The Heroes Among Us
By Chris Pomeroy
Photos by James Lissimore
With no fans in attendance this past weekend at Gopher Dunes, some of you might not know just how blistering hot it was on Saturday and especially on Sunday. With the usual Ontario July mix of heat and humidity as well as the very rough track, a few riders thought that this was the most challenging Gopher Dunes National they had ever raced. On Sunday afternoon the temperature with the humidity was a whopping 40 degrees Celsius. With an extra pro moto on Saturday, as well as a host of Amateur riders, by the time the gate dropped on the second motos on Sunday, the track was at its worst. Because of these difficult conditions, the final few laps of the 250MX and 450MX were more about survival than it was about racing. With all of this in mind, let’s look at a few of the heroes from the opening round of the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MXTour Series.
When you have a race like we did this past weekend, it’s hard to pick out one person, one rider or mechanic who stood out. With the severe heat and humidity that hung-over Gopher Dunes, every single person who was at the race went through some sort of suffering. As far as the riders go, there are plenty of story lines about racing through pain, recovering from crashes, and barely making it to the end of their motos. Tanner Ward finished 4th overall in the 250 class but barley remembers his final few laps during his final moto on Sunday. Jeremy McKie came into the opening with a very sore shoulder, but still managed to soldier through for 8th overall. Ryder McNabb got a rude introduction to the pro class as he was involved in a massive first turn pile-up in Moto 1 of the 250MX class. However, he would recover to finish his first ever pro national in 11th overall. Eve Brodeur did more laps than any other rider as she raced in the 250MX class as well as the WMX class. Eve’s speed and determination was impressive and I’m sure she was feeling extremely proud on Sunday evening.
In the 450 class, Tyler Medaglia crashed hard with a few laps remaining in the third and final 450MX moto and knocked the wind out of himself, but quitting wasn’t an option and he wound finish 4th overall. Liam O’Farrell, who works 40 hours a week at a normal job, he finished up in 7th overall and furthered his reputation as a working man’s hero. You see it’s hard to pick one rider this week as I think every rider who lined up this weekend is a hero to me. Regardless of where you finished, if you raced the Gopher Dunes National this past weekend then I want to shake your hand. Or since we’re still dealing with this Covid-19 Pandemic, how about a fist pump! Great job to all of the riders who braved the hot conditions and rough Gopher Dunes track at Round 1.
Another person that I want to mention is my good old buddy Ryan Lockhart, who flew out from his cushy lair in BC to be Ryder McNabb’s mechanic. Newf (as he’s known to everyone) wears many different hats and since two of his strengths are spinning wrenches and mentoring young riders, he was the perfect choice to help guide McNabb through his first pro series. Well, it didn’t take long this past weekend before Newf was put to work as a few laps into the first 250MX practice McNabb came together with another rider over the massive step-down triple. Thankfully neither rider crashed, but the damage to McNabb’s bike was immense and Newf was forced to work his magic. Then, after his young rider was involved in a big first turn pile-up in the opening moto, McNabb was forced to make a pit stop to receive some new parts. Newf and the GDR Honda crew changed one of McNabb’s mufflers in record time to get him back into the moto. I’m not sure what Newf’s compensation was for helping this weekend, but he most certainly earned every penny of it. Here is a list of parts that Ryder McNabb went through this past weekend. Keep in mind that none of this was really his fault, they were all just racing incidents and he ended up going 25-6-9 for 11th overall. Something tells me that McNabb and Newf are going to make a pretty good team during this series.
One header pipe
One rear wheel
That is obviously quite a list and thankfully, Ryder McNabb was okay. As I mentioned above, every rider and crew member went above and beyond this past weekend to make sure we had a good two days of racing. Even the flaggers, the track crew, and the Gopher Dunes personal all had to endure a very challenging weekend. However, we all made it through and now it’s on to Round 2 at Walton Raceway.