Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Monday Gate Drop. Sailun Tire is your one-stop shop for car and truck tires as they offer all types of tread patterns and styles of tires. If you require a new set of tires for your car, SUV, and or truck, please visit www.sailuntire.ca
I hope everyone had a great weekend and a Happy Easter! Hopefully, the weather was decent where you live so you were able to get out and do some riding. The racing season kicks off this coming weekend in Ontario and BC so let’s hope everyone has at least a few laps under their belt before the gate drops. I must admit I kind of like the racing schedule for the past two years as the delayed start allowed every rider ample time to prepare. I hate going racing when I don’t feel prepared and even though I’m not racing this weekend, I feel for every rider that doesn’t have many laps in so far this year. I guess we are almost at the end of April so there have been a few nice riding days during the past few weeks. I understand why organizations like AMO Racing and Future West want to go racing and need to go racing in April, it just feels early after two years of not starting until early June. Anyway, my family and I will be headed to Gopher Dunes this weekend and it will be good to see our moto family again. One of the fun things about the opening race of the season is seeing how much all the kids have grown and changed over the winter. I’m sure we’ll be saying the words “I can’t believe how tall you are now” more than once this weekend. Let me take this moment to wish everyone good luck this weekend both at Gopher Dunes and Whispering Pines MX Park. Please remember that it’s a long season so take it easy and lets everyone get through the opening weekend in one piece.
So did everyone watch the Atlanta SX on Saturday afternoon? Round 14 was actually on the main NBC channel so it was good not to have to watch the race on the Supercross Live app. I’ve been talking a little about safety in recent weeks so it was mind-boggling to see the Atlanta track designers build that enormous triple jump for press day on Friday. I’m not saying that the jump was unsafe, it’s just strange that at Round 14 of the series they would throw the biggest jump in years at the riders. Especially when we’re dealing with depleted lineups in both classes. Because of this jump, the 250SX West Series almost lost another rider as Hunter Lawrence came up short on Friday and suffered a heavy crash. Thankfully, despite getting spit off the bike violently and doing a big flip Hunter ended up being okay. He even came back and won the 250SX East/West main event on Saturday so he must have been feeling pretty good after his crash. It’s just a shame that anyone had to crash on this massive one-off jump that really came out of nowhere as far as what we’ve seen in track designs in 2022. Thankfully, not long after practice on Friday, the jump was changed to a less dangerous version.
Mother Nature also played a role in Saturday’s race schedule as heavy rain fell overnight on the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Because of the rain, all of the extra practices and qualifying sessions were cancelled and the riders only got one session to try and make the night show. The rain did let up in the morning and the track did an amazing job in getting the long and technical track ready to race by 3 pm. Although the heat races were still a little slippery, by the main events the track was in great shape. Sadly, during the opening lap of the 250SX East heat race, Phil Nicholetti had a massive crash and ended up breaking his arm. How this sport can be incredible one minute and so horrible the next is still beyond me, even after all of these years. As we saw last weekend in St Louis Phil was on top of the world with his second-place finish in the final main event of the evening. With how violent Phil’s crash was I believe he was fortunate to get away with just a broken arm. Let’s hope Phil can heal up fast and make it back for the second half of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
As I mentioned above, by the time the gate dropped on the main events the track was in great racing shape and I must say that the opening ten laps of the 250SX East/West featured race produced some of the most intense racing we’ve seen all season long. The Lawrence Brothers were impressive with Hunter out front and Jett coming through the pack. Christian Craig was impressive and he came from a 10th place start to finish second. Craig had a little crash in the late stages of the race but still managed to hang on to second and maintain his points lead. Also, with the Atlanta track being fairly high speed for a SX track I thought the television cameras did a great job of capturing the speed that the riders were going. In the end, the eldest Lawrence took the win, his third of 2022 by the way, Craig was second and Jett brought home third. Another 250 rider who was impressive on Saturday was Austin Forkner who was returning to the series for the first time since breaking his collarbone at Round 2. Forkner won his heat race after a spectacular last-lap pass on Hampshire and held on to a solid 7th in the main event. It was great to see Forkner back and hopefully, he can remain healthy for the remainder of 2022.
In the 450SX class, the intensity was also high throughout the main event as the riders did their best to navigate the technical and high-speed Atlanta track. Chase Sexton was opportunistic early and grabbed the lead. For a while it appeared like Sexton was going to be the runaway winner but like we’ve seen a few times in 2022, for no real reason he let his concentration slip and went down all by himself. Sexton’s mistake allowed Jason Anderson to take the lead and within a few laps Anderson had checked out. Behind him, Tomac was doing his best to not make a major mistake while still trying to catch Anderson. Cooper Webb was back after missing last weekend and he was riding as well as we’ve seen him all season long. Webb was holding onto third before a hard-charging Sexton passed him with a few laps remaining. So what started with a stressful practice session on Friday turned into one of the most entertaining rounds of the season. As I said before, I don’t know if it was the camera angles or what but even on TV we were able to get a real sense of how fast the riders were going and how hard they were charging.
Moving on from SX to some Canadian moto news and late last week the sad news broke that TLD/GASGAS/SSR 450 rider Sam Gaynor had a big crash at ClubMX and had to be airlifted to hospital. I’m not sure of the details of Sam’s crash but it was obviously a big one and it caused him some serious breathing issues as well as a broken wrist. Also, since he doesn’t remember much about the day, I would suspect a concussion as well. Ironically, I interviewed Sam’s boss Steve Simms last week and he was telling me how well he was progressing and that everyone was looking forward to the summer. As we saw with Nicoletti on Saturday night this sport as much as we all love it can sure change your plans in an instance. Sam said on his Social Media that he plans to have his wrist operated on this week and then it’s time to sit back and heal. A broken Scaphoid in your wrist is no joke and in most cases, even with surgery, it can take a long time to heal. I remember cracking mine in 1999 and although I didn’t need surgery, my doctor put me in a cast and gave me strict orders not to do anything for eight weeks. By anything he meant don’t bang it, don’t do anything that could cause any vibrations through the wrist, basically, just wait and hope that when he removed the cast two months later the little crack had healed. Thankfully it did but even to this day if I jam it or land hard off a jump I can still feel a little discomfort in my wrist. The Scaphoid is a little miserable bone in your wrist that is surrounded by other bones so it doesn’t get a lot of blood flow. Because of the lack of blood flow, it takes a while to heal and if you break it bad enough (which it sounds as though Sam did) then you have to have surgery and have a screw inserted to assist in healing. It’s a tough injury but over the years riders like JSR and Jeremy McGrath (just to name a few) have had it and they went on to have pretty decent careers I’d say. So rest up Sam and take your time getting back!
So that it’s for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week and if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to go racing this weekend, good luck and ride safe! In closing, we recently wrapped up the first MXP Magazine issue of 2022, and here is what the awesome cover looks like. If all goes as planned there will be copies at Gopher Dunes this coming weekend as AMO Racing kicks off their 2022 season. As you will read in this issue there have been some real positive changes at MXP and the future looks bright. Thank you for reading and have a great week!