As much as I love to travel and see parts of the world, it sure is nice to come home and have a good night sleep in my own bed. We got home last night after ten days on the road. Our trip took us down to South Carolina and back again with a stop yesterday at Gopher Dunes for the SWO CMRC Season Opener. It was a great trip, and other than the long drive to SC, everything couldn’t have gone smoother. Let me begin this week’s Gate Drop with our trip to the USA.
A week ago Friday, my wife, son and I loaded up my truck and headed south to beautiful Fort Mill, SC. My wife’s BFF lives there so we had a place to stay for the week. With TNT Motocross Park only 35 minutes away, Ayrton had a great place to break in his brand new KTM50SX. There was also huge mountain bike trails nearby so we spent the week pretty much on two wheels. When we weren’t on our bicycles we were at the track and Ayrton was riding. We even laid the gauntlet down to mommy when Ayrton told her that she probably “couldn’t handle” our one hour and ten minute mountain bike ride that we did one day. Well, the next day mommy stepped up and we did the same ride as a family and she proved us wrong. As I said before, we had a great week and we will definitely go back next year. On Saturday morning we said our good-byes and hit the road, this time we were northbound to Gopher Dunes and the first race of 2014.
There is obviously always a lot of excitement surrounding the first race of each year. With Ontario suffering through one of the worst winters in the last half century, to wake up Sunday and know that it was once again “race day” was an awesome feeling. The weather forecast for yesterday was calling for rain almost everywhere except Gopher Dunes. For the first time in the last few months Mother Nature didn’t disappoint us and the weather was great for the 2014 SWO Season opener. As always, the Gopher Dunes crew worked hard to get the facility ready for the first race of the year and the riders were treated to superb track conditions on both the main track and the mini track. Other than the great racing on the track, one of the coolest parts on any season opener is the reunion-type atmosphere that was everywhere in the pits. For most of us, we haven’t seen each other since last fall so it was good to shake hands and get caught up on how everyone is doing. The one thing all of us could agree on was that it was a long winter and that it was great to finally be racing again.
For us the day started off very interesting as Ayrton’s bike was not running properly. With me being a much better rider than mechanic I was a little baffled as to what might be wrong. In practice he made it around the track two laps before the bike quit running. Without a lot of time before the first moto I did everything I could with the fuel system to get it running. Finally the bike was running and it was off to moto one of the 50cc Open class. Well, after two laps the bike once again quit and it was back to the drawing board to figure out what was wrong with it. I was at a loss for what might be the trouble so we had to call in some more 50 dads to help out. At one point Ayrton had four mechanics working on his bike trying to get it running again. It was definitely character building time for my son as he had to suffer through one more DNF before we FINALLY determined that his bike had a faulty coil. Who would of thought that on a brand new bike a part like a coil could be bad, but it happens. Once we put a new coil on his bike he went on to finish second and first in his final two motos. Even though the day started off a little rough, it finished on a high note and it was a great learning experience for young Ayrton as sometimes race days aren’t always trouble free.
With all of our problems yesterday I was amazed at the camaraderie among all of us 50cc parents to help ensure that Ayrton got racing. Whether it was offering up an extra bike for him to ride or helping fix his bike, we all worked together and I’m very thankful for that. I know sometimes 50 parents get some bad press for their behaviour but if yesterday was any indication for how we’re all going to get along, bring on the rest of 2014! It was also great to see all the kids ride so well on the tough Gopher Dunes mini track, it was full of ruts and the young riders handle them like little Pros.
Yesterday the CMRC also introduced their new licenses and sign up procedure. With the new bar code licenses and the touch screen sign up, even though it took a little extra time teaching everyone how to do it, as the season goes on it’s going to be a lot more efficient and professional. Also, it was great to see CMRC head honcho Mark Stallybrass there with a smile on his face to welcome everyone to the 2014 season. Mark even took his turn dropping the gate for a few 50cc motos. With next weekend’s Moto Park now rescheduled to May 11th, the next race in SWO is at RJ Motorsports on April 27th. We hope to see everyone there.
To close out this week’s Gate Drop, I want to give a big congratulations to Ross Johnson on his success at the Seattle Supercross this past weekend. Not only did Ross make the Lites main event but he rode very well to finish 19th. Hopefully Ross can find some support to race the Canadian Nationals this summer as he’s a good rider and a great guy. That’s it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week and a safe week of riding.