Words by Danny Brault
As I’m typing this, it was raining but now snowing here in the tiny town of Warsaw, Ontario, two hours east of Toronto. It’s hard to believe the summer (and now the fall?) is really over already; didn’t it just begin?
Depending on your interests, job and location in Canada, you could be trading in your bike for a sled, preparing for another show season or, perhaps, if you’re residing in British Columbia or close to, you could be racing in the Canadian Arenacross Championships.
Last weekend were Rounds 1 & 2 of the Future West Canadian AX Championships, held in Armstrong, BC. I won’t break down results for you, but if you missed the action, which involved wins from Teddy Maier and Ross Johnson and at least ten other guys who could win on any given night, you can flip through photos and notes from the two-night event and see results here.
When it comes to arenacross, I feel that it must be difficult for riders throwing around a 450 compared to the lighter 250, but Open class rider Ryan Lockhart makes it work just fine. He feels the two bikes are equal, for the most part. “I wouldn’t say it’s a disadvantage but it’s a very big handful towards the end of the race,” he says. “It’s an advantage in the whoops but not as great in the corners compared to a 250.”
A long, long, long time participant of BC indoor racing, I asked Lockhart if anyone surprised him in Armstrong, which included names like Maier, Johnson, Maffenbeier, Hoyer, Pettis, Anstett, and more. “The seven-deuce-deuce was faster than I thought he would be,” noted the “Newf.” (The 722 being that of Cycle North Honda’s Adam Enticknapp.)
Watch some great video coverage of Armstrong AX action from our movie-making man, Matt Koeleman.
Where are they now? When it comes to former Canadian dirt bike superstar, Doug Dehaan, he’s now busy working with Fox Racing Canada as a Sales Rep, keeping dealers from Thunder Bay to Saskatchewan stocked up while building a family, and yes, still trying to keep his speed up on the motocross track.
“We’re living in Steinbach, Manitoba, which isn’t far from Winnipeg,” says Dehaan. “My wife and I have a little one on the way and we’re doing pretty well. I’m riding a KX450 and love that bike. I try to ride and race as much as I can and hit up a few races in the summer.”
At 38-years-old and without the same conditioning he used to have, can Dehaan keep pace with the local pros? “A little bit, but they go pretty good. Ryan Millar is really fast, Josh Penner comes out to a few races, and this summer Jimmy Decotis came up. It was pretty cool to be on the track with a guy who goes that fast. I can run up front with them, and I have at times, but if I get tired and it’s the end of the race, I normally back it down.”
Earlier this month, Dehaan represented Fox at Transworld’s annual Industry Cup race. The event features two classes, one for out of shape desk jockeys, the other for desk jockeys who also happen to be really fast, also called ‘Elite.’ It’s no surprise that Dehaan chose to compete in the premiere division, considering his “elite” racing history and accomplishments in AMA Supercross and Motocross, Canadian Nationals, overseas racing and more. The Canadian may have surprised some blonde haired SoCal kids when he blasted out of the gate and took home the TW Cup title for Fox! Sadly, there were no Canadian hats created, so Dehaan was held down and forced to wear a USA cap. We won’t hold that against you, Dougie D. You’re Hall of Fame material.
Which two Canadian racers does Dehaan feel are the next big things to come out of Canada? Cole Thompson and Casey Keast. Now you know.
Speaking of Thompson, I saw on a forum this week someone ask what’s going on in his camp. The ‘Coles Notes‘ is: his knee is almost healed, he begins riding in December and then hopes to be racing East Coast Supercross on a KTM 250 SX-F with support from his Royal Distributing KTM Fox Racing Team. After indoors, it’s back outside to compete in his first full Canadian National season. That said, there is interest from other teams for Thompson’s services but my gut tells me he stays on Orange.
Thompson’s KTM teammate Tyler Medaglia is planning to race some Eastern rounds of the AMA Supercross Championship as well, also in the Lites class. Tyler and his younger brother Jeremy spend most of their off-seasons training at the Georgia Practice Facility in Cairo, GA, which is located within reason to most of the Eastern races, two of which are in Atlanta (3 hours from GPF).
In other silly season news, there appears to be more seriousness happening with discussions of Nathan Bles riding a 450 for Redemption Racing / GP Bikes / KTM. This year’s standout MX1 privateer (along with fellow Canadian Dylan Kaelin), Bles has received interest from Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki as well, but again, nothing is cemented and it’s all chitter-chatter at this point. Where do you see Bles fitting into the MX1 class after a full, 10 round campaign with either RR or LE? Regardless of which team signs him, it will be great to see another Canadian picked up with solid support to further reach his potential.
I talked briefly with KTM Canada’s Race Manager Andy White this week. I asked about his Husqvarna program and where things stand with that brand, but he’s still waiting to firm up some details before announcing anything. “We have some great riders lined up to represent Husky in Canada, with required parts and support, but a few things need to be crossed off before we share too much.”
One thing they can share about Husqvarna in Canada is that they’ve hired on a passionate, off-road loving woman to take care of the brand’s marketing duties: Victoria Hett. An accomplished off-road racer, Hett is currently representing Team Canada at the 2014 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Argentina. Follow her and the Canadian team on Twitter for updates during the race, which runs from November 3rd to 8th.
ISDE live results can be found here.
Good luck to Victoria on her new position in marketing with Husqvarna Canada. Not sure if she will enjoy the flat lands of FMSQ racing, compared to the hills and mountains in BC off-road racing, but I’m sure she’ll make do.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend!