MXP: Hey Newf! June has been a busy month for you. How was the Future West race last weekend in Pemberton?
RL: It was an awesome weekend, and it is the theme of 2023, as we again got super lucky with the weather. It rained Friday night, with overcast skies Saturday and Sunday. The track was awesome, and it was so much fun. It’s always a different vibe up there with it being so close to Whistler, and we get a lot of local riders out to this race who don’t follow our series. The Future West series is on summer break until September when we will pick back up in Revelstoke.
MXP: This coming weekend, you’re embarking on another trek across Canada. How many times do you think you’ve made this drive, and what is your best ‘drive across Canada’ story?
RL: Oh man, I have done it a lot since my first time in 1999. There were some years in the early 2000s when I would do it twice. If I were to guess, I would say I’ve done this drive probably 20-25 times, and most were solo missions. The best times are when you make it with no issues, but I remember the one time in 2006 I was doing the drive and hitting up AX races along the way. I remember getting to Winnipeg from Nova Scotia and being out of money. I slept in my truck the night before the race, got up and won the main event, and had enough gas money to make it to Chilliwack, where I would spend the rest of the winter racing. The funny thing is you don’t usually remember the good trips, but the stressful ones will always stick in your mind (laughs).
MXP: Regarding preparation for what will likely be another tough Gopher Dunes National next weekend. What advice do you have for our pro riders who are getting ready to line up at Round 4 of the Triple Crown Series?
RL: Has there ever been a Gopher Dunes that hasn’t been tough? The advice that I have to give would be three things. 1) Any serious rider should already be in Ontario getting used to the heat and humidity. 2) A lot happens in the final 10 minutes of each 250 and 450 moto, so stay in the fight. 3) Be ready to suffer. It doesn’t matter how good of shape you are in or what the weather throws at you. It’s going to be gnarly.