Pretty Little Riders: Summer Knowles Tells Her 2014 Walton Story

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Walton Raceway seemed like a perfect place for a girls road trip…BC style.

“We’re going to Walton!!” It was decided with a phone call when Kourtney and Sara sat in their trailer at a Prince George race and I sat in my trailer in Kamloops. Upset that our team couldn’t be together, we spoke in excitement for the upcoming Women’s National series, for when we would all be together. We decided to ask Sara’s parents if we could all go to Walton together. Since they know Kourtney and I very well, they were a little hesitant of sending their golden child with us for an entire week. So Don (Sara’s dad) made us a fair deal: if Sara finished top three at the Nationals she could go to Walton. Immediately, with no doubt in mind, I thought “We’re going to Walton.” However, it was Kourtney who screamed the words in excitement. As any girls would do, we began to plan like nobody’s business. First things first: we needed a team captain so our first call was to Ryan Lockhart. Instead of asking him if he would come to Walton with us, Kourtney said, “Newf, pack your stuff we’re going to Walton”

Planning the trip was 150% Kourtney Lloyd after this point. I would call her once a week, okay once a day, sometimes twice, to see where we were at. She would usually tell me to shut up and call her later because she was with customers. However, I would get updates often. It was like Christmas when she told me and Sara that I would get to debut the 2015 TLD gear for every moto at Walton. Also, Parts Canada helped us out a lot by shipping parts to Machine Racing where John Nelson and Honda Canada would lend us bikes for the week. Everything was coming together.

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Mama bear Kourtney Lloyd took care of everything at Walton for the BC crew, she even offered up some babysitting duties.

Sunday, August 10th at 4:30am we began our trip and left for the airport. Kourtney was the only one able to function at this time in the morning so she was the only one excited (she’s old so mornings are fun). Sara and I being teenaged girls could not even speak at this time let alone crack a smile. After a long flight east, we arrived in Hamilton at 2:00pm where we had arranged for Newf to pick us up. Sass queen Ryan Lockhart ain’t on time for no one but himself so we waited on the sidewalk for an hour and cracked jokes about us holding seven 9800 gear bags out of the window of a Pontiac G5 that he’d probably rented to pick us up. When he finally showed he was in a truck so we avoided one nightmare. The real nightmares actually began in the parking lot of Milestones when I got out of the truck, took two and a half steps and landed on my back in a prickle bush. I would publicly just like to say that prickle bushes are not an appropriate plant choice for parking lots. To sum up day one, it was successful and Ryan only got mad at us seven times.

Day 2 began with us sitting on the sidewalk waiting for Newf to pick us up again. “Be ready by 8:00,” he said….shows up at 8:17. By this time I kind of felt as if we were a family unit. So we took a short little family truck ride over to Machine Racing where we picked up bikes from John Nelson. Tip for meeting John Nelson: do not hug the man, he‘s not big on social contact. From there we went over to Honda Canada, Kourtney walked in there and pretended like she owned the place, “so, I’m gonna need that bike and a tent to go please.” Next stop was the motorhome rental place. Kourtney, Sara, and I got the luxury living one, and let’s just say that Newf got the cab and a half. After all was said and done we were about 1.5 hours behind Newf’s optimal arrival time and he was stressed. We got to Walton around 4. Brett lee said I had good twitter content (follow me kids @knowles441). Conclusion on day two, nothing horrendous happened and Newf only got mad four times.

Day three could pretty much be summed up by – we signed up, it rained and then rained some more and we ate Cheetos.

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The Parts Canada TransCan has never looked as good as it did in 2014.

Day four: All practices were postponed until noon, leaving us with one practice for the week. I couldn’t really be upset because I couldn’t even ride around the track, I had to swim. However, Sara was mad, Newf, was mad, Kourtney, well she laughed. But there were good things that came with Wednesday at Walton. Sierra Roth showed up to cheer us on for practice, we got to witness Bella Ferris take the W at the talent show and the ice cream truck finally opened so I took Ayrton Pomeroy for pre-moto snow cones to piss off his Dad. Also I got to spend the night with all my pals again eating Cheetos. Finally, Newf only got mad three times so cheers to Wednesday at Walton!

Day five: So we woke up to the rooster at 6:30am. It was raining. No, it was pouring! I know what you’re thinking, “you’re from BC so you must be a good mud rider.” I’m going to be honest here; I’m no die-hard, brave heart kind of girl. So when it rains, I pack up my stuff and go home in a hurry. In conclusion, I am no mud rider. Sara however, still managed to have a positive outlook even after her Junior moto in the mud. “Let’s do this Sum!!” So I put my negativity behind me and got pumped to race dirt bikes with some pretty cool kids. We showed up to the line looking fly thanks to TLD Canada. Let’s be real here, that’s important, it’s a fashion show out there.

