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The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

Greetings! I hope everyone had a fun weekend, and if you were one of the unfortunate people that had a long drive home from Walton Raceway last week, hopefully, the drive went well, and you arrived home safely. Before I get into the news of the day, I want to send prayers and well wishes out to everyone affected by the fires in BC. To see and hear about the devastation is heartbreaking, and our thoughts go out to everyone.

Dylan Wright had a solid opening moto going at Budds Creek before a mechanical issue caused him to DNF. Photo by James Lissimore

This past weekend our Triple Crown Series Champion Dylan Wright, headed south to Budds Creek for Round 10 of the Pro Motocross Championship. Dylan has had both Budds Creek and Ironman pencilled in on his race schedule for some time, so it was great to see things work out. Obviously, it’s not easy jumping into a series with just two rounds remaining, even if you’re in race shape and championship-winning form, as Dylan is. However, you have to start somewhere, and when I spoke to Dylan last weekend at Walton Raceway, he had the mindset of using Budds Creek to familiarize himself with the 450 class, and then try and better his results at the final round at Ironman. Well, things were all going as planned on Saturday when a solid qualifying performance gave Dylan a great gate pick for moto one. Unfortunately, due to being a little rusty with starting on grates, Dylan did not get a great jump off of the gate. But due to some slick moves in turn one, he came out pretty good on the opening lap. From there, he ran as high as 9th at one point and was no doubt looking forward to a late moto charge when disaster struck. A broken chain caused significant damage to his engine cases, and for all intents and purposes, his day was done. It was definitely a sad ending to Dylan’s Budds Creek weekend, but during his limited time on the track, I’m sure he learned a lot. Now it’s onto Ironman, where the weather is supposed to be very hot on Saturday and through this week.

Dylan will now take his talent and determination to Ironman Raceway for the final round of the Pro Motocross Championships. Photo by Lexi Thompson

So where do you think Dylan Wright finishes this coming weekend in Indiana? It’s too bad he wasn’t able to complete just one moto at Budds Creek, as that experience would’ve no doubt served him well heading into Ironman. Ironman will suit Dylan much better, as the track layout and soil conditions will be more to his liking. Budds Creek is a difficult track to find flow on with its multiple elevation changes, and off-camber corners. I was impressed with how well Dylan qualified on Saturday, especially considering he was in the 450 B session, and the track was at its worst by the time they hit the track. I’m expecting at least one exceptional moto this weekend from Dylan for a couple reasons; First, he knows the track well after racing there a few years ago; as I said earlier, the dirt and layout will suit his style and bike set-up quite well, and since it’s going to be hot as hell in the Mid-West on Saturday, Dylan’s strength and determination will serve him well. Finally, if you look through the top ten in the 450 class points standings, there aren’t really any impending battles in the final round. Meaning other than Jett Lawrence and his perfect season at play, most of the other riders are racing for pride and will be looking to make it through the day safe and sound. This could be the perfect opportunity for a rider like Dylan Wright to come in with some speed, and some extra motivation to finish well. We shall see how it all plays out!

Ryder McNabb will make his USA pro debut this weekend at Ironman Raceway. Photo by James Lissimore

Another top Canadian rider who will be on the starting line at Ironman is Ryder McNabb. Originally, Ryder was supposed to compete in Friday’s Combine race at Ironman, but instead, he will now line up in the 250 class on Saturday. This is a courageous move on Ryder’s part as heading into the final Combine race; he would no doubt be the favourite to win both motos and shine in the spotlight of being the overall Combine Champion for 2023. It’s not a secret that Ryder would prefer to race south of the border next year while he tries to take his career to the next level. At some point, he has to showcase his skills against the best in the 250 class in order to secure some sort of support in the USA for 2024, and this weekend gives him that opportunity. What will the barometer for success be this weekend for Ryder? Top 10, Top 15, I don’t know. What I do know is that currently the Top 15 in the 250 class is about as fast and competitive as we’ve seen in a long time, and Ryder will need to have the best race of his season thus far, if he wants to have a breakthrough ride. He’s capable of great things, as he’s riding so well right now. With a good start and some solid riding for 35 minutes, I believe Ryder can finish inside the Top 15 and perhaps even get himself close to the Top 10; but it’s going to be extremely challenging. Also, I’m not sure if Ryder is competing for a 2024 ride against most of the riders who are currently finishing inside the Top 15 in the 250 class. Names like DiFranceso, Kitchen, Robertson, Hammaker, and Vohland, have rides for 2024. So, I’m assuming that in order to get some decent support in the USA next year, the decision makers just want to see how Ryder handles himself at the top level, and whether he finishes 10th, 15th, or even 20th, it’s how he rides that people will be looking at it. It’s a gamble, but at this point, it’s a gamble worth taking. Who knows, if Ryder does what he’s done in the past at big races, he’ll probably holeshot moto one and have everyone wondering who the hell Ryder McNabb is. Whatever happens, it’s going to be fun to watch, Also, let’s not forget about Devyn Smith, who will be racing in his first outdoor national in the USA, and of course, Mitchell Harrison, who also suffered a mechanical issue at Budds Creek and DNF’d. I know Harrison doesn’t possess a Canadian Passport, but he loves it here and we love him. Good luck boys!

The 2023 Red Bull Outliers will take place this weekend in Alberta.

Moving on from motocross to off-road racing, particularly Hard Enduro racing. This weekend is the Red Bull Outliers, where some of the best riders on the planet will converge on Alberta for Round 5 of the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championships. Last year, this event was a massive success, both with spectator turnout and the action on the course. This year promises to be just as exciting as Canadian off-road legend Trystan Hart takes on the world’s best riders. The action begins in downtown Calgary on Saturday before moving to the scenic and iconic Alberta Badlands on Sunday. This event is something you must see to believe as these riders are incredibly talented, and some of the obstacles and terrain they have to traverse are mind-blowing. Trystan is coming off a big win this past weekend at the Tennessee Knockout event, so he looks to be primed and ready to win in front of his home country. I caught up with him late last week, so you can read my interview with him tomorrow on mxpmag.com. In the meantime, here is a link to a Red Bull Outliers preview story I wrote a few weeks back for Red Bull.

Good luck to Devin Smith and the rest of the Canadian riders this weekend at Ironman Raceway. Photo by James Lissimore

Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week as we begin to wind down our summer. In Ontario, AMO Racing is back at it after its summer hiatus with a two-day event this weekend at Auburn Hills Raceway. This track has quickly become a favourite among riders, so I’m sure everyone is looking forward to it. Like always, this summer has gone by fast, so let’s get out and try to enjoy the final days of August. Thank you for reading, and if you have any comments or questions, please email me at editor@mxpmag.com.

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