Northern Notes: Hill replacing Metcalfe?

By Danny Brault

This edition of ‘Northern Notes’ is coming a little late, but with good reason! We were waiting for more details on an interesting rider development with the nationals and wanted to include the latest info.

Some of you may have caught wind of an interesting rumour this week, which went viral after a picture of Brett Metcalfe was shared on Twitter, that featured him riding a Kawasaki but not a Leading Edge version. Folks were going back and forth on the message boards, scratching their heads as to what was going on in the photo … testing for his buddy Chad Reed’s TwoTwo Motorsports team? Riding for Chad’s team in the AMA Nationals? Or possibly filling in for Ryan Villopoto on the Monster Energy Kawasaki team?

Brett Metcalfe captured here testing a a Factory Kawasaki .. could he be going back to the US nationals instead of Canada this summer? That's what we're hearing ....

Brett Metcalfe captured here testing a a Factory Kawasaki … could he be going back to the US nationals instead of Canada this summer? That’s what we’re hearing ….

At first I didn’t take it too seriously, thinking people were just having fun with social media and creating a stir for a quick laugh. I mean, would Metcalfe really turn down a hefty pay cheque in Canada to return to the US, where his odds are not nearly as good to win a title? The answer is “Yes,” the defending Canadian MX1 Champ would turn down some coin to chase glory in the US. Of course, that being said, I’m sure Metcalfe isn’t riding for chicken nuggets and fries; Monster Energy and Kawasaki will no doubt continue providing him with a generous salary.

At this time, and I really hate to do this, but we can’t fully reveal our sources. Normally I say to heck with it and let my mouth run wild, but I will hold back a bit on this one. So, if Metcalfe doesn’t race in Canada, who is going to man his Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki? Those are definitely not easy shoes to fill. We do know that Leading Edge race manager, Jason Hughes, was asking about availability of #101, and Josh Hill doesn’t have a deal to race the AMA Nationals (and he’s a Monster rider) …  we’re being told the details will be coming out after this weekend.

If this all goes down, that CERTAINLY changes things up. In my opinion, I don’t think Josh Hill has the goods to win a Canadian championship. Even though he’s semi-Canadian being a Trailer Park Boys fan, we’ve never seen him string together a full series like Metcalfe has. But, as my Dad used to tell me when I started talking smack, “When the gate drops, the BS stops.”

Stay tuned to for the latest updates regarding this change-up.

Okay, now before this news landed in my lap at the 11th hour, here’s what else I had in store for my ‘Notes’ this week….

“We’re moving on up, to the deluxe apartment in the sky!”
– The Jeffersons theme song

I can’t remember the reason why, but years ago, Machine Racing’s John Nelson felt the need to sing me these song lyrics, maybe because I finally moved out of my parents’ house and out on my own?

At any rate, I think these words relate well to news that Redemption Racing has purchased an 18 wheeler to support their race team this year. That’s right, (Ripley’s) believe it or not, the traveling Christian ministry, led by Josh Snider and his family, has taken another leap forward with the help of Scott Jeffrey. As some of you may know already, the Jeffrey family and their construction company, Jeffrey Homes, has been a sponsor of the Redemption team for a few years now. The truck pulling the rig is being provided by Mark Boot of Boot Trucking out of Lethbridge, Alberta. Redemption is moving on up!

Since 2006, when Team Faith (they changed to Redemption Racing in 2010) first came to Canada and began holding devotional services on Sunday mornings after riders’ meetings, both the team’s results on the track and in the pits have grown every year. On the racing side of things, Redemption has supported such riders as Kevin Johnson, Mason Phillips and most recently, Gavin Gracyk. The Kiwi, Phillips, earned the team’s first podium in 2010 (which was also the same year that Josh earned his first top-10 finish at Edmonton) and Gracyk was starting to look like his old self the last two years when Redemption switched from Kawasaki to KTM.

Sadly, we won’t see Gracyk back in Canada this summer.

“Gavin hurt his wrist at the second round of AMA Arenacross series and it’s still causing him some problems,” says Snider.  “We talked a bunch and decided it was best for him to take a break. He’s been training Zach Bell and some other fast kids in the States, and he’s also a personal trainer at a gym. That’s what provides most of his income so he’s going to focus on that for now.”