I didn’t even notice until I was being punched in the arm that my best pal, Rachel Springman, was lined up beside me. I looked the other way to see Sara two down from me, and Kourtney standing behind me. So here we are, at the biggest amateur national in Canada in the pouring rain. All my best friends with me about to experience the same misery with me, I was pumped. The gate dropped and I followed Rachel into the first turn. We came out about 5th and 6th, and from there it was survival. Let’s just say I’m not a very good solider. When I came off the track I found out that Sara wasn’t either. We both had terrible motos spending most of our time laying in a rut. We were bummed but bad motos happen and you have to keep on keepin’ on. We got out the pressure washer, had a wrestling match in the mud and cleaned our boots. Also Newf won all his motos so he didn’t get mad at us.

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Seven days at Walton Raceway…friends forever.

Day 6: ‘Okay, let’s stay off the ground today’ is what I thought to myself as I woke up to that horrible chicken thing that screams its head off at 6:00am. It had dried up a little so that made us positive for the day ahead. Our moto was later in the day so we had some time to make a nice breakfast, watch some motos and check out some line choices for the day. What I saw was really, really, really deep, muddy ruts. We got to staging and I started talking to some other girls. It was pretty cool to hear that the majority of them were all still pumped to ride dirt bikes, because I for one was not. I spent 50% of that moto laying down again. The only fun I had was seeing my best pals (Rachel Springman and Sara King) come around near the front, and maybe Kourtney writing dirty jokes on the pit board to make me laugh so I wouldn’t drive off a cliff after. When I came off the track I was ready to shoot myself in the face. Thankfully, Kourtney made a funny joke, told me to suck it up, and that we were there to have fun. It was nice to have Miss Lloyd there to put things into perspective for us after each moto. She was obviously very proud of Sara for having a great ride but she’s always supportive regardless of what happens. I honestly think that nothing could have put her in a bad mood that day because Jason Blaine was playing that night. I could have missed my moto and been at the deep fried mars bar tent and she wouldn’t even have cared because Brett Lee said he was going to introduce her to him. (I think Newf went missing and we almost called search and rescue to find him, however it was nice because he couldn’t get mad at us).

Day 7: “Where’s my Mom,” I thought as we woke up to yet another wet day at the 2014 Parts Canada TransCan. We all had one last mud moto to race till we can hung up the boots and eat unlimited amounts of ice cream. We put on our gear, prepped our goggles for the worst possible conditions and went to the line. Sara was downright determined to have a good moto. I was downright determined to stay in the upright seated position, however all my determination was thrown out the window on the hot lap when I fell before the finish. Who falls on the hot lap? Me, that’s who. Although I don’t feel that bad because Tyler Medaglia did it this year too, but at least he looked cool doing it.

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The girls even talked injured BC rider Wyatt Waddell into lending a hand. Did he want to? Probably not, however you just can’t say no to these ladies.

I got a good start but that didn’t really matter after I found myself in three feet of mud in a gully in the back section on the first lap. It took me and some nice man (I wish I knew his name so I could buy him a new pair of shoes) a solid minute and a half to physically pick my bike up out of the mud and get on it again. By that time I couldn’t see anything, my goggles were covered in mud and I was soaked. When I went to drive away I noticed Sara King a section away in second place about to pass Kennedy Lutz for first. So I did what any good teammate would do, I got off my bike, took off my goggles, and started cheering my homie on because she’s a straight up boss. Unfortunately, Sara ended up crashing (story of our lives), which put her back to 6th. I’ve never seen her more heart broken than after that moto, but I couldn’t be more proud and pumped on how she rode that day.

After we cleaned for an hour straight, we still weren’t clean. Kourtney got the pressure washer out and hosed us down. We headed over to the award ceremony later and got to cheer on all our friends from who killed it that week: Casey Keast, Julien Benek, and Rachel and Kyle Springman. Newf took home the win in all his classes and he wasn’t even stressed at all. We got to celebrate the terrible week with everyone who rode those conditions that week. I think we were all pumped for it to be done, though. The weather wasn‘t great, we rode like crap (except Newf), and I only got ice cream once, but we got to spend the week with all of our friends doing what we love to do and I think that’s pretty cool.

Thanks to everyone who got us there, and all our friends who made our week. Cycle North, John Nelson at Machine Racing, TLD Canada, Ryan Lockhart, Custom Decal, the Roth family, Honda Canada, and Parts Canada. Finally, thanks to Chris Pomeroy and MXP for allowing me to tell our story.

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A picture can sometimes say a thousand words.