Northern Notes: All over the map

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The Ulverton, Quebec track is only open one week every year – and that week is THIS WEEK as amateurs are tearing up the course today and tomorrow, Pros on Sunday. Photo from Ulverton Motocross Facebook page


By Danny Brault

Hi everyone, and welcome to your weekly ‘Northern Notes.’ Rather than going through things as ‘one big story,’ let’s break this down into smaller topics and news briefs from a week in Canadian moto … or at least what’s been floating around in my mind related to dirt bikes. We’ve got the Walton TransCan kicking off next week, full length Canadian National TV programs available online and some unruly fans from the normally fun and friendly East Coast who are not fans of Mike Alessi. Let’s get on with it ….

With the new sponsorship deal from Rockstar Energy Drink and new television deal, it’s permitted for Series Promoter, CMRC’s Mark Stallybrass, to share the produced video coverage online using CMRC’s YouTube channel. This is great and hopefully it’s one step closer to having the series delivered live online. It costs some coin, but with the right investors and talent, we can do it. But, for the time being, the post-race TV show – available online as well, right up to Round 5 at Gopher Dunes right now – is very well done and kudos to Stallybrass, Marc Travers and their whole production team.

Watch all of the Canadian Motocross Nationals TV coverage for free and anytime you want here:

Round 1 – Nanaimo, BC
Round 2 – Kamloops, BC
Round 3 – Calgary, AB
Round 4 – Regina, SK
Round 5 – Courtland, ON

We’ve been receiving a decent dose of online video content featuring Canadian motocross and our riders. It’s not easy producing moving-visuals (or still-images for that matter) and it takes a lot of time to build even a 1 minute professional and entertaining edit. Here are a few of the latest moto-movies to kill on your lunch break:

What happened with Redemption Racing at Moncton?
By Just Giver Productions

Matt Koeleman’s Greatest Hits
Featuring Canadian racing athletes, events and a little bit of the in between

Tyler Medaglia & Kaven Benoit shakedown from Moncton National
By Just Giver Productions

It’s hard to find a good woman…and it’s even harder to find a good woman who loves motocross! Christy Lacurelle may not be out there winning motos like Ashley Fiolek or Hailey Larson, but the hard working woman has played a part in bringing KTM to the top of the food chain in North American motocross, managing their marketing efforts at all levels. Most recently, Christy really dug her nails into the Orange Brigade amateur motocross program and she watched its fruits pay off at Loretta Lynn’s, where she says it’s amazing to see how many KTMs are on the gate compared to even five years ago.

An excellent role model for women – and men – who love dirt bikes, and even if they can’t win championships, they can still be part of a championship winning effort. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Christy during my time at KTM Canada and can say she’s a true professional, fun but organized and knows her stuff. Read here to learn more about what people in the industry like Christy do to collect a pay cheque. It gives you younger readers good reason to stay in school, or learn some skills other than riding a dirt bike!

Where would Colton Facciotti, Tyler Medaglia, Kaven Benoit, or Shawn Maffenbeier be finishing in the AMA Nationals right now? It’s interesting to wonder and of course we won’t see an answer this year with scheduling conflicts. The only event Canadian contenders could hit is in Utah on August 23rd, but that’s a million miles away (well, more like 4,000 Kms) and quite expense for one single AMA race with nothing happening afterwards. Granted it would be an excellent primer for the Motocross of Nations in Latvia on September 27-28, but when I asked Facciotti, Medaglia and Benoit if they’re hitting up Utah, each said no, too far and too expensive. Understandable.

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Current Point Standings in 450 AMA Motocross Championship … where would the Canucks fit in?

 

Current 250 point standings in AMA Motocross ... where do you see Benoit, Maffenbeier or Wentland?

Current 250 point standings in AMA Motocross … where do you see Benoit, Maffenbeier or Wentland slotting in?

In speaking with KTM’s Kaven Benoit this week, he sounds very excited to represent Team Canada for the second time this September (he also rode for Canada at MXoN 2011 in Colorado with Kyle Keast and Jeremy Medaglia). I mean, of course guys are excited to ride for their country but sometimes there is genuine excitement and ‘Well, I got asked so I better go ride and make everyone happy’ excited. Both Colton and Tyler are pumped as well, and with Ryan Gauld managing the team, what can go wrong? In all seriousness a lot could go wrong, but the bases are being covered and Gauldy is always on it. If he’s not, he will tell you. The riders will be equipped with their standard race machinery and Fox and Troy Lee Designs are no doubt preparing custom Maple Leaf wrapped gear combos.

