Welcome to another Honda Canada Racing Monday Gate Drop. From Carl Vaillancourt, to Jean Sebastien Roy, to Colton Facciotti, Honda Canada Racing has been winning Canadian National motocross titles for over 30 years. For 2018, the Honda GDR Fox Racing Team hopes to do what other manufacturers have done in recent years and that is to win both the MX2 and MX1 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Championships. With Colton Facciotti and Dylan Wright all ready to go for the opening round in two weeks, the future is looking bright for the red team.
Round 1 of the 2018 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series will be lining up in just under two weeks in Abbotsford, BC. With the opening round being an Arenacross, the racing will sure to be intense inside the Abbotsford arena as the riders race each other for the first time in 2018. Since 2000, the top pro riders in Canada have mostly had to focus on making sure they were in tip top shape for the long and hot outdoor motos of the summer. For a number of years there was also the Montreal SX, but that was just a one-off event and every rider’s main goal was to get through the night safely so they could visit Cresent St. afterwards. For the first time in the history of Canadian motocross there are indoor races that really mean something. With four indoor events in the next two months to kick off this new series, some riders are going to like this new format, while some are going to hate it. Either way, the gate drops in just twelve days.
So, how crazy was the racing in San Diego this past weekend? Between Justin Bogle, Ken Roczen, and our own Jess Pettis (he sadly suffered a shoulder injury), the series lost a few riders to injuries. Bogle’s crash was just plain ugly as he appeared to get landed on by Alex Ray off one of the triple jumps. In that crash, Bogle suffered a broken humorous and will most likely by out of action until the outdoor series. I wasn’t a big fan of how they had that section of the San Diego track set up with not just the back to back triple jumps, but also with the second one coming right out of a corner. Jumping 65 feet through the air is tough enough without having to do it while you are still turning slightly and trying to accelerate. I suppose that section was fairly incident free all evening (with the exception of the Bogle crash), but I still think it should be avoided.
In watching numerous replays of Ken Roczen’s crash with Cooper Webb, I’m still so baffled by it. Why Roczen would put himself in that position with all that he’s been through to me shows a real lack of judgment. I know these two riders have a little history off of the track, and Webb did run Roczen high in the turn before, but that is no excuse. By all accounts, Roczen may need surgery to repair his broken hand, which will take him out for some time. To jeopardize his fairy tale comeback over an incident like we saw on Saturday night is a real shame. Hopefully, he isn’t out too long and can return before the end of the series. With that said, it’s really awesome to see Jason Anderson transform himself into the leader that he is in 2018. He is currently riding with so much confidence right now as he just seems to believe that he belongs at the front. While his competition struggles with crashes and inconsistent finishes, Anderson and his Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing Team just keep rolling along. This weekend the series moves to the massive Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX, before beginning its tough eastern swing.
As I write this I’m sitting in an Holiday Inn hotel down the road from the famous ERX Motor Park, just outside Minneapolis, MN. This snowcross and snowbike track is a man made beauty, complete with lights, a snow making machine, and two large snow groomers. If you love riding snowcross and snowbikes, this is your dream spot. The reason that I’m here is for the launch of the 2019 FXR Racing gear and their annual dealer show. To make an even bigger splash than they have in the past, FXR also invited some of the North American moto media to attend this event. They also invited Canadian snowcross legend Brock Hoyer and all around two-wheel legend Mike Brown. For two days we’re all going to be doing as much riding as possible at this incredible facility. Yesterday I spent over an hour spinning my first ever laps on a snowbike. Once I got used to the initial awkwardness of how the bike felt, things began to click and I got more and more comfortable. Riding a snowbike to me feels like riding a motocross bike in deep sand with a flat front tire. There is a real heavy front end feel that takes some time to get used to. Also, with no free wheeling when you shut off the throttle, you really have to just drive the snowbike around the track. I found that to ride a snowbike with any type of authority really takes a lot of energy. Thanks to Brock Hoyer, I was able to get some important tips that helped me throughout the day. We’re all back at it today for this incredible event. Once all of us media are done ripping up the track, FXR dealers from around the world arrive in Minnesota to see all of the new 2019 gear.
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week and a very Happy Valentine’s Day on Wednesday. I will keep you posted on some Jess Pettis news when it comes in; hopefully the news is good and he’ll be okay for Abbotsford. Finally, if you’re in the Toronto area don’t forget about this weekend’s Toronto Motorcycle Show at the Enercare Centre. The shows begins at noon on Friday and runs until Sunday evening. If you want to see some brand new bikes, as well as the all-new 2018 YZ65, come to the show and check them all out.