Welcome to another edition of the Honda Canada Racing Monday Gate Drop. With our outdoor riding season virtually over, it’s time to turn our attention to the off-season. The GDR Fox Honda Team of Dylan Wright and Colton Facciotti are busy getting their 2018 training schedules in order. Dylan Wright is very excited to begin testing his new 2018 CRF250R very soon, and Colton Facciotti is ready to build on the momentum he had at the end of the Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals. Both riders are looking forward to next year and getting their Honda motorcycles on the top step of the podium.
This past weekend, Gopher Dunes had their new track preview ride day on Saturday, and by all accounts everyone in attendance loved the new layout. I’ve had people ask me a few times in the past why Gopher Dunes doesn’t change their track layout more often. Well, the truth of the matter is that it’s not just a case of moving sand around and creating new sections. With all of the underground water piping that the Gopher Dunes crew has in place for keeping the track perfectly watered throughout the summer months, all of this would have to be dug up and moved before the track can be altered. There is obviously a lot of man hours involved and that is why it’s not done more frequently. I was hoping to get down to Gopher Dunes on Saturday for a ride, as well as a free lunch, but once again my son had a weekend full of hockey. Thanks to Gopher Dunes for putting on a cool, late fall ride day and letting everyone try out the new track.
As far as racing goes this past weekend, there wasn’t too much going on. In California a few of our fast and old guys headed down for the annual World Vet Championships at Glen Helen Raceway. Canadian riders were entered in almost every class and some had some very good results. Pete Graff won the plus 60 Expert class, and Julien Cerny battled hard to finish 11th in the highly competitive Plus 40 Pro class. There was also a large Quebec contingent there and it was great to see names like Guy Giroux, Marc Dionne, and former top ten pro Alex Langevin in the results. This event has grown so much over the past few years, and more and more fast riders are taking part. This year even Brett Metcalfe lined up on his new Honda and easily won the Plus 30 Pro class on Sunday. Metcalfe was able to upset Mike Brown’s perfect weekend and really show that he still has a ton of speed. I was hoping that Brett Metcalfe might be headed back to Canada in 2018 to ride for either the Monster Energy Alpinestar Kawasaki Team, or even the Royal Distributing Motovan Huber Racing Honda Team. Sadly, though, Metty is headed back to Australia in 2018 to race the National series there aboard a Honda. Barring an absolute miracle in the next few years, I’m afraid Canadian fans have seen the last of Brett Metcalfe racing on our soil.
It’s very cool to see Vet racing so prevalent now throughout the world of motocross. I must admit that it took me a long time to buy into racing past my 40th birthday. Quite simply, it was just something I never thought I’d do and I had zero interest in it. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy riding, other than maybe 2003, I have never really stopped riding during the week. In 2008 and 2009, I rode and trained quite a bit so I could race a couple of pro nationals. That was fun but it definitely made me realize that my ‘Pro’ speed was a thing of the past. From 2010 to 2013, my riding was again done just throughout the week and the weekends. Well, all of that changed in 2013 when I knew that my son was going to be participating in his first full year of racing. If he was going to race, I wanted him to see not just the fun that goes on during race day at the track, but I wanted him to see the work and preparation that has to go on during the week. The hot summer practice sessions, the bike prep on Friday night when there’s 100 other more fun things to do, the painful blisters that every rider gets, the other aches and pains that come with riding, and basically just the work that must be done if you want to be good at something. My thought was that in his first few years of racing and riding dirt bikes, if he could see his dad going through all of the above-mentioned effort, then it would get ingrained in him that it was just normal. Well, here we are five seasons later and he is still racing, and I must admit that I’m also much better off as a rider and as a person for competing in some Vet races.
My feeling on everything is still the same as it was in 2013; I love riding a dirt bike and I’m happy that I’m able to do it. However, the racing part of it still freaks me out and each race these days is a stressful endeavour. When I see some of my fellow vet riders getting injured, it always makes me pause and assess if what I’m doing is the right thing. In the end, knowing how to ride a dirt bike is a gift and I think I’d be doing myself a great disservice if I didn’t do it for as long as I can. As long as it’s done properly then all is good. These days with dirt bikes being so powerful and tracks becoming more and more difficult, us old guys have to stay on top of our game. Practising during the week is important and being as fit as possible is a must. In this past issue of MXP Magazine our resident trainer Drew Robertson wrote a column about staying fit as you get older, he even included some workouts that we could all be doing. Here is the link for Drew’s column, I hope it helps all the old guys out there. Column_Robertson_17.05_v1
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a safe week. This coming Saturday is Remembrance Day, so please everyone, take a moment to pause and think about all of our soldiers, past and present. We all enjoy a safe and secure life thanks to the protection that our Armed Forces provide. Saying thank-you on November 11th is the least that we can do. Finally, I want to send my best wishes to Zeb Dennis who sadly busted himself up a little this weekend while riding his BMX at Joyride150 in Markham, ON. Ironically, my son and I were just at Joyride last week riding with Zeb and Dylan Wright and we all had a great time. Heal up Zebo!!