Northern Notes: Let’s start an argument

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Words by Danny Brault

“Let’s start an argument,” joked my grandfather “Sparky,” moments before my folks were preparing for one of their classic verbal domestics during dinner a few years ago.

I thought that was a pretty funny line from Gramps, but you probably had to be there to enjoy it or at least know my folks and ol’ Sparkplug. Whether it was between my Dad and I, Dad and my younger brother Corey, my brother and I, or my Mom versus all of three of the Brault men, there was, and is, always something to argue about in the Brault household.

Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday should be fun … with winter approaching, this weekend’s debate will be over who is faster in relic snowmobile racing, my redneck Dad or redneck brother? I can’t wait.

2012 Canadian MX1 Champion Matt Goerke returns to "defend" his title next summer with Rockstar Energy Drink OTSFF Yamaha Motor Canada. Photo courtesy of Goerke

2012 Canadian MX1 Champion Matt Goerke returns to “defend” his title next summer with Rockstar Energy Drink OTSFF Yamaha Motor Canada. Photo courtesy of Goerke

Maybe that’s one reason why I couldn’t help but ‘unleash the beast,’ as it’s come across to some following my opinion on Team Canada’s satisfactory results at the Motocross of Nations; not only in 2014 but since our country started attending the world’s biggest race. Maybe we Braults don’t always intend on starting a debate, but we do like sharing our opinion—and right or wrong, I feel that any athlete, in any country, must compete at the highest level as much as he can in order to consistently do well at the ‘Olympics’ of their sport.

Some Canadian fans agree, some don’t, and I feel that others took last week’s NN out of context. I do want to re-state a few facts from what I had written which, not surprisingly, rubbed Team Canada’s riders and management the wrong way. Again, it’s OK for readers not to agree with everything I say or what any writer says for that matter.

To be clear, I never once said this year’s Team Canada (or any year’s team) was slow, out of shape, ill-prepared, or the actual organization was poor. We have everything at our disposal to do well, but my opinion is that prior to the MXoN, every year and not once in a while, Canadian racers need to be behind the starting gate more often. That could be more local stuff for some, AMA Nationals for others, supercross or arenacross … it’s relative, depending on budgets, support, and obvious talent/ passion.

It’s easy for me to sit on the sidelines and write these words, but I feel like if I had the talent of a Facciotti, the Medaglia brothers, Keast, Benoit, Hoyer, the Allison brothers, Bles, Kaelin, O’Farrell, and the list goes on, I would be always looking for the next race to make some money, find competition and keep building on my skills. It’s racing—and isn’t that we love to do? Granted, some of these guys do make real efforts to find new challenges and keep racing, even when the Canadian season ends.

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Another look at the Kegums track in Latvia. Photo by Jeff Kardas

Okay, I don’t want to beat a dead horse any longer. If you don’t agree with my point of view, that racing more often leads to racers performing better overall (like at the MXoN), then no worries. I could be wrong, but it’s really not that big of a deal on the grand scheme being.

(Wait! One more thing: I was only JOKING about the idea of Dean Wilson being invited back to the Team Canada program. I should have inserted a “LOL” or “Hahahahahahahaha,” but then that would have ruined the sarcasm of it all.)

I guess at the end of it all, it’s good to see that people are reading; I don’t think that I’ve ever stirred up such a fuss from the written word. As Tony Alessi says, though, “I don’t want to see people sleeping, I’d rather see passion.” There’s no shortage of that in Canadian moto!

Look for a complete story on Team Canada in the next issue of MXP. It should help clear the air and see this in a more positive light.

Next on the debate list: 350 or 450?

In fanning the flames with some of Team Canada this week, I spoke with KTM’s Tyler Medaglia, who wasn’t too ticked off but did say, “If people want to shoot their mouths off, have at ’er!”

I had to make a joke after Medaglia mentioned he wants to race AMA Supercross in the East Coast Lites Series. I said that my article must have worked and fired him up to head south, but that wasn’t the case. Both Medaglia brothers, Tyler and Jeremy, have raced AMA Supercross and Motocross events in the past, and Tyler hopes that he can do so again next spring.

“Nothing is official, but I do want to race on the East Coast,” says Medaglia. “I like riding the 250F and ride it well, but I won’t know for sure until a few weeks from now.”

The Royal Distributing KTM Fox Racing rider spends most of his winters training and riding at the Georgia Practice Facility (GPF), which is located close to most of the East Coast rounds, making it more affordable and reasonable for Medaglia to chase. “Most of the rounds aren’t too far away, and now Atlanta has two events and it’s only four hours from GPF,” adds Medaglia.

If Tyler does end up racing East Coast Supercross Lites, then it’s really too bad that Toronto has been removed from the schedule because it would have given us another Canuck to cheer for, in our one and only Canadian SX. (Tyler was unaware of Toronto being removed from the SX series, and was bummed to hear that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to race in front of his “hometown” Canadian crowd).)

