With the Spring of 2016 finally upon us, we at MXP Magazine would like to thank DeCal Works for their continuing support of this Monday Gate Drop column, as well as the sport of motocross in Canada. It’s going to be a very exciting year in our sport and companies such as DeCal Works will be right there with us. For a complete set of custom graphics, all you have to do is log on to www.decalmx.com and within minutes you can design and order your very own set.
Spring is in full effect in most parts of Canada. Even though there are more than likely some cold days still ahead, the worst must be over. In my area of the country, we certainly got a taste of what the ‘worst’ could be as late last week we were hit with an ice storm of epic proportions. As the rain turned to freezing rain on Thursday afternoon, few predicted the devastation that was to follow. As the ice built up on the surrounding trees, the weight was just too much to take for some of the branches and they snapped off, taking hydro lines with them. Our electricity first went out at exactly 9pm on Thursday evening, then after ten minutes the lights reappeared and we thought we’d dodged a bullet. Sadly, that wasn’t the case as an hour later the power went out again, which was for approximately 48 hours. I know it’s not impossible to live without electricity; when all was said and done I think we did a pretty good job of surviving, however, in this day and age it’s definitely not easy. Thankfully we own a small generator and we were able to keep our fridge running, as well as our television and PS4…you know, all of the necessities. Unfortunately, though, we didn’t have heat and the temperatures outside were hovering around the freezing point, so staying warm was the hard part. We finally gave up on Saturday afternoon and hit the road to stay around the Gopher Dunes area as we were going riding there yesterday (more on Gopher Dunes in a minute). The power is back on and things appear to be back to normal now.
So with no hydro and obviously no internet for miles around, Brent Worrall’s Friday Flight had to be postponed until now. As you all know, Brent has been a faithful writer for MXP for a few years so Fridays on this website is definitely going to miss him and his trusted words. Brent will continue to contribute to each edition of MXP Magazine, however due to health concerns and his very busy schedule, his Friday Flight Column will be going on a hiatus. Thank you to Brent and his column sponsor Big Steel Box for all of their hard work. Without further ado, here is Brent Worrall’s Friday Flight from this past Friday.
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Hello friends and a wide open Easter weekend welcome aboard what will be the last ‘Friday Flight’ here at the site, at least for now anyway. As you may or may not have read last week, I am stepping back from this segment to take care of some of the many other things going on in my world. I am very much looking forward to getting my book to print and in circulation by the end of this calendar year. Also I am pretty excited about the upcoming Canadian Motoc6ross race season which got underway this past weekend. I like many of my West Coast racing colleagues were at the Westshore Motocross track in Victoria for what was a great opener. My personality is as such that idle time and I do not get along very well at all. That being said my calendar for the upcoming season is pretty much already full. Looking back to just a couple of short months ago when I reviewed the 2015 season, I told myself that there was no way I would spend 27 weekends of the next season on the road. Well, as it sits right now it is very likely that number will be surpassed here in 2016 as I am already a third of the way there. Looking at the schedule here in Canadian Motocross at the Amateur and National level, not many can argue that 2016 promises to be a great season. There are many options for riders and their families to pursue that is for sure. Do not get left in the gate friends, these dates will be upon us before we know it.
I am going to take this opportunity in a build up to some of the biggest events in the country to talk about the Western Canadian Amateur National. This will be the first event of the season where national champions are crowned in Raymond, Alberta. I am very much looking forward to this event as it is one of the best tracks in the country. Some of you who have never been may think that is a pretty powerful statement, and you’re right it is. Let’s not forget this track was a staple on the national circuit for years for good reason. Ask any top level rider or amateur who has ridden there, they undoubtedly will back up my claim. I personally have experienced the best of both worlds as a rider and in recent years as a race fan. The terrain is a good mix of hard pack and sand, and the elevation changes throughout the track are incredibly cool and fun. There is a solid core of riders and families in Lethbridge, Alberta area that put countless, hard working hours into this facility. I am very much looking forward to being there thanks to my friends Ryan ‘Skippy’ Mobbs from Hammerhead Racing and Trevor Unger from Ryno Power Canada. I have already spoken with many who plan to make the trek. Do yourselves a favour friends, put the July first weekend on your calendar and let’s go racing. There is also an incentive based deal where if you sign up for a third class it is half price. Sign up is open now and gate priority for this event this year is on a first come, first serve basis. All the details to get registered are right here at http://www.wcan-mx.com.
