The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

Well as they say in Hollywood, “That’s a wrap!” After four months and 17 rounds, the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Series finally concluded on Saturday evening in Salt Lake City. It was most certainly an entertaining series with action at every single round. It was also the first time in two years that the SX series ran in a normal fashion with fans and races right across the country. To celebrate this return to normal Eli Tomac proved that his switch to the Blu Cru was the correct move as he took home his second SX Championship. Sadly, due to a knee injury, Tomac was unable to race the final round but he was in SLC to sign autographs as well as a new contract for 2023. This will most likely be Tomac’s final contract of his long and successful career and by accounts, it’s an SX-only deal for next year. Tomac will attempt to defend his 2022 SX title and then ride off into the Colorado sunset with his family. What a season it was for Eli Tomac and his Star Racing Yamaha Team as they not only won the 450SX title, but they also battled through a lot of adversity, and on Saturday night in SLC they also captured the 250SX West Championship with Christian Craig. Two out three ain’t bad as the late great Meatloaf used to say.

Craig SLC SX 22
After many years of trying Christian Craig finally won the 250SX West SX Championship. Photo by Matt Wellumson

So how about Christian Craig and him winning his first-ever SX Championship. At 30 years old, it’s most certainly been a long road for Craig and during his journey, he’s experienced everything from serious injuries, thoughts of retirement, and also as recent as a few seasons ago and doping ban brought on by the over-politicized and sometimes unfair FIM. However, Craig and his family persevered and now, finally, they are champions and no one can ever take that away from them. By the sounds of it, Craig will be moving up to the 450 class full-time in 2023 as a member of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team. This is great news and it was an incredible moment on Saturday night watching the emotional Craig celebrate his 250SX West Championship. Finally, how cool was it to see Cole Thompson end up 16th overall in the 250SX West Series? Cole only race five rounds of the series but he was still able to hang inside the Top 20 when all was said and done. As I said above, what a series it was this year and it was entertaining to see it end with some serious action in the 450SX main event on Saturday evening.

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One thing is clear, Justin Barcia will do whatever it takes to find success in SX.

Malcolm Stewart most certainly earned some new fans and whether you love Justin Barcia or hate him? You have to admit that he is a racer and he doesn’t mind doing whatever it takes to find success. Was his move on Mookie dirty? Of course, it was IMO! But on a hard-to-pass track with third place in the series points and thousands of dollars on the line, I believe that as a racer at the level you have to at least try and make that move. As the late Ayrton Senna once said, “If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver.” Barcia paid the price with the fans afterward but on the podium, he stuck to his guns and wasn’t swayed by the boos coming from the cheap seats. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and look forward to both the Lucas Oil MX Championships as well as the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Series.

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The Auburn Hills Raceway track looks a little different than it did 20 years ago, but not much.
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The biggest change at Auburn Hills was most certainly the paddock area.

Moving on from SX to yesterday’s return to one of the old Ontario tracks from years ago. The first time I raced at Auburn Hills Raceway was in 1995 and instantly it was one of my favourite tracks in Ontario. In those days, I liked it for several reasons, including its layout, how the lines develop, and how at the time it rewarded cerebral riders. Yes, even the original Auburn Hills track demanded every second of your attention because if you let your mind wander, even for a moment, you could find yourself either on the ground or in an unfavourable situation. What I saw yesterday was a new and improved Auburn Hills Raceway as so much work has been done during the past eight months that parts of the beautiful property are unrecognizable compared to 20 years ago. The track layout is pretty much the same, but it’s much wider and has more of a man-made feel to it. I do like how the track crew kept the layout the same and for an old guy like me, it was easy to sit on the side of one of the many hills and picture what it was like to race around there in 1998 on a screaming CR125. The biggest change to the facility from two decades ago was with the paddock area. Back then you couldn’t find a level parking spot if you tried, but since not many of us travel to races in big campers and trailers it didn’t really matter. Fast forward to now and Auburn Hills paddock has been leveled and endless truckloads of gravel and fill have been brought in to ensure that almost everyone has a decent parking spot. With great weather, incredible track preparation, and great racing, this past weekend was most certainly a successful return to one of the epic Ontario tracks. Also, it was Mother’s Day, and what a great way to celebrate one of the most special days of the year! The next AMO Racing event at Auburn Hills is scheduled for the final weekend of August so if you missed yesterday then you’re going to want to race this scenic track then.

Whispering Pines track sign
The Triple Crown Series is fast approaching and the media events begin this week. Lissimore Photo

Well, we are officially four weeks out from the opening round of the 2022 Triple Crown Series in Kamloops BC. As I mentioned a few weeks back, once the riders, teams, and pretty much everyone involved with the series reaches this point it’s most certainly “Go Time!” This week for me is going to feel like the Nationals are getting close as I have a couple of Triple Crown Series events to take part in. First, tomorrow at Walton Raceway we are doing a photoshoot and media day with the Thor/Kawasaki/Pro Circuit Team. I haven’t been to Walton Raceway or Motocross Town as it’s also known in a while so I’m looking forward to heading back. Then on Thursday, I’m off to Gopher Dunes for the Honda/GDR/Fox Racing Team media day. While there I’m going to be talking to team riders Dylan Wright and Ryder McNabb as well as getting to watch them ride their 2022 race bikes. This is going to be a great week as it’s starting to feel like the Triple Crown Series is now just around the corner. Our staff photographer James Lissimore has flown out from BC this week so look for some great photos and coverage from both of these events this week.

I hope all of our incredible Moto moms had a great Mother’s Day yesterday!

Well, that is it for me this week as I have to prepare for the busy week ahead. I hope everyone had a great weekend and I hope everyone had an amazing Mother’s Day! Please have a safe week and fun week riding and enjoying everything that mid-May has to offer in Canada. Thank you for reading!

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The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

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