Good morning and welcome to another edition of the Honda Canada Racing Monday Gate Drop. With the summer race season now a thing of the past, the GDR Honda Team now turns their attention to getting Colton Facciotti ready for the 2017 MXoN. This massive event takes place in three weeks in Southern England and it promises to be one of the most exciting races of the year. This year Team Canada is made up of Shawn Maffenbeier and Honda riders Tyler Medaglia and the aforementioned Colton Facciotti. All three riders have been training and testing, and our entire country is beaming with anticipation. We would like to thank Honda Canada Racing for their continued support of this Monday Gate Drop and our sport in general.
As it has been for the past 16 years, September 11th has a special meaning to not just the people of New York, and Washington where the attacks took place in 2001, but also to everyone that watched and were affected by the events of that terrible day. As I drove my son to school this morning with the sun shining and the temperatures beginning to climb, I was reminded that this was the exact weather that we were experiencing on this side of the country on September 11, 2001. It was a glorious early fall day when the news began to come through about the events in New York City, events that seemed unbelievable at first. By the time I got to a television, the first World Trade Centre tower was only moments away from crashing to the ground. When that happened it really drove home what was really happening and what it meant to all of us. Life as we knew it would never be the same, and each year on this day we honour not just the lives that were lost, but we also honour the strength that was shown by everyone as we moved on and recovered from that awful day in 2001.
As we take a moment to honour everyone on this day, we take a look at what has been happening in our sport this past week. I took last week off from writing this column as I was in Michigan all weekend and didn’t get home until Monday evening. We were in Michigan attending the 2017 Baja Brawl at the beautiful Baja Acres Raceway. For every rider that has ever been to Baja Acres I’m sure that you will agree that it has to be one of the best and most difficult tracks in North America. With its sandy soil and multiple elevation changes, it gives every rider an enjoyable but challenging circuit to race. Since its inception in 2002, the Baja Brawl has been a popular event for many of our Canadian riders. Last weekend was no different as Tanner Ward, Quinn Amyotte, Brad Williams, Kobi Cox, Preston Masciangelo and Thomas Munro (just to name a few) all competed in the various Baja Brawl classes. From practice on Friday to the final moto on Monday afternoon, this event was incredible, and my family is definitely heading back there in 2018. Look for a complete story on this awesome race in the next issue of MXP Magazine.
So now that we’re already approaching the mid point of September we can begin to turn our attention to the 2017 MXoN. With months of planning and fund raising by Team Canada, our team is just a few short weeks away from departing to England. After a great result last year in Italy, I think it’s safe to say that Team Canada will head to England this year with more expectations accompanying them. However, to counteract this heavy weight of expectation, the Team also heads overseas with a lot of experience as our trio of Shawn Maffenbeier, Tyler Medaglia and Colton Facciotti have been through this type of pressure before. Also, all three
riders are coming off very a successful summer of racing in the Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals.
Shawn Maffenbeier was without a doubt the fastest MX2 rider all summer long and was able to come away with the championship. This, along with his experience from being on Team Canada in 2016, will no doubt serve him well as he takes on the best MX2 riders on the planet. Tyler Medaglia is coming off another solid summer in the MX1 class where he visited the podium a few times on his way to fifth overall. Tyler is also fresh off a very successful ride at the 2017 ISDE in France last week. As he gets ready for his trip to England, Tyler is fit and confident on his Honda CRF450. As for Colton Facciotti, I feel like we’re about to witness an incredible performance from him against the best riders in the world. With three moto wins in the final four motos of the 2017 MX1 series, Colton is without a doubt feeling very confident on this GDR Fox Racing Honda. With his current state of mind, along with his years of experience, I feel like Colton is going to have a race to remember in England. I also think the track in Matterley Basin will suit his riding style as Colton has always been good on tracks that demand a lot of throttle control. Finally, with his experience and speed in recent years, I think that he really believes deep down that he can race and beat most of the MX1 riders he will be up against in England. Although he probably would never admit it, I’m sure that Colton saw what Kaven Benoit was able to do last year in Italy, and now he wants his turn in the spotlight. In a nutshell, Team Canada is once again ready to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and give it their all for this awesome country.
So, with the 2017 MXON still a few weeks away, I turn my attention to a few upcoming local events. First up is this Friday at Moto Park. Yamaha Canada will be conducting their 2018 media launch for their new off-road models. The weather this week in Ontario looks incredible so the media will be primed and ready to try out Yamaha’s newest bikes. I will be going into Friday with a slight advantage as I spent a day in late July at Glen Helen Raceway testing out the 2018 YZ450F. With multiple changes, the new YZ450 is so much fun to ride, and I cannot wait to ride it again this Friday on a track that I’m very familiar with. Then on Saturday it’s time to head to Gopher Dunes for their annual Sand Storm event. With an Arenacross race on Saturday afternoon, pit bike races on Saturday night, and then a full race on the main track on Sunday, it will definitely be a fun weekend of playing in the sand at Gopher Dunes.
So that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week and I hope that all of our moto kids had a successful return to school. The first few weeks of school are always tough as our kids have to adjust to sitting still for extended lengths of time. Most moto kids are wide open and in a constant state of motion. I hope they’re doing well, and I hope to see everyone this weekend at Gopher Dunes. Finally, if you’re a current Yamaha rider, Yamaha Canada will be holding a customer appreciation ride day at Moto Park this Saturday. Yamaha wants you to come out, try some of their new 2018 models, have some lunch, and spend the day just hanging out. Have a great week everyone!!