Now moving forward to CMRC’s Amateur Grand National Championships event that will be held at Deschambault 4-7th. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this event but it looks like it should be a good one as well. There are no qualifying points needed but pre-registration will ensure you the best gate picks possible. This sand based track is also one of the best in the country and I know it is the personal favourite of many. This is one of those situations for myself where if I had endless resources and abilities I would love to be at this event as well. I will, however, be in the East for the final weekend of the Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals and then the Parts Canada Trans Can. Both the national series and the Trans Can also look to deliver some great racing. It is really hard to put into words what it’s like to experience any of these high profile events I have mentioned. If you have never been, you are missing out. It is some of the highest energy action you will ever experience, and once you do I guarantee you will want more.
So heading into 2016 on the Rockstar Nationals, what can we expect to see? Given this is the last time you will likely hear from me for a while, I will weigh in now. First off, whether you realize it or not at this point, 2016 will be the most competitive season this series has ever seen in the MX1 class. We as race fans are proving to be the benefactor of some of our sport’s main supporters’ insatiable desire for victory. I guess the best place to start is with the title sponsor. Rockstar Energy Drink and OTSFF Yamaha will saddle up Matt Goerke’s 450 with a big red #1 plate on it at the opener in Kamloops. The very race that Matt pointed to last year when I asked him about the round he felt was key in making the best of a bad situation day en route to his 2015 title. Not forgetting that on that day Goerke was three weeks removed from having his collarbone surgically repaired. Old news maybe, but no one can argue that the guy that won this title last year is a warrior who will be very tough to dethrone. On to his teammate wearing the #3 plate of Brett Metcalfe. I know for a fact that the easy going Aussie was more than disappointed not to repeat his feat of 2013 as Champion. Brett has been working hard this off-season in California and is a crafty veteran who knows what it takes to win. The fact that Brett, starting in a week’s time, will contest the first four rounds of the Australian series will only help his cause. Get your cameras ready race fans both of these riders will be up front often and will frequent the podium.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki squad owned and managed by Jason Hughes will truck into Kamloops the #800 bike of Mike Alessi and the #55 of Vince Friese. I spoke to both of them recently and they said they are both keen to come back to Canada. Mike Alessi would love to capture the title that eluded him in 2014. He now has a full notebook on this series, but like everyone else will face a new venue at Pleasant Valley and RJ’s. After a year in 2015 that was anything but good for Mike, I believe he will make good on this great opportunity back in Canada. Vince Friese proved in Calgary last year, in his only trip to Canada, that he can swim stride for stride with the best of this series’ big fish. I asked Vince just a month ago what he thought about the competition he will face in Canada coming in. He responded by saying that he felt his teammate, Mike Alessi, was probably the most accomplished and talented outdoor rider of the mix that he will line up with in Canada. I believe both of these guys will win races in this series this year.
KTM Canada will send the 2015 MX2 champ Kaven Benoit to the line on the 450. Kaven has looked very comfortable on the big bike since making the transition. He rode long into the fall at home and has spent the winter training in Carolina Club MX. Kaven deviated from his regular GPF regiment to overcome some of his past off-season struggles with allergies. Benoit, who likely is single handily responsible for the sale of many KTM 250 two-strokes in Canada, will be in the mix all season on the 450. Kaven will likely hear the noise loudest in his home province of Quebec. He will also hear some much deserved noise when he climbs aboard the podium throughout this series. I am not certain at this point but I have a feeling KTM will be adding another rider to the premier class as we get closer to the opener. There are some strong rumours afloat and let me just say, where there is smoke there is quite often a fire. Our friends at Redemption Racing will also send to the line a very solid contender on the KTM Racing bike. Cade Clason, who now has a season under his belt on Canadian soil, is also very excited to be coming back to Canada. I spoke at length with Cade this winter in California and I know he will be ready. He also has a ton of upswing and in my opinion will be a constant threat for podiums. He is not a dirty rider in any way shape or form but does know how to mix it up with the best of them. Redemption Racing has a first class individual in this man who calls Club MX in Carolina his home.