Michael Willard (62) leads his teammate Kyle Keast (4) during a Moncton MX1 moto. Photo by Marc Landry

350 vs 450: Michael Willard (62) leads his teammate Kyle Keast (4) during a Moncton MX1 moto. Photo by Jim Muir

As far as 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals are concerned, there’s not much question on whether TM continues with the KTM Canada team, but on which bike: a 450 SX-F, which he’s been riding for the past two seasons, or the KTM ‘middle brother,’ a 350 SX-F?

“I wanted to ride a 350 this past summer, but we couldn’t make it happen,” says Medaglia, who has said before that the KTM 450 is almost too fast for him. “We already had motors and parts for 450s and Cole was supposed to ride a 450 too, so it didn’t make sense to build up one 350 for me. We’re discussing the idea again and I’d really like to try it. I’ve ridden a friend’s pretty much stock 350, with his bars, lever positions, suspension, but I felt comfortable and put in some pretty competitive lap times compared to my 450. We’ll see. I should know more later this month.”

The last time we had a real competitive guy on a 350 in Canada, it was Ohio’s Michael Willard. The two-time MX2 champ raced the first generation 350 SX-F for Royal Distributing KTM in 2011, but never had much success, other than a muddy podium in Morden, Manitoba.

From experience, I can say that the 2011 350 and current model aren’t comparable; the new 350s have a much better motor—even putting out horsepower similar to that of a CRF450 (at higher rpms). I’m no Tyler Medaglia but he likes it, and considering his size, starting ability and fitness, he would no doubt be the best candidate to give up 100cc and take on the 450 riders in MX1.

Short on cash? Well, you’re in luck because Red Bull owes you ten bucks! It almost seems made up in my eyes (like a great marketing ploy designed to develop a thick catalogue of customer data) but it’s true: if you drank a Red Bull between 2002 and October 3, 2014, the energy drink giant will send you $10 cash, or $15 in Red Bull products. This came as a result from a lawsuit by customers who say they were misled by Red Bull’s drink benefits, like sprouting giant wings out of your back if you drank a can. Some stuff I make up, this one I didn’t.

Sadly, if you didn’t react fast enough when Red Bull’s settlement was released on Wednesday, your refund could be a big fat zero. I caught this news article today on time.com:

“Here’s why: In the settlement, Red Bull didn’t actually promise to give everyone who applied $10 to $15. Instead, they capped the handouts at $13 million. As Buzzfeed reported, if too many people make claims, the settlement will be diluted so it can be split evenly. Some quick back of the envelope math, and we can figure out that if everyone requested the cash award, each claimant’s return would start shrinking after 1.3 million people applied.

“And how many claims did Red Bull actually receive? We don’t know for sure, yet, but Buzzfeed’s post alone has already been viewed more than 4.6 million times, and the settlement website was slammed with so much traffic yesterday that it crashed. Even if we assume that only people who read that specific article asked for a piece of the pie, and ignore the legions of other outlets who reported the news, we’re still down to a new settlement value of slightly under $3 a person — or about the retail price of a 12-ounce can of the stuff.”

Speaking of energy, the SouthWestern Ontario motocross scene is getting a shot with the formation of the new Amateur Motocross Ontario (AMO), which is being led by Ryan Gauld.

“I can’t reinvent the wheel but I can bring a new energy to SWO and provide a service that people will not be afraid to support or think something shady is happening,” says Gauld in the AMO news release sent out today. “I want the sport to grow and show what it can deliver like it’s done for me for over 30 years.”

How does the AMO differ from the CMRC? I called up CMRC President, Mark Stallybrass, and he says that essentially, it works like other autonomous racing organizations in Canada who are under the CMRC umbrella.

“It’s like other regions,” he begins, “For instance, we have the BCMA in British Columbia, the ADRA and AMSA in Alberta, and the AMXQ in Quebec. These associations are free to run races how they want to, but they must utilize CMRC licenses, rules, class structure and insurance. Other than that, they, like AMO, are free to build their own schedules, promotions and run things how they want for the most part.”

Some of the main goals for the AMO, says Gauld, is to reduce the length of race day (reduce classes and/ or combine some), create a ‘Premiere’ series that is the “place to be” for serious amateur and pro racers, and overall, Gauld wants to get things back on track and give enthusiasts a clear path to their racing dreams, from grassroots to the big leagues.

“After seeing how Gauldy handled the Team Canada MXoN program, I decided to give him the chance with AMO,” adds Stallybrass. “I think that experience with the MXoN was a good test for his business skills and he’s proved that he can do it. Gauldy is on the ground and has great communication within the moto community. I think it’s good for the sport and Ontario racing. He has a big learning curve ahead of him but I think he can do it.”

Keep track of the latest updates on AMO on their Facebook page.

Okay, we’re at almost two-thousand words. I know most of you can’t handle more than 140 characters, so I will let you go until next week. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and endless family arguments, I know I will!