Gavin Gracyk (4) is taking the summer off to focus on growing his personal training business and spend more time with his family. Photo by James Lissimore

Gavin Gracyk (4) is taking the summer off to focus on growing his personal training business and spend more time with his family. Photo by James Lissimore

Who is going to fill in for Gracyk? At one point, there was talk of Tyler Villopoto stepping in but by the sounds of it, Redemption didn’t have quite enough funds available to bring him on board.

Chad Goodwin (mechanic with RR) has a good relationship with him,” Snider told us this week. “Tyler was into the idea, he was on board, but of course we couldn’t really pay him to race for us. It was basically to keep him racing and help get things straightened out. After more discussions, he decided that he’s going to stay home in Washington; he’s got a girlfriend that he’s serious with so he’s going to get things organized there.”

Snider slipped in that they are speaking to one more guy, but he didn’t share the name with me as it’s too early to confirm anything. Alex Jeffrey is returning and will focus on the MX2 class, racing a KTM 250 SX two-stroke, and New York’s Seth Rarick is traveling with the team. Another racer choosing to go the two-stroke route, also on a KTM, Rarick is definitely not a familiar name to me. After reviewing his results in 2013, Rarick quietly put his three-digit 450 SX-F into the top-10, in 4 out of the 8 motos he raced on the East Coast. Wow, with another two choosing a two-stroke, it’s beginning to feel like there will be more smokers on the MX2 starting gate than thumpers!

So kudos to Redemption Racing. They are definitely some of the good guys in the sport and are always welcoming to anyone who steps into the Canadian motocross pits. From their humble beginnings, where it was pretty much Josh and his parents, Lisa and Dave, pitted out of a small trailer behind a motor home, has transformed into a legitimate racing team with top racers, mechanics and an impressive pit display. Hey, with a little faith, anything is possible right?

Eric Jeffrey returns to the Redemption Racing program in 2014, but is switching to a 250 two-stroke and competing in the MX2 class. Photo by James Lissimore

Eric Jeffrey returns to the Redemption Racing program in 2014, but is switching to a 250 two-stroke and competing in the MX2 class. Photo by James Lissimore

In not so positive news, it is now ‘official-official:’ Red Bull is not going to be supporting KTM Canada’s factory team or Colton Facciotti in 2014. KTM’s race manager, Andy White, did mention that Red Bull wants to start planning towards 2015, but those talks won’t begin until later this summer. Not much more to say here as we’ve been dragging on this conversation for some time now.

Have you ever dreamed of riding a factory race bike? Well, unless you’re a select few, you’ll probably never get the chance. However, with a little patience and asking the right questions, you could build your own race-ready machine. Here are a few tips from KTM’s crew chief, Steph LeBlanc, on getting your bike into race shape:

  1. Grease everything. Don’t trust what the factory did. Take everything down to the frame and build back up, from the ground up. Take your time and do it right.
  2. Adding to number one, when rebuilding your bike, make it your own. Think about how you like the bike to fit and feel. That’s a major key to building race bikes; not necessarily focusing on arm ripping power but making a motorcycle work for the rider’s style, size and preferences.
  3. Clean, lube and adjust everything. This goes without saying, but it’s a good reminder to keep up on regular maintenance to avoid bigger problems or discomforts.

Text Message fun with Jeremy Medaglia (he’s currently staying at Georgia Practice Facility):

Danny: You got a woman down there to keep you warm at night?
Jeremy: No, it sucks. 38 degrees today but I could use her for other things … like cooking…

Danny: Can you cook?
Jeremy: Haha, ya, I was forced into learning. Only cause I need to eat good, ya know.

Danny: I hear ya
Jeremy: I’d rather have a cook than practice mechanic

Danny: Does it get lonely down there?
Ya, now cause everyone is almost gone but at same time just forces me to only think about what I am here for.

Danny: When was the last time you went through a drive-thru?
Jeremy: Oh boy, DQ last month but probably over 8 years for food.

Thanks for tuning in. Keep your stick on the ice.