Northern Notes: The puck is about to drop!

NN_v1

Weather forecast for Latvia this weekend.

Weather forecast for Latvia this weekend. Should be prime racing conditions for the 2014 MXoN!

 

Words by Danny Brault

Get your beers on ice, buddies to the garage and face paint on because the puck is “aboot” to drop on the 2015 Motocross DES Nations! (Sorry, I can’t hold back any longer, I much prefer the  traditional “des” over the more modern “of.” Gives the event a more international feel, don’t ya think?)

I’m sure this weekend is turning into a tailgater for motocross fans in countries all around the world, especially with two days of action being broadcast live on our TV and computer screens. How can you get set up to watch the 2015 MXoN live from Latvia? Click here and you’re in like Flint!

Delayed coverage of the MXoN is being shown on TV as well, with all three motos featured on CBS Sports Network beginning at 1pm EST on Sunday.

Did you know? A total of 102 riders will be lining up in Latvia this weekend, but only 4 of them have ever held the MXoN championship winning Peter Chamberlain trophy? It’s a long shot for Team Canada to etch their names on to the PC on Sunday evening, but hey, with good starts, confidence and consistency, anything can happen, right?

At the moment, team transporters are getting organized in the Kegums track, riders are walking the course and mechanics are getting bikes EH-OK’d in the Tech Line. From everything being shared from the event, things are shaping up to be one heck of a MXoN. The weather is cool and overcast (a little rain may fall today, but Saturday and Sunday look to be warm with no sign of rain), the Kegums track looks like you could eat off of it (and it has very similar soil to Canadian tracks like Sand Del Lee, Kamloops, Deschambault, so our riders should be able to get hit the ground running in practice) and nothing is out of alignment with the Red and White. All systems go.

Now we wait for the gate to drop … which takes place for the first time in Kegums tomorrow at 14:30 (2:30 PM) with the MXGP (Colton Facciotti) kicking things off. At 15:30, we have KTM’s Kaven Benoit racing in the MX2 qualifier and an hour later, his teammate Tyler Medaglia battles with the big boys in the Open class heat race.

There was enough drama this year between Vince Friese and Kaven Benoit. Hopefully tomorrow is a very boring day for Team Canada, qualifying easily without any fireworks or weirdo things going on. That way, everyone can relax, have a good sleep and come swinging in the main events on Sunday.

Sunday’s  racing begins at 8:40 with the B-Final teams warming up, followed by two groups of A-Final riders. After the B-final at 11:00, the first moto – which includes MXGP and MX2 racers – leaves the starting gate at 13:08 (1:08 PM). With teams getting a good and bad gate pick, it will be interesting to see if Team Canada gives the best pick to Benoit, who is riding the smaller 250F bike, or will they play it safe and give it to Facciotti who is riding a 450 Honda? What would be your call? I’m going to say let’s give Colton the best gate pick and get Canada out front asap.

Left to right: Colton Facciotti (Troy Lee Designs), Kaven and Tyler Medaglia (Fox Racing) showing off their "custom" colours for this weekend in Latvia.

Left to right: Colton Facciotti (Troy Lee Designs), Kaven and Tyler Medaglia (Fox Racing) showing off their “custom” colours for this weekend in Latvia.

Granted the racers and team personnel don’t get any real financial incentive to represent Canada at the MXoN – and they’re fine with that, of course – but there are some perks to being named to the team. Two of them being a custom painted helmet and limited edition riding gear. Troy Lee Designs took care of making sure their rider, Colton Facciotti, is tricked out in red and white, while Fox Racing has done the same for Benoit and Medaglia. Kudos to TLD, Fox and 66Graphx for taking the time, energy and money to ensure our riders look world class, on the world stage.

I checked in with Fox Racing Canada’s marketing manager, Jason Moore, for steps involved to creating some ‘exclusive’ Team Canada race wear.

