I think we can safely say that spring is here in most parts of this incredible country. After such a painful winter, the temperatures have found their way above zero and the large amounts of snow that has accumulated since November is finally melting into oblivion. Good riddance, I say! I can handle winter but this one has been tough. My son’s school has had 15 no-bus days since early December.
I actually can’t remember a riding season when by March 31 someone has yet to ride a lap at Gopher Dunes or some local sand track. The last winter that was even close to being as bad as this one was in 1993, and even that year I remember putting some laps in at Gopher Dunes on March 30. We’re definitely in unsheltered waters here in Southern Ontario, although judging by Tweets and Facebook, it sounds like Gopher Dunes will be opening next weekend and Moto Park may not be too far behind. Since the Moto Park area usually receives about three feet more snow than Gopher Dunes, it takes a little more time to get that facility ready. Anyway, it will all work out eventually and in less than two weeks the SWO CMRC racing schedule kicks off whether Mother Nature likes it or not.
Just like a story out of a gossip magazine, the on-again/off-again talk for the last few months in Canadian Motocross has been whether Mike Alessi and his team would be coming up to Canada this summer to compete in the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals. First he was and then he wasn’t, then he was and then he wasn’t; this back and forth news has been going on for some time. On Friday I heard once again that he was coming up here, plus on Saturday, Cycle News reported that the Alessi camp was indeed coming to Canada this summer. With all of this speculation going on I finally decided to give Tony Alessi a call last night to find out once and for all what was going on. Here is what Tony had to say:
MXP: Hey Tony, it is MXP Magazine calling from Canada. How are you?
MA: I’m tired!! We just got home from St Louis so we’re a little exhausted from flying all day.
How was St Louis for you guys?
Not bad but we’ve had better weekends. Mike got some holeshots and won a semi, but he got some food poisoning so in the main event he started cramping up and could only manage 11th. It wasn’t the best finish but we’ll take it and move on.
Okay, here’s the million dollar question – will you guys be coming to Canada this summer to race?
Yes, we’re coming up. The thinking right now is that we’ll come up and ride the first two or three rounds and then evaluate where we sit. If things are going well then we’ll stay for the entire series. We’ll be taking up our team rig and a motor home, and the rest of us will be flying in and out each weekend. Our team will be racing Glen Helen and then head north.
Well, that’s great news. Can you say who will be riding for your team in Canada?
Mike Alessi and Kyle Cunningham will ride in the MX1 class and Jeremy Medaglia will ride in the MX2 class. It should be good as we feel like if things go well we’ll have a shot at both championships.
You guys have been a fixture in AMA motocross for a long time and you’ve been fairly successful. Why decide now to spend your summer racing in a different country?
Well, that’s a good question. All I can tell you is that for the winter we obviously spend our time racing supercross. To everyone in the world, supercross is the top series and that’s why we do it, but where outdoor motocross is concerned, we feel like it doesn’t really matter where you race. As long as we’re racing it doesn’t matter if we’re doing it in Canada or in the USA. We’re ready to try something new.
Other than coming to Toronto for the supercross, have you ever been to Canada?
No, this summer will be the first time. Everyone on the team is very excited to go up and see some new tracks and meet new people, and we’re excited for the challenge that racing in Canada will present us. It should be fun!
So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. Mike Alessi will be on the starting line in Nanaimo for round one of the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals. I’m not sure what Tony means by evaluating things after a few rounds but hopefully their team is here for the entire series. With Metcalfe, Facciotti, Kiniry, Chisholm, Izzi, Maier, Thompson and now Alessi and Cunningham, there will certainly be no room for error in the MX1 class. Not to mention that the top Canadian from 2013, Tyler Medaglia, has reportedly signed with Husqvarna for this year, so the line-up for the Nationals this summer is incredible. This year could be a history making year in Canadian motocross, for sure.
With the summer landscape in Canadian Pro motocross coming together now, all we have to do is wait for some real spring weather to show its face. This past weekend was the final round of the CSRA Snocross Championships and for the seventh time, one of the most well liked guys in Canadian Motocross, Iain Hayden, brought home the Championship. From all of us at MXP, congratulations to Iain and his team on a job well done. Hopefully he doesn’t celebrate too much and has some energy to move some snow at Moto Park so the rest of us can ride soon!!!
Finally, I want to send another congratulatory message to one of our motocross cool guys. Former OGIO front man and current Projekt Manager Jeff Williams and his wife Aimee welcomed their first child last week. Everyone is healthy and happy so congratulations to the Williams family on the arrival of Cru. It definitely feels like a mini baby boom in the Canadian moto industry. That is all for me this week, I hope everyone has a great week and hopefully all of you get to throw a leg over a dirt bike very soon.