NORTHERN NOTES: GOSSIP GUY

We play Dick Tracy as we snoop around for some ‘leads’ on who’s coming to Canada in 2015. Plus, some great words from the man himself, Tony Alessi!

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Could we see Kyle Keast back on a Honda next summer? He's looking for a change...

Could we see Kyle Keast back on a Honda next summer? He likes his Yamaha, but there’s still some red running in his blood.


Photos by James Lissimore

Good afternoon and welcome to your weekly Northern Notes. I’m host your Danny Brault and we’ve got some interesting chatter to breakdown regarding the Canadian Nationals and its star-studded line up.

But first, how about that silly rumour I started today, when I sent a Tweet through @mxpmagazine, questioning the idea of Kyle Keast and GDR TLD Honda hooking up. My words were: “Keast to @GDRhonda? Who knows! Find out more at mxpmag.com this afternoon.”

Well, here we are this afternoon (evening) so what’s the good news? Rumour or truth? A bit of both from the conversations that I’ve had with Keast, who is currently riding a Yamaha through Machine Racing, and Schuster Motorsports’ Derek Schuster, who isn’t totally against the idea, but isn’t dealing with team stuff until he returns from Motocross of Nations in Latvia on September 27-28. Plus, his focus is on finding an MX1 championship contender, rather than another MX1 rider.

“It’s been great riding for Yamaha and Machine Racing, of course,” says Keast. “But I feel like I need a change after so much shitty luck the past few years. I like both the Yamaha and Honda bikes; maybe I need to go back to red.”

Unfortunately, with most – if not all of – Honda Canada’s budget going towards the GDR team, which deserves every penny from an amazing championship season, would there be anything left for Keast?

“Not a lot probably, but I don’t need much,” he adds. “I’m pretty happy with some bikes and parts. I’ve talked to Schuster before about doing something together but it was just talk. I am open to the idea and think it would be good. I really admire his program this year and think he does an awesome job.”

By the sounds of things, Keast (like Dylan Kaelin) is at a point where he wants to do what makes him happy and if that means spending some of his own money, so be it. However, if GDR finds a spot for another MX1 rider, Keast would be a good fit. He’s the hometown hero at Gopher Dunes (well, tough to say now that Colton Facciotti has been living next door to Gopher for the past few years and also rides for the hometown team), wants to do the full series again and isn’t asking for much.

“I still believe I’m a top five guy, but I need to focus more on riding and training. It’s hard with managing my company and racing at the same time, but if I can get things organized early enough, I’d like to take the summer off again and race the full series. I want to prove to myself and others that I’m still a top guy.”

Kyle Keast. Honda. Gopher Dunes. Do I sense a similarity here? We’ll see how it turns out. Schuster expects to have a more concrete plan for his GDR team in the next month. As for the MX2 program of GDR, it sounds like Westen Wrozyna is going to be back and possibly a second guy, maybe a ‘hired gun’ from the US?

Smartop MotoConcepts Tony Alessi's advice to Team Canada: "Listen to Gauldy and have some confidence!"

Smartop MotoConcepts Tony Alessi’s advice to Team Canada: “Listen to Gauldy and have some confidence!”

Smartop MotoConcepts Team Manager, Tony Alessi, always has something interesting to say. With MXoN approaching, and from his time watching our riders like Facciotti, Benoit and T. Medaglia this summer, I wanted to find out what kind of advice he’d give the team if he was playing the role of Team Manager for Canada. Here’s what Tony had to say:

“The team manager (Ryan Gauld), Gauldy is good. He is a former pro rider and even won a race at Ulverton back in the day. He knows what’s up and has lots of experience. I have confidence and faith in whatever he says to the guys. They should listen to him and follow his lead. They are all great riders, no worries there. They are top five riders and need to go there with confidence. Listen to Gauldy, relax and they’ll do well.”

There you have it: take those reigns and lead the way, Ryan! We believe in you and so does Tony!

Canada’s definitely on the map for Tony, his son Mike Alessi, Vince Friese and the MotoConcepts team in 2015. But, so are a lot of other things, including other championships around the world and two OEMs who are interested in backing their program.

“I can’t say who the OEMs are, but yes we have two that are talking to us,” says Alessi. I hinted at Suzuki Canada coughing up some coin, since Mike Alessi is on an RM-Z450, which seems sensible from his results in Canada. “I really can’t say much at this point but we’re excited. We have lots of opportunities on the table so we need to sit down and examine which one is best for us and the team.”

In the short while, Alessi will be at Monster Energy Cup and then the Supercross of Stockholm. “Canada is on our list, but right now, we and all of the teams are focused on getting ready for supercross,” says Tony.

Look for a more complete interview next week, but here are some snippets from my conversation with Mr. Tony Alessi:

On other US teams coming to Canada in 2015 and beyond
“Everyone is looking for a better opportunity. Factory teams are locked in but smaller teams and privateers are not locked in. They see benefits of Canada; less cost, more exposure and better results. More options, possibilities and future potential. There’s more growth for many of these teams in Canada than in the US. That’s why they’re asking questions.”

Cost difference between racing AMA and CMRC Pro Nationals?
“I would say it’s nearly 50 percent cheaper racing in Canada than the US. Half the cost. The exact dollars depend on the team; it’s all relative for how much a team spends. For us it was half as much racing in Canada compared to the US Nationals.

Ryan Villopoto going to Europe instead of US
“If I’m Ryan, I’m thinking ‘Why would I run away?’ What’s he running from? That’s my question. All I can think of when I think of Ryan going to Europe is that it doesn’t make sense.”

