For over 20 years, Future West Moto has been committed to promoting and providing a safe place for our riders and families to enjoy the sport of Motocross. Through our outdoor Motocross and Indoor Arenacross riding schools, we are bringing top athletes in the sport to share knowledge, riding tips and instruction to the younger levels and new riders. From the ‘New Kid Beginner’ class to top National level Pro’s, we strive to ensure that our track officials, first aid, and all Future West staff are knowledgeable, friendly and offer an all around good experience while maintaining a high standard of professionalism and competition. Future West Moto and its winning team are now partnered with MRC Racing as the main sanctioning body for Motocross in the province of British Columbia. With three rounds of a nine round provincial Championship now in the books, seeing well over 1,000 entries in total, 2019 looks is proving to be a breakthrough year for Future West Moto. This years MRC Racing, Western Canadian Amateur National June 27th-30th will also be hosted by Future West at the newly revamped Whispering Pines Motorsports Compound in Kamloops B.C. Future West Moto’s Provincial Championship series resumes next weekend along the scenic, ‘Sea to sky highway’ at Pemberton B.C’s Green River Motocross track. All you need to know and more can be found at www.futurewestmoto.ca
Welcome aboard a special holiday Victoria Day weekend edition of the Friday Flight. Now that we are rapidly approaching the mid mark month of the calendar year, things are certainly happening quickly in our Motocross world. The past weekend in Nanaimo, B.C. saw Future West Moto complete their third and final Walton Trans Can Grand National Amateur Qualifier. This also signifies that in just over two weeks time, racers and fans fortunate enough will be in Calgary, Alberta to kick off the outdoor portion of the 2019 Rockstar Triple Crown Series – that or tuned in on Fox Sports Racing. I have heard rumblings that this track is again under the microscope in regards to its future. All that I will personally add into that is this; I first raced Calgary’s Wild Rose track just a month before the King of Rock N’ Roll, Elvis Presley, died. Yes, I agree, that is going back a few days now. It was 1977 to be exact. I think I speak for most who pledge their allegiance to the Motocross Canada flag that it would be a very sad day if it ever did come. This scenic and incredible city view venue is right smack in the middle of 1.33 million people. Let’s all collectively do our part to keep this facility alive and well as long as possible.
Somehow, someway, the facility that is cut out of a very similar blue grooved clay cloth as the old Saddleback Park in Southern California has survived the test of time. In Alberta’s lost land of Dinosaurs, Calgary to me is our sport’s true ‘Jurassic Motocross Park.’ In a sport where longevity is not always a word commonly used (unless your name is Pete DeGraaf or Julien Cerny), Calgary’s track is definitely a little longer in its Dinosaur-like tooth than most. While riders are currently doing everything they can to be ready for the opener, it seems at this particular event Mother Nature often plays a strong role. As a race fan, have you ever shown up at a race track on National day and gone, wow, I cannot believe they did that! Or on the flip side, why did they not do this or use that section? There is a ton of thought and foresight that must go into National race day prep. The weather and its forecast (good or bad) always play a huge role in decisions made regarding track set up.
Personally, I would love to see the opener at this round tilled deeper than it has been in recent years and here’s why: The past four or five years at the site of this year’s outdoor opener, if you did not get a decent top 5 start, your chances of finishing on the podium in Calgary were deeply compromised. I guess in a sense that should surprise no one as starts are a huge part of any winning formula in Motocross. As I write this, I am smiling a little bit to myself as I know there are always exceptions to every rule. So, before you beat me to it, I will add this; one of the best starters in our sport, Mike Alessi, in 2014 blew my theory right out the window, big time. Alessi stated in his own words after his brilliant come from behind, Moto 2 score win there in 2014 after jamming the start gate that it was one of the best outdoor races of his career. A strong statement for a man who achieved his first ever AMA National podium while still in the ninth grade of high school. It certainly was impressive, Mike, you rode like a man possessed on the Smart Top Moto Concepts bike that day! Either way, Calgary has always provided some of the best early series drama in both classes. I have seen some riders redeem themselves from previous years’ blunders. On his first tour of duty with the Rockstar OTSFF team, Saskatchewan’s own Shawn Maffenbeier made his Yamaha amphibious. Shawn, I still cannot believe you kept that thing running or got it started again! From that setback came some of the best 250 Motos of his career. The results may not always show how well a racer races or likes a race track, but I do believe that Maffenbeier will head to the line in Calgary on the 450 Yamaha with a ton of confidence.
