Moto Park owner and Canadian Snocross hero Iain Hayden has almost seen it all; first as a Motocross and Snocross racer and now as the owner of Canada’s longest serving motocross facility. With a CMRC ANQ this coming weekend, we called him up to see how the new dirt is working out and how the preparation is coming for Sunday’s big race.
by Chris Pomeroy @palmsmx – Walton Staff Writer
Q: Good morning Iain, how are things today?
A: Good morning, things are good. We had a race up here yesterday so we are recovering from that. The racing was great, we had a good turnout, and best of all, the track held up really well under race conditions.
Q: For those people that don’t know, you have put down a ton of top soil at Moto Park and the track looks like a loamy, motocrosser’s dream. In fact, it is hard to even see the rocks now.
A: Yes we have. We got the soil last fall and stock piled it all winter. We have been slowly covering the track with the soil the last few weeks and the response has been great. At the race on the weekend, I was anxious to see how the new dirt would hold up. When all was said and done, the dirt was great and the track made for great racing. I think everyone who comes up to the CMRC race this weekend will be more than happy with the conditions.
Q: I have been going to Moto Park for over 30 years and I don’t think I have seen the track any better. A lot of us have been riding at Moto Park since it opened on St. Patrick’s and even picky old guys like Chuck Mesley, Ryan Gauld and I have been really impressed.
A: Well thanks. We all work hard up here and it makes me feel good to hear that. You guys have been around a long time and have seen a lot. Our goal at Moto Park is to give everyone a good, safe place to come and ride their dirt bikes. I am always open to suggestions and I want to keep things at Moto Park evolving. Whether it is our riding camps, events or even just our practice days, we always want to keep improving.
Q: You have seen this industry from a number of different angles now. How do you think it’s doing right now?
A: First, I think we all feel like we won the lottery with the early spring and the early start to the riding season we got this year. We really needed to jump start everything and get people excited about riding. I think we have good leadership in Ontario now with regards to racing and also a feeling of working together, rather than working against each other. I think you saw it this past weekend. We had a CMX race here, and with no competing CMRC race we had 400 entries. This weekend when CMRC comes in with an important ANQ race, I am sure we will see even more entries. CMX is taking the weekend off this weekend for the ANQ. It’s good to see companies working together to get the better race entries. This is not only good for Moto Park, but it is good for Ontario motocross. You know, I am in this for the long term and right now I am happy to see that people aren’t so greedy or bull headed. As far as I am concerned, things are on the right track and I hope the sport is in store for a great season.
Q: I would agree with that, the industry does seem to be on the upswing again. Other than your obvious duties as the owner at Moto Park, what are your plans for this summer?
A: I would love to race the entire CMRC National Series again but I am just too busy to commit to it. I had a great time last year and I thought as the Series went on I got better and more comfortable. To race that Series and be competitive, it really is a full time job when you consider the training and preparation, the travel and the races themselves. This year I will be taking on a little more of a managerial role with the OTSFF team. I will still be training and riding and may do a few rounds, but not the entire Series. This year we have Bobby Kiniry again and Richard Grey is new to the team. While Bobby knows exactly what to do, hopefully I can give a little assistance to Richard and help him be a consistent podium guy. Between that and Moto Park my plate is pretty full this summer. I think it’s going to be fun.
Q: What was the highlight for you last summer during the CMRC’s Monster Energy MX Nationals?
A: From a results point of view, I guess it would have to be Walton. I just rode really relaxed there in the mud and it worked out. The part I really enjoyed was just being at the races again and seeing everyone. I really missed it in the five years I was away, but like I said, to run up front you really need to devote all of your time to it.
Q: What about this past winter, what was the highlight of your Snocross season?
A: We had a lot of success this winter, the Polaris sleds worked great and the team was awesome. The highlight for me was when we traveled over to Russia to race. The format was different over there. Instead of short races like over here, in Russia we did three long motos on a rough, natural terrain track. It was tough but a lot of fun. I hope to go back next winter and do a few more races over there.
Q: How did Stu and Russia get along?
A: (laughs) I was curious to see how Stu would enjoy being in Russia, but actually he did fine. Stu and Andre Laurin were great over there. There were tough conditions and they had to deal with a lot of stuff they normally don’t deal with over here. We learned a lot the first time so hopefully we get another shot at it.
Q: It sounds like it was an entertaining trip. Moving ahead to this weekend and the CMRC Amateur National Qualifier at Moto Park, what can riders expect on Sunday?
A: There will be Saturday practice as usual on both the mini track and the main track until 4 pm, which is when the tracks will be closed for maintenance. Of course there will be camping all weekend, the restaurant will be open and the track will hopefully be perfect for racing. As of right now, the weather looks like it will be good. Hopefully there is a huge turnout.
Q: I think it’s going to be a big weekend for you. Last question Iain: Everyone has noticed the new Yamaha presence at Moto Park now. Can you talk a little about that.
A: Yes for sure. Bryan Hudgins from Yamaha Motor Canada approach us about getting affiliated with them and working together to try and get more people not only riding but riding Yamahas. Moto Park gives Yamaha customers an excellent place to ride and have fun; that’s what it is all about. The idea is to get some Yamaha product at Moto Park and make the facility more blue, essentially. It’s a new and exciting adventure for us, and we are very excited about it.
Q: Sounds great Iain, hopefully everything works out. Thank you for doing this. I’m sure the ANQ at Moto Park this weekend will be a great event.
A: Yes, hopefully. Thanks for calling Palms and if anyone has any questions about this weekend they can call (519) 794-2434 or go to our website www.motoparkracing,com.