This week’s Monday Gate Drop is once again brought to you by Decal Works. With the 2015 season winding down, now might be a perfect time to freshen up your bike so it’s ready to go next year. All you have to do is log on to www.decalmx.com and within minutes you can design and order your very own set of personalized graphics.
I want to welcome everyone to this week’s edition of Monday Gate Drop. I trust you all had a great weekend. With the racing season pretty much over in Ontario, my activities this weekend switched from two wheels to hockey pucks and cold arenas. Yesterday my son played up in Stayner, ON; when we arrived up we couldn’t help but notice that they had about 5” of snow on the ground. Inside our arena’s dressing room it was all the kids could talk about as they were pretty excited about the new white stuff on the ground. I remember feeling that way when I was kid, it was always pretty cool. Now as an adult I pretty much cringe when it’s starts snowing because sadly it’s always associated with cold weather. Anyway, it’s the reality and we have to deal with it. With the Snowmobile Show happening this coming weekend at the International Centre in Toronto, I guess winter is on its way!
Now that Rogers Cable is carrying Fox Sports Racing I was able to tune in Saturday night to the 2015 Monster Energy Cup. After attending this event last year, watching it on TV this time around was a little boring, for sure. I remember last year sitting in the stands with Bobby Kiniry (he had crashed in practice and was forced to sit out the evening program), Ryan Lockhart, his better half Randi, and my wife during opening ceremonies, and then Bam!, the gate dropped on the first main event; it was very exciting. This time seeing it on TV, it kind of lost a little bit of that intensity. Supercross is one of those sports that is much more exciting to watch live. The sounds, the smells and the stuff you can see off-camera definitely adds to the spectacle. I suppose I shouldn’t complain as for most of the 2015 Monster Energy SX Series I wasn’t able to even watch SX on TV as Rogers didn’t carry Fox Sports Racing.
So what did everyone think of the race on Saturday night? I thought it was cool to see SX again and the sport’s top riders lining up again inside a stadium. Seeing Chad Reed back on a Yamaha was pretty interesting, for sure. With his career winding down, Reed has come full circle as his illustrious career in the USA began on the blue bikes. Although he’s been riding the Yamaha for a month, I doubt he’s been doing much real SX testing on it. Regardless of that and how he actually finished, his lap times were good throughout the night. If had better starts, he probably would’ve battled for a top five finish. Perhaps the most excitement surrounded James Stewart and his return to the race track. Of course, like it’s been so many times over the years, JS7’s night was really over before it really started. A small crash on the opening lap of the first main event spelled the end to his night as he aggravated a wrist injury. Even though he’s arguably the most talented rider to ever throw his leg over a dirt bike, I believe he will have a real uphill battle as he tries to get back to the top of the sport, and here is why:
First off, he’s almost 30-years-old! When did James Stewart become 29-years-old? It feels like he should be 25 still. Well, he isn’t and regardless of who you are in this sport, things change when you reach 30. Although James hasn’t had many big injuries, it seemslike he’s had a lot of little ones and that can wear on you as you get older. I’m assuming that all of his time off has allowed his body to heal completely, however, how will his body respond to his training program that he now undergoes as he prepares for the 2016 season?
The second item, and this is perhaps the most important thing to consider, while James has been away from the race track, everyone has become better. Like Tiger Woods in golf, James has been a rider who has made everyone on the track better. As you remember, James started the scrub era, now it’s been perfected by every rider across the globe. When you miss the amount of time that James has, and when you approaching the age that James is, comebacks are extremely tough. Especially when you considered that even before James was suspended, he wasn’t really winning consistently then. I hope James can get back to where he wants to be, however with just how good his competition is now I think it will be quite the challenge. Again, just as I still love to watch Tiger Woods play golf, I really love to watch Stewart ride a dirt bike. I just wonder if he can still win titles?
So with Stewart out early and Reed trying to get comfortable, I thought the racing on Saturday was a little boring. It was cool to see Jason Anderson ride so well and almost win the entire event. Ryan Dungey was good as he always his, Trey Canard did what he always seems to do, and Ken Roczen looked to be very motivated to close out his frustrating season with a win. Finally, good job to our own Casey Keast on his ride on Saturday night. In his first race back from his arm injury, Casey rode well in what was his final race on a Super Mini bike. It’s all big boy bikes now for Casey and we wish him all the best.
Even before this weekend’s Monster Energy Cup there was an exciting event to attend. Last Wednesday I travelled to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to watch the Nitro Circus Live Show. I must say, the entertainment value of this show was incredible. For over two hours Travis Pastrana and his athletes are wide open with very little down time. Even the young kids in the stands were entertained as there was always something going on. Of course, the highlight of the night was when Canada’s own Bruce Cook was introduced to some very loud applause. After showing Bruce’s accident from Hamilton last year on the big screen, Bruce fired his Kawasaki up and to the amazement of everyone in attendance, he did a back flip!! It was a pretty cool moment and you could just see the emotion on Bruce’s face as I’m sure he never thought he’d ever be back on the big stage. I think the Nitro Circus Live Show is a must see if you have the opportunity. With a few more stops in Canada this year, and then a few more next summer, there will be a lot of chances to get out and watch this show live.
Before I sign off for another week, I can say that it’s now official that Brett Metcalfe will be a member of the powerful Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha Team in 2016. When talk of this deal began last month, I was a little surprised that Metty would want to make the switch to Yamaha and away from the Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki Team. However, this is moto and with his Rockstar deal extending well beyond next year, this looks like a deal the Metcalfe just couldn’t turn down. With Matt Goerke, possibly another rider (maybe Bobby Kiniry) and now Metcalfe, we haven’t seen a power team like this since the Blackfoot Yamaha/ Honda days. I’m sure the OTSFF crew is very excited to begin their work with Metcalfe in the New Year.
I hope everyone has a great week! If you live out West then you have to make your way to Penticton, BC to watch Rounds 5 and 6 of the Monster Energy Canadian AX Tour this weekend. This new series has been very exciting to watch so far, and as it makes its way out West, the racing should be great. I will not be heading to BC this weekend, however I will be at the final round in Calgary, and I will also be appearing on Brent Worrall’s Canadian Moto Show this Wednesday evening. Please have a great day and if you’re old enough, make sure you go out and vote!