Don't Miss

MXP Chatter With Brett Lee Presented By Motovan

The challenging situation that we all had to go through during the past two years also forced certain events to think outside of the box and try new things. For the 2021 Triple Crown Series, it travelled to Walton Raceway for the opening two rounds on the Canada Day long weekend, and then on Sunday, they experimented with three shorter motos in each class instead of the longer two moto format. For the most part, it was a success as was the entire Walton One weekend last year. Well, here we are a year later and the Walton Raceway crew is ready to do it all over again. The fun begins on Friday with the Off-Road Ontario XC race and then wraps up on Sunday with Round 4 of the 2022 Triple Crown Series. In between there is Amateur racing on Saturday, fireworks, dirt track racing on Saturday night, and so much more. We caught up with a busy Brett Lee to see how everything is coming together this year.

Hey Brett! We know you’re a busy guy with the WaltonONE weekend just days away, so thank you for giving me some time. First off, I want to ask you about your trip to Spain and the opportunity to be one of the first people to ride the new Stark Varg E-Bike. How was the trip, and how was the bike?

Brett: Well, as we said in the interview a few weeks ago, it was unreal. The bike is so good for a first-generation bike; it is world-class. From the top down, the company knows how to value their customer, and they treated us phenomenally. 

That sounds like an incredible experience. Obviously, the future for e-bikes is bright with the amount of R&D around the globe. Let’s look ahead to next year, maybe five years, even ten years. Where do you see them fitting in our sport?

I believe it is a direction we are headed as a society. At Walton Raceway, we believe in it all. I love two strokes, four strokes and the new technology that is emerging. I also think you can love dirtbikes and still see the value in improving our environment. There is balance in every approach. 

Okay, final question before we get to the upcoming WaltonONE weekend. You’ve been helping out with the commentary for the opening three rounds of the Triple Crown Series. I think you’re doing a great job, and the industry consensus is the same. How did this job come about, and have you been enjoying it?

Thanks. I think it is good; I mean, I am a more “core” observer regarding my style of calling racing. I try to approach it like I am talking with my buddies a bit more than maybe others.  

I got a call from Justin asking if I could help. Ryan Gauld was tied up with his regional AMO series, and Kyle Thompson was out west doing event management with the Nationals, so they pulled Jack and me into a studio in Sarnia. So many people thought we were out west, which is an honest compliment to the job the Jetwerx guys did. But we were in Sarnia, Ontario. 

Brett has always been pretty natural with a mic in his hand! Photo by James Lissimore

From Kamloops to Pilot Mound, there were many exciting moments for you and Jack to talk about. During the broadcast, what is the most challenging part for you?

Jack is very new to the Canadian motocross – but by round three, he was on it. The big challenge is really understanding what is happening. You are watching the show, and suddenly a position switches or a rider goes missing, and if the camera didn’t catch it, it is tough to figure out what is happening. 

Also, when a rider is hurt or sick, if you don’t know, you are guessing – is he sick, is he hurt, is he not feeling it?  

Sorry, I just thought of one more question since we’re talking about the opening three rounds of the Triple Crown Series. Overall, what were your thoughts on the race action?

The dominance of Dylan Wright is more impressive than ever before. He is world-class right now, elite. It reminds me of Dusty Klatt when he was untouchable on a Honda. Dylan has a level of confidence and skill that is very elite level right now.

The 250 class is fun. I like that 5-10 top guys are battling it out for positions each race. And it’s not just for the lead; it’s for third or fourth, or eighth and ninth. It gives the fans a lot to watch and get excited about.

Let’s move on to this coming weekend. Last year you launched the WaltonONE concept with cross country, dirt track, and motocross racing, all on the long Canada Day long weekend. How did this idea come to fruition, and looking back to last year, were you happy with how it went?

I have thought for years that we need to focus on engaging the people who understand motorcycles. Often it is the “new fan” everyone is chasing. But I think let’s get people who ride off-road, flat track or even a Harley out to races. Let’s get people who understand and love motorcycles to the track. Let’s get them engaged with racing. A massive segment of people love motorcycles and have great memories around them but have never been to a race. Let’s get those folks to an event because they can relate to and understand our sport.

I often hear that the Canadian industry is stretched so thin on budgets and time. It is hard for a company like KTM, which is in all segments, to give these different disciplines the attention they deserve because they are often on competing weekends. WaltonONE provides a common stage for flat track, amateur and pro motocross, and off-road. WaltonONE enables the industry to connect with everyone in one weekend. 

