With no Triple Crown MX Tour race this past weekend in Canada, I shifted my focus to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships in Millville, Minnesota. The Spring Creek MX Park in Millville is probably one of the top five track in the US. This track is one of the best tracks for being a spectator at. I really don’t enjoy attending a race and all you can see is a corner or two. Why would you want to attend it if you cant see much of the track? The tracks that attack the fans are the ones that have a great layout so you can see most of the track. People want to see good size jumps for the riders to send it off. We all enjoy watching riders airing it out. The promoters are building bigger and bigger jumps and the riders enjoy hitting them and the fans love it. Another must have for a good track is to have more than one road out of the track to the highway. Glen Helen Raceway is one of my favourite tracks to attend but man I hate leaving that place. But let’s not stray too far from Millville. One of my top pro riders, Henry Miller lives not to far from this event. So it’s usually a special race for Henry in front of his home crowd. We usually do something extra for him when he races here. This year we supplied a pretty cool neon, bright plastic body kit plus a one-off graphic kit. We also matched the gear to the bike. I think it was a big hit. The local fans commented that it was easy to see Henry race all weekend long. I noticed lots of fans posted pictures of there local hero on social media and that’s a bonus for us. When you finish 9-11 for the day in the 450 class you are doing something right. Well done Henry Miller!
I really enjoyed watching Tomac destroy the competition once again. Why is it when he is not leading the series he rides like a world champ? He made it look effortless out there as he stalked his prey. He can make his factory Kawasaki do pretty well anything out on that rough sandy track. Ken Roczen also rode really well and he keeps getting better each weekend. I love his attitude when he gets interviewed. When asked on the podium how that race went, his reply was, “Just having fun. Trying to stay smooth and build on the information we get from each weekend.” He says that with a big smile. Actually it’s pretty rare to see Ken in a bad mood. He is a fan favourite and the media love this dude! (I wonder what it cost to get him in some FXR gear? haha) Marvin Musquin looked good but I think he folds under pressure too. He is super fast on the factory KTM but you can’t afford to make mistakes at the level these guys are racing at.
This weekend coming up the Triple Crown MX Tour works it’s way to Moncton NB. The Riverglade track has been on the national schedule forever it seems. My first time racing this track was way back in 1986 on my air cooled Yamaha YZ490. It had a disc brake on the front and handled like a tank. The engine pinged and knocked as it heated up. I was a true Yamaha support rider on a bike that weighed way more than the competition. I remember putting some laps in on my practice track one day and my buddy showed up with a brand new bone stock 1986 Honda CR500. I thought maybe I should see what my lap times would be on that super-trick, liquid-cooled rocket ship. I hopped on the red machine and put in a few easy laps at first. I moved the levers up just a bit and off I went for a couple fast laps. I felt good on the Honda. It revved out better than my YZ. The Honda also had way more low-end grunt power. You could come out of a corner in third and torque it over the sand rollers. I was thinking, wow this CR is unreal. After putting is a few hot laps I headed to my truck. My buddy showed me what the stop watch read. Holy crap! I was 4 seconds faster on a bike I just hopped on for the first time. I thought for a minute, OK if I set this bike up right and had a bit more seat time I could possibly be six seconds faster per lap. I was shocked on the difference. That afternoon I headed to my dealer who sold both brands and asked if we could look at sending Honda a race resume for the following season. I would have loved to trade it in on the spot but I was committed to Yamaha for the season. I look back now and I feel it was the right decision. I didn’t want to burn any bridges. The industry is super small and I knew I would be racing for a long time. At the end of the day I really didn’t jump to a better bike. Yamaha stopped making open class machines so it was a easy move for me. But enough of the good old days stories. Back to Moncton. I really enjoy attending this race, Larry and his team do a fantastic job of setting up the track. The crowds that turn up from the Maritimes are full-on moto fans as well. I see the same people every year I attend it. When I walk around the track I have to laugh when I get close to their pond. They have a name for it now. It’s called the “Thompson Pond”. It’s funny now but back in 2011 I believe Cole Thompson was filling in for Facciotti on my KTM factory team. Cole was riding really well and I felt we had a good chance of getting the win that day. Well a few laps into the second moto I hear on my head set “Thompson is in the pond!” I am thinking to myself, “Why would Cole be in the pond?” Well apparently the track was a little rough in one area and Cole got a little sideways coming down the hill and blew through the banners right in the deep end of the pond. The bike was gone and all you could see was the grip. That was it for that race! Cole was okay. A little shook up but he was okay. So be careful of that pond this weekend folks.
I hope we hear who is on the MXON team soon. I am not sure what the hold up is? We were told that we would know by Canada Day and that was 25 days ago. I know the teams with the riders that have been named as a contender would like to know soon too. There is lots of planning that goes on before a big event like this. It’s actually a pain in the ass for any team. Why do I say that? Well it’s extra budget you probably didn’t have. You now have to build two full race bikes after a long season. That means more money. Your sponsors are pumped but they don’t have extra budget in September. The good news is we all find a way to make it happen so go team go! I think if we send the right guys we will have a good chance of making the A final and maybe finish in the top 10 this is the year.