I had to ask Kaven what’s up with Smartop MotoConcepts Racing’s Vince Friese and he was not at all shy in saying that he’s not a fan. “That guy has no respect for anyone on the track,” he says. “He was okay at Sand Del Lee and Deschambault, but then as soon as we get together he does some stupid things. I am looking forward to this season coming to an end so I don’t have to race against him anymore. It’s too bad, because he is a good rider and I am not sure why he has to act like that.”

Current MX2 points leader Kaven Benoit and second-place Vince Friese won't be sharing a Big Mac anytime soon.

Current MX2 points leader Kaven Benoit and second place Vince Friese won’t be sharing a Big Mac anytime soon.

There was talk that Benoit’s brother, Karel, racing in Deschambault and Ulverton this weekend, was intended to mess with Friese but Kaven says that’s not the case. Of course, he wouldn’t be surprised if something happened because Friese is not getting along with lots of riders. “Everyone is thinking the same thing, but no Karel wasn’t racing to do something to him. He likes to race the Quebec rounds because our family and friends are there.”

Seeing as how the hot ticket in the Eastern Nationals is sand, Walton Raceway went ahead and dumped their life savings into loads of it, covering the two-minute plus track in soft stuff. Well, they didn’t blow every penny but as you can see in this photos from their Instagram page they added a good amount of sand to the normally clay, hard packed course. I think it’s great as it’s something different and should bring a new dynamic to the track. There is also a long, rolling whoop section that should allow for lots of passing and some other changes as well. Now I wish that I was racing, but oh well – the beer will taste the same and it’s less stressful. See some of you at the Walton track on Monday. It’s going to be a long week … another Walton already, eh?

For the third year in a row, Walton attendees are treated to country music action on Friday night of the TransCan. I’ve been to the first two concerts – Jason Blaine and Tim Hicks – and both were a great time. It’s kind of neat already being at this motocross track and then boom, a concert kicks up and a bunch of daisy dukes and Earnhardt fans start rolling in. Jason Blaine is returning this year so get your boots and cowboy hat packed and come on down. Get your tickets here for the concert and the Walton TransCan.

Before we get to Walton however, we have the penultimate round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals taking place in historic Ulverton, Quebec this Sunday. The amateur portion of the event is on now and runs up until Saturday evening. Then Sunday the Pros take to the track, which from the early preparation photos, looks tastier than a double-cheeseburger and junior chicken off the McDonald’s dollar menu. Those who get to race Ulverton this week should feel fortunate because the track is only open for this one week every year. After this Sunday, it’s all shut down again until this time next year.

Who is signed up for the 2014 Parts Canada Walton TransCan? View the full entry list here.

Riders can expect a different fit and feel at the Parts Canada Walton TransCan next week, with LOADS of sand being added to the track  last week. There's also a long rolling whoop section will surely separate racers! Photo from Walton Raceway Instagram page

Riders can expect a different fit and feel at the Parts Canada Walton TransCan next week with LOADS of sand being added to the track last week. There’s also a long rolling whoop section that will surely separate racers! Photo from Walton Raceway Instagram page

There’s always one, two or three in the group, which includes Mike Alessi haters. At the Moncton National last Sunday, the Smartop MotoConcepts riders received some unkind gestures from fans along the fence lines. Every lap, some people gave him the thumbs down and showed dis-appreciation for the visiting US rider. Sure, he has a dramatic past but who cares, the guy is up here racing, having a good time and hasn’t said a negative word about Canada or our people. Let’s use our heads and show everyone out there some respect. You don’t need to love every guy but keep the silly stuff to your man cave when you’re trying to impress your buddies.

The best part though was the response Alessi gave these disrespectful fans on Instagram! Seems it only provided motivation for the international great to go faster.

This was photo taken during an MX1 moto at the Moncton National last Sunday, and was shared by Mike Alessi on his Instagram feed. There's always one nut in the bunch!

This was photo taken during an MX1 moto at the Moncton National last Sunday, and was shared by Mike Alessi on his Instagram feed. There’s always one nut in the bunch!

Another import making a name for himself with Canadian fans is Josh Hill. The Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki rider is a blast to watch, he’s smooth, stylish and rides hard the whole moto. Where he really earned attention was in Moncton when he went for the Klatt-A-Pult jump in both motos, which included charging through the pack from last to 8th in moto one. Maritime fans are passionate and they respect that kind of stuff. Side note: how awesome does the new JT Racing gear look Alessi? I was never a huge fan of the stuff before but I really like that orange – black – white combo. Nice work, JT.

That’s all for this week, folks. See you at Walton next week!