Good day, and welcome to the Monday Gate Drop Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada. I hope everyone had a great final weekend of August. I cannot believe that we’ve reached the end of August, and the proverbial end of summer. Since we’ve experienced a much wetter summer than usual in Southern Ontario, all things being equal would suggest that September is going to be very nice. Hopefully, Mother Nature gives each region across Canada exactly what it needs in order for everyone to have safe and successful fall riding season.
The big news from this past weekend surrounded a few of our Canadian riders travelling south to race the final round of the 2023 Pro Motocross Championships at Ironman Raceway. With its dark loamy soil, and fun jumps, this track is a favourite among riders on the circuit. Although, over the past couple of years it’s gone through some changes, and now the lap times are pretty short for the national track. Dylan Wright was once again lining up, as he did last weekend in Budds Creek. Jess Pettis was a late entry; he announced mid-week that he was headed to Ironman. Devyn Smith also decided that he wanted to try his hand at his first-ever Pro National in the USA, so it was very exciting to see him attempt to qualify in the 250 class. Ryder McNabb was also scheduled to race, but he was still feeling the effects of a practice crash and decided to sit out. This was unfortunate news for Ryder as I knew he was looking forward to racing and showing everyone in the USA what he could do, post Triple Crown Series. One thing I will say after watching the last two rounds of the Pro Motocross Championships on television, is that right now the 250 class has to be the most challenging series on the planet. The pace inside the Top 15 is unreal, the aggression of the riders, these guys are just plain hanging it out for 35 minutes. Even on TV it’s a lot of fun to watch.
In the end, it was great to see both Dylan and Jess have some solid rides on Saturday, and show the world how good their speed is. Dylan came from almost last on the opening lap to finish 8th in moto one. Jess got off to a much better start than Dylan in moto one, charging from around 12th on the opening lap to as high as 8th at one point. Jess would end up finishing 10th in that moto, he had to be proud of that ride. In moto two, Jess would go down in the first turn after clipping Dylan (of all people). Sadly, Jess damaged his bike so much in that crash, that he was unable to continue. Dylan however, found himself running up with the leaders and I’m quite sure he was licking his chops at what the next 35 minutes could have in store for him. Unfortunately, Dylan went down in the early laps, so he never got the opportunity to race with the Cianciarulo’s, Anderson’s, and Plessinger’s of the 450 class. In the end, Dylan went 8-9 for 8th overall which was pretty good considering he went down in both motos, and was forced to charge from behind. With good starts, and no crashes, I have no doubt that Dylan could’ve been battling for a top five overall finish on Saturday, his speed and fitness were that good. Also, I’m sure that Pettis would back his strong opening moto up with another top ten finish in moto two. This would’ve given us two riders inside the top ten at the end of the day, which is amazing if you think about it. Finally, this was a great indication of what Wright and Pettis will be able to do at the MXON in October. Congratulations to both Dylan and Jess on their results at Ironman, and also great job to Devyn Smith who came up just short of qualifying for the 250 motos. What a great way for all three riders to end their summer of racing!
In the 450 class, Jett Lawrence capped his incredible summer by winning both motos at Ironman and remaining perfect in the series. Along the way he had some challenges from Roczen at High Point, and Sexton in the last few rounds, but for the most part his wins appeared to be fairly routine. Watching Jett ride a dirt bike is like watching the ballet, each move looks precisely choreographed, and completed without a lot of effort. Now, we know this isn’t true, and most likely doesn’t feel that way to Jett under his helmet. But it sure is enjoyable to watch, and he’s sure changing the way people are going about riding their dirt bikes. I’m quite sure there a lot of riding instructors who have had their students ask them this summer, “How can I ride like Jett Lawrence?’ It’s no different than when everyone wanted to know how to ‘Scrub’ like James Stewart. Jett Lawrence is changing our sport and it’s cool that we’re getting a front row seat to it all. With his perfect summer, his name is now in the record books with Stewart and Ricky Carmichael, and he’s just 20 years old. In 2024, Jett will take his skill set to the Monster Energy Supercross so that should be fun to watch as well. I will say though, that if Eli Tomac had raced this summer, I still think that Lawrence would’ve won the 450 title, but I don’t think he’d be celebrating a perfect series. Tomac would’ve found a way to win at least one moto.
Out in Alberta this weekend the Red Bull Outliers event took place, and our own Hard Enduro hero Trystan Hart ended up finishing third overall. It was not the result Hart was looking for in front of his home fans, but finishing third to Mani Lettenbichler and Billy Bolt isn’t always a bad thing. Day 1 of this cool event took place in downtown Calgary on a Hard Enduro SX Style track, and was very well attended. Day 2 was a few hours East of Calgary out in the Badlands of Alberta. This unique setting with its extreme terrain was the ultimate test for the riders. However, for the most part they made it look easy! I competed in this event in 2019, and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done on a motorcycle. It’s exciting that last year, and again this year, the Red Bull Outliers has been part of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship Series which now has two rounds remaining. Here are your top three finishers from all of the classes yesterday.
RED BULL OUTLIERS 2023 RESULTS
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming long weekend, and the beginning of September. By this time next week, we should know more about the status of the WSX Round in Vancouver. Apparently, it’s on shaky ground and could be cancelled along with the upcoming Singapore, and German rounds. Hopefully, this isn’t the case as the Vancouver event has the potential to be pretty cool! Thank you for reading and have a great week.