In this country we celebrate a few types of important days. There are holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving and of course Easter, but for all of us Canadians that love motocross and are forced to suffer through the long, cold winter, the first day of riding is always a day we rejoice. For most of us the first day of riding comes after being off the bike for many months. While the track conditions may not be ideal, it still feels great to finally wrap your hands around the controls and twist that throttle again.
This was definitely the case Friday at Gopher Dunes as a few hundred Ontario riders gathered in the sand for the first official riding day of 2015. As we drove in the gates and were greeted by many familiar faces, it felt like we were home and finally reunited with our motocross family. After signing in and getting caught up with everyone, we took to the track for a great day of riding. By the looks of it everyone had a good day of riding and it was nice to see so many smiles on people’s faces.
With Moto Park also opening this past weekend, the sounds of dirt bikes could finally be heard all over Ontario; the 2015 riding season has finally begun. While the weather during the week doesn’t look great, by next weekend it looks to improve so you can bet even more riders will be making their way out to ride and prepare for the opening race on April 19th. Gopher Dunes and Moto Park are both open today and will be next weekend also so be ready to hit the track. Of course out west they’ve been riding on and off all winter so it’s no surprise that BC held their first outdoor race of the season this past weekend. One of our senior writers and the host of the Canadian Moto Show, Brent Worrall, sent us this report on what went on out west.
“Hey friends, once again I hope you have all had a great Easter weekend. After all, spring has sprung and moto season is upon us, right? I know many of you across the country had this weekend on your calendar to get some much needed seat time, but once again Mother Nature said, not yet. I am not one that keeps notes on these types of things and try to focus on the positives, but I must say, I seriously feel for anyone who is still enduring winter weather.
In British Columbia our race season kicked off this past weekend with round one of the Vancouver Island Series in Campbell River, plus I just got off the phone with newly announced expectant father, Ryan Lockhart. That’s right, Ryan and his beautiful fiancée, Randi Ormond, are expecting a child. Congratulations to you both. Ryan was amongst 200 plus entries that got their first outdoor Canadian Motocross racing action of the season on the Island under clear skies. The rain the night before provided perfect race day soil conditions allowing the track to rut up, and in Ryan’s opinion, to technical perfection which tested the skill levels of all competitors. Lockhart said that even though the announced numbers of entrants seemed low by his assessment, he was quick to note that the pits and sidelines had a full vibrant feel. Ryan went a perfect 6-6 for winning every moto of the BC Legends class, Pro GP class and Pro MX-1. Ryan Lalonde, a fast Vancouver Island rider, was a solid second at the top level to Lockhart.
Things do get interesting in the next couple of weeks for Ryan Lockhart, because if all goes as planned, this week he’ll be racing round one of the Future West series in Kamloops on Sunday. He will then head to Tacoma, Washington the following Saturday night and race the Amsoil Arenacross race there on Kyle Beaton’s 250F. That series has been very entertaining, to say the least, and this will be an early season yard stick moment for the number 101 whose passion is showing no signs of slowing down. Okay, wild, crazy, cool, whatever you want to call it. I am sure it fits but just wait, it gets better. Ryan plans to drive after the race in Tacoma all the way back to Kelowna, BC, which is approximately 7 hours! Good luck Ryan and be sure to save enough energy to climb up into the tower at the Kelowna Dirt Bike Club and tell me all about it.
I would also like to take a few lines of this Gate Drop cameo and talk about the Big Kahuna this past weekend in Kamloops at Whispering Pines. Much like on the Island, the weather in Kamloops was perfect for racing, and the track that will see round one of this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals was the venue. The Kahuna is a two and a half hour EnduroCross race which uses a full lap of the Motocross track and then heads off encompassing much of the grounds. I am not sure on the exact numbers lined up but Blackfoot Direct Husqvarna mounted Greg Small was one of about 20 in the Pro Class. Top Pro honours this year went to Tristan Hart, followed by Ryan Graffunder and Tyler Murray in third.
Greg admitted to not having his best Kahuna but pressed forward through the learning curve Sunday as he is getting reacquainted with the two-stroke. Greg finished 8th for his efforts and was quick to note that the addition of an amped up log pit section and other new obstacles humbled him more than once. Greg also spoke on some changes of note to the Motocross track, which now has a new sand section as well as two long straightaways and an off camber corner. Greg pointed out that the infield double that was a little bit sketchy for some of the 250Fs last year on Sunday’s Pro day was no longer.
Greg felt after riding the new layout, the opportunity to be on the gas at higher speeds for longer periods on the two new straights will provide a better overall racing product this year on National Sunday. As far as the sand goes, if the newest version of the Pines’ ‘Road to Baghdad’ is a patch on its former self; I believe we will once again be busting the myth that only hard pack skills will be needed in the West. I am very much looking forward to announcing round one of the Future West series there next weekend.”
Thank Brent for the report, we’ll definitely look forward to hearing about everything happening in BC in the coming weeks.
In his report, Brent mentioned the upcoming 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals that begins in Kamloops in approximately 55 days. As you all know, this series is shaping up to be a real beauty as both the MX1 and MX2 classes will have former champions lining up. Thanks of course to Social Media, we can all get an early season look at how all of the series’ top riders are preparing for the opening round in Kamloops. Just like it has always been, the top guys are all down south riding, training and just basically putting in the long hours of work. Since every rider is different, they all have their own plans and schedules for what they need to do. With just under two months until the gate drops in Kamloops, I’m sure all of the riders are preparing to make that final push to ensure they’re ready.
Most will now be looking ahead to see which pre-season races they might want to compete in. These days this is always a delicate decision as too many warm up races just brings into play a lot of unwanted risk before Kamloops. On the flip side, if a rider doesn’t do enough racing prior to the opening round then that true intense ‘race pace’ that they will encounter in the first national moto of the season may be a shock to the system and their opening rounds results will suffer. Either way, it’s always a good idea to get a few real gate drops under your belt before you head into the real battle. Every rider these days seems to have a good handle on just how many they need.
So here is a question for everyone out there. Who do you think is going to win the opening round in Kamloops? In the MX1 class, will it be Colton Facciotti, Brett Metcalfe or even Matt Goerke. Or maybe we’ll see Bobby Kiniry or Cole Thompson take the win? In my estimation, there are about five or six riders that are capable of winning motos in Kamloops so it should be a great battle.
In the MX2 class, we know now that Kaven Benoit will indeed be racing his KTM two-stroke this summer. How will Kaven match up against the four-strokes of Shawn Maffenbeier, Jeremy Medaglia, Cole Martinez and Dylan Wright? It should be interesting when the gate drops and these kids have at it. I want to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please email me at email@example.com or share them on our Twitter @mxpmag. Again, who do you think is going to win round one of the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals?
Well, this is it for me this week. I hope everyone out there had a great Easter and a safe weekend riding. As Brent Worrall mentioned above, congratulations to Ryan Lockhart and Randi Ormond on their announcement that they’re expecting their first child on October 11th. This is great news as I always love seeing these motocross kids grow up and become parents of their own. As all of you fathers out there already know, it really puts everything into perspective as the moment your first child is born. Life, all of a sudden, isn’t just about you. It’s a pretty cool feeling and to be honest it’s one that scared the hell out of me as the big day approached. Like all of my MX friends who have become fathers, Ryan will make a great dad as he will no doubt embrace this new meaning that his life will have. Have a great week everyone!