Maybe he wants to add a World GP title to his belt?
“I don’t think he (Ryan) cares about goals. He brings a level of speed to win the race and he delivers that. What it is, is what it is. His level of program is plenty of good to win races in the US next year, so why is he going to Europe? It baffles me.”

Dylan Kaelin kept pace with many of the top guns this summer, including Teddy Maier (5) and Tyler Medaglia (3) in this shot from Ulverton, QC. Kudos to Tim Tremblay (777) for getting in the mix at his home tracks as well.

Dylan Kaelin kept pace with many of the top guns this summer, including Teddy Maier (5) and Tyler Medaglia (3) in this shot from Ulverton, QC. Kudos to Tim Tremblay (777) for getting in the mix at his home tracks as well.

I had a chat with top MX1 privateer, Dylan Kaelin, yesterday. Currently riding for the Devils Lake Yamaha team, Kaelin opened some eyes this year with some great battles with big names in the MX1 class. Read the full interview here, but here are a few things Kaelin had to say in our discussion:

On making mistakes …
Oh, I went down the wrong road a few times since I turned Pro. At a young age, I took racing way too seriously, trying to make a career out of Canadian motocross. Financially, my family and I weren’t able to do that. It caused me to make poor career decisions with sponsors because it was what I felt I needed to go racing. But now, after working with other people, it’s taught me how to work with other people, and appreciate what we do in the summer, being able to go racing …”

Cost of racing …
“From the time I quit work, to end of the season, I was out $15,000 after winnings. That’s life, though – car payment, insurance payments … I could do it on less budget, but I kept things comfortable for the most part. In just racing related expenses alone, I was out about $5,000 …”

When talking to Kaelin, I get the sense he’s really grown up a lot in the last year, and it’s obvious on the track that he’s maturing and comfortable running with guys like Tyler Medaglia and Teddy Maier.

The final race at Walton Raceway takes place this Sunday, which is preceded by an Open Practice day. Complete details at waltonraceway.ca or visit them on Facebook. The Walton crew is giving away a ton of prizes for all classes, but the one very creative idea that caught my attention was this award for Sunday’s final race:

Boys of Fall – One Hundred Dollars One Lap Wonder Presented by THOR MX: You don’t always have to win the race to score the cash, as the leader or “winner” of the first lap in the First Moto in all 31 classes on Sunday will win $100, as Walton Raceway, Parts Canada and Thor MX is putting up $3100 for grabs, as well as great Thor MX Prizing! – *There must be minimum 10 entered racers per class.

Man, I feel like this award was created for me! I am the king of getting a good start, leading a lap and then fading gracefully to where I belong… with the also-rans. I wish I had a bike or else I’d be down there to try and win some cash. If you’re still looking to burn through some fuel before putting your bike away, consider taking in the final event at Walton. Consider it as practice for next year’s TransCan!

This weekend is Walton Raceway's final race of the year. Get out there and blast through the ten-pack one more time! Event details at waltonraceway.ca.

This weekend is Walton Raceway’s final race of the year. Get out there and blast through the ten-pack one more time! Event details at waltonraceway.ca. Lots of cool awards up for grabs – include “Lead a lap and win $100!”

The Canadian Arenacross Championships are only a month away and we’ve got a good field lining up in the Pro classes. Locals Brock Hoyer, Ryan Lockhart and Saskatchewan’s Shawn Maffenbeier lead the Canadian charge, with US racers Ross Johnson, Adam Enticknappp, Jake Anstett and more from Washington coming up to battle in the barns.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki taking the Arenacross series seriously, but it seems things are changing.

“We used it to race it a lot; we had a huge team. I think 2011 was our last year when we had just Kyle Beaton out there,” says Leading Edge Team Manager, Jason Hughes. “Kawasaki called me and said they wanted to go racing, so we have Teddy Maier committed to the series.”

Leading Edge is still working on their deal with youngster Jesse Pettis, but I believe we will see him back on LE and hopefully for the Arenacross series. We need the next crop of Beatons, Facciottis, Sherens, Klatts, and Langes! Get out there and race, kids. Those barns have developed some of Canada’s best racers.

Canadian Arenacross Schedule
October 24/25 – Armstrong, BC
November 7/8 – Chilliwack, BC
November 28/29 – Chilliwack, BC
December 5/6 – Chilliwack, BC

Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki's Jason Hughes has some exciting things (riders) in the works for 2015.

Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki’s Jason Hughes has some exciting things (riders) in the works for 2015.

I tried prying Hughes for who is riding for Leading Edge in 2015, but things are still in the works. One of the riders he really can’t mention, but he did say that things are looking  strong for 2013 MX1 Champ Brett Metcalfe to return to Canada. Maier could be back as well, and Pettis, but Hughes still needs to sit down with Monster Energy to finalize their plans and budget.

Things are getting hot in the talk of 2012 MX1 Champion Matt Goerke returning to Canada. Geez, who’s next? Doug Dubach and Paul Carpenter? Canada’s turning into a family reunion of former champs! Redemption Racing has spoken with Goerke, who is good friends with RR’s crew chief, Chad Goodwin, but OTSFF is courting the US rider as well. My guess is we see Georke on an OTSFF Yamaha next year. With Georke gone, Redemption Racing will be hunting for another MX1 contender. Got someone in mind? Shoot me an email at dannybro224@gmail.com. Redemption is looking to be a serious championship team next season. They got a taste of the podium in 2012 with Gracyk and want more.

Wow, things are shaping up incredibly well and we’re still 8 months away from round one of the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals. What’s next? Chris Pomeroy returns to the National Circuit?!

Enjoy your weekend, thanks for reading!