this summer, and now that he’s had to sit out a round with an injury, who knows what the immediate future holds for Piccolo. Ryder McNabb would obviously be a great pick as it’s looking like he’s going to win the 250 title this year. With four motos to go, he leads the championship by 20 points. Anything can happen but since the series has come east McNabb has gotten himself healthy and right now he’s the best 250 rider in Canada. Two other riders who could work in the 250 class are Tanner Ward and Jess Pettis. Ward raced SX on a 250 earlier this year and could easily adapt to it again if he knew he was headed to Red Bud to represent Canada. As for Pettis, I’m assuming he’ll be ready to get back on a bike soon and that would give him ample time to get himself in race shape for Red Bud. Since he spent all winter training on a 250 I think he’d be very fast on one if he was healthy. It’s great that we have a decent list of riders to choose from this year but it does complicate the process for sure. As we sit here today I think you’d have to go with Wright/Medaglia/McNabb as picks for Team Canada. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough who is on the team as Team Manager Carl Bastedo has a little time to finalize things. I know from talking to the teams and potential riders last week they’re all getting antsy to find out what is going on as an event like this can take weeks and even months to plan and budget.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this weekend the Triple Crown Series returned to the east coast for the first time since 2019. The Riverglade National is always an exciting one and over the years we’ve seen some of the best attendance numbers of the series there. East Coast fans love our national series and judging by the photos from yesterday the facility was once again packed. Between the WMX, the Pre-Mix, and both pro classes, everyone inside the Riverglade gates got treated to some great racing. With hot and humid conditions the track crew ripped the track deep and laid down a ton of water before the opening practice sessions. This made the track muddy and rutted for qualifying and the morning motos but by the afternoon the track was in classic national track shape. By the time the second motos left the gate in the late afternoon, the track was gnarly rough and rutted and probably one of the most challenging Riverglade tracks we’ve ever seen. Hats off to the Riverglade crew as they did an outstanding job all weekend long.
As I mentioned the racing was exciting all day, however, we didn’t witness the battles or the drama that we did last weekend at SDL. Even the 250 class was a little quieter this weekend as the McNabb, Harrison, Piccolo, Natzke battle never materialized. Piccolo actually sat out the motos yesterday as his hand was too injured to race. Sitting out the motos pretty much put an end to Piccolo repeating as 250 champion which to me is very strange. He was so smooth and consistent throughout the early rounds but in the past few weeks things started to unravel. As I said above, something is missing from Piccolo’s riding lately and I don’t know exactly what it is. He did have a big crash last weekend and that no doubt slowed him down this week, but even before that something was going on. Anyway, Piccolo was talking a few weeks ago about the possibility of moving to the 450 class for 2023 so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. Another year on a 250 might be a good idea as he’s still getting stronger and gaining experience. Mitchell Harrison had a tough day at Round 7 as a flat tire in Moto 1 pushed him far back in the results. Even in Moto 2, Harrison didn’t have anything for McNabb or Natzke and that was concerning considering he’s now in a must-win situation. As for McNabb, he picked a great day to have a great day and I think his dominating second moto win was his best moto as a professional so far.
For the second weekend in a row, it was a double-class win for the GDR Honda Team as Dylan Wright won his 16th moto and 7th overall in a row. In fact, if you go back to Round 7 last year in Deschambault and Dylan has won the last 19 450 motos. That’s pretty remarkable if you ask me. This weekend was also a little extra challenging for Dylan as he suffered a broken rib in a practice crash on Thursday. However, not even a broken rib could stop Dylan from once again winning both motos yesterday in front of Tyler Medaglia and Shawn Maffenbeier. It was also great to see Christopher Blackmer not only back on track after his big crash at SDL but also finishing on the podium in the opening moto. This kid is fast and obviously tough as nails as he most certainly hit the ground hard last weekend. Blackmer also had the fastest lap time in Moto 1 as he led for the opening five laps.
So the stage is now set for Round 8 at one of the most beautiful tracks and facilities we have in Canada. The Deschambault National is a favourite among the riders and let’s face it, who doesn’t love racing in Quebec. But first up is the ECAN which kicks off on Thursday with an open practice. Racing begins early on Friday and each class will have three motos throughout Friday and Saturday. It should be an exciting weekend as this awesome event always produces great racing on the track and some entertaining events away from the track as well.
Finally, I want to give a big congratulations to Jeremy McKie who finished third overall yesterday in the 250 class. Jeremy is a great kid who always has time to talk and tell his story. He’s always honest about what is going on and by talking to him you just know that he’s working as hard as he can every weekend. Well, it all came together on Sunday and Jeremy had his best national finish of his young career. On the flip side, two other great Canadian kids had a terrible day yesterday and ended up spending hours in a local Moncton hospital. In the opening 250 moto, Tyler Gibbs and Devyn Smith came together near the mechanic’s area and went down hard. It’s kind of a strange part of the track to have a hard crash on but from the reports I’ve heard both riders ended up hitting the ground hard and their bikes followed them in. Anyway, I spoke to Tyler last night and after getting checked out doctors found a couple of fractures in his back. They told him that they weren’t too concerned and that time will heal them just fine. As for Devyn, he had to undergo emergency surgery last night to repair some internal injuries. By all accounts, the surgery went well and Devyn will have to remain in the hospital for a few days so they can monitor his progress. This sport is so amazing and 99% of the time we arrive at the track in the morning, have a solid day of racing, share some laughs and stories with our fellow riders and then leave the track in the evening and hit the road again. Both of these talented young BC riders are great examples of everything pure about our sport in Canada. They’re both great riders on the track as well as great kids off of the track. They also have supporting families that want to see them do well but mostly just want to see them have a safe day at the track. Well, sadly yesterday they didn’t and whatever things like this happen we’re quickly reminded of just how fast our day can change. Thankfully, both riders should recover just fine, and hopefully, we’ll see them back on the track soon. At the best of times, it’s not easy lying in a hospital waiting to hear what the prognosis is, but when you’re thousands of miles from home it’s even worse. However, we’ve all been there and there is some comfort in knowing that not only do you have your family and close friends thinking of you but you also have an entire sport and industry preying for your quick recovery.
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week and a safe week at the ECAN. It’s hard to believe that we’re almost into August and almost to the day when we have to pack up and head to Walton Raceway for the 30th running of the Walton TransCan. Yes, summer is rolling by fast and like always it seems like we’re just along for the ride. Take care and thank you for reading.