This week’s Monday Gate Drop is presented by the best graphic company in the world, DeCal Works. If you want your bike to look like the best machine in the pits then log on to www.decalmx.com and in minutes you can create your own set of custom graphics.
This past weekend in Ontario was certainly worth waiting for as the skies finally cleared and the temperatures were on the rise. Although the nights were still cold, both Saturday and Sunday were perfect riding days and it was great to see everyone taking advantage of it. I was up at Moto Park yesterday and they logged in a record 234 riders for their open practice day. I didn’t hear the numbers for Gopher Dunes but I’m sure they were high also as riders gathered there to prepare for next week’s opening round of the 2015 Ontario racing season. People have definitely been dying to hit the track and it showed this past weekend.
As I mentioned, the 2015 AMO/ CMRC racing season kicks off this Sunday at Gopher Dunes. There will be no open practice on Saturday for both the main track and the mini track, however if you do want some track time you can sign up for a riding school hosted by Ryan Gauld and Kyle Keast. There is a fee for the riding school – $100, it will be running from 9am to 1pm, lunch included. All small bikes (50cc/65cc) will be on the mini track, and big bikes on the main track. Groups will be split according to ability and bike size. Contact email@example.com to sign up.
The following weekend the AMO/CMRC schedule heads north to Moto Park, so yes folks, the Ontario racing season is about to begin.
Out on our beautiful west coast, the 2015 Future West CMRC Series began this past weekend at Whispering Pines Raceway in Kamloops. Obviously I wasn’t there, however Brent Worrall was on hand to take in all of the events and he graciously sent us this report.
“Once again race fans I have been asked to make a quick cameo in Palms’ Monday Gate drop and I’m happy to oblige. Race season is well underway on the West Coast and I have just rolled in from an epic first weekend of action at Whispering Pines in Kamloops. This was the first-ever Future West Moto race to be held under the CMRC sanctioning umbrella and everyone involved in the operation from front man Stu McQueen on down performed like seasoned veterans. The weather was a little chillier than it has been in our area of late, and let’s just say the wind this weekend at the Pines was a lot more than a whisper. When the wind gusts through that valley on the North Thompson it can be a force to be reckoned with. Even though the wind never backed off throughout the day, the skies remained relatively clear, and the well groomed and tilled race track got ruggedly rough.
I did not get an exact number of entries but I can tell you it far exceeded 200; the gates were full in most classes. The three moto formatted Pro Open class was contested by 18 riders and they got their money’s worth in the form of solid eight lap Motos, eight laps on a race track that has been increased in length as a result of a few changes including the new sand section. I clocked Ryan Lockhart’s final lap of the weekend at 2:15 seconds, and yes, by that time it was getting pretty rough. How rough? From my vantage point while doing the live announcing I could see the bikes pitched and worked against their will in many places. For the most part there were no serious injuries that I am aware of from the weekend’s action. Good news for sure because for a lot of the riders it was their first outdoor race of the season.
Ryan Lockhart ran the table in the Pro Open and looked good doing it putting his Maple Ridge Motorsports Kawasaki on the top step of the podium for all three Motos. GA Checkpoint Yamaha’s Kyle Beaton, yes that’s right, Kyle Beaton, was second overall taking three second place Moto scores, not far off of Lockhart’s pace. Kyle has soldiered through a lot and it sure put a smile on this race fan’s face seeing him back in the mix and having some fun. Third went to Big Top Powersports veteran Lee Coutts, fourth overall was Shane Wiebe on the 2-Stroker and fifth was Holeshot’s Kyle Springman.
The CMRC Canadian Kawasaki Future West Moto South series resumes next weekend in Kelowna and there will once again be a school there on Friday at 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM for $75. Please RSVP to the BC Motocross FB page or hit up Ryan or myself. So what does this mean? Well, over and above getting some extra seat time and some lessons from a great rider with a lot of valuable experience, it means that Ryan has decided to pass on the Amsoil Arenacross race next weekend in Tacoma. I spoke with Ryan at day’s end in Kelowna. He has decided to put Tacoma off until next year”
Thanks for that Brent. With the opening round of the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals set to hit the Whispering Pines track in just over a month’s time, it’s good to hear that the track is in great shape. With the opening round moving to Kamloops from its usual spot in Nanaimo, the rough Whispering Pines track will certainly present a big challenge to the riders. Also, unlike the Nanaimo area, the BC interior is always capable of getting very warm in late May so the riders at round one could be faced with a rough track and warm temperatures. Could Kamloops replace Gopher Dunes as the season’s toughest national in 2015? I guess we will see.
This past Friday I had long chat with Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki Team Owner Jason Hughes about the upcoming summer. Look for the interview to go live on mxpmag.com tomorrow morning. It was very interesting to listen to Jason speak about the trials and tribulations of last year, the signing of half Canadian Cole Martinez to the MX2 class and also the long awaited return of Brett Metcalfe to the team this year. Everyone on the team has been working hard and will be ready for Kamloops. It’s also interesting to note that Metcalfe and his wife welcomed their second child over the weekend so congratulations to the Metcalfes.
With our outdoor season kicking off in style, the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series is winding down as there is now only three rounds left. Round 15 took place at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday night and it was Cooper Webb and Ryan Dungey both winning their respective championships. For Webb it was his second major title in a calendar year as he now is an outdoor champion and now a supercross champion. This kid from North Carolina has really come into his own in the last year, and to most, his dominance has been a surprise. As the US riders now begin to get ready for their own outdoor season, Webb has to be the favourite to repeat as the 250 champion.
Then there’s Ryan Dungey! I just don’t think you can say enough about this guy as he came into this season a little under the radar, took a few rounds to get going and then he just dominated. He was more aggressive than his rivals, he appeared to be fitter than ever on Saturday when he clinched his second Supercross title, and he accomplished all of this with three rounds to go. It was a pretty amazing season for Dungey and his Red Bull KTM Factory Team and it will be exciting to see if he can continue his success this summer. I actually think it serves Dungey well to now not have to worry about the Supercross title chase anymore as he can now change his focus to the outdoors. His 2015 KTM 450 has worked great indoors so now they must get it ready for the rough outdoor tracks. It’s going to be quite a battle between Dungey and Ken Roczen this summer without a doubt. It was also just announced this morning that Ryan Dungey signed a two year extension with Red Bull KTM. I guess it’s safe to say that it was a pretty good weekend for Dungey and the KTM Team.
So that is it for me this week. Thank you to DeCal Works for supporting my column. Our thoughts are with everyone in Central Illinois (just down the road from the DeCal Works offices) who had to suffer through the deadly tornados last week. Finally, I hope to see everyone out this coming weekend at Gopher Dunes for the first Ontario race of 2015. Let the gate drop and the season begin! Good luck to everyone and we’ll see you on Sunday.