With the deeper tilling in a similar fashion to what we see every year at Walton Raceway’s TransCan, I believe that this can enhance the race day experiences had by all. Again, one could argue that some riders are not as rut savvy as others. I agree completely and say, exactly! We only ever overcome or get better at anything in our lives if we do not push limits and get out of our own personal comfort zones. Now that I have launched this into the never-ending scrutiny of the cyber world, I am very curios as to what I will see on my birthday of June 1st in Calgary. Who knows, maybe my credentials will now mysteriously disappear. I hope not. To me this is always one of the best rounds of the year! Calgary will also be round one of the three of the Pro Women’s West National Series. I have witnessed some incredible racing over the Calgary circuit in the Pro Women’s West Series. This year, Pro Women’s sign up can be done online only, and an MRC Racing license is required. The good news in all of this is that the sign-up fee has been lowered to $50 for the Pro Women’s national events. Moto lengths are 12 minutes plus one lap. There will also be a full podium presentation at the conclusion of the second Motos with a 100% purse payout. Sunday’s MRC Racing Parts Canada Triple Crown Amateur Open event is also a Walton Trans Can ANQ; do not get left without a gate pick for that one. There is also a Pro practice scheduled for the Wild Rose track on Monday May 27th.
Mike Alessi is not alone with brilliant Calgary performances. His current teammate on the GDR / Honda Canada / Fox team, Colton Facciotti, has had some great races there as well. With this series being run in the modern era in a West to East fashion, Colton, for the most part, has hoisted his secure and well ironed sail early on his way to five previous 450cc class titles. If there are ever days where questions are raised (and there have been), he is always forthright with his answers of how and why it unfolded. After a Calgary race a couple of years back, he very candidly told me, “I guess I did not have my ‘A’ game today.” I was very impressed with that. I really believe that once that type of humbleness (humility) is demonstrated by any rider, they then have the chance to have a successful and similarly storied career to Facciotti’s. But just as we are seeing in the 250cc class with some of the younger riders, this is a process that can take some time.
With only three rounds in the West this year (Calgary, Prince George and Minnedosa, Manitoba, that prides itself on being Manitoba’s ‘Valley Paradise’), will this affect or enhance any one of this series hopeful’s title chances. I personally do not think that it changes the mind set for most racers. We all have our favourites in life. Favourites in racing can provide a level of comfort and confidence that breed success in the results column. I again smile to myself as I have asked many top-level riders what they prefer in a race track and why. It can be perplexing at times to decipher between the tongue and cheek-type responses to the underlying, serious and honest truths. I had a rider once tell me that he thought a track was all uphill. I left that one alone but my thoughts then quickly shifted to a mixed fuel burning Gared Steinke – ‘Stankdog’ doing things his own way, on his 125cc Husqvarna two-stroke at the Glen Helen Lucas Oil Pro National, doing so while up against the fast and highly volatile 250F ‘factory firecrackers.” For the record he went 31-31 that day for 31st overall. I do not have any immediate reasons to believe that we will see Gared up in Canada this summer. If he does show up, it would be incredibly cool though. I had talked to Gared about the prospect of this two years back. I can tell you that he was very pumped on the idea of burning some blue smoke fossil fuel up in the Great White North. What I do know for certain is that this year at each of the MRC Racing national rounds there will be a two-stroke challenge that is being supported by the great Canadian apparel company that is Manitoba based FXR Racing.
Another rider that has seen the good, the bad and the ugly in Calgary is Monster Energy / Kawasaki rider Matt Goerke. I have witnessed Matt have to pick his bike up from the very bottom of a ten bike first turn pile in Calgary and then claw his way back through the pack from dead last. He did so on a race track that did not have enough line choice options in the hard and compacted terrain. When you are faster than other riders, whether it is trying to set up a pass or get around a lapper, having more rut options and line choices makes the racing better for everyone. It is not my motive at all to call anyone out on this. I am simply campaigning to try to make our sport the best it can be. I have a feeling that more than just a few of these riders would agree.
I singled Matt Goerke out for a good reason. I want to illustrate something that I saw and valued immensely in his character. We all know by now that Matt, like any Motocrosser who has reached this level, is a fierce competitor. I get that and so do most. Matt wears his heart on his sleeve. I get that also, so do I. This sport is not for the faint of heart and most of us get that, too. In a roundabout way, I guess it drives us all daily until we can get that Moto flutter we collectively crave. Over the course of Matt’s tenure up here in Canada he has secured three 450cc National titles in 2012, 2015 and 2017. The first of which was with Jason Hughes on the Monster Energy Kawasaki Team in 2012. Matt is again back on Monster Energy’s Kawasaki for his 2019 title attempt. One of the things that some have scrutinized along the way is how animatedly unhappy he looks on the podium if he hasn’t had his best day, how seriously he approaches the sport and how self critical he can be of his performances on a sub par day. Every one of us in this sport has them, no one is exempt. So before launching you off into your holiday weekend, I would like to share the story behind this photo taken in 2016 at the final Pro National at RJ Motosport Park just outside of Barrie, Ontario.
