Before we get into the obvious topic of the week, I want to send some love out to a very longtime friend of mine who had a big one last weekend. Send your well wishes, hopes, prayers or whatever it is that you do, to our pal Steve Simms. I’m thinking about ya buddy, heal up.
The 2022 Motocross Of Nations is just a few days away and I think I can speak for the majority here by saying we are beyond excited!
In my opinion, Team Canada is once again sending our very best to compete on the world stage. Regardless of your desires, I don’t think anyone can argue with not one, but two national champions, and the runner up in our 450 class, who is coming off his most impressive season to date.
I may be wrong, but on paper, I think we actually have the “best” team. Let me dive into that a little…
Tyler Medaglia – 2022 450 National Runner Up. The two others who finished second in their respective series are Jeremy Seewer (MXGP) and Chase Sexton (AMA) Ok, so we equal team USA and Team Switzerland.
Dylan Wright – 2022 450 National Champ. The only other guy that is coming with a 450 title to his name just happens to be Eli Tomac. Ok, So we’re equal to team USA.
Ryder McNabb – 2022 250 National Champ. The only other 250 Champ on the entry list is some guy (I’m joking) from Australia that they threw on a 450 for this race.
Now, I’m clearly well aware that “on paper” and reality are 2 different things, but I think that’s a pretty awesome stat to take with us to Buchannan, Michigan this weekend!
Mr. Senior discount himself, Tyler Medaglia, is returning as Captain Canada for the 748th time. I hope he’s 100% healed up from his little 250F mishap from Walton because he is coming off his absolute best season of racing a 450, period. I don’t know what Heidi started putting in the cruffins (whatever the hell that is?) at the bakery last winter, but it lit a fire under the old man’s ass and he delivered all summer long.
My expectations for Tyler are to just continue operations from the summer. He’s been going to this race longer than one of his teammates has been alive so the lights and sounds, so to speak, should have zero affect on the man. Provided he is feeling good from the aforementioned issue from Walton, I see Tyler having his best MXON results yet.
It won’t be long until that title of Captain Canada is transferred over to the now MXON Veteran, Dylan Wright. Mr. Perfect Season – Northern Edition, heads to Red Bud as our benchmark, our absolute best, our number 1! Or, 40 if you’re looking for him this weekend. Dylan has been progressing exponentially in the last few years and the championship tally and bank account can prove that. There is no reason in my mind as to why he can’t be battling for top 5’s all weekend long. I think we only saw a glimpse of what this man is actually capable of this past summer, and I hope he brings that fire with him to show the world who he is – again. Having competed in the last 5ish (?) MXGP rounds in 2021, the world is no stranger to our Champ, but, another year wiser, another year stronger, another title to his name, I think he has more to prove.
I expect Dylan to be in the mix all weekend. He’s already rubbed elbows with the likes of Cairoli, Coldenhoff, Prado, etc. from the MXGP series, so I really don’t think he cares whose name is on the jersey beside him, he will race them just the same. If he can keep his head in it, I see Canada’s 3 best moto scores (Qualifier and two mains) coming from Canada’s best rider.
Our wildcard. Our unknown. But, our MX2 Champion! The kids first dance on the big stage and ohh!! What a stage it is! The iconic Red Bud track will fit nicely into the repertoire of this youngster but not only due to the actual track itself, but perhaps the fact that it’s only a 6-hour drive. When an event is overseas, the stress of travel and baggage, let alone bikes, equipment, surroundings, people, language barrier etc. etc. can be extremely overwhelming and exhausting, especially to a kid who’s trying to absorb as much as possible without exploding all while trying to perform to the best of his ability. The biggest logistics hurdle this weekend for Ryder will be the border agent in Sarnia asking him to remove his sunglasses. That, in my opinion, is a huge benefit for our smallbore entry, one that may be overlooked by many. The obvious, and most significant obstacle for Ryder will be drowning out the “noise”. Although a very large positive, that 6-hour drive also means there will be an abundance of Canadians swarming the red and white pits at all times which will be compounded by the rest of the insanity that comes with the MXON throughout the weekend. Focus is going to be a huge factor for our Mx Of Nations virgin but time will tell if he can keep it together and do what we know he is capable of.
Now, in saying that, my expectations for Ryder are to have a couple moments of melting, followed up by doing what he does best. By that I mean, the kid is going to be shaking like a leaf at some point, he is only human. This race is indescribable as far as atmosphere goes, so I expect it to get the best of him at some point. We can’t fault him for it, you have to stop and smell the roses every once and a while and just take it all in. The hinging point is going to be how well he can regroup, bring himself back to the moment and keep reminding himself how he got here, what allowed him to earn a number 1 this summer and call himself a champion. Perhaps a shaky start but I believe the number 41 will be solid in the end and round out the 2022 version of Team Canada quite nicely.
Although the Motocross of Nations came to Red Bud just 4 years ago, it generally doesn’t land on North American soil that often. The 2018 version was a messy, muddy nightmare and I think the moto community, especially the Americans, have erased that one from the memory bank. We are fortunate to have the event back so soon, and back to arguably the best track on the continent! If you live within driving distance of Buchanan, Michigan, or an airport (that’s ALL OF YOU) do your best to make it to this race. I think the 2022 version may make up for the losses of 2018 and then some! So, set your egos to the side, forget about what brand you rep, and don’t worry about who you ride for. You all now become fans, you now have 3 favourite riders, and all that matters for the next few days is one team. The Red and White! Team Canada! Let’s go Boys!