When does work start on custom Team Canada gear and helmets?
Artwork and concept for the MXoN gear was done just after Gopher Dunes; I started giving sneak peaks of the Visual Line Plan (VLP) at Deschambault.  It’s usually two to three months before the product is in hand, after the VLP has been submitted to the factory to begin production. The process takes a bit more lead time to complete because we need to work around the existing production schedule/deliveries that the factory is already working on for us.

Before producing anything, do you need Fox USA’s corporate approval?
Yes, we are a very global-minded company so there isn’t much we do without consulting them and working together. MXON gear is a global initiative and long time tradition that the Fox family takes a lot of pride in doing to honour representing athletes and their home countries – in total we have 17 athletes from 11 countries – and they’re all wearing custom race wear.

Any special instructions given to 66graphx before they begin painting Fox’s helmets for Benoit and Medaglia?
The helmets are really Andre’s babies at 66graphx; he starts with the gear VLP that I send him and then he comes up with a few options to determine which direction to go. After that, there are only a few suggestions from our side before he pulls the trigger and starts clear coating them.  Anytime we do a paint project together I have no doubts that it’s in the best hands! Andre is for sure one of the best in the business to work with, even on a consumer level.

Benoit's Fox pants, jersey, boots and helmet. How cool would this look in your man cave?

Benoit’s Fox pants, jersey, boots and helmet. How cool would this look in your man cave?

What happens with Team Canada Fox gear after the MXoN?
The riders will keep a couple of sets as mementos or gifts to their personal supporters, and then remaining gear kits come back to Fox until we find special homes for them. Some are set up on display mannequins in our office and others are packaged up and sent to select long time partners of ours.

How many sets of Team Canada gear does Benoit and Medaglia have?
In total I had ten kits produced; four kits per rider were sent out to Latvia and we kept one kit per rider for office decor and to spread the MXoN spirit.

Technically speaking, what makes the new 2015 Fox gear that Benoit and Medaglia so special?
What’s really unique is that they are Special Make Units (SMUs). That means it is a custom, one-off production run.  These SMU kits are also not for retail sale, which means they are exclusive to Kaven and Tyler for this weekend’s race  (note: the 360 Savant Racewear collection is available but not in the Team Canada red/white SMU colour way).

There you have it: a little behind-the-scenes look at steps involved to creating custom gear for Canada’s troops at Des Nations.

Before we switch topics, good luck to Colton, Kaven, Tyler and the entire Canadian team during this weekend’s MXoN!

Moving from motocross to off-road, last weekend (Friday to Sunday) was the 61st Annual Corduroy Enduro. One of Canada’s toughest off-road races, “The Cord” is held in the small Ontario town of Gooderman (about 3 hours north of Toronto) and has been putting man and machine through hell since 1953. Simply finishing The Cord is a feat in itself, but to win the Pro class is a real honour. In 2014, that honour goes to Machine Racing Yamaha’s Brian Wojnarowski, better known as “Wojo” to his friends and off-road competitors.

It’s the second time and second year in a row that Wojo has won The Cord, and if you know Wojo, the championship party will be going until Christmas, punctuated with burn outs and smoke shows at every dead end in Pontypool. Joining Wojo on the Pro class podium at The Cord, were fellow Yamaha racers Zachary Lewis and Aaron Kopp. KTM Canada’s Philippe Chaine made the 8-hour trip from Victoriaville, QC to Gooderham; I thought he would be more of a factor but mechanical troubles on Day 2 slowed him down by 40 minutes, putting him back to 11th overall in the Pro class.

For full results from the 2014 Corduroy Enduro, visit corduroyenduro.ca.

Here’s a great little mash-up of the action from this year’s Corduroy Enduro:

So, you think that you make the best dirt bike sounds around? Prove it by showcasing your “motormouth” in this very cool contest by Red Bull, helping to generate more hype for their Straight Rhythm event coming up on October 4th at Auto Club Raceway in Ponoma, California.

That’s it for me this week, folks. Check back tomorrow and Sunday on mxpmag.com for reports, notes and photos on Team Canada’s progress at the 2014 MXoN. Go team go!