From The Mag To The Web: 2021 Walton TransCan- Another Moment In Time

By Melody Hodgson

Photos by James Lissimore

The Walton TransCan, for me, has always been beyond words. It’s a feeling, one built from months of anticipation and hard work that accumulates into handing out trophies on stage and watching fireworks light up the sky on Saturday evening. It’s seven days of every imaginable scenario in the moto world taking place at a venue that used to be cornfields and cow pastures – 29 years of such scenarios, to be exact. So, to find the proper words to paint an adequate picture is nearly impossible. However, I will try.

When I think back to the event, I see it in moments: Krista Freiburger making her way to the amateur podium after her son, Sam Matthews, received his first golden bib ever. Ryan Gauld and Ryan Lockhart cheering on their kids’ 50 motos before the sunset on Thursday after an impossibly rainy start to the week. The grandparents who drove out from B.C. to watch their grandchildren race after having missed their entire 2020 season due to Covid-19 pandemic. Barry, our track guru, sleeping on a folding table after 24 hours of navigating rainstorms and salvaging the track so that every class could have their three full-length championship motos. It’s an indescribable feeling that leaves me with nothing but absolute pride for everyone who has a hand in this race. It’s things like this that I see when I think of the Walton TransCan, and in 2022, when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this incredible event, I can’t wait to witness some more amazing moments.

To our staff, family, and friends who never fail to rise to the occasion, the riders who filled our gates to the highest numbers they’ve been in more than 15 years, the families that dedicate their summers so that their kids or partner can stand on that championship podium: thank you. Thank you for trusting us to deliver on a promise, to hand you a coveted iconic award to acknowledge your achievements and most importantly, to give you the Canadian Amateur National Grand Championship you deserve. Thank you for giving us another year of memories.

August 2016 marked my best friend’s final TransCan. The date is on my mind as I write this because her birthday recently passed. Or rather what would have been her 48th birthday, were it not for breast cancer. What always stood out to me was the fact she made the effort to be at TransCan that year no matter how tired and sick she was, or how afraid. Not realizing at the time that one month later she would receive a terminal cancer diagnosis and that she would be leaving behind her four children, a loving family, and countless friends two short months later. I remember sitting on the bleachers beside her as she sat in her green folding chair. We watched the start of a few races, but she had no interest in motocross, as a rule, her eyes were tired, and her body limited how long she stayed. But she wanted to be here – it was a priority to her and not because she suspected it would be her last TransCan, but because she recognized how important this race was to us and to every racer on site. 

There were a million moments I was able to share with Sandra over the years, and as always with the gift of time, some memories become stronger than others. Now, at each TransCan, I sit in those bleachers and remember that moment with immense gratitude. It helps remind me that this event is special for many reasons to many people. Sometimes when your identity is tied to an event, your ability to recognize what that same event looks like to everyone else is lost in the daily grind.  But it’s moments like these, or watching a rider receive their first golden bib, or a tyke on the podium holding their plaque high above their head, that brings it all into perspective.

The Walton TransCan exists because we aren’t the only ones who believe in recognizing and celebrating Canadian Amateur Motocross. Our fields are full each August with people who believe in the same things that Brett and I do. When the TransCan began three decades ago it was based on an idea that Canada needed a race that basically followed the same format as the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Championship in the U.S. A format where riders and their families would travel to Walton, Ontario from all over this great country to race three challenging motos against the best riders in Canada.

Well, I might be biased but I believe we have pulled it off. Over the years we’ve fought Mother Nature, the politics of this sport, and, most recently, a global pandemic, yet the Walton TransCan is still here and it’s stronger than ever. So please everyone, have a safe off-season, and then let’s all meet at Walton Raceway in 2022 to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Walton TransCan!

2021 Walton TransCan Champions and Award Winners:

50 4-6- Austin Kukielka
50 7-8- Parker Hatt
50 GP- Parker Hatt
65 7-9- Alex Guaddago
65 10-11- Jonathan Bergeron
85 7-11- Jonathan Bergeron
85 12-16- Dylan Rempel
Supermini- Dylan Rempel
Schoolboy1- Tanner Scott
Schoolboy2- Sebastien Racine
Two Stroke- Sam Gaynor
250 JR- Tanner Scott
Open JR- Tanner Scott
250 Int- Sebastien Racine
Open Int- Wyatt Kerr
25 Plus- Tyler Medaglia
30C- Matt Koricina
30B- Devin Train
40B- Dan Tricco
40A- Marc Dionne
50 Plus- Dan Tricco
Pro/AM- Cole Thompson
Girls 9-16- Malia Garant
Ladies- Eve Brodeur
Youth- Leith Ness
Tykes- Finn Wirtanen

Fox Racing Instinct Bronze Boot: Tanner Scott

Atlas Brace Top Mini Award: Parker Hatt

Rick Joseph Memorial Award: Zach Ufimzef

Yamaha Factory Ride Award: Hayden Jameson

DMX Total Devotion Award: Wyatt Kerr

Manufacturer’s Cup Award: KTM

Wiesco Performance Most Improved Award: Josh Bryan