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Good day to you all on this hot Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend whether you were racing, riding or just hanging out enjoying this first real weekend of summer. Where I live in Ontario it was a beautiful early summer weekend and we took full advantage of it. On Saturday we spent most of the day working on a friend’s track and then yesterday we spent all day riding on it, oh and these friends also happen to have a massive pool so the day was spent on the track and then in the pool. It was definitely a nice and relaxing weekend to spend before my busy six weekend stretch coming up as the Eastern rounds of the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals presented by Motovan begin.
I hope that everyone who lives within a respectable driving distance of Gopher Dunes is getting ready to head there this weekend for round five. With some serious track changes waiting for the riders, as well as the impending battle in both classes on Sunday, this has the makings of not only the toughest round of the series, but also the most exciting. With the opening rounds of the Women’s East Series and the KTM Canada Eastern Super Mini Nationals kicking off on Saturday, this entire weekend is going to see some incredible racing at the ‘Dunes’.
These days racing a sand track like Gopher Dunes, or Sand Del Lee the following weekend, is tougher than it’s ever been. With the majority of riders these days riding four-strokes, the soft sand tracks get beat up more than ever before. With the two elements of a four-stroke (braking and acceleration) being so different than the older two-strokes, not to mention the added weight that each bike now is carrying, add all of this up and you have a recipe for a nasty, rough track anytime you compete on a sand track.
I think it was a lot easier to be smooth and precise in the old two-stroke days. The way a light and nimble two-stroke glided around the sand, mostly staying on top of the sand, it was definitely easier to change direction and miss the large, momentum killing bumps. Nowadays, a 450, for instance, seems to hit every bump on the track, and to ride them around a sand track takes a lot of strength and endurance. This is not an easy task to do for any length of time, let alone 35 minutes at a pro national. It will be very interesting to watch the contrasting styles this weekend at Gopher Dunes. Some riders will take every opportunity to miss the bumps as they spend their time looking for smooth lines. This strategy is as good, as it usually saves energy and is easy on your machine. However, sometimes a rider can get so mentally wrapped up in the search for smooth lines that they end up slowing themselves down and losing time. Also, when you take this approach to a really rough track, sometimes you’re not able to find those smooth lines you want; you quickly get very frustrated and then start going backwards.
Here is a short video Matt Koeleman and I did last year on the day before the Gopher Dunes National:
The other option of course is to just stick with the line that you think is the fastest around the track. Sometimes it happens to be the roughest line and you just have to muscle through it. This approach only works if you’re confident and very fit as it definitely takes a lot of energy. If we travel back in time and look at some of the best performances at Gopher Dunes from the past few years, I can tell you that all of these riders will be lining up on Sunday. Matt Goerke, Brett Metcalfe, Colton Facciotti, Kyle Keast, Tyler Medaglia, Kaven Benoit and Cole Thompson have all provided us some inspired rides and I don’t think this weekend will be any different.
Another great story line heading into this weekend is the anticipation of a Father/Son duo lining up on Sunday. A still very fast John Dowd and his son will be racing the National at Gopher Dunes in the MX1 and MX2 classes. This must be a racing first because I can’t remember ever hearing of this happening before. John Dowd is now 50 years old and is still a very fast sand rider. When I asked his long time friend Mike Treadwell how he thinks John will do this
weekend, he quickly replied “Top ten or better, the guy still hauls.” So there you have it, this weekend will definitely be living up to expectations as we kick off the Eastern half of the 2015 series.
South of the border the most popular outdoor motocross event in the USA took place this past weekend. Red Bud is always one of the biggest races of the year and it’s no coincidence that it always takes place on the July 4th weekend. We are definitely witnessing a changing of the guard in the sport, as this is the first time I remember that a series doesn’t have Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart or Chad Reed lining up on the gate. Last season, Stewart started the series but pulled out, Villopoto was nowhere to be found as he was healing up from injury, and Reed raced the entire series but was pretty much a non-factor every weekend. Well, here we are in July of 2015 and the above mentioned three, massive names in our sport are all out. Unless something extraordinary happens Villopoto appears to be all but retired, Reed has more than likely ridden his final outdoor national of his career, and although Stewart will probably be back in 2016, I think his outdoor winning might be a thing of the past. I guess change is inevitable and the sport will still carry on with its new era of superstars, however I still find it hard to believe that these three riders’ best days are behind them.
That is it for me this week. As I mentioned above I hope to see everyone this weekend at Gopher Dunes. From following Social Media it sounds as though the WCAN in Alberta had some pretty great racing. Brent Worrall was on hand all week so I’ll let him fill you in later this week. There is certainly going to be a very strong Western contingent of riders heading to the Parts Canada TransCan next month. Finally, for all the Eastern Women who will be travelling to Gopher Dunes this weekend for round one of their series. Jeff McConkey posted this on Facebook. It’s all the info that the Women need for this Saturday. Have a great week and ride safe!
* ATTENTION ALL EAST COAST LADY RACERS
We need everyone to show up and show your support, it doesn’t matter if you are fast or slow, there is a spot for everyone.
Just some important reminders for the girls:
– Sign in will be Friday night at 7ish-8pm. If you can’t make it, please let Leah or Sylvain know so that they can get your information.
– All lady riders need to be present for the amateur riders meeting and there will be a short lady riders meeting after it
– You need a transponder to race. There are some available to rent.
– All participants number plates should have white numbers on a blue background. Riders name and number must be visible on the back of their jersey/chest protector.
– This event is an OPEN class for all female participants riding bikes 85cc or larger. This is not a “Pro” series. This is a National series, but all girls with different skill levels are welcome and encouraged to race
– After the second moto there will be a podium presentation for the top 5 overall, holeshot winners from both motos, and a chosen Hard Charger for the day
– At 4 pm we will have a draw table set up for everyone who signed up for the day to win some prizes.
– Please check out the Women’s National package on the CMRC site and contact
Leah Clarke or Sylvain Brodeur if you have any questions