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Honda Canada Racing Presents the Monday Gate Drop

amo honda

Good day and happy Monday to all! First off, I’d like to thank Honda Canada Racing for their continued support of my Monday Gate Drop column. Honda Canada Racing is ready for the 2017 racing season with both their factory GDR Honda Fox Team and their talented amateur line up. Together they’re looking forward to having a very successful season at the race track.

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The monument at Vimy Ridge, a battle in which claimed over 3000 Canadian lives in 1917.

Before we get into the news of the past week, I first want to pay homage to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Historians claim that this was the battle where our young soldiers came of age as a Canadian fighting force. In fact, some soldiers said that although they went overseas in WW1 as individuals from each of our Provinces, after battles like Vimy Ridge, they came home together as Canadians. Here is the Wikipedia link that describes in great detail the Battle of Vimy Ridge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vimy_Ridge

I will also warn you in advance that this week,s Monday Gate Drop may be on the short side because, to be perfectly honest, in Ontario today it’s going to be 22c and I want to go riding this afternoon. Considering the area where I live received about six inches of snow on Thursday evening, these mild temperatures are a welcomed sight for sure.

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If you like riding ruts then you would’ve loved the track in Seattle. Photo by Krystyn Slack

After such a drama filled night of racing last weekend in St Louis, I’m sure the riders and teams of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series were happy to get to the quiet surroundings of the Pacific Northwest for Round 14. I was honestly surprised to see Seattle back on the supercross schedule, as in the past, weather has always been an issue. I think the stadium in Seattle is very cool looking. Although I’ve never seen it in person, I’m sure it fits right in with the city’s motif. However, I cannot figure out why they didn’t build a stadium with a roof, or at least a retractable roof. Anyway, I’m sure I’m not the first person who has thought this over the years, and I’m sure that money was a consideration when plans were made to replace the old Kingdome.

As I said, with all of the drama surrounding Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey, everyone was happy to move on and focus on a new weekend of racing. Because of a strong chance for rain on Saturday, the practice schedule was shortened, and all of the riders were given one session to learn the track and qualify for the night show. While this certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen this done over the years, I for one think this is a very dangerous practice for a Supercross race. To send these guys out there in a shortened session, on a track with dirt completely different than anything they ride on all season, is just asking for trouble, especially when the weather turned out to be much better than expected during the day! When it became clear that Mother Nature just might cooperate with Round 14, I thought they at least should’ve given the riders two practices, even if the first one was five minutes long. As we all witnessed with poor Chris Alldredge getting landed on in practice and suffering a long list of horrifying injuries, the one practice deal was a little sketchy. My question is, are the riders ever consulted when decisions like this are made? Does the AMA/FIM ever go to, say, Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac or Chad Reed and ask them what their thoughts are? During the ten round Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals, every Saturday afternoon a few of the top riders and the CMRC officials sit down for a chat. This informal meeting can include talk about issues from the previous weekend that had happened, and it always includes talk about the track or other issues that are important for that weekend. Regardless of what topics are discussed, the important thing is the two parties actually take the time to sit down and talk. Hopefully they do this in supercross, so in the future they can avoid situations that arose on Saturday.

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If this was Ryan Dungey’s final Seattle SX, he sure gave the fans a memorable performance as he battled back from to first turn crash to finish in 4th place. Photo by Krystyn Slack

Once the gate dropped for the main events on Saturday, fans got to see some very exciting and sometimes sketchy racing by the series’ top riders. In the 250SX West class, Aaron Plessinger absolutely dominated on the way to the second win of his career. Behind him, the points leader, Justin Hill, rode very smart to finish second and maintain his coveted red plate. It was a very entertaining race on what proved to be the most difficult track of the series. Before I talk about the 450SX class, I want to send some healing vibes to our 2016 Photo Annual cover boy Noah McConahy who was injured during the opening lap of the main event. Get well soon Noah, your Canadian fans are pulling for you.

Now onto the 450SX class and the battle for the points lead. With the Reed / Dungey drama put to bed after the two superstars sat down and had a chat on Saturday, everyone’s focus turned to Dungey and his impending battle with Eli Tomac. I know that I let out an unbelievable sigh when the camera panned back to poor Dungey picking his bike up after his first turn crash. On a track that didn’t exactly lend itself to passing, Dungey was left with the task of having to do just that. His only saving grace was that Tomac was also way back in the pack. At the time, this seemed fair as Dungey’s crash most certainly wasn’t his fault. For the next 20 laps, these two warriors put on a show that rivalled anything we’ve seen thus far. To ride as strong as they did, to make as many passes as they did, and to do it without crashing multiple times, was simply amazing. In the end, Tomac crossed the finish line in second, while Dungey clawed his way to fourth. With a rare Saturday night off this coming weekend, these two riders left Seattle tied in points. Can you believe that, with three rounds remaining in this incredible series, Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac are in a dead heat for this title. Finally, after so many runaway champions in the past few seasons, fans now get to witness what is sure to be an exciting three round battle to the finish.

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With just three rounds remaining in the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series, Eli Tomac has clawed his way into a tie with Ryan Dungey for the 450SX points lead. Krystyn Slack

Well, that is it for this week. Our latest issue of MXP Magazine is now out with this month’s cover boy being Dean Wilson. This issue also features stories about the 2017 and the 1989 Toronto Supercross, as well as a JSR story, an Evan Stewart amateur profile, a look at the first ever Canadian Snow Bike Championships, as well as a host of other cool stories. I hope you like it, and also, I hope that everyone has a great week. Now, please excuse me, but it’s a beauty day outside and I’m going riding!

450 SX Points Standings (after 14 of 17 rounds)

1. Eli Tomac 294
2. Ryan Dungey 294
3. Marvin Musquin 252
4. Cole Seely 211
5. Jason Anderson 208
6. Blake Baggett 177
7. Davi Millsaps 176
8. Broc Tickle 158
9. Dean Wilson 147
10. Chad Reed 143
11. Josh Grant 125
12. Justin Brayton 112
13. Cooper Webb 99
14. Jake Weimer 89
15. Malcolm Stewart 80
16. Justin Bogle 74
17. Vince Friese 74
18. Justin Barcia 65
19. Mike Alessi 59
20. Ken Roczen 51

 

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