Honda Racing Presents MXP Chatter With Justin Thompson

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In the past, whenever we’ve had a major catastrophe or tragic event in the world, at least we’ve always had sports to help pass the time or even help us with our healing. If you think back to 9/11 and all that happened on that day, in the weeks that followed, people were not only in mourning but also uncertain about the immediate future. The North American airspace was shut down to all non-military flights, and most were fearful that there might be another attack. Like now, it was a crazy time for everyone, but at least we had sports. In fact, many New Yorkers felt that watching the first Yankee’s home game after 9/11 gave them hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Today we don’t have any sports to help us get through this Corona Virus and all that it has stowed upon us. All sports leagues and events are cancelled for the foreseeable future, and unless you like sports reruns on television or watching past events on YouTube, we have nothing. With the Monster Energy Supercross Series now on a hiatus until at least May, and MXSports releasing news yesterday that Round 1 of their series in Hangtown is cancelled, where does that leave the opening rounds of the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series, which is scheduled to begin in Sarnia on April 25th? For an update we reached out to Justin Thompson this morning.

MXP: Good morning Justin, how are things for you and your family?

JT: Everything is good here. Like everyone we’re trying to stay home and keep busy. So far, we’re staying healthy and I hope all of our motocross families are doing the same right across the country.

First it was the NBA to shut their league down after one of their players tested positive for the Corona Virus. In the days that followed, every other sports league did the same including the Monster Energy Supercross Series. The other day, F1 shut down until the end of May, and then yesterday the opening round of the AMA Pro Outdoor Motocross Series cancelled their opening round in Hangtown. This virus appears to be changing things by the day. Can you give us any indication as to where the opening rounds of the Triple Crown Series stand?

I don’t have any firm information right now to give as far as the Sarnia AX or the Barrie AX. We’ve been in discussion with both venues and as of right now, like everything, events are on hold. I know Hangtown being cancelled was mostly due to the fact that the venue wasn’t able to get their event permit from the city as all permits are on hold right now in California. Right now, I don’t know what is going to happen, but considering how quickly things have escalated in recent days, pulling these events off in a month’s time is going to be very difficult. We’ll know more this week, and on March 30th we’ll be sending out a Press Release with information about the AXTour Series.

The opening round of the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series in Sarnia is definitely up in the air right now. Photo by James Lissimore

With sports leagues shutting down for weeks and months, people being told to self-isolate at home for at least two weeks, and Airlines cancelling flights for the next month, it’s going to be difficult for riders and teams to even travel to these venues next month.

I agree, and it doesn’t look like we’ve even seen the end of the shut downs. All we can do is wait to see what happens. But like I said, we’ll release more information next week so everyone can plan accordingly.

Just from looking at other sports leagues and Government officials stating that this self-isolating thing might go on for at least eight weeks, can you realistically see the opening round of the Triple Crown Series not taking place until Round 1 of the MXTour in Calgary at the end of May?

Honestly, with how fast everything has escalated this past week I think we’ll be lucky to begin our series at that point. I’m hopeful that in the near future we can start seeing this virus trend in a different direction, and by the middle of May we can start getting back to normal, but at this point no one knows.

It’s crazy to think that by June 1st we still won’t be back to normal life. I guess we just take things day by day and see what happens.

Exactly, that is all we can do. I can say that although we may not begin the Triple Crown Series in April or May, I’m very confident that we will still get all 15 rounds in this year!

For now we must focus on Social Distancing and avoid hanging out in large crowds. Let’s hope that things improve sooner than later and we can all go racing very soon. Photo by James Lissimore

So, as you sit here today, if the AXTour doesn’t happen in the next few months, then doing those races in the Fall is an option?

Of course, we have a light schedule in the Fall, which will allow us to do some more indoor races in September and October and get all of the rounds completed.

Well, that is very good news for not only the riders and teams but also the series sponsors and media people like myself. At the very least we’re still going to have an entertaining 15 round series!

I’m glad I could provide you with some good news today, there is certainly enough bad news out there.

Justin, thanks for your time this morning. Be safe and stay healthy. We’ll look forward to that press release next week. 

All the best to you and your family Palms.