Good day and welcome to Monday Gate Drop. We hope everyone had a great weekend and we hope that our American friends had an awesome Fourth of July weekend. I didn’t get to see much of the racing from Red Bud but from what I saw it looked incredible as always. After watching Red Bud in particular, it isn’t hard to see why you have to be good at riding ruts if you want to succeed in the USA. The ruts, especially in the final 250 moto, were unreal, and I think it really shows how hard Ken Roczen has worked at learning to race on the USA tracks. Having grown up in Europe where the tracks aren’t that rutted and rough, Roczen is riding like he grew up in North America. It sure is fun to watch.
After hearing the bad news that Kaven Benoit broke his leg this past week, everyone has to feel bad for the Red Bull Royal Distributing Fox KTM team this year. First, Colton Facciotti crashed and got run over in Kamloops; the result of that crash was a badly broken leg. Now Benoit goes down for the season. Is it just me or does KTM have some really good luck coming their way soon? Well, starting next weekend at Gopher Dunes KTM will be fielding one of the strongest MX1 teams since maybe Blackfoot Yamaha in 2007. Under the KTM tent at round five will be Tyler Medaglia, Dusty Klatt and Cole Thompson. This line up is very exciting for many reasons.
After a decent five rounds out west, Medaglia rides the eastern tracks really well. No doubt he will be a podium threat every weekend. I think I speak for everyone when I say that it’s going to be great to see Dusty Klatt back on the track. This guy is so talented on a motorcycle. In the interview we did with him last week, Dusty said that his knee feels great and he is ready to go. It’s obviously going to take a few weeks of racing to get back on track, but once he does, look out!
Finally, the signing of Cole Thompson is a thing of beauty for both KTM and Cole. I know a few people may feel like he’s giving up on his USA dream, but that is simply not true. This kid needs to feel what it’s like to win races and right now his best chance to do that is to ride the remaining five rounds of the 2013 Monster Energy MX Nationals. I don’t think he’s giving up on anything as he will more than likely be on the starting line for supercross in 2014.
So the stage is now set for the eastern rounds, with three of the final rounds being on super rough sand tracks. Success will no doubt come to the strongest and fittest. I have spoken to a few of the top riders and it’s interesting to see the different ways each rider prepares for the sand. Some head out to the most miserable sand track they can find, and some are just sticking with what they have been doing. My opinion is to do whatever you can so when you get to a track like Gopher Dunes you feel at ease mentally. It’s kind of like a mud race. As a rider, you can’t be standing at riders meeting thinking about what a tough day you have a head of you. You have to feel confident and optimistic about your chances. Mental strength will be your best friend on any day with extreme conditions.
I think every rider ends up getting tired in a 35 minute moto on a sand track in 30c heat. I mean, how could you not? But if you’re mentally beat before the day starts then you’re in big trouble. I think you need to try and have fun, save your energy when you can and ride smart. Yes, the rider that wins a sand race is usually super fit and strong, but he or she is almost always the smartest on the track as well. I personally can’t wait for the eastern rounds. There is going to be some great racing in both classes at Gopher Dunes. If you’re thinking about going but not quite sure, get out there next Sunday and cheer on Brett Metcalfe and the boys.