The rider who has worn #3 in Canada for two consecutive years prior to this season, Tyler Medaglia will this year wear #5. The Husqvarna Parts Canada rider, who I thought for the first half of Moto one at the opener in Kamloops last year was going to win it, will also be ready. I have not spoken to Tyler for some time (my fault Tyler), but he will be ready as well as he has a lot of competitive seat time under his belt from the GNCs and his cycling affliction. All of this, coupled with his increased amount of experience on this tour, will make it hard to keep Tyler off the podium. Tyler knows what it takes to win and is also a great starter. I think year two on the Husqvarna will be a good one for the likeable, easy to cheer for Medaglia.
The rider that will wear the #2 plate, Honda Canada and Gopher Dunes Racing’s Colton Facciotti, will also challenge for the title that narrowly escaped him last year. The four time premier class title winner came into last season quite banged up. Colton did hit his best stride late in the series and strung together consecutive overall wins at the final three rounds of 2015. I, like many of you, have Colton pegged for victories throughout what likely will prove by season’s end to have been a 20 Moto slugfest. I am not sure if it is because many think that someone other than Colton will win this title but I keep hearing different names pegged as top seeds. Does Colton feel like an underdog? I honestly I don’t think Colton really cares what anybody thinks. He knows he can win and believes in himself and his connections. Friends, we have all seen it firsthand, when Colton Facciotti is healthy, he is very tough to beat in his homeland. I really do not think this year will be any different in that regard. I do believe, however, there will be one major difference in this class this year, likely this will be the most aggressive title chase we have ever seen. The series that has a reputation for being laid back off the track and sometimes on is about to change! Put June 5th on your calendar friends. Have a Happy Easter, keep that Moto passion pinned and Let’s Go Racing.
Thanks to you all for the support of the ‘Friday Flight, but this it- ‘Airmail’ out………………….
Awesome job as usual Brent, thank you! So as I mentioned above, I spent my Easter Sunday at Gopher Dunes watching both my son ride, as well as the numerous other excited riders who were out for their first ride of the very young season. The sun was out and it really was a beautiful day at one of Canada’s most famous sand tracks. I spent my day walking around in a t-shirt for the first time in months, and really enjoyed watching everyone ride. After a weak Winter and a fairly dry Spring around the Gopher Dunes area, the track is in phenomenal condition right now, much better than this time last year. Watching some of the riders on the big track yesterday, I definitely felt your pain as my arms were sore just standing there. There are few things better in life than being at a motocross track on a nice day, while riders and their families enjoy this awesome sport. I know that not all days at the track are enjoyable, but this one was and I was glad to be there. Moto Park has also opened for the 2016 season and by all accounts the track was in great shape on Sunday. With a mixed forecast this coming week and then a very cold weekend ahead in Ontario, the riding looks to be a little hit and miss for the next ten days.
The owner of Moto Park, Iain Hayden, was racing this past weekend at the final round of the CSRA Snowcross Championships here in Ontario. In thrilling fashion, Hayden was able to capture his record 8th Canadian title yesterday at Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort. Hayden and his Rockstar Energy OTSFF Polaris sled have been on fire all season long, and to finally retake this title is very special. Congratulations to Iain Hayden and his team. Now he can set his sights on moto and winning his first Loretta Lynn’s title late this summer.
That is it for me this week. I would once again like to thank Brent Worrall for all of his efforts over the past two years. Everyone here at MXP would like to wish him and his family all the best in the future. Next week, this Monday Gate Drop will come to you from beautiful California as I’m heading there with KTM Canada, Tanner Ward and Jacob Piccolo. Our Canadian Orange Brigade crew with be taking part in the West Coast Orange Brigade Camp and I have been asked to attend and write a story. It is going to be awesome to watch all of these KTM kids put through whatever they do at one of these camps. Please stay tuned for future updates. Thank you for reading this and have a great week!!