So last year, we took on the challenge, which was never done before, so that appealed to me. It didn’t go perfect, but it happened, and the guys at Triple Crown are open to new ideas, so here we are again. 

The Triple Crown Series is exciting to head back to Walton Raceway for Round 4. Photo by James Lissimore

Well, it must have been a success because here we are a year later, and you and your Walton Raceway crew are set to do it all over again. Are you ready?

I think everyone thought it was worth trying again. We did 100 tip trailers of dirt yesterday and started watering last night. Battlefield is supporting us by providing a new dozer that arrives today. Country Corners in Exeter is bringing over skyjacks and fences. Christian Wisner has been working on the off-road course. Aaron Hesmer from Flat Track Canada has been working with his riders to run an exhibition race. A solid crew of supporters from every avenue of the sport make this happen.

How challenging is it to bring together multiple events in just three days? 

Tough, but I will say the clubs have been great. Off Road Ontario, which is now huge, is so easy to work with. On their executive, Jeremy, Bill, and Kim have been so accommodating. As I said, the Wisner family has been champions in helping us out. Ryan Gauld at AMO is lending us his Ryno for the medics and generally giving some excellent guidance regarding classes and structure. Aaron Hesmer at Flat Track has been a great connector in making this happen. 

And both Kyle and Justin Thompson have been trusting us. They are very open-minded to trying to move the industry – not just their own business or motocross – they are open to lifting the entire industry, which is very cool. 

Challenges aside, do the preparation you and your crew have to go through for this weekend make it less stressful to prepare for the Walton TransCan in August?

It takes a little bit of the pressure off. We are fixing roads and infrastructure now instead of at the end of July. We want Walton TransCan to be a refined event in 2022.  

Can you go through what exactly is taking place this weekend? It all begins with the Off-Road Ontario XC race on Friday, correct?

Correct. We have Off-Road Ontario Friday all day; they’ll run through the trails and use part of the track. Barry’s also built a fun extreme section for them to experience – it was a fan favourite viewing area last year! The Flat Track exhibition race will be taking place under the lights Friday night also – this will be the first time we will have held flat track racing at Walton Raceway. We’re pretty excited to see it all unfold.

Saturday, we have the Parts Canada Amateur Open, the amateur part of the Triple Crown Series. It’s an excellent opportunity for riders to showcase their abilities in front of a national audience. It is also the last time anyone will be able to race Walton Raceway before the TransCan this August. For the riders and fans onsite, we have Pro Riders FMX hitting the ramps Saturday night and again on Sunday afternoon!

Sunday is obviously the big show. Last year we debuted the 15-Minute Sprint Motos at WaltonONE, and that format is back for 2022. Each class will run three 15-minute motos (instead of the traditional 25min+2 laps or 30min+2 laps). The riders are 50/50 on their appreciation for that format, but it makes for some really exciting racing for the fans. I like it as a part of the series – mixing up the race day structure can allow for some new storylines. One weekend it’s late moto battles capturing your attention; the next, it’s straight battles from start to finish. It gives us diverse racing and appeals to different levels of fans.

Mel Walton 2021
The Lee Family and the entire Walton Raceway crew are ready to host everyone again on this Canada Day long weekend.

It sounds as though, even if you’re not a die-hard motocross fan, this could be a fun weekend for the family?

That is the point. There is something for everyone, there is a reason to support this, and we can enjoy it for one weekend. There is no event like this where everyone works together and races in one high-profile weekend. 

If someone wants to go to Walton One this weekend, how can they find all the information?

The easiest way is to go to www.waltonraceway.ca – there’s a direct link for WaltonONE as soon as you hit the landing page. Or, if you know you already want to come and just want to grab your tickets ASAP, scan the QR code below!

Something fun that we did last year at TransCan that we’re continuing for this year’s WaltonONE is discount codes associated with riders. So if you’ve got a favourite rider, they have a unique $5 off code for you (for example, Dylan Wright is DW1: first name initial + last name initial + bike number). Plus, every time that code is used, another $5 goes back to that rider.

That’s amazing. Good luck this weekend, and let’s all hope that Mother Nature is a dirt bike fan this weekend!

Thanks, Palms. See you on Friday!

x

Check Also

The 3 Q’s With Ryan Lockhart Presented By Matrix Concepts Canada

MXP: Hey Newf! What are your thoughts on poor Austin Forkner and his massive crash ...