On that particular day, heading into the final round, KTM Canada’s Davi Millsaps had a healthy points lead. So much so, that after the first Moto with a top ten Moto score, Milsaps would secure the 2016 title. Davi did not even line up for the second Moto. He did not have to but that is not the reason why. That in itself is another story! Davi and KTM know exactly what I am talking about. Matt Goerke had a great final round on this day. It was a ton of fun to be a fan at the races on this day. The final round of any series is always knee deep with side plots to keep things interesting. In the same manner that we all work for the weekend, these guys are usually all throwing down hard to secure potential future deals, etc. So just because we may think that the top step picture in any series is perfectly clear, there is always so much more to keep our focus.
In case you missed it along the way, I have become somewhat of a self-proclaimed plastic aficionado. No, I am not talking about saving the oceans or anything like that, I am talking about plastic number plates from our sport’s heroes and heroes to be. I do have a few friends in the sport that I can blame this affliction on. ‘Donk’ Scott Donkersgoed, Jason Labby and my friend and fellow collector Doug Wilson. Doug, who was in attendance on this day in Barrie, knows exactly what I am talking about. I won’t get into details but those three fellas I have mentioned are salt of the earth dudes, in my opinion. Thanks guys! So as the day wound down in Barrie, I had mentioned to Steve Simms, Matt Goerke’s mechanic for Rockstar OTSFF (Ocean Transport Services Freight Forwarding) at the time, that if at all possible, I would love to add one of Matt’s big number ones to my rapidly growing Motocross shrine of a home. Earlier on after speaking with Davi and his mechanic, I had done the same with him. Davi signed his and it is truly a historical gem for any Motocross fan to have. Thanks, Davi and KTM Canada.
Not wanting to be a pest, I let it ride and stayed out of harms way at the MX101 pit after the final 450 Moto ended, the whole time gunning the Rockstar pits out of my peripheral in hopes that Steve remembered my hounding him. Within a short bit of repeating my reconnaissance-type glances in their direction, Steve and Matt started walking my way together. I was happy to note that Matt had his red number one plate in his hand. As they neared, my heart rate accelerated with excitement. But as they approached, they started to veer to the right to the KTM truck. Now I was curious. The first person they met up with there was none other than newly crowned 2016 450cc Champ Davi Millsaps. Matt and Steve then shook Davi’s hand and literally handed over the number one ‘Canadian Motocross Conch’ to him. This was one of the coolest moments I have ever witnessed in Canadian Motocross as far as respect and sportsmanship goes!
I inched closer and after they finished up their personal business, I smiled at Matt and Steve and said, “I thought you were bringing that one over to me.” Matt looked me in the eye and said, that’s how we do it up in Canada. So, if you ever see a scowl on Matt Goerke’s face instead of a smile, know that it is nothing personal and just a part of the business we are all in. Yes, I did get my signed number plate. Thanks guys, that was a super fun national. But aren’t they all?
Before I hit the send button to launch you all into holiday weekend mode, I have a couple of important things to share. The ‘New Era’ Moto Park Cup kicks off its first of two weekends this weekend in Chatsworth, Ontario. This, in my opinion, is a staple event at an incredible facility. That is if it is in your geographical wheelhouse. Founded in 1972, the Moto Park Training Facility was one of the first Motocross training facilities to ever be developed in Canada. In 1984 and 1986, Moto Park had the pleasure of hosting an FIM World Motocross Championship Grand Prix. Moto Park has also recently introduced an adventure park, which features Mountain Biking, BMX Biking and a Paint Ball Park. Good luck to everyone that can attend this iconic event.
The gang at Future West Moto will be back in action next weekend on the sea to sky highway in Pemberton, B.C. I have ridden and raced that track many times. In my estimation, this incredible fresh air and scenic drive is well worth taking. The race track is also one of our province’s best. I have also been in close contact with the Whispering Pines Motorsports Compound that will host this year’s Western Canadian Amateur National with Future Wesst Moto in just forty short days time. There are many things in the works including new wash stations and a stage shell that is being constructed. This will provide a place for the planned live music as well as housing awards ceremonies and first aid attendants. There are many things in the works to make this one of the best events of the summer. Yamaha Motor Canada is also back with their Blu Cru ‘Yamaha Factory Ride’ award at the WCAN. This is a great opportunity for a Yamaha rider to win this highly coveted prize for the next race season. The award includes a brand new Yamaha motorcycle. The track just north of town on the Thompson River will be open this holiday weekend for practice. This weekend’s riding hours are Friday from 12pm – 8pm and again on Monday from 10am-6am. I myself am headed down to my old home town of Chilliwack, B.C. to help my father, Jim, celebrate his 75th birthday. I am very excited to watch the opening round of this season’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro National from Hangtown with him this Saturday. This race has special meaning to us as our old friend and my last Pro level sponsor, Rick ‘Holeshot’ Sheren, did just that at this iconic event, that is, pulled a great big ‘Holeshot’ at an AMA Pro National. Yes Rick, you got did get a few, didn’t you! It was a few days ago but a perfect example of making the kind of memories in Moto that we remember the most. Whatever you get up to creating your memories this Victoria Day weekend friends, soak it all in while keeping safety as one of your top step priorities!